Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010 edition

I wonder if it is a first world "issue" to wonder what would happen if I didn't have something ... if I didn't have a job ... a house ... a car ... enough money to pay for heat or clothes or food ... would I still be happy? thankful? would I still believe that God is good? Would I have a better understanding of what it means to trust God (literally) for my daily bread? Would I even recognize myself if I lived in a different time period or a different country?
So far in my adult life, my solution to those wanderings have been to try to be a good and wise steward of the many many things I have and, more recently, to be thankful for them. With Thanksgiving just this week, I do wonder at the ethicalness of simply being thankful while sitting in a warm house, with all my family, eating a huge dinner. Should thankfulness produce change? Should gratitude cause me to live differently? Has it?
Now being thankful has changed my attitude toward my job, my possessions, and even my relationships. I know that I have begun to approach God differently. I enjoy life more and I am less anxious. And I believe that is a good place to start: I want any change in my actions to reflect my thoughts/attitudes/beliefs. Now, more often than not, I find myself saying:
"I am incredibly blessed. What does an incredibly blessed life look like?"
How do I translate a spirit of thankfulness into my giving, my actions, my time? I don't have many answers right now. But I do know where I should start.
In prayer.  
And also, to use the simple act of writing something in a public place as motivation and accountability, two other things: become more involved (through prayer and letters) in the lives of our sponsored children and begin the application process to volunteer ministry in Milwaukee.
 And so, to continue my list for this week:
1078. I have a job that I enjoy (even though I claim to be bored sometimes) and get paid a nice chunk of money.
1079. rain when I realize it has been awhile since I watered my tulip bulbs
1080. a walk in the rain with Loki that was much warmer than I thought it would be. The long underwear helped with the wet, not the chill
1081. A wonderful visit with a good friend and her husband
1082. where I held her new baby, basically the entire time we were there
1083. my husband driving the whole way home while I slept - I had a hard time adjusting to being up during the day during my weekend off
1084. hair that smells like fall
1085. learning that laundry is much easier - and less overwhelming - when I have a system for doing it (two loads once a week on a night that I am staying up late before a night shift). It was a complete myth that two people don't make that much laundry - but I know it is much less than a family =)
1086. Psalm 139 read beautifully at church
1087. my head on Chris' chest, listening to his heart beating, his arms around me
1088. starting my Christmas shopping ... 'cuz I usually do ALL my shopping in one day. But it turns out that doing a ton of something you don't really enjoy (shopping) in one really long day isn't really fun. So, I'm brainstorming some creative fun gifts that I can make and that makes me so excited that I just want to skip out of work and create things. But I wont ... and, instead, will love the anticipation of the next few weeks until I can.
1089. Speaking of which - I finished this blanket, my project for the last month
1090. Plans for vacation that materialized so quickly. Seriously, in one day, I realized that I have enough PTO (vacation time), was granted my vacation request and found a co-worker to work a shift for me. Oh, and did I mention my sign-on bonus that will come at a very convenient time?
1091. cold, clean water in the fridge
1092. Excitement over going home and seeing people that we love.
1093. Days off, all strung in a row for this weekend
1094. flannel sheets
1095. an encouraging e-mail from my sister-in-law
1096. waking up to my husbands gentle touch when I sleep past my alarm

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In between working 7 out of the last 8 days, my attempts at gratitude have been kinda weak ... alternating between reasons why it is actually a good thing that I am committed to working night shifts for the next two years (that list was kinda hard, by the way, since I really don't care that much about the money) and my list of things I am excited for in the future (a four day weekend, meeting the cutest lil baby girl in the world on Saturday, Thanksgiving, the two days that are labeled "craft-y-ness" on my calendar, time off for Christmas and a trip to Mexico that is looking more and more like a reality). 
And while all those things are well and good - except my lame attempts to make myself feeling better about not seeing the sun recently - none of them involve now. Today.

And there are, of course, many things to be thankful for today:
1060. My husband who takes care of the dog and the dishes, especially when I am working.
1061. Meals in the freezer from our night of crazy, intense cooking night earlier this month
1062. the part of my check stub that says "PTO: 36 hours." Hey, I can not care about the money but totally care about the time off, right? 
1063. knowing that I am enough
1064. reading through the gospels in preparation to celebrate Christ's birth/life
1065. completing a project I have been working on for awhile (pics to follow)
1066. Loki resting his head on my foot while he sleeps next to me during the day
1067. the fact that the workers are done working right outside my bedroom window
1068. team work with new co-workers
1069. favorite sweaters ready for another winter
1070. the laundry room all to myself, late at night 
1071. knowing answers to questions at work
1072. starting IV's again
1073. days without the computer and internet
1074. being consistent with P90x - not every day but usually what we have planned for (4 - 5 times a week) and seeing the changes
1075. the window scraper
1076. and heat blasting on feet on my drive home

  1077. Oh, and it's Thursday! My work week is done and I can taste the freedom - in the form of time with my husband, dog, family and friends.

Monday, November 8, 2010

some pictures, you say?

1035. changing of the seasons

1036. fall in a bowl
autumn stew, and - coincidentally - all local and organic =)
1037. the first month of not paying rent and mortgage!!
1038. and knowing that is an answer to prayer
1039. driving around last week, 6 stores/stops in 2 hours ... umm, yes I can navigate the south west Milwaukee suburbs, thank you very much
1040. a bag of tulips, my favorite purchase
1041. my husband, the chief financial officer of our household
1042. and did I mention that he bakes too?
ahhhh, yes, pumpkin pie #2. they just keep getting better and better, baby!
1043. chilly bike rides with Loki where he rides like his tail is on fire. Seriously, a pronounced change from a few weeks ago ... maybe because it is cooler?
1044. gifts from friends: mango salsa from the Rochester farmer's market, this super cute purse and fun slippers
don't they say you are supposed to change purses in the fall?
1045. beets. umm, I love beets - who knew? from the farmer's market, naturally, my new favorite place
beet risotto, further proof that my husband is a culinary genius
 1046. time to be still, quiet and reflect on my God, my rock and my redeemer
 1047. Whirlwind MN trip #2 ... at the risk of sounding redundant: 
1048. friends and family and the fact that every time that we took a breath, we were headed off to the next fun thing
1049. seeing both my brothers for an entire evening
1050. feeling like a "doggie mom" and missing Loki when we weren't in the same place (yep say it with me "awwwwwwwwwwww")
1051. holding Megan's hand as we walked through the Mall of America
1052. and seeing how much Ethan has grown since July
1053. dinner at Good Earth with Ian (I am so happy we are friends)
1054. church. 
1055. hugs from our Rochester peeps, enough said
1056. watching Chris' face light up as friends said they will be coming for Thanksgiving dinner (esp. Eva)
1057. and knowing that Mom B will welcome our friends to Thanksgiving dinner
1058. coming home with 2 baskets of clean laundry, free of charge (now I know that someone (my parents and Chris') DO pay for the water and electric that helped our laundry get clean, but it was nice not to also feed the washer and dryer.)
My parent's elderly neighbor recently passes away (not what I am expressively thankful for -- it takes some explaining) and she wanted me to have her knitting stuff which, in itself, is a small treasure.  But more importantly, it made me remember many years ago when, after a visit to my grandma's where she tried to teach me to knit, I walked next door to ask Dorothy because I really didn't understand. And she watched me struggle for awhile and then said in her crisp British voice "here, let me help you" and I, eventually understood and learned to love it. And then, not too long ago, I walked over with a project that wasn't exactly right and she looked at it for awhile before she looked at me and asked in her crisp British voice, "did you check your gauge?" but she knew I didn't even though I should. 
And so to one of the woman who passed one the love and knowledge of her craft to me and now, her needles, yarn and patterns complete with notes: thank you.