Thanksgiving?

I think I’ve mentioned this before but I live a charmed life. Seriously. But I don’t participate in “30 Days of Thanksgiving” or anything like that because history shows, if I commit to do something like that, I am less likely to do anything even slightly resembling my commitment. I will take pictures daily and be aware of beautiful, wonderful moments in my life…but the moment I sign up for “100 Happy Days” or whatever the flip it’s called…pft. Pictures? I have a camera?

I have been slowly becoming more aware of moments of thankfulness and more conscious of actually including God in those moments with quick prayer of thanks instead of fleeting thoughts of contentment. But recently I’ve found this dangerous irritating little voice whispering in the back of my head.

Me: “Gorgeous sunrise. Thank you for a beautiful start to this clear day. I love driving in clear weather.”

Dangerous whisper: “Yeah…but would you still have a thankful heart if there was a foot of snow on the ground and nothing but gray clouds overhead?”

Me: “I love my home so much. Thank you for providing this beautiful shelter and the opportunity to indulge in Thanksgiving cooking!”

Dangerous whisper: “What if you were spending Thanksgiving in a hospital? Or a homeless shelter? What would your attitude be like, your prayers sound like?”

This voice is dangerous because it’s prompting me to start adding a layer to my conversations with God. It’s causing me to start asking, not for more moments of contentment, but a heart and spirit that is prepared to be thankful and content in situations that aren’t beautiful, warm & cozy.

20151124_193906I am still incredibly grateful for the plethora of warm fuzzy moments that I’m experiencing. I mean seriously – this was my view while baking pies this week. A cat napping near a fireplace…it doesn’t get more warm & fuzzy than that. At the same time, I am aware that my comfort isn’t what is important…and it’s definitely not guaranteed. Would I still maintain a grateful heart and deep rooted joy even in the midst of hard times?

Three Things Thursday

I’m not feeling terribly creative so let’s jump straight into three positive things that have happened in the past week:

  1. I have new responsibilities at work. Theoretically this will lead to more money but the really cool thing? I love the added tasks. One is just processing different paperwork but I’m enjoying taking over the process, streamlining it and making it work. And it adds more variety and “pep” to my day. I think part of me misses the intensity & pressure that was often present in the investment business. I don’t necessarily miss the stress…just the energy. And I’m finding this newer task helps provide that. The other thing? I’m the “official office photographer”. I’ve spent time getting shots of our people in action. The plan is that these will be used in the new website. That remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’m getting paid to take pictures and it’s very, very fun.
  2. This week has seen me return to almost a normal workout schedule. I have been active every day so far. I was bit concerned I overdid it Tuesday (strength workout, followed by 2 miles on the track, then two on the treadmill) but Wednesday morning I was up by 5:30 and in the pool by 6:10. It took me five minutes to figure out how to put my shoes on but I wasn’t able to go back to sleep either so the decision to just move seemed right. I’m trying not to get too terribly excited because then I’ll just be that much more frustrated if I hit another patch of low energy. But I’m enjoying it for now.
  3. LilBit has had incidents of demonstrating remarkable amounts of maturity. I praised him for eating dinner without complaint or hesitation TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW even though neither were “his favorite” or even things of which he was terribly fond. He launched into a dissertation about how silly it is to complain about food and how lucky we are to HAVE food and how we should just EAT it and be glad we get to eat. Basically everything Jon and I have repeated until we’re blue in the face, but much more animated and passionate. Either something clicked or someone he actually LISTENS to said the same thing. If I had to guess I’d suspect his little “girl friend”. (Funny story – he was recently asked if he had a girlfriend. He looked up and said “One word or two?” I laughed. Hard. How brilliant. Leaving out that space eliminates “girl” as a simple adjective and turns it into more of a title) I don’t know if this little revelation of his will stick but that moment gave me hope for our future dinners.

This is probably an internet faux pas

I know November is supposed to be all about the thanksgiving posts and tweets and whatever. And it’s not that I wasn’t thankful in November. I was. And in October. And in March. And in August. And…never mind. But I almost actively refuse to post anything…thankful…during that eleventh month. Simply because everyone else is. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy reading them, to a point. And then it’s all just…too much…and the posts start reading like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons.

This morning I was feeling especially whiny. (Whoa. I really should figure out that whole segue deal)I didn’t get to sleep when I planned. I was tired. I had swimming scheduled but was cold. There was ice on my car. Last night I spent 15 mins trying to decide what to pack for lunch and still wasn’t sure it sounded good.

But here’s the truth:

  • I stayed up late(r than planned) waiting to see the sneak peek of our family pictures. Family pictures. Think about that for a moment. That’s a concept that most of the world can not even conceive. AND? I “stayed up” but was in my incredibly comfortable bed, under my incredibly soft blanket, with my incredibly wonderful central heat held in by our incredibly insulated multi-room house. And I was looking at these pictures on a computer that fits in the palm of my hand and that does things that (again) most of the world would consider extravagantly unnecessary. In fact, that whole scene? Extravagant.
  • I am able to sleep without fear of my home being raided or bombed (without fear at all actually). I am able to sleep comfortably. I don’t wake up cold or wet or hungry. I don’t wake up to the cries of my cold, wet, hungry children. I wake up in a warm home, stumble to the room with indoor plumbing then stumble to an appliance that provides me with a warm, caffeinated beverage within minutes.
  • I have access to not only a full gym, but also an indoor pool. Actually, I have access to three of those (gyms AND pools) within a 20 min drive of my home. I not only live in comfort, I work out in comfort too. My body is capable of propelling me through water and across land. I am in relatively good health and have access to medical care for any “irritating” issues…or big ones if the need so arises.
  • My car. I have one. It runs. It runs well. My family? We have two vehicles, both of which run well. We also own 3 bikes. And I live approximately 2 miles from work and within a two mile radius have approximately 4 grocery stores and multiple other conveniences.
  • Our kitchen is stocked. We may not always get to eat exactly what we want, but we always eat. (And admittedly 99.9% of the time, we eat exactly what we want…if we even know what that is). Not only do I get to eat on a regular basis, I get to chose fresh, healthy food.

That’s a list that will knock the whine out of you. Even if it’s not November.

Thanksgiving Day 30

Well it’s the last official “thanksgiving” post. I’ve rather enjoyed this and while I won’t post it every day again, I think it’s a good exercise to continue on occasion. As it IS the last “official” post, I feel I should post something deep, something that will tickle your emotions and impact your life. But really – all I can think today is that I’m glad I’ve experienced real winters. It’s snowing here. They have forecast-ed 3-4 inches over night…on top of frozen roads. I don’t look forward to driving on that but it doesn’t SCARE me like it used to. See – I’ve driven on and in and through worse. It’s nice to be confident that while I don’t want to deal with it, I can.

Thanksgiving Day 27 (and 28)

Central heat…need I say more? Oh the blessing of coming in from the cold to a warm house, of waking up to warmth, to being comfortable in the most extreme temperatures. For this col- natured woman, I am thankful beyond words.

And my husband has just informed me that being a day behind is confusing so I’ll catch up by posting two today.

Day 28

I am thankful for my washer & dryer. I’ve spent time at laundromats and apartment building laundry rooms. I’ve even washed clothes by hand in the bathtub when I couldn’t afford those luxuries. I try to remind myself of that whenever I am tempted to groan about laundry. Not only do we have an (over)abundance of clothes, but it’s almost obscenely convenient & easy to keep them clean.

 

 

Catching up!

I know I’m a week behind. Once again it’s more a matter of time than a lack of ideas. I HAVE noticed that most things I’m thankful for tend to run within a few categories – my husband, our jobs, shelter, etc. The details vary but the over-arching themes remain the same. That being said – here’s a list of things I have been appreciative of in the past 8 days.

15.   My KitchenAid mixer – my early Christmas present from Jon. I’ve wanted one for so long and used it for the first time last weekend. It was beautiful and wonderful.

16.  My Kindle – yet another fabulous gift from my husband. I finished one book and had another immediately.

17.  My husband’s job that provides not only our necessities but alot of our luxuries

18.  Our church family

19. Warm drinks & warm clothes

20. That there has not been war on US soil in my lifetime- and that I personally have not been significantly affected by a war or act of terroism

21 The fact that I have virtually unlimited educational opportunities

22  My camera and the ability it gives me to not only capture memories but also see the world through a different lens

Thanksgiving Day 14

Yesterday the sermon at church was on having tough conversations…on how we owe it to those we love to LOVINGLY speak to them if we see them heading down a destructive path/contemplating a bad decision. The focus was on Christian to Christian and there is Biblical support for this idea. But it seems it’s applicable no matter what your belief.

Anyway. I honestly can not think of anyone in my life that needs to be confronted. But I started thinking back through the years to the times when I desperately needed confronting. And every time there has been someone willing. One person in particular came to mind. She’s a lifelong friend and she was never afraid to sit me down and challenge me. She was never afraid to tell me I was making a mistake or being foolish. I rarely – if ever – listened but she continued to love me through it all. She continues to love me to this day. I texted her last night on the way home and thanked her for being a truly good friend. Friends like her are difficult to find. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have her in my life.

Thanksgiving Day 13

I have been thankful alot lately for my faith and my relationship with God. As I’ve spent more time with him, I’ve noticed how much more clearly he prompts me. There are many times I want to respond to someone or a situation in a less than lady-like fashion. Times I want to pop off the first sarcastic, cutting or chiding remark that comes to mind or times when I want to manipulate a situation to my favor. And most of these times, most people would probably say I’d be totally justified. But – that’s not how Jesus operates. And now I feel that quiet still voice saying “Bite your tongue” or “Nope – bad idea” or sometimes even “WOULD YOU SHUT UP!”  And everytime I can look back and see the benefits, how it worked better for ME and anyone else involved.

My faith has also helped me with uncomfortable, stressful, irritatingly madding situations. It takes alot of prayer not to daydream about arranging for some people’s demise but I’m more at peace. I’m more…balanced.

That’s not to say I’m perfect. That’s not to say the odd fantasy involving cars and cliffs don’t occur or that sarcasm has been eliminated completely from my communication style. But life is much easier to handle when I quit trying to deal with it and let God lead. I’m glad He pursued a relationship with me.