Thanksgiving always makes me reflect on the many blessings in my life. This year was a time of reflection because of Maria's sickness. I realize now that Maria was not near death, but when she had her seizure, I thought that she had died. This event has made me so thankful for every small thing that my kids do. This has also made me realize that a great pleasure in life is enjoying the little every day things.
I am so thankful for so many things. Of course I am thankful for general things like my health, healthy kids, my husband, my family, my church, my great friends, etc. But I am also thankful for many small things. A few things that I love / am thankful for:
1. The public library. A favorite trip for our family is to the library. Maria loves the puzzles and Jacob loves to find new books. The kids often find books that they have read at school and they find books that we have at home. I love discovering a new book or new author that they love. Kids are such creatures of habit and routine, so it is fun to have a library full of books that we can check out without any commitment. I always loved the library as a kid - I could spend hours analyzing the books and trying to decide which books I wanted to read. I would go every week and check out the maximum number of books allowed. Even now, I love to walk through the shelves and make lists of the books that I plan to read.
2. Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. I try to make the holiday last as long as possible. I was ready to put up our tree the day after Halloween, but Mike did not agree. I love the glow of the white lights on our tree. I especially love our ornaments. Our tree is not a Martha Stewart tree. Instead, it is a tree filled with ornaments that are full of meaning. We have ornaments that I had as a child, ornaments that the kids have made, ornaments that we have collected while traveling, and ornaments that were given to us as gifts from dear friends. I love to pull out the ornaments and remember friends, fun times, and bits of my childhood. I also love the Christmas season. I love the spirit of giving and the Christmas songs. I love Santa Claus - I love the magic of Christmas - it takes me back to a time when I would anxiously look out the window hoping to steal a glimpse of Santa or a reindeer. The magic of the Christmas story and Jesus birth, along with the magic of the traditional stories (of Santa and his generosity, of Frosty and Christmas snow), fill my heart with warmth and hope.
3. I love the innocence of childhood. I want to begin to teach my kids that not all people are as blessed as we are. One way that I am trying to do this is by adopting a foster child. I invited Jacob to go shopping for presents for a foster child with me. Jacob responded that he did not want to buy presents for someone else because he wanted to buy toys for himself. I explained that this little girl may not get any toys for Christmas unless our family helps her because her family may not have enough money. Jacob looked at me and said, "Why doesn't Santa bring her presents?" I explained that Santa may bring her one present, but that I am sure that her family would like to be able to give her a gift too. So if we buy a gift for her, we will be giving a gift to her foster parents (because they can experience the joy of giving to their foster child) and we will be able to help the girl because she will get more than one gift.
4. I love to laugh. My husband is a practical joker. He loves to hide spiders in my closet or jump out and scare me. He loves to laugh. My kids also love to laugh. They love to be tickled and play rough and tumble games.
5. Imagination. I was an only child, so I spent many lonely days wishing for playmates. To fill my time, I developed a very active imagination. In my imagination, I had a large family, a twin sister, many friends, and I could travel all over the world, or even the universe. I love to watch my kids use their imagination now. Jacob loves to use household items as props to dress up. He will use a stick for the tin man's ax, and he has used a pink pompom for Captain Hook's hair. I love to watch Maria pretend to go to the beach. She will put Dora the Explorer in the back seat of a van while her "mommy" (a dinosaur) drives.
6. I love the journey. At one time I was so preoccupied with the destination and end result that I failed to enjoy the trip along the way. For example, I so desperately wanted to grow up that I complained away many childhood days. Or I am sometimes so anxious to get to work that I fail to notice the beauty of my drive. This was brought to my attention when my friend Gretchen visited. She rode with me to work one day, and she said, "Your drive to work is beautiful!" I had not noticed. She compared it to her drive to work which is over bumpy roads with potholes and angry drivers. It made me realize that I am often so determined to get to work quickly that I fail to notice the beauty of my drive. Another example of this is when my kids play "going to the beach". They spend huge amounts of time gathering their toys, packing their bags and deciding who gets to drive. They generally never make it to their destination; instead, they have fun in the preparation.
7. I love to ponder deep questions. I love to think about the meaning of life. I love to consider what the Bible actually means to me. I especially love to discuss these questions over a good cup of coffee or chai with a fellow friend who is not afraid to explore the more difficult questions in life. I love finding others who are not afraid to drink from the deep waters ……
I also love reading to the kids!