14 November 2013
I decided not to do Thankful November this year. Rather than sharing thanks daily, I thought once or twice or maybe weekly might be better and doing a lot of soul-searching and inspired reading of late, I have had lots to think about. Last weekend I was still sick and feeling crummy and desperate for some inspiration to drag me out of the dregs of fever and flu. I did some inspired watching and some inspired reading and felt a light bulb moment happen...one that has happened time and time again.
Our misery in life comes from our holding on to expectations of how things should be, rather than reveling in what we have been blessed with - in realizing that we have everything we need already. As often as I press myself to live in the present, to be grateful for all I have, I STILL get caught up in focusing on how I am going to handle it if God doesn't give me the things I planned on having for my life.
And so with that thought in mind I am thinking about 10 things I'm thankful for in this moment.
1) I am thankful for modern medicine. I have lived a life of pretty excellent health, but the past two years I have had some pretty serious health events all of which have turned out well. I may have a little residual effect throughout the rest of my life, but overall I am back to the realm of normal with each issue. By the time you read this, I will have had a little surgical procedure this week, hopefully the last of any health issues I will need to deal with for a while. God bless my doctor who makes me laugh. My last appointment was a comedy routine between the two of us from start to finish. Made the entire thing effortless and painless. Love that.
2) I am thankful to have a fantastic man in my life. This is a guy who goes to war, is completely artistic in every way and makes me laugh hard. He is a fighter and a big time survivor. I don't know anyone who has been through more than he has in life and is still standing. When I first met him I seriously said, "Ah, this won't last a week," but little did I know we were perfectly suited for each other on a million levels. Shows you what I know. (That right there should be a major life lesson for me!)
3) I am thankful to have the most amazing stepdaughter God could've ever given me. This kid, she makes me laugh, she brings me to tears and teaches me lessons every day. Some days the things God puts in her mouth stun us and give us such great joy in the woman God has created her to be and what she will do to bless this world throughout her life. This is the kid who in the middle of the Dodger Stadium parking lot held my cheeks in her hands and said completely out of the blue, "God knows....God knows what you want." Crazy wonderful kiddo. Despite her "old soul" she is still fully and completely seven years old in all the best ways and a ball of giggling, squealing, learning and questions every day. How blessed am I?!
4) I am thankful to have creativity in my life. Oh, my soul would die without it. I am surrounded by creative people (including my two housemates and family) and inspiration at every turn. I love that my mind loves to not only make things, but to turn over and over again ideas and plans about how to make things. God even blessed me with a new Michael's craft store just down the street from my house this year.
5) I am thankful for creative, inspired friends. This year I have loved having a weekly Skype brainstorm/barnstorm with a dear friend. What a blessing that has been. We have been sharing our writing and I can feel that my writing has deepened and improved this year, as has my process. I don't think this would've happened without her influence. It seems that all my close friends are creative artists at heart who have also spent time in the corporate world. We all seem to share a business/artist mentality and approach that seems to benefit our relationships and life projects so well. I adore hearing about my dear friends creative projects of the family, home and heart!
6) I am thankful for courage and strength. I am in a phase of life where I feel as if I am at the last mile of an all-uphill marathon run. The past five years have been nothing if not phenomenally challenging and oft times seemingly impossible to overcome. And yet, here we are, all still standing. I feel as if I am about to come over that crest and see the gifts of this time, rather than just the hardships and suffering. I look forward to entering that time and that new phase of life. I can see it but I'm not quite there. Until then courage and strength, or our little family mantra "Brave and Strong" will continue to carry me there.
7) I am thankful (at least trying to be-eek!) for new phases of life. I am getting older, there is no overlooking this as my hair becomes lighter and lighter and I am beginning to lose sight of the young me in the mirror. It's hard to accept that your "young and sassy" days may be behind you, it happens amazingly quickly. But I am trying to see the joy in this phase of life.I am trying to look for the best in this situation as it appears there is no avoiding it. Haha.
8) I am thankful for the blessing of acceptance and gratitude. A few weeks ago I was thinking about some "unfulfilled expectations" for my life. When I first met "The Man" I thought it opened the door for all those things to happen and stunningly, that door has not opened. That has been a difficult cross to bare. God apparently had other plans and yet I still hope for those things to come, against seemingly greater and greater odds. One day it came to me as I found myself angst-ing over these things that all God wanted from me was to be the best me I can be every day. There is nothing else I need to do that that I do not already have. He wants me to live happy, do my best with what I do have, and be grateful for the wonderful life I have. I can do those things. When I think in those terms, life feels much less overwhelming and I feel much less burdened. I feel free. I think that is what he wants for us. He wants us to feel free and blessed.
9) I am thankful for nature. It seems there is nothing better for the soul than time in nature. It connects us with our creator, it connects us with ourselves. And is there anything that matters in life more than those two things? Probably not. When all else fails us, Mother Nature is still standing there with open arms waiting to connect us to God and ourselves.
10) I am thankful for simple, daily pleasures. One of the things we have instituted in our house this year is Tickle Time right after school. This is the time to take off the "baggage" of the day, laugh, talk and relax together as a family. I find it makes the rest of the day much calmer and more organized when we can get out a little energy in the afternoon. This is a new daily pleasure. Bedtime is another daily pleasure, as is tending to plants, making meals, taking walks, and laughing at anything and everything possible. Taking time to smell the roses over the past five years especially has taught me some very poignant lessons, as have loss, grief and separation. We are here in this day and this is all we are promised. We cannot allow it to flit away without having taken it in deeply in some way, big or small.
I've love to hear what is deeply touching your gratitude buttons this year. Have life lessons brought you new appreciation?