I am just coming up for air after some pretty hefty hosting and Turkey Trotting and velvety family togetherness. I told Dave I think I may have bit off more than I could chew this year. He laughed and told me that seems to be a theme of mine these days. He’s not wrong. So tonight, instead of trying to jump right into documenting all the things that have been swirling around this Thanksgiving, I decided to sit down and do what I neglected this Thanksgiving: write up a list of 55 things I’m so grateful for. I don’t know why 55 is the number. But it’s really just a small sampling of the things I’m grateful for swirling around in my heart.

Oh sure, I skimmed over all that gratitude. I felt surges of it in my heart as Thanksgiving came and went this year. But I was craving carving out more space to ponder the things that are sometimes easy to take for granted. Because I know from experience that when I carve out more time for deliberate gratitude, it has power to change the trajectory of my thoughts. And my thoughts lead to my actions. Which in turn lead to how life pans out.

That’s a pretty powerful thing.

There is no medicine like taking time for quiet to ponder what we’re grateful for.

55 Things I’m so Grateful For

1) Slanting sunlight streaming sideways during golden hour.

2) The way I feel when I am present with those I love.

3) A village to help Dave and I raise our family.

4) The journey my kids have taken, including the ups and the downs, and the things they’ve learned along the way.

5) Those who reach out to love and nurture in areas where I am spent or cannot.

6) Church leaders, teachers, mission presidents, and friends who have taught my children things I have neglected.

7) The way the Christmas lights make our porch glow when I turn off the lights to go to bed.

8) Stretching out on Lucy’s bed to read, her head curved in on my shoulder.

9) That Lucy hasn’t grown out of reading together.

10) Lucy’s genuine questions, making sure I’m ok.

11) All the different shades of green in nature, especially the brilliant shade of fresh leaves in the spring.

12) Bo Jangle’s continual, ever-present excitement to see me…the best “welcoming response.”

13) That Lucy works so diligently on her school work, and her desire to learn.

14) FaceTime and the ability it gives to connect even when loved ones are far away.

15) Clean windows.

16) Even dirty windows if they let natural light in (my very favorite).

17) Shoulders to cry on and listening ears of good friends and family.

18) Memories that come and fill up my heart with velvety goodness when I look at pictures from days long gone.

19) A freshly made bed.

20) Freshly baked bread and the smell it carries through the house.

21) Laundry folded and put away.

22) An organized closet.

23) Art that speaks to me and makes me cry. And that my dear mother taught me to see so much beauty in that art.

24) The “Impossible” things my ancestors did to pave the way for me.

25) Feeling unconditionally loved by my parents.

26) The ability to love my children unconditionally

27) The things that have stretched me sometimes beyond what I thought was my capacity, and the power they’ve had to help me transform my views and wants in unique ways.

28) That five children were some of those “things” that helped stretch me, and they are more precious than jewels

29) The sound my cello makes when my bow hits the strings in just the right way.

30) Quiet when my brain can think and my heart can connect

31) The New Testament. I have grown such a love for that book this year as I’ve worked to keep up with the Come Follow Me program and have read every word. There is so much love and goodness in that book.

32) Lucy’s vision teacher who is continually working on more modifications to help her learn.

33) Music and the great composers whose minds have the ability to create such beauty.

34) Adult children who have become some of my best friends.

35) The feeling of sore muscles after a hard workout. And that my body can do that hard workout.

36) Vantage points in life and how I can see things differently and more wholly when I climb.

37) Walking and talking in the early mornings, our shadows stretched out long and willowy in front of us. And the long shadows of the gravel on the pavement.

38) The way it feels to share burdens with friends.

39) The way if feels to yoke myself with God.

40) Connection. With God when I reach and watch for it. Also with friends when I reach outside of myself. And with Family when I put away distractions.

41) The ability to be present.

42) That I can see my daughter on the other side of the world instantaneously on my phone on her missionary preparation days.

43) A church community that helps me learn. All of us blundering around trying to learn in the midst of our imperfections.

44) The chance to have callings that stretch me and help me reach out in ways I wouldn’t otherwise.

45) Books that invite me learn and transport me to new ways of thinking.

46) A batch of freshly mixed cookie dough. Then the cookies hot out of the oven. Is there anything better?

47) Coaches and teachers who see worth in my children and who are in their corner

48) Kitchen cooking, baking and cleaning helpers (nothing better than working in the kitchen with someone you love)

49) Family dinner when we spill out real feelings

50) Late-night conversations when teenagers will let me in.

51) The pictures Abby sends me of Murphy.

52) FaceTime calls with Murphy.

53) The blog that has helped me “meet” and work to understand people from so many different vantage points. A community I have learned so much from.

54) A partner who sees, intimately, my faults, and loves me anyway.

55) A Savior who has been through all the sorrows and hurts and is there to lift and guide when I let HIm in. (Saved the best two for last:)

Oh that’s just a start, and in no particular order. And I could go on and on, never-ending.

But it did something to my soul to put aside my ominous list of “to-dos” today and carve out some time to spill out gratitude. I bet it would do something to yours too if you want to join me!

Let’s end with a picture that shows the biggest bulk of what I’m grateful for. This crew we got to have for Thanksgiving:

…and this awesome girl along with her two new Taiwanese companions in the heart of Chinatown on the other side of the world in Sydney:

My treasures right there.

Sending out so much love and gratitude as we wrap up another dear November.

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One Comment

  1. What a magnificent list! How I grateful I am for you! That confident smile in that last picture of our darling Claire, despite the fact that she has no idea what will happen next…is priceless!

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