Monday, November 24, 2014

A Month of Gratitude

For the month of November, I have participated in the 30 days of thanks, posting each day something I am thankful for. The month isn't over yet, so not all of these have made it on my wall, and I will continue to do so through the end of the month, but I wanted to compile my list here, too. I think it's important to reflect on the things we are thankful for on a regular basis. I know that literally counting and listing my blessings, naming them one by one as the song goes, has helped me get back to a positive outlook on more than one occasion.

I am guilty of falling into negative thoughts fairly easily. I sometimes get bitter than Jon is away so much when really I should be thankful he has a job and is so willing to work hard to support us. I sometimes get overwhelmed at the task of unpacking and moving back into our home when really I should be expressing gratitude that we have everything we need AND a place to call home. I sometimes feel angry at the NICU related bills that have flooded our mailbox this year, when really I am so thankful for my little miracle boy. Negative thoughts come easy to me, I am not an optimist by nature and it's something within myself that I have to constantly work on.
Day 1: I am thankful for my affection and passion for dogs. It is through that interest that I have met some if my dearest friends in my adult life. My dogs, particularly the Danes, have brought me in contact with some pretty incredible people. From the breeders who have helped me along the way, to the ones I've simply looked up to from afar, to the people we have placed puppies with, to enthusiasts of other breeds. When I rattle through the list of "folks I like a lot" aside from family, nearly ALL of them I met because of a common love of canines. It's been a blessing in my life, no doubt. The dog community can be brutal. Nasty. Judgemental. But for me, it's brought precious gems into my life I can't imagine being without. New friendships and old, they wouldn't be mine without that common ground. For someone who has a pretty tough time relating to people, that's priceless. 

Day 2: I am thankful for modern technology that make fulfilling my designated role in our family easier. I can't imagine doing my mountains of laundry by hand all the time, and am even spoiled enough to not be able to imagine life without a dishwasher. These seem like such simple things, and in today's world are, but I'm thankful they allow me to spend more time doing things I love. 
Confession: I enjoy doing laundry.

Day 3: I am thankful for Ben & Jerry's cake batter ice cream. And that's all I've got to say about that.

Day 4: I'm thankful for my house. It isn't anything special. It's old, it needs a lot of work, but it's home. It's where I put my son to sleep each night, it's where my family comes together each night to recharge to face the world again tomorrow. It is my safe zone, my space. I'm thankful for these old walls.

Day 5: I'm thankful for Jon's job. Not only for the obvious income it provides, but that he's actually doing something he really enjoys and the flexibility it has given him. I was skeptical to say the least when he took the job but remained supportive. I am thankful that in the economy we have, he has been able to move forward and up in his career path.

Day 6: I am thankful for good music that helps me get my butt in gear and be productive when really all I want to do is lay on the couch and watch chickens explore the back yard. Kenny chesney and blake shelton will get me through this just-wanna-be-lazy day.

Day 7: I am thankful for my car, I can not imagine not having my own reliable transportation and truthfully have never had that inconvenience in my adult life. 

Day 8: I am thankful for my property. It's not much, just a 1/4 acre corner postage stamp smack in the middle of town, but it is ours. We have molded it into what works for us: a yard for the dogs, a chicken run, a yard for us, a big garden. we grow our food on this property. We make memories here. We are raising our family, two legged and four legged alike. In a world so many live without even a roof over their head I recognized how blessed to have that AND ground to use.

Day 9: I am thankful to live in the proximity to my family that we do. I do not love Utah County. Heck, I do not love Utah... , but for as long as family is here, this is home and I embrace it. (though I can not deny a chunk of my heart will always long for N. Idaho. 

Day 10: I am thankful for my chickens! Entertainment and eggs. Though... one is a rooster and soon I will indeed rip his head off when he starts making noise. But don't let that fool you, I like him.

Day 11: I am thankful for my bed, and the mere fact that I am blessed and lucky enough to have a safe cozy place to sleep each night. 

Day 12: I am thankful for Facebook and how easy it makes it to keep contact with our Dane family. I love to watch them settle into their families and be adored and loved. 

Day 13: I'm thankful for my holiday decorations and the simple joy they bring to my home. 

Day 14: I am thankful for my genuine love of cooking. Even if I didn't love it, I would still prepare healthy meals to nourish my family but it's quite convenient that I enjoy it so much. Even if I'm not great at it. 

Day 15: I am thankful for soft water. Perhaps it falls under the category of simple pleasures but it's something I appreciate. And so does my hair. And my plumbing. And my appliances.

Day 16: I am thankful to live in a place that going to church is as simple as walking less than a block, where many travel great distances every Sunday.

Day 17: in light of World Prematurity Day, I am thankful for the team of NICU nurses, doctors, and specialists that kept Chase safe and progressing during our two month stay last year. 

Day 18: I'm thankful to have incredible examples of motherhood around me, and to call so many of them family. Spent the day with Tanya, Grandma, and Sharlyn yesterday doing nothing important or exciting and yet, it was a great day. They are just three of the many amazing women in my life but quality time with them makes ME a better wife and mother, and I am thankful for that. 

Day 19: I am thankful for Tide. Yup. Tide.

Day 20: Jon asked me to make a wishlist on Amazon for Christmas shopping. I'm sitting here and truthfully.... there's not one thing I need. I'm in purging mode, getting rid of things left and right and I just have no need or want for anything. I am thankful to have the things I need to adequately care for my family in a time many do not. 
Well. Except I can always use more cloth diapers for Chase, right?

Day 21: I'm thankful to have the family that I do. It's special. Yes, we get angry sometimes and have small disagreements but never in my lifetime has there been a family feud. We don't stop talking to each other, or pick sides, or get ugly with one another. I thought family drama was something in movies until I realized how very special it is that not once has mine ever turned their backs on one another over a disagreement. Ever. 
Family is all you can truly rely on and I can't think of a better one to be a part of.

Day 22: our economy is not so hot lately. I'm thankful for Jon's jobs. Sometimes I get grumpy because he's gone so much but truthfully I recognized how blessed that he even has not one but two jobs to help support our little family.

Day 23: I am thankful for delicious home cooked food. We had Thanksgiving dinner as a family last night at my Grandma's last night, and I can't help but think my family's food is just a little more delicious than everyone else's. Ok, a lot.

Day 24: as we go into Thanksgiving week I can't help but feel it appropriate to recognize some of the absolute MOST important people in my life. 
Starting with my husband Jon. I don't know how I got so lucky to have the unconditional love of such a respectable, amazing man. I met Jon at a turning point in my life, and he accepted me and my past without judgement. Even from the beginning before we had the history to hold us together he was patient while I pieced my life back together. Every single day he makes me want to be a better person and doesn't give up on me when I make mistakes. Our marriage has been through more bumps than anyone realizes and I'm convinced that together we can get through absolutely anything. Of all the things in this world, of all the things I have listed this month, there is nothing I am more thankful for than the dedication of my eternal companion. I love you, Jonathan Lanman.

Day 25: Over the course of this week I'm recognizing with gratitude some of the people in my life that have been most influential to me. I can not dream up a better mother if I tried. When I think of all I put my mother through, it is truly a wonder how she managed to not ever give up on me. She's been through more than anyone I know, and is one of the strongest, most beautiful women inside and out than I've ever met. We did not always have a close relationship, and it makes me sad to think of the years I missed out on that because of my own selfishness and attitude. But now, she's truly one of my very best friends and there's few people whose company I enjoy so much. 

Day 26: I can not even put into words how much I love my siblings. I am thankful for the role they have played in my life, and I am endlessly thankful for the friendships I have with them now. When I hear of people who "haven't spoken to their brother(s)/sister(s) in years" it truly boggles my mind. We've been through some pretty tough stuff together, but even in my darkest days I've ALWAYS known I could count on these three incredible people. And it's not just a generic "yay for siblings" I am thankful to have the EXACT ones I do.
Tanya, is undoubtedly one of the most giving people on this planet. Her generosity and willingness to serve those around her is inspirational. Her home is bursting with love and you can truly FEEL it when you walk in the door. She's one of very few people who asks how you're doing, and genuinely cares to hear the answer. I aspire to be a little more like her. 

Shelly embodies nearly every trait I wish to foster in myself. I watch in awe as she stands strong for her family. I don't know how she does it with such little help and so far away. She's an amazing wife, mother, and friend to all those around her. So very talented, and so beautiful in so many ways. I have always admired and looked up to her, even as a kid but moreso now. 
Mitch will never know what an anchor he is in my life. Even when I was the screwed up teenager I was, I could always turn to my big brother. Now in my adult life, when things go wrong or we need help with something he's one of the first people I can call. I'm so thankful for his influence, I'm thankful that he's always been so honest with me, he can tell it to me like it is and I still know he loves me. Yes, I am thankful for my brother. 

Day 27: Happy Thanksgiving. As I reflect on the meaning of this lifetime, and our purpose here, my heart is filled with gratitude for perhaps the MOST consistent positive influence in my life: my grandparents. He's not with my family in the flesh today, but I know Grandpa Albert is so very close, and I am so thankful to have my sweet Grandma here with us still. When I think of my most cherished memories growing up, they are right there in the middle of them all. Oh how I always looked forward to Summertime when we would spend weeks and months at a time with them, I will never forget the excitement I felt when I'd be sitting in class and hear the recognizable horn of the motor home as they'd roll past, letting us know they were here, and we'd literally run the whole mile home to see them after school. When my life his ROCK BOTTOM in 2009, I showed up on their doorstep after years of pushing them away, drinking, substance abuse, promiscuity, and do you know what they did? They took me in. They lifted me up. They opened their home and hearts to me and helped me rebuild myself and my life. I knew they would, I knew I could count on them. They're just that kind of people. Albert and Billie don't just believe in the gospel, they live it. Their marriage is beautiful, and such a shining example to everyone around them. I have absolutely no doubt that my life would be nowhere near as joyful as it is without their guidance, example, and love. 

Day 28: It's no secret, family is so important to me. I am so blessed. I am thankful that after three years of trying, we were blessed with our little Chase. What an incredible little boy. No doubt he was meant to be ours. this little boy has filled our home, hearts, and lives with so much joy. I don't know what I could have possibly done to deserve him but dangit, I am thankful. He's beaten the odds more than once and has proven to be so very strong. I can't imagine life without my little buddy. 

Day 29: I am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel. I don't know how people manage to keep a positive outlook or cope with loss without it. It has been hard this year, dealing with the loss of Albert, the cornerstone to our family, and the only thing that has made it even kind of bearable is knowing without any doubt that I will indeed see him again, him and everyone else that has gone before me. I am thankful to know of the Plan of Salvation. Knowing my purpose here on Earth, and knowing the things I need to do brings me comfort and security. 

Day 30: I am thankful for the employees at Ruff House, for being honest, hard workers and making it the place that it is. I watch closer than any of them may think, and am constantly impressed by their dedication to those dogs. I know when I leave my own dogs there, they are in good hands and that is a priceless comfort to have! I appreciate each and every one of them for their hard work, and I recognize that without a fantastic staff, I would not be able to be home and present for my family. I am not the best business owner, oh no, not by a long shot. I have so much to learn still, always room for improvement no doubt. I'm thankful for their patience with me. 

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