Monday: From Groggy to Gratitude

The room is dark and cool. The bed is warm.  Surely my head is too heavy to lift off the pillow.  I hear the kids stirring and know it is time to rise, but OH how much easier Monday morning is from the vantage point of Sunday night!  Being up a little too late seemed like the perfect way to stretch out the weekend.

The lights seem harsh when we flip them on.  Even the dogs blink repeatedly as if they, too, are groggy from the full weekend. The promise of a warm cup of tea at least gets me dressed and downstairs. The conversation in my head is more like an argument with myself about whether or not to go back to bed when the kids get off to school.

But a few moments of family conversation over breakfast reminds me of all the good that the weekend held – music, beautiful meals together (and, sure, a few leftovers), late nights and sleeping in, laughter, even a bit of time to do the things that charge our individual batteries like reading, creating, laughing at favorite shows and, for my son and his buddy, deconstructing an old broken piano.

Suddenly Monday feels less dark, less cold… more full of reasons to be thankful.  Rather than anticipating all that will be required of me this week I choose to take in this moment, cradling a cup of tea and remembering our weekend.  I silently offer up a prayer of thanks for these tired-but-healthy kids at the table, who are rising to the occasion…bravely taking on a new week of school with all its stresses and proverbial landmines.

Gratitude keeps rising up from deep down. I think about how blessed we are for air in our lungs and I focus on taking deep, refreshing breaths and it feels good.  There is so much good to remember on a Monday: a roof over our heads, people who love us, cars that start. I notice this sweet man of mine pushing through his sleepy-mind to help me get breakfast on the table and kids delivered to school. More gratitude bubbles to the surface.

Last week’s bad news now reminds me of new opportunities to witness the miracles that happen when we understand that our life is in larger, more capable hands.

20131014-083423.jpgThe horizon shows off only the trees’ silhouettes on the drive to school. The school bus lights cast their glow through the neighborhood, I focus on absorbing all that is good and beautiful.  And I breath a prayer of thanks for Monday.

Following the gratitude comes hope. So much hope!  Yep. Even Monday is overflowing with goodness.

And the gratitude continues.

Giving Thanks

It’s late.  Pies are cooked.  This year I made three of them.  Scott’s grandmother taught me how to make homemade pie with hand-rolled crust before her health started failing.  How grateful I am that she passed along that tradition before she passed away!

In just a few hours the family will arrive and the house will be filled with the smell of turkey and all the fixings.  But in this quiet, stolen moment while the house is still, I just want to express my deep, heartfelt thanks for a a few things.

1. 20 years of marriage to the very best person in the world.

2. Health.

3. A family support system.

4. Children who are thriving.

5. A roof over our heads.

6. Food.

7. A church I actually look forward to attending.

8. Friends who really do care.

9. Friends that kinda care.

10. Small joys, like the Chihuahua all curled up next to me right now.

11. Redemption for all the mistakes I make.

12. On-going healing for my on-going brokenness.

13. A job I love.

14.  Did I mention health? Also… hubby & children’s health.

15.  Laughter.

16. A million other things that I now can’t list because the silence is broken.  Dogs need out.

17. The silent moment that I just got and the full, blessed life that broke it.

I know ending on 17 is odd, which brings me to 18.  Progress in the area of perfectionism.

Much love to you and yours this Thanksgiving.  I hope you have lots to be grateful for, too!

Thanksgiving Thoughts

people-tshirt1The days leading up to Thanksgiving were hectic and I was fighting a cold (which, no doubt, everyone in my life is tired of hearing about).  So the warm feelings that usually rise up as my favorite holiday approaches were squeezed out by deadlines, proofreading, exhaustion and that ever-loving cough.


By Wednesday evening, I had finally come to a good stopping point with all the work stuff and it was time to begin preparing to host the Thanksgiving meal.  After we finished up our own last minute grocery shopping, my husband and I met my sister at Super Target and helped her round up a load of groceries, too.  She has been on bed rest most of this pregnancy and she will be flat on her back at least another month.  She is only allowed to shower and go to the doctor.  But in the midst of the Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving bedlam, we got her loaded onto a motorized cart and followed her with two push carts (one carrying her two children and one for groceries).  We caravanned around Target in a rolling island of chaos, attempting to move in and around the mobs of people and holiday displays while keeping her two children entertained, answering cell phone calls and finding the items she needed.  People tried not to stare, bless their hearts. We must’ve been quite a sight.  We didn’t even care.  It was about sticking together.


That shopping trip gently woke the grateful spirit that had been camouflaged by busyness.  I began thanking God that we live near family, that I have a sister who would do the exact same thing for me if the tables were turned, and that her baby is still okay. 


As I rolled out pie crusts later in the evening, I was overcome with gratitude that my husband’s grandmother lived long enough to endow me with her pie-baking skills (among all the other good things I Iearned from her). Everytime I roll out a pie crust, I remember how her hands looked doing that very motion.  That’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.


Thursday morning, while watching the Macy’s parade all snuggled up with my family, two commercials played that made me cry… one for St. Jude’s Hospital and one for Riley Children’s Hospital.  These commercials called to mind two young friends – one who received his cancer treatments at St. Jude’s just a few years ago and another friend’s daughter who received her cancer regimen at Riley this fall.  Both kids are now cancer free, but what they went through to fight for their lives… I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  That reminder – that health is a blessing not to be taken lightly – literally took my breath away.


As Thanksgiving Day unfolded, I was thankful for rest and family time.  But then I began feeling a surprising sense of gratitude for the busyness that had led up to the day. During a time when so many people can’t find work or perhaps don’t have the option to work for health reasons, I have more than I can handle. How ungrateful I have been.  To be overwhelmed with work during this time in our nation’s economy is a good thing… so I thanked God for everyone who ever believed in me and gave me opportunities.


I guess in all my rambling-but-grateful thoughts, this Thanksgiving just brought to the surface dozens of reminders that  abundance has surprisingly little to do with finances and everything to do with people. Dollars and investment portfolios can never replace the miracle of lives intersecting.   I continue to be changed and moved by people… not stuff.

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