One of my favorite things about blogging, is that it holds me accountable and serves as a reminder to myself of things that are important to me. So, from this point forward when I find myself getting grumpy, ungrateful, or daydreaming about swapping out my family size SUV for that itty bitty convertible I think I need, I can go back and read this blog as a gentle reminder of what God has done in my life and how fabulously blessed that I am.
Last night, my husband was preparing his Lunch Time Manna lesson (like Sunday school) over the topic of Thanksgiving. The verses he used were great and God inspired and left me all warm and fuzzy and thankful. And then I looked at the Discussion Questions. Yikes. No. 2 said “when was the last time you thanked God for what He has done in your life?”
Well, ya know, I give thanks here and there for a thing or two, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I really tried to think of EVERYTHING I am thankful for. Or if I could even list them all because there’s really so much to be thankful for. So, I told my husband, that tomorrow (today) during my quite time, I’m going to work on making a thankful list.
So, note to self. Here is the list and don’t you forget it!!! I need to read this before I open my mouth to complain. In no particular order:
1. That our kids are healthy! (In 2000 my oldest son had 2-3 strokes and was hospitalized for weeks. I had to give him shots of lovenox injections twice a day for many years even having to hold him down at times because he would run and hide. It was heartbreaking. Then he was treated medically as a hemophiliac due to blood thinners. He had annual MRIs, MRAs, therapy and the MRIs still show permanent and dangerous results. Very scary & stressful! But 12 years later, he is healthy taking only baby aspirin and you would never know by looking at him that he had ever had the strokes despite being told that he would be dead or crippled). And I pray for their continued safety and protection.
2. Our finances. By no means can we write a check to pay off our house yet but way back in the day I started this journey living in the projects collecting food stamps and medicaid. I mean I was POOR. The lowest of the low income level. I’m so thankful to no longer be living in complete poverty and that my kids aren’t growing up that way. God has even spoiled me a little along the way. Ok God spoiled me a lot 🙂
3. Our jobs. In this economy, it is an absolute blessing to be employed. It’s nice to have a balance between working hard but also resting.
4. Working from Home. My earnest prayer for at least 5 years was that one day I could work from home and would not have to pick between raising my kids or a client’s deadlines while the kids are still young. I care about both greatly. And this arrangement has allowed me to put food in the crockpot, have a child laying on the couch resting if needed, be home when the kids get out of school, and still push out civil litigation paperwork like a champ. There’s not enough room to outline how thankful for this I am. As any working mother can imagine, oh my gosh this is such a blessing and was my ultimate goal as a paralegal.
5. Our huge extra capacity washer and dryer. Gosh, I remember those days when I had to load up all of my clothes and babies and sit at the laundry mat for HOURS doing laundry AND still needed to drive it all home and put it away (the poor days). Then I had the regular washer and dryer and was thankful for that but I still had 10 loads per week. Now we have the dinosaur front load and oh my gosh it changed my life for the better like electricity does. One load per person for week. Wa La.
6. The Pearl White Caddy. I know this seems shallow, but years ago I prayed for “my dream” SUV. I promised God that I would take care of it, keep it clean, pay it off, and drive it until it couldn’t drive anymore. And He delivered. Now it’s paid for and the whole litter fits in it. I’m SO THANKFUL for a large paid for SUV. Yes, God has spoiled me a little. Did I say that already?
7. Our home. After raising 3 kids in a small (but nice) 1700 sf house for a decade, I had prayed for a bigger home when we moved. We specifically prayed for a single story, 4 bedroom with 3 toilets, and a place to put my desk or an office (it had always been in my bedroom or kitchen) and a separate laundry room. When we moved to DFW, that’s exactly what we got. And I LOVE it. (And I must say, it would be very easy here to become ungrateful for our house because it seems that every other house is bigger, better, nicer, etc. There are only 4 single stories on our street & our house looks kind of wimpy comparatively LOL. So, I go back to our prayer journal that had our list of desires in a house and remember how perfect it was for God to lead us where we are.)
8. Modern conveniences. A few years ago we lost our power for a few days after a storm. And Oh My Gosh I’m so thankful for A/C, heat, electricity, a refrigerator, stove, hair dryer, running water, etc. To simply have the smallest things that we consider basic is such an amazing blessing!
9. Our Doggy. I cannot tell you how much I love this crazy little bundle of fur that’s never too far away from me. She’s cuddled up on my bed now as I type this. She’s been in a couple of accidents that should have killed her but she’s still here. She’s missing half of her teeth from gum disease and she’s mental from head injuries but she’s still funny, cuddly, loves to play, and loves to give kisses daily. I love this 4 lb yorkie dog baby. I know that one day we will have to let her go but I’m so thankful for her.
10. Friends. My husband is my very best friend. But we LOVE hanging out with others too. It’s so great to have like-minded friends to share life with, just enjoy dinner with, and talk to for hours. Love it!
11. That I was born in the USA. I was watching a show the other day about people wanting to flee Korea and that live in concentration camps and it reminded me just how very blessed I am to have been born in this country. There are problems and it isn’t perfect but it’s still the best country that I could ever imagine to have been born in. And every time I see those Compassion International sponsorship cards I am reminded that even on our bad days in the USA we are still blessed! I want to remember to keep that in perspective as I begin to feel sad about where the USA is today.
12. For spiritual blessings like favor and for The Bible. The ability to be transformed mentally, emotionally and spiritually within a few minutes by the powerful presence of God. I don’t know how people make it without the love and hope that we have. I am truly a Bible addict. No, I don’t have it memorized and I certainly don’t follow it 100% of the time, but I just LOVE reading it and learning all of the answers to life. It’s such an amazing book. I am still in awe of how words could be written thousands of years ago and be so completely practical today. There’s nothing new under the sun right? Still. Wow.
13. For my AMAZING husband. I put this last because there’s so much to say about how thankful I am for him. I had a written prayer list for a few years of qualities I desired in a future husband. And it was so specific and large that my friends told me I would be single forever. And I was fine with that. Better single and content than married and miserable I said. But God, the networker that he is, connected me with EXACTLY what I prayed for and even threw in a few extras just to keep me in awe. I’m so thankful for him. Here are just a few of the things I am thankful to him for: for covering me on health insurance after being uninsured for at least 5 years (which covered TONS of dental work that I was finally able to have done); for covering my children on insurance when they lost their benefits; all the yard work and attention to caring for our curb appeal; fixing the vehicles (I had to hire out before); working on the kids school projects (I’m not very “project” oriented); his love, covering, protection and prayers; the unexplainable favor that has been in my life since I married him; the countless hours he has spent painting walls, moving furniture, hanging decorations, hanging curtains (yikes LOL) and patiently sitting by as I changed my mind 10 times so that I can be happy with our home (and he’s never lost his cool with me either); the numerous trips to and from the attic to put up and bring down Christmas decorations and storage items; walmart trips when I just could not muster the energy to fight the store; all the trips to Kroger for just 1-2 things before he gets home from work; for being the primary meal prep person before I learned to crockpot (I seriously cannot cook well so this was important); for patiently working with my teens for the past 2-3 years (this could be its own paragraph. There was A LOT of baggage); for bringing me coffee and eye drops every single morning to this day (knowing I’m not a morning person); for putting empty clothes hangers at the front of the closet so I don’t have to dig for them after I do laundry; for filling out all of that college paperwork for my daughter; for making all those cheer travel arrangements last year, for being my personal GPS after I missed all of my exits even while using navigation; for fixing just about everything I’ve broken during clumsy moments (I no longer buy anything expensive LOL); for always being patient and gentle and longsuffering with me (I can’t think of a time you haven’t been actually); for working with my OCD issues (like grocery items go on the left hand side of the list and household items on the right side of the list); for holding me accountable spiritually yet being a person that I can truly tell everything to and vent to; for taking care of my yorkie even though she sometimes pees on your floors; for truly loving me the way the Bible tells a husband to love his wife (WOW on that one alone!). For his many bible study lessons that have changed my life. He’s such a gentle and loving, very gifted teacher. And even with that long paragraph I just know that I’m leaving off so many things. A decade ago I may have been naïve enough to say that “I don’t need a man” but oh my gosh I need him more than I can ever express. He truly is the head of our family and the savior of our body. Eph 5:22-24. I pray that I show him the respect I am supposed to as though it’s to the Lord Himself. He is a GREAT husband.
Finally, everything I am thankful for I am thankful TO GOD for. I know full well that these things in my life are gifts from God and that I am not entitled to them nor do I “deserve” them. It’s just that God is so very good. And I’m so very thankful that He is!