“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
- A.A. Milne
This year I decided to do something that friends of mine have been doing for years -- taking note of at least one thing to be thankful for every day in November. This year with the lack of a stressful job, the time and energy to enjoy my family, a church we love with new friends to get to know and an incredible inaugural year of ultrarunning I've had, it hasn't been too difficult to tick off one blessing after another. Some were daily realities; some were specific to the day's circumstances. I started posting them up on my facebook page and I'll repost them here:
Day 1: With a day-long headache and girl with stuff coming out both ends, "Thanksvember" didn't start off well. More like "Mama's Extra Grumpy November". Blerg. However, my parents restocked us with fresh Alaskan moose meat, so we'll get to enjoy our favorite burgers this winter. Thankful!
Day 2: After Funk Friday, I was thankful for a new day full of delights. Getting out and enjoying the gorgeous weather, I got a run in, spent time with Grammy & Poppa, found an awesome playground and if that wasn't enough, I got a date night with my favorite dude.
Day 3: Thankful to see Grammy & Poppa from Alaska every fall now that we live in CO and they snowbird in AZ!
Day 4: Thankful for afternoon tea with my baby girl.
Day 5: Despite a very rough morning with the kids, thankful for friends like Sheila, who enable me to do speedwork on their dreadmill when I'm without childcare.
Day 6: Thankful that my dear huz has a job that he truly loves that also pays him a steady paycheck. (He's the chiropractor for the Air Force Academy.) He loves his work, his patients, his colleagues BIG and they love him right back. What a gift to do what you love & get paid for it too.
Day 7: I'm thankful for the gift of a sweet, goofy, smart boy that God blessed me with 6 years ago. He loves me something fierce even as I learn how to understand him (he's mildly autistic) and strive to be a better mom to him.
Day 8: I am thankful for legs that work and joy when I run. The ability to run up, down and around mountains has been a delightful gift to me here in Colorado, countering the sadness of leaving New England and my peeps almost three years ago.
Day 9: I am thankful for our new house. It came as an unexpected opportunity to own a place of our own again & I certainly feel more settled here in CO now.
Day 10: I'm thankful for our community at Westside Church, a bunch of big sinners who believe in an even bigger Savior. I look forward to corporate worship with them each Sunday.
Day 11: For all those who serve(d) our country in the armed forces, my deepest thanks.
Day 12: I'm thankful for the opportunity to take piano lessons as a child, the joy I receive from playing/singing and being able to use it in corporate worship for three decades and counting.
Day 13: I'm thankful for my sweet, lovable 3YO baby girl and the opportunity to enjoy more time with her these days.
Day 14: With a child sick again (7x in 10 weeks!) and only 3 hrs of sleep, I am thankful that our bodies can recharge on a 1 hour power nap. New mercies...I felt like a new woman!
Day 15: I'm thankful that my runs into bear & cougar country have been uneventful to date. The Mt. Herman kitty that gave Sheila a good scare two days ago was no where to be seen today, as well as the honey-feasting bear that a hiker saw this morning.
Day 16: I'm thankful for long term friendships that though they become long distance ones, remain close thanks to commitment & Google Hangouts.
Day 17: While my kids are dealing with persistent stomach/GI issues for the past 10 weeks (on average, one or both every week) I'm so thankful that I don't have a day job (to do or ditch) compounding the day's stress. This week they both had it twice, just days apart!
Day 18: I'm thankful that my son enjoys reading to us. Our new routine is for him to read at the dinner table and it makes my heart happy.
Day 19: I'm thankful for all the awesome ultrarunners that I have met this year. They have encouraged me and made my freshman season such a blast. I look forward to racing and hanging out with them more in 2014!
Day 20: Thankful for Jesus, who saw my heart to the bottom and still loved me to the skies. His saving grace undergirds the hope I have in this life and in the life to come. The most amazing adventure in the wilds can't top that. Hallelujah.
Day 21: On cold, snowy days, I'm thankful for a garage and more importantly, safety to & from school on icy roads.
Day 22: I am thankful for excellent road conditions from the Springs to Moab and the beauty of the frosted trees, mountaintops and canyons to enjoy along the way.
Day 23: Thankful for the beauty of the seasons that at times, counteracts the discomfort that I feel as I'm out running. My brumous, snowy, muddy run in Moab was tough and made tougher with GI issues, but one look up and around at the desert beauty provided an immediate balm. No regrets getting out of bed and heading out there for the afternoon and I'll take those beautiful memories with me to my grave.
Day 24: Thankful for a reliable vehicle that has safely taken me & my family on long distance trips with no breakdowns.
Day 25: On this, my grocery shopping day, I'm thankful for the daily provision of food and the ability to help those who are in need this season.
Day 26: I am thankful for my husband, who loves me & the kids real BIG, supports me in my crazy ultrarunning adventures, keeps the household stuff operating properly and cooks really good food for us. And he loves Jesus to boot! God knew that if it were up to me to feed the family, we'd subsist on Eggo waffles, pizza, cheese & crackers and Hungry Man dinners.
Day 27: Nov 2003 was a hard month in a hard year. I'm thankful for the reminder that out of death, comes life. Beauty can rise out the ashes. It never always gets worse.
Day 28: I'm thankful for my extended family and though we must celebrate apart from one another, if we could be together, it would a no-drama time of feasting and enjoying each other. I love my family and miss them all.
I know it won't be hard to come up with two more prior to month end. I'm thankful for eyes that can behold the beauty of art -- both man-made and God-made in nature, for ears that enjoy beautiful music or the sound of rushing water as I run, a nose to enjoy the smell of and a tongue to taste so many culinary delights, and the ability to feel kisses, hands held, snuggles and hugs from my family. I hope you are able to count your many blessings today, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. If we are alive and have people to love who love us in return, we can give thanks.
Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. - Alexander MacLaren
In closing, the song that I hope will be sung at my funeral, covered by the amazing Buddy Miller:
Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!