What do I have to be grateful for? The question that has been hanging over my head ever since those Halloween decorations went down and the ones with turkeys and pilgrims went up. No, I don't think I could name all of the things, but I will mention a few of the most important.
I am very grateful for God. I am grateful He exists and that He cares about everyone... and about me and my family- each individually, not in the manner that many think of when they hear the term "Supreme Being." But as a friend, as true family, for we are all children of God. I didn't believe anything of the sort for most of my life. But after I prayed to know if God was real, if He was loving, if He was listening to me, I felt it so strongly that He is. And it made all the difference for me. All of a sudden life was no longer about survival, and it was about happiness. Trying to find joy in everything and in the dark moments to see it as the small moment it is in the big scheme of things. Even what I would have called "bad" things have turned around to bless me in some way or another, or I can feel it coming. That is a HUGE thing that blesses my life. My relationship with God, my sure knowledge that the Church I go to is actually true and the system of which was designed by God, the hope and meaning it gives me... these are such incredible blessings I feel anything I now say afterwards can't even compare.
But the next most important blessing I have is the lovely family I have. Now, I may spend every day with these people, and every day they may each do something (or multiple somethings) that annoy me. But the love we have for each other, the eternal nature of families... it is SO exciting! It's wonderful that we CAN be together forever. And it's wonderful that we want to be.
I am grateful for my husband. For all his little gifts and thoughtful service. For his patience with me. For the way I see him striving to follow the counsel given to us on our wedding day to come home from work with a cheerful heart. And there are many days I can tell it is so draining on him to live the life he is with all his challenges and trials. For him I wish I could sweep it all away. He deserves to be happy.
I am grateful to be a mother. All three of them, now. With all their little quirks and talents. I love it. They're getting older and despite the scary fact that that means that I'M getting older too... it is remarkable. I love that 2/3 of my kids can feed themselves and are learning to be potty trained, can be polite and understand the consequences of bad behavior (some, at least). It is SO wonderful knowing that they love me and need me, even when I have failed them in certain areas in the past/present. I love them for loving me. They are so sweet and pure and kind. Okay... when they aren't shouting "NO! Boo Boo's ONLY!" or whacking their sister over the head with a block or something. (Those 2 scenarios might be related) But they are seriously good kids, and all things considered, I am really quite proud of them.
I am grateful for my wonderful extended family. From my parents and brother, to my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins, my inherited family through my marriage to Tim (that sounds so much better than in-laws, doesn't it?) that encompasses so many wonderful people I have come to love so hard it hurts. I have had so much kindness and understanding that many people don't have in their family, and try to seek it elsewhere. But the special bond of being relatives and actually liking each other is a wonderful thing, and I would be so ungrateful not to mention it.
Well, there are SO many things I could mention, but I do have some things to do tonight so I'll have to stop somewhere. But I challenge all of you to pause and reflect on your lives as well. Gratitude is not and should not be confined merely to a holiday where we gorge ourselves on turkey. (Ooh, and stuffing! Mmmm!) It really is something we need to remember daily, and as we do so it transforms us into grateful people. It transforms our lives into something happier and more worthwhile. All the gimmicks available out there, but nothing can do it in a lasting way quite like gratitude can.
Oh, one last thing to be grateful for: thanks for reading this. :)