Instead of "Friday Favorites" this week I'm going to do "Thursday Thankfuls" in honor of the often-ignored holiday of Thanksgiving. As much as I ADORE and look forward to Christmas, in my family it was always a rule that we would not skip over Thanksgiving by decorating early or listening to Christmas music or any of that. Hubs still holds me to that even though being a grown up makes me want to rebel and have Christmas all the time! ;)
One of our family traditions is to do a "Thankful Tree" each year. At each place setting my parents put a paper leaf (in autumn colors of red, yellow, orange, or brown of course) and a pen, and each person writes down things that they are thankful for (some times we get more than one leaf, some times we cram it all on one). We go around the table and everyone reads what they have written on the leaf, then we tape the leaves onto a tree branch which is displayed in a flower pot by the table. It's easy to give the "Sunday School" answers in that setting ("i'm thankful for God, my family, and my friends") and so often we still just go through the habit of saying things, but it is so important to really give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.
So here is my digital "thankful tree" for this year:
-My faith in Christ. This has been a hard year for so many people. Personally, I've lost my grandmother, had some difficult times at work, struggled continually with my health and weight, and gone through some hard transitions emotionally; but through it all I still have hope and peace in Christ. I've also moved from my former way of looking at my faith as something to just be studied, and am learning more how to live and apply it.
-Hubs. Honestly, I've been really cranky w/him today (and vice versa) but I am blessed to have him. I have seen some real scum-bags hurt people I love this year, but no matter what we he and I go through, I am able to trust him and know that my trust will not be broken. He is a wonderful man who works incessantly to provide for me, he always trys to make me laugh, and he encourages me through everything.
-My family. It was a very trying year for our family. The sickness and passing of my dad's mom was emotionally draining. I am so grateful that she stayed with them during her sickness b/c I was able to see her much more than I would have if she had still been in Owensboro. I think it also brought out a lot more honesty in my family about how we are all doing. We were able to lean on each other more than we normally do: to reveal our weaknesses and ask for help when we needed it. I also spent more time with my sister and connected with her more than I have since we were really little kids.
-My job. Just having a secure job in this economy is something to be thankful for, but I am especially thankful for the great relationships that I have there. I can honestly say that I love and care for all my coworkers. We have all been through some crazy times this year (personally, and as an office) but I think we've handled it well.
-Butch. :) My little bulldog is nothing but love! I know that no matter what happens one day, when I come home she will be wiggling with joy as soon as she sees me! I spoil her rotten, but she spoils me right back!
-Freedom to pursue my passions. This year I have really appreciated the flexibility of my schedule to allow me to do things like bake and blog and even to start selling some baked goods. We're still in a decent place financially that has allowed me to do this as well.
-Re-kindled friendships. I have struggled some with so many of my friends and former Bible study girls having moved, but have reconnected with some friends that I wasn't as close to previously. Some relationships have been re-formed through the blog world and transitioned into "real life" and I have learned how to pursue some of my long-distance friendships better. I guess in this stage of life I am figuring out how to go from being a "leader" in bible study-type settings as the primary purpose of my relationships, to just having peer relationships. I like it. It's very freeing.
-My home. I just love it. Yes, it is cluttered and mostly messy, and somehow hubs and I have managed to fill it all the way already, but it is a nice comfy little home where people feel welcome.
Well, there are lots more things that I could write, but I need to go make some muffins. :) (i'm also thankful for baked goods) What are you most thankful for this year?