I could discuss my confusion over what the excitement is over Shopkins, but I'll let that slide. It wasn't all too surprising to me that she mentioned wanting a newer, bigger house. She has been in several bigger and nicer homes than ours, and after visiting those homes she has mentioned how she doesn't want to have play dates at our house because it it is "too small and dirty." I'm not going to lie, we have some major decluttering to do, but that is another whole topic for a different blog.
Her response was the perfect opportunity for us to talk about how blessed we truly are in the home we have. This topic has been fresh on my mind since the start of last year when I started to read and journal in the book 364 Days of Thanksgiving by Rev. Andrew Schroer. To say that it brought a shift in my perspective of gratefulness would be an understatement.
The book is set up with some introductory chapters on being grateful. If you grab this book make sure you don't skip those chapters - they are a great way to focus your mind on this book. The author then has a devotion at the start of every two weeks. Then you journal something you are thankful for every day. At the end of every two week period there is an area for reflection. The goal is to not repeat anything during the course of the year to show how much (whether big or small) you have been blessed with in your life.
I have always been grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with, but this helped me see those blessings in things that might even be a trial. From then on I was able to focus on the blessing, not the trial or the stage of life we currently are in at this time.
As I looked back on the year I had to smile that one thing I wrote about was the very thing my daughter was wanting for her birthday. Yes, what in her eyes is a "dirty" house is actually a sign of our abundance of blessings, let alone the fact that we have a warm house at all. When I perused my journal a bit more I realized it ranged from some "major" things to some things that might seem mundane or inconsequential. As little as those things are in our lives, they are truly still a blessing.
I was thankful for PEOPLE.
You are probably thinking this is pretty obvious. Of course I wrote about my parents, siblings, husband, children, extended relatives, high school and college friends, friends from every job I've had since college, former students, book club friends, church friends, the girls' teachers, the hairstylist I've had for 8 years, our amazing doctors that take such good care of us, etc. The list could go on, but in all seriousness, have you ever sat back and reflected on all the groups of people in your life from early on and what an extreme blessing they have been to you?
It goes beyond that, though. I had entries about that lady I never met who paid for our groceries at Hy-Vee, the ladies at the library who are always so nice to my children, farmers who work so hard, my customers, the speech teachers I had in grade school, the friendly worker at Kwik Trip with the funny hats that always makes me smile....I'm thankful for the "strangers" in my life. Whether they are close to my heart or new to me, people are a blessing. Do you see what I mean?
I haven't ever met someone that truly enjoyed doing laundry. I certainly don't. But how refreshing to reframe my mind to the fact that our family has enough clothes to make laundry piles. We are blessed with an abundance of clothes. I'm also thankful for the washer and dryer we have.
Making and cleaning up the table at night after supper...that turns into being thankful for the fridge to store the food to the stove, crock pot and microwave to prepare the food. This doesn't look past the face that due to the abundance of food on our table we are also able to enjoy leftovers.
Jesse has to mow the lawn and shovel the driveway, but how blessed we are to have a lawnmower and snowblower.
I don't like putting sheets on our beds, but we have beds and we have sheets. Do you see what I mean?
I'm thankful for many ABSTRACT THINGS.
Think we could all agree that a night of uninterrupted sleep is a blessing, as are snow days, peaceful moments between children, humor, central air, patience, freedom, technology, grocery pick-up, changes of seasons, music, random acts of kindness...and on and on. When was the last time you stopped and were thankful for something like humor in your life? It may be a little thing, but a blessing all the same. Do you see what I mean?
I'm thankful for my FAITH.
Where would I be without the comfort of salvation, heaven, grace, forgiveness, prayer, trust, peace, baptism, hope, love, joy....this is my foundation. I'm thankful that my parents shared this with me, and their parents shared with them, and so on. This could be an entire blog in itself.
In the end, 2016 was a year to refocus on the blessings. They are everywhere. Bills may overwhelm, challenges at work might pop up, we may fall ill, etc., but God is GOOD. I learned not to only be thankful FOR everything, but be thankful IN all things.
Simply put...do you see what I mean?