Our Family

Our Family
Our Family: Pops, Me, The Teenager, The Boy, The Freckle Faced Ninja, Miss Priss, Miss Sassy Pants, Madi-Lou-Who, & Dora the Explorer

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giving Thanks

I watched with interest the people who were posting 30 days of gratitude on Face book around Thanksgiving.  I had a friend loan me the book 1,000 Blessings by Ann Voskamp.  In addition to making me want to quit writing because I could never write as beautifully as she does and I desire to, it stirred me to think of my blessings.  It's made me listen in wonder as my children pray, "God thank you for our food.  Please help us to have a great day."  What if we don't?  What if the day is crummy?  Are we no longer thankful that we, at least, had the day? 

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24 

Doesn't say anything about the day being good, does it?  It's made me reflect on the State of the Union and consider gathering the troops in the GonzoNation to listen to my State of the Union Address (Tony and I are co-dictator's so they really have no choice!).  We've been having lots challenges with negative attitudes, complaining, grumbling, groaning, etc at our house recently.  And that's just me!  You should hear what the kids are doing!  Just kidding (not really!).

In all seriousness, human beings seem to yearn so much for pleasure that we cannot see all that we are blessed with.  Heck, we in the States, even need a holiday to remind ourselves to be thankful!!  

I know that when I'm desiring more money, better clothes, children who behave 24/7, 30 lbs to magically disappear from my stomach, thighs and butt, I don't usually follow it up with, "but at least I have a great husband, kids who are healthy, clothes to wear, a working car, the ability to stay at home and home school..."

It's funny.  Or maybe it's sad.  Being a stay at home mom and getting to home-school my children has always been a desire.  A big family has always been a desire.  A working car that fits all of us comfortably has always been a desire.  Yet I find myself at time resenting those blessings.  The kids are interfering with my agenda today to get the house cleaned.  I love my van yet I covet the Mercedes van one of Gabby's classmate's family has (seats 11...whoa mama!).   

Why cannot I not get a desire, and find contentment in that desire? Are you like me?  Do you always desire the newest iphone even when the previous one still works just fine?  Do you get a new ___ (fill in the blank) then turn green with envy when you see someone with a nicer one?  

And if I'm so greedy, how in the world can I teach my children to be happy with the blessings they have?  I mean, I usually give my self the biggest piece of pizza and fuss at them if they complain that their sibling got a bigger piece!  

How will I ever teach them to focus on their hearts and on others rather than their material possessions if I am not content with my clothes (granted they are completely out of fashion and some date back to my college days!)?  

And how often do I, in my self-absorbed life, forget to tell a person that I am thankful for them in my life?  

Sorry I have to take a break and go repent now because until I typed this, I thought I was mildly selfish.  Now I'm realizing that I'm greedy, self-serving, selfish, self-centered...gosh...I'm just like my kids!  I wonder how God keeps His patience with me!

I read about a man who chose to begin writing a thank you note each day.  Just one a day.  As a result of his thank you notes, relationships were mended, new friends made, laughter, love, and joy resulted.  Now that seems a small effort but I'm pretty sure I still owe some people thank you notes from our wedding almost 17 years ago so not thinking that will work for me.
Instead I've decided to see how many blessing I can think of and list in the next few minutes. Just so you know, if you are reading this, I consider you a blessing.  God certainly does too. :)  

 Disclaimer: Before anyone gets his/her panties in a twist, these are NOT in order of preference or importance other than #1!!!  

1.      God the creator of all things who sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins!!  Without that, all is lost.
2.      My husband, Tony, who puts up with me daily and tells me I'm beautiful EVERY day (in spite of the 30 lbs I need to lose!).  Now that's dedication!  Thank you for being an amazing father to our children and for having such a big heart for orphans.
3.      My mother who persevered through single parenthood for many years. Thanks for always being there to lift me up when I am sad and celebrating all of life's victories with me!
4.      My grandmother, Lillian.  She just turned 90 and is still an amazing story teller!  She was always there with unconditional love, hugs, and a tomato sandwich fresh from her tomato plants.  
5.      My grandfather, Big Driz.  He's the coolest tie-dye wearin' 89 year old I've ever met!  I'll never forget him taming a squirrel from his yard to eat from his hand.
6.      Aunt Mary signed all letters "Mary the Berry".  She became my mentor in teaching and a place to rest in times of turmoil.
7.      Uncle John who makes a better hand spider than anyone I know and always got me in trouble for laughing uncontrollably at the table at Thanksgiving.  
8.      Aunt Susan whose wisdom is deep and who shares herself unselfishly. Thanks for being there in times of crises and talking me through it!
9.      Uncle Bob who was my dining hall connection at UGA.  As food services manager, he opened a dining hall early Saturday morning just for the band so we could eat before games.  Thanks for all the waffles!  And GO DAWGS!
10.  My dad who taught me how to fish (not that I'm any good at it) and got me a fishing pole with a purple line!  Thanks for putting up with my griping on EVERY hike between the ages of 10 and 19!  Now some of my fondest childhood memories are of summers in Montana and Utah.  
11.  My stepmother, Dianne, who tried to pass on some of her amazing artistic and creative talents to me despite my lack of skills in those areas.  She is my Christmas decorating guru!  
12.  My Aunt Lynne who listened to me bare my soul on so many occasions and loved me anyway.  Who treated me like one of her own when I felt unowned. Who helped me understand things that were hard.  Thanks "Aint Lynne" (in my best southern accent).
13.  Aunt Patty who always let me join her brood of kids when I came for summer visits, let us climb her cherry tree and eat all we could, and put up with me mooning over a boy who lived around the block for like 5 summers!
14.  My Grandma Dunn, may she rest in peace.  She always kept her kitchen stocked with red licorice.  Not Twizzlers, but the giant bucket with one long rope!  She loved me no matter what, just like a Grandma should.
15.  My mother-in-law Joyce.  Thanks for treating me like one of your own from the very beginning.  And for always laughing at my stories.
16.  My children.  They are such huge blessings.  They all make us laugh and bring us such joy.  They show me how God loves me!
17.  Children in general!
18.  Starbucks Venti Breve Lattes.  Enough said.  
19.  Ferris Beulers Day Off
20.  Pachabel's Canon (or Paca Bell's Cannon if you're our child)
21.  Barking Spiders
22.  Cool breezes on a summer night
23.  Late night conversations with good friends
24.  Friends who stood in the gap while we labored over our adoption, prayed with us, loved us, gave us furniture, clothing, toys, dinner, hugs...
25.  Perimeter Church
26.  My D Group Ladies
27.  Our dog Winston.  Most days.  ;)
28.  All the cats who've let me love them and kept my lap warm on cold nights.
29.  Sweet Gideon
30.  Tricycles and side walk chalk.
31.  DVDs
32.  White boards and play dough (provided no children stick it up their nasal cavities!  Yes I speak from experience.  And no it was not a good one.)
33.  Fresh fruit at the farmers market
34.  Crock pots
35.  Vacuum cleaners that work
36.  Perimeter Christian School and community
37.  World's Softest Socks (Oh you have GOT to try these ladies with cold feet!)
38.  Stuffed animals
39.  The funny things my children say hourly
40.  Moments that take your breath away
41.  Lydia Grace pointing at the orange and pink clouds of a beautiful sunset and saying, "Look mommy, there's God!"
42.  My inadequacies keeping me humble
43.  Southern accents
44.  Georgia Bulldogs
45.  Mountains and pine trees
46.  Toilet paper :)
47.  My children telling me they love me
48.  Gabby's singing and how it lifts my spirits
49.  Hot dogs and frozen pizzas!!!
50.  You dear friend, where ever you are.

OK, now I KNOW I'm selfish, self-centered, self...whatever!  In just over 30 minutes I thought of 50 blessings that are in my life.  I know I could go on forever.  I doubt you are as self-centered as I am but I hope you will take time to thank God for the day, and find joy in it no matter what it holds.  And I pray that God will reveal to you the many blessings He has bestowed in your life! 

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24 

1 comment:

  1. For the record, I have no idea how I managed to highlight the lines but I cannot get it to go back!!!