I am sure many of you have, as I have, seen your Facebook timeline filled with people listing everything they are thankful for this month (maybe there were more at the beginning of the month!) I love the idea of a whole month of thanks because no matter our station in life, I truly do believe we can all find things we are thankful for each day. So as we approach Thanksgiving this Thursday, I thought I would take this week to do a condensed version and share a few things I’m thankful for each day.
I couldn’t possibly think of a better place to start than by saying I am so incredibly thankful for my family, both immediate and extended. I am blessed beyond belief with an amazing family who I genuinely love spending time with. I so look forward to our family gatherings as they always involve copious amounts of laughter and love. And beyond that, we have these amazingly deep conversations about everything going on in our lives and in the world and sitting around the kitchen table, everyone helps to build each other up, to help one another grow, to support each other. And we are weird and bizarre and messed up too–but there is such beauty in the humanness of everyone gathered around together.
What a blessing God gave me to be born to such amazing parents. I am thankful that they have become my friends, and that they were wise enough to not be my friend as I was growing up, but rather to be my guides and my teachers. They have fought for my sisters and I, but knew when to step back and let me fight my own battles, or when to let me see what it feels like to trip up but get back up. They have taught me integrity, and the importance of hard work, and following through, and never settling for mediocre. They always expected me to strive for greatness and to expect more from myself than others do. They helped to shape my love of the arts and my creativity. The nourished my introverted, shy ways and helped me to grow beyond them. They supported me through years and years of dance classes and piano recitals and musicals and vocal concerts which, I’m sure, was not always where they wanted to be. They have shown me what love and commitment means with an incredible example of what marriage should be–over 30 years of good times and hard times but always weathering the storms and the rainbows together. I can only hope that I will one day be even a fraction of the parents to my children that they have been to me, and that I will have a marriage as strong as theirs.
I can only imagine what my dad thought when he realized it was going to be a house full of girls, but I am so thankful for that. Growing up Sara and I could fight with the best of them. Being two years apart, sometimes I think we were just close enough, but just enough apart, to really annoy the heck out of each other. And then there was little Caroline, seven years younger than me, who was like my very own little doll. She was always so much younger than me that I never had any reason to argue with her. Poor Sara…I still feel bad about how we bickered sometimes. But truth be told, I feel like we set a foundation for an incredible friendship. She and I can still disagree pretty strongly, but we are also each other’s biggest supporters. My sisters are truly my dearest friends. We have been through so many things together…we’ve had some of the best times–endless laughter and crazy dance parties, and we’ve also been by each other’s side through some very hard times. But no matter the circumstance, I never doubt for one moment that Sara and Caroline will be there for me, whatever I need. And I hope they feel the same way about me. Being the oldest, I’ve always felt a bit like a mom to them…I wanted to be a good example for them growing up, and to protect them from anything bad that may come along, and to support them in their endeavors, and I still feel like that today. Today I am SO PROUD of the incredible women they both have become. I am lucky to get to be there watching and cheering them on as they continue to grow and achieve greatness.
My Extended Family
There are too many people to list out, but my extended family is so crazy, and awesome, I just sit back and take it all in when we are all together. All of my aunts are such faithful women and form this incredible support system for all of us. And my uncles are such great examples of truly great men. They are so unbelievably smart and they love their families beyond all else. How blessed we are to have such great examples for all of us to follow. And my cousins…oh how I love my cousins. Nick always seems to be off on some adventure and doing these incredible things. Fear doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary. Andrew has overcome some difficult times to become this wonderfully faithful man with a heart for service. Kayla is taking the Pacific Northwest by storm, one delicious treat at a time. Her food blog leaves me drooling every time she posts something new. Ian is like my little brother. He lived with us for several years and is like one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Scary smart. I’m always intrigued, and usually confused, anytime he starts talking about the projects he’s working on. Ashlee is a soccer superstar and has such a tender heart. I love being around her and seeing how hard she is working with her family. Lindsay seems quiet and reserved at first, but her dry sense of humor will catch you off guard and leave you rolling. Jamie is our little horse whisperer and probably the next great cowgirl. She has her sister’s sweet heart as well. Kyle has faced some great challenges but has never once let them hold him back. He is this dashing young man and such a great example for his younger siblings. And I hear he is quite the chef too! Jennifer is an athletic powerhouse. I can’t believe what she is able to accomplish physically, and she has grown into a beautiful young woman. Emmy is wacky and zany and a total ham. Her youthful spirit is infectious and she is just the most fun to be around. And then there’s Jack…the youngest of the bunch. He is so mischievous and hilarious. You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth but I assure you it will have you laughing big belly laughs.
So as you can see, I pretty much have the best family around. And there’s no better way to start saying Thanks than by starting at the source. Thank you Lord for blessing me with such a crazy, wonderful group to call my own.