Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Remembering Gratitude

As part of my part time, interim job at our church, it is often my responsibility to offer a children's sermon during the Sunday worship service. Two weeks ago when I did this, I started by asking the children to raise their hands if they had shoes on their feet; if they slept in a warm bed last night; and if they were going to go eat lunch at home or at a restaurant after church. Of course, they all raised their hands all three times. Then, I reminded them that there are lots of people around the world and in our own city who wouldn't be able to raise their hands if I asked them those questions because they might not have warm clothes, a warm house and bed, or they might not know when they will get their next meal. 

Then, I told the children that sometimes we forget how many blessing we have, especially this time of year when we are overwhelmed with thinking about what we want. Stores had Christmas stuff out before most people had even had a chance to take off their Halloween costumes. We get catalogs daily and see way too many commercials trying to convince us  all that we need more stuff. I told the children about some outreach projects the church is doing and encouraged them to think about how they might help others this season instead of just thinking about all the stuff they want to get. 

Sometimes, the children's message applies to all of us adults as well!

I'm guilty. Lately, I've been in a bit of a rut, focusing on all the things I wish I had - a smaller waistline, a fatter wallet, a newer house, a more exciting itinerary. I've focused on the Facebook lives of others, feeling sorry for myself and gotten stressed out about Christmas shopping when we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving yet. After a little soul searching, some reading, and some "me time," I realized that I had forgotten to be grateful for all the things I already have - and, really, I already have so much. 

  • I'm thankful for my husband, who supports me, comforts me, appreciates me, and loves me even when I'm not the most deserving wife.
  • I'm thankful for my children who drive me absolutely bonkers, but also bring me more joy and love than I could have ever imagined.
  • I'm thankful for extended family - parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews who make me think, make me laugh, and love me just because that's what families do.
  • I'm thankful for my home. It could use some renovations and I sure do get tired of trying to keep it (mostly) clean, but it keeps me and those I love safe and warm. It's where we have made many memories and where, I'm sure, we have many more to make. 
  • I'm thankful for food. I actually told my husband a couple weeks ago that I was tired of food and that was the truth. I was tired of planning suppers, packing lunches, counting calories, and coping with picky eaters. What a thing to be frustrated about, huh? There are so many children who go to bed hungry and so many people for whom no meal is guaranteed. Despite the frustration, I am thankful for the ability to feed my family and myself with certainty.
  • I'm thankful for children. I'm grateful that my job allows (even requires) me to see the world through their eyes on a regular basis. I'm thankful for their laughter, their unconditional love, and their innocence. 
  • I'm thankful for technology. It is, sometimes, all consuming and incredibly annoying, but it allows me to say in touch with people I care about. 
  • I'm thankful for friends who make me laugh with ridiculous Facebook message threads and who say "Yes!" with out hesitation when I say "Can we talk?"
  • I'm thankful for our minivan. I spend so much time in it, it's kind of like my second home. It allows me to take my children to school and bring them home again. It takes me to buy food and to visit family and friends. It's a luxury some people don't have. 
  • I'm thankful for sunshine and rain; falling leaves and cooler temperatures; the promise of snow days and warm, cozy snuggles. 
Have you counted your blessings lately? What are you thankful for today?

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