Archive for Being Thankful

So Thankful

I don’t know about you, but I often imagine parts of my life set to music. Is that weird? For my wedding, I used nontraditional music to set the ambiance and did my best to have the wedding party enter onto the scene at the appropriate time to coincide with the crescendos of the music. I thought it was moving.

In my head I have envisioned various other pieces of my life set to music. For years I have wanted to actually make some of this happen, but didn’t know where to start. This past week I spent some time creating a simple little picture montage–capturing some monumental moments in my life as a parent, set to music. It epitomizes a couple of things I am incredibly thankful for, so I figured it was the perfect time of year to share it.

May we remember to be thankful every day, not just today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Humble Mother’s Day to Me

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Isn’t it funny how your kids can make you so proud, yet are so good at keeping you humble?

Take last Sunday morning for example.  I helped out in my kids’ Sunday School classroom, so I was let in on the “surprise” song which they had been practicing so they could sing it in front of the church congregation on Mother’s Day. As they were going over the words, I felt a little uncomfortable.  “She’s patient, understanding, and as gentle as can be” really aren’t the words I would use to describe myself at times, especially as I reflected on a couple of incidents that took place over the last week.

I looked at my kids. My son wasn’t even trying to sing, just sitting there with a bored look on his face. I wondered if it was just because he doesn’t like group singing or if he couldn’t force himself to say those flowery words about me. Our eyes met and I smiled and shrugged my shoulders at him. He shrugged back.

Then my daughter looked up at me and I shrugged and smiled at her too and she smiled back while happily singing along to the song. I wondered to myself, “Could she possibly mean those words?” As it turned out, I didn’t have to wonder long. They finished their final go-round of the little ditty and she leaned in close to me. I put my arm around her and smiled as she peered into my eyes and softly said, “Mama, you’re not always all those things.” Ha! There it was—the spoken words of what I was feeling. I laughed, but in my insecurity I told her that “most moms aren’t all the time” {and I wanted to say that she and her brother were the reason for it!}, but I let it go at that. I did share her words with others in the room and we got a good chuckle out of it. One other mother who was helping out said, “Yah, she said that to me last week too, but I didn’t want to tell you and hurt your feelings.” That’s my sometimes too-honest girl for ya! How humbling, yet funny is that?!

As I think about it though, it’s not all bad. I will continue to try to grow more patient with my kids, but it shows that we’re real with each other. Sometimes I raise my voice, freak out a bit, and get on them about things, but I try to admit it once I’ve lost my patience and apologize if necessary and tell them I’ll try to do better next time. Hopefully they can appreciate that and will learn that although none of us are perfect, we can always say we’re sorry and try to improve. Hopefully they are learning to follow my example of being ready with an apology when one is needed and being humble enough to admit it {that sounds kind of vain, but you know what I mean}. And hopefully someday we can all look back at a lot of this stuff that seems so frustrating and intense at times now…and laugh, and know it’s just a part of growing up, for all of us.

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My kids have both already given me a couple of wonderful homemade Mother’s Day cards, so I do feel loved and appreciated. I am so incredibly thankful to be their Mom!

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Thankful Thursday

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It’s Thursday and I’m thankful.

I’m thankful that my Mother is celebrating another year of life today. Happy Birthday Mom!

I’m thankful that although we live hours apart, she is only a phone call or an e-mail away.

I’m thankful that she always has a listening ear and generously offers encouragement, advice or merely empathy.

I’m thankful that my Mom has always been a good example of a hard worker. On top of working full-time outside of the home most of my growing-up years, she still kept a very clean house, cooked, baked, cut all of our hair {and permed my sister’s and my hair, along with her own, as was the style of the day!}, made some of our clothes, taught Sunday School, decorated special occasion cakes, maintained a large vegetable garden and a beautiful ever-expanding flower bed, probably along with innumerable other things that never got noticed, because that’s what moms do.

I’m thankful for my Mother’s God-given creative talents and am happy that some of those interests and abilities have rubbed off on me.

I’m thankful that I was raised to know that God loves me and has a plan for my life.

I’m thankful that my parents’ highest priority for us kids was that we honor God with our lives and whatever we chose to do after that was entirely up to us.

I’m thankful that I was taught to be polite and to respect others. I don’t recall actually learning this, so I know it was instilled in me very early on.

Not until I became a mother did I understand how challenging it can be. In spite of that, I’m thankful that my Mom is still probably my biggest fan.

I’m thankful that over the years I’ve discovered that no request is too big. My parents have sacrificed greatly, rearranged their plans and made special trips if we needed their help.

I’m thankful that my family and I have a welcome place to come home to, any time that we want.

I’m thankful that my parents have been blessed to be grandparents. There is something wonderful about seeing your parents anticipate and then experience something for the first time. I’m thankful that I have been able to witness their joy as they have spoken of, or spent time with, their grandchildren.

I have been blessed to be a part of a great and supportive family. None of us are perfect, but we love each other and have the promise of being together even after death temporarily separates us, and for that I am thankful {beyond measure}.

A Valentine’s Day Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday, and I’m thankful.

I’m thankful that both of my kids went to school today. They have each missed 2 days due to illness in the last week.

I’m thankful that I will be joining them in a bit to assist in their Valentine’s Day Party.

I’m thankful that we finished all of their classmates’ Valentines early and with much less complaining than last year—whew!

I’m thankful that my daughter has so many beautiful hand-me-down clothes to wear. She’s worn a different Valentine’s themed shirt to school every day this week! How fun is that?!

I am thankful for great friends, some of whom we will be seeing this weekend, who have walked through some of our lowest lows with us.

I am thankful that our time together this weekend will, Lord willing, be full of joy and not sorrow.

I am thankful for the luxury of being able to relax and enjoy laughter with friends.

I’m thankful that it’s not February 14th of last year, because frankly, that wasn’t a very good day. I was fasting for an upcoming surgical procedure so I was unable to enjoy a Valentine’s Day meal . As my family gathered around the table for dinner, I went into the parlor to make a fire and enjoy it by myself where I wouldn’t be so easily tempted by food. In my fire-lighting inexperience and hunger-clouded mind, I neglected to open the flue on our gas fireplace and as I introduced a spark to the now-gas-filled-air, my head and upper body were immediately engulfed in flame. Suffice it to say that…

I am thankful for eyebrows and eyelashes that grow back.

I am thankful for skin that recovers and wounds that heal, both physically and emotionally.

I am thankful for my husband’s presence on that evening and his quick thinking to get my melting fleece jacket off of me.

I am thankful for my hairdresser who was able to work me in the next morning to cut off a good portion of my singed and stinking hair.

And I am ever so grateful that my injuries were not much worse.

In retrospect, I can say that I am actually thankful for such experiences that remind me that life can change in a heartbeat, and the last words I’ve spoken to the people around me could indeed be my last words.

I am so thankful for my husband and the wonderful companion he is on this journey of life.

I am also reminded of this day in 2007, when Ken and I found ourselves on our knees with our faces buried in a dusty old couch in a Russian hotel room, praying for God’s wisdom and grace as we sought His will and intervention in our lives. We would be asking the Russian officials for another chance at meeting an orphaned child whom we might be able to adopt. Time was running out and we would be leaving the city the following day, yet we prayed that we would be leaving with the hope of returning for a child to whom we were yet to be introduced. It’s a long story, but God showed us His favor and on February 15th, 2007, we met the little boy who is now our precious son. And life has never been the same.

And for that, I am thankful.

The day we met.

February 15, 2007–The day we met our son.

Thankful Thursday

Back in the 90’s I had about an hour commute to work and used to get up crazy early in order to head out somewhat ahead of the heaviest rush-hour traffic. About the only thing I looked forward to on those mornings was listening to the Moody Radio program: Mornings with Greg and Chris. Those two guys were like a great cup of coffee, waking me up and getting me going. They were right on track with my sense of humor and they often had me in tears before I got to work from laughing so hard. I would often try to remember exactly what they said at times so I could reiterate it to my roommate at the end of the day in case she missed parts of it. One of their regular features was Thankful Thursday where Chris would read a list of things he was thankful for while sappy music played in the background. They were generally very simple things, occasionally mixed with very profound things that often seemed to just flow from Chris’ stream of consciousness.  I e-mailed Chris to make sure it was ok if I copied his format and he said that I could “with his blessing.” And so I present, my debut version of Thankful Thursday.

{begin playing appropriate background music now}

It’s Thursday, and I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for winter-time.

I’m thankful for the beautiful snow that has finally fallen and the peaceful feeling that I get while watching it come down.

I’m thankful that, unlike back in the day when I listened to Greg and Chris in the morning, I do not have to leave my house before sunrise and drive in the falling snow for up to 2 hours in order to get to my job, and then wonder how and when I will get home in the evening.

But my heart goes out to those who do have to do this daily.

I’m thankful that my children delight in the snow as much as I do.

I’m thankful for this season of my life when I often have dripping snowpants hanging from doorknobs and wet hats and mittens stuck on my mitten tree.

I’m thankful I have a mitten tree.

I’m thankful for the windows in my house, especially the round one at the top of my stairs which gives me a beautiful view of every season. I especially love its winter view.

I’m thankful for the new black snow boots that Ken agreed to buy me for Christmas.

I’m thankful that Ken is over his 4th cold of the season and I’m very thankful that the kids nor I caught any of them.

My daughter did however, as of this morning, contract strep throat, but I am thankful that I was able to get her in to see the dr. this morning and she is now on meds. I’m thankful that within 24 hours she will no longer be contagious and she is handling her illness quite well.

I’m thankful for a warm house and an attached garage.

I’m thankful that I do not have to work out in the cold and snow, and again, my heart goes out to those who do and who make the best of it.

I’m thankful for snow plows, and hope to see one soon.

I’m thankful that we have company coming this evening who will be sleeping in our basement, which has forced me to finally organize and put away all of my Christmas decorations that have been scattered around down there, waiting until I was motivated enough to spend time in the chilliness putting them away.

I will not have that daunting task hanging over my head now for another 11 months and this afternoon I can be on the main floor watching the snow come down.

And for that, I’m thankful.

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