So lately I have been preoccupied with wanting things that I don't have. These are good things that I want, but the trouble is, I get so wrapped up in wanting them that I forget to be thankful for the things that I have and be content with the life that God has blessed me with. Today at church I was reminded to be thankful. More than once, actually. Sometimes its nice to get smacked off the side of the head with a good dose of reality.
I love worship services at our church. We don't have a drummer or a piano, but we have some really awesome guitar and bass players, not to mention our saxophone/flutist. :) Oh, and we have lots of singers. Some of us even harmonize. Our worship leader Norm will sometimes explain a song before we sing it. And sometimes he will share something related to the theme. Today we sang a song of thankfulness to God, but before we sang it Norm took a few moments to talk about it. He explained that sometimes we can have attitudes and focus on things or circumstances we aren't happy with rather than focusing on the things that God has blessed us with.
Oftentimes our worship service corresponds with Pastor Glen's message. This never seems to be on purpose either. At least from our own understanding. Sometimes God has a really cool way of tying things together. Pastor Glen's sermon today was also on being thankful. He talked about how thankful and joyful David was. He told the story of how he took off his royal clothes and danced and sang praise to God in the streets with the servants. He talked of how David's wife chastised him for looking foolish and how David said that he'd rather look foolish worshipping God than not.
I started thinking of my own life and how my attitude lately has been one of discontent. I began to realize that rather than wishing for things that just can't or won't happen now, I should stand back and look at all the wonderful things God has done for me in my life already. So, here we go. I am going to list a whole mess of things that I am thankful for and that God has done for me.
Being born. It doesn't stop here. The circumstances that surround my birth are dramatic, full of heartache, love, and redemption. That being said, I am also thankful for loving parents. My mother for choosing life and being brave and loving. My father for choosing to be my father when my biological father couldn't. And both of them for raising me to know God.
I am thankful for my siblings. I find it funny how even though there are five of us, we are all very different, and in some ways, extremely similar. My childhood was full of laughter and the closest friends a girl could have. I might have been somewhat of an enigma in my own home, but they loved and accepted me for who I am anyway. That's what families do.
New Hampshire. I love New Hampshire. Not only am I thankful that I got to grow up here, I am thankful for the beauty that is NH. We had it all. Seacoast, mountain, forest, four seasons, and we were close to pretty much every other New England state. I have so many memories wrapped up in beach trips, camping, hiking, and even the occasional trips to Maine or Boston. I also love that Vermont looks like NH standing on its head. I just plain love NH.
Growing up in the same house my whole childhood. It might have been small, but it was ours. We didn't have to move ever. My dad still has the same job he did when I was growing up. We might not have had tons of money, but I am thankful for the stability we had.
Sometimes we were poor. True story. Sometimes we didn't have a lot of money and wore hand-me-downs or had to rely of the food pantry. I know I've mentioned this before, but here it is. In those rough times of uncertainty, we learned that we can trust God to provide. He always did, and to this day, he still does. Whenever I find myself doubting, I remind myself of the many times we almost went hungry and how he somehow provided us with just the thing we needed: Milk, grocery cards, bread, etc. So, I'm thankful for those poor times. And for God's provision.
Education. I've seen it all: public school, private school, home school. Each experience I had was a chance for growth and learning. I learned to appreciate family, education, and yet again, God's provision of these things. My parents couldn't afford to send us to private school, and yet, somehow I had the opportunity to attend Jesse Remington High School- which is not your typical high school. I was allowed to be myself there and explore my creativity and love of literature and history. I am so blessed to have been able to go there.
ZBI. Yea, I am even thankful for that time in my life. That tough identity crisis I hate everyone period that I went through. It was ugly. I didn't last at that school for long, but I did learn a lot about myself back then. I don't regret going. I don't regret leaving. I don't even regret my immaturity. I learned so much from that experience and from the mistakes I made.
Marriage and Seth. I am thankful for this more than I can even really express. I married young. I married a man that had little in common with me other than our love for history and writing and our belief in God. Many people thought we wouldn't make it or that we weren't a good match. I love that Seth and I are very different. We might not always agree on everything, but I think that's just fine. I believe our differences balance our relationship. He keeps my feet on the ground and I allow him to dream. Things are always interesting in our home and there are always a wide variety of things to do or get interested in. Our differences have become our greatest strengths in our relationship. And even when things got hard and we were thinking of calling it quits, we didn't. We looked to God and to each other. We worked hard and have grown that much stronger as a result. Seth is my best friend, my companion, and my love.
My children. Rylee and Samuel are my miracles. They are constantly showing me how to laugh and imagine and play. They give me a fresh perspective on the world around us. They are always learning new things and are amazed at so many things that most people take for granted.
This great big wide world. Its just plain amazing. I stand in awe of God's creativity. I love that everything is so detailed and how everything seems to be connected to everything else. I am thankful that I get to live here and enjoy the beauty of this world.
The senses. I love that I can see- not just see, but see in vivid and beautiful colors!! I love that I can feel the warmth of the sunshine or the splash of a raindrop. I love that I can taste so many different flavors and that I can smell so many things like how the air in NH smells so full of plants and flowers and the air here on the cape is salty and fresh. I love that I can hear the beauty in laughter, birdsong, and music. So many many things to be thankful for just by existing.
The Military. Yup, the military. I am not thankful at all for war, however, I am very thankful for our Country's military. First of all, it is because of the military that we live in a free country. Secondly, my husband is employed in one of the military branches: The US Coast Guard. (just a bunny trail here, but check out German Coast Guard on YouTube. Its hilarious.) I am thankful for this in so many ways. My husband had to fight to even get into the CG, but it was worth the effort. He has job security, health care- not just for him, but for all of us, and housing. And in today's economy, that is nothing to shake a stick at. We haven't always loved every place we've been stationed at, but with each base we have learned lessons, made friends, and had a safe place to sleep. We are currently at our favorite place thus far, which brings me to the next thing....
Cape Cod. I am thankful for this place as it is the official place Seth and I struck out on our own as a young family with our first baby, Rylee. We have so many wonderful friends here and a super awesome church to be a part of. The base Seth is stationed at is awesome, as are the people he works with. He rescues people and is still home every day. We live in the middle of a vacation destination and would not likely be able to live here if it weren't for the Coast Guard. The beaches are beautiful. The parks are beautiful. The people are friendly and welcoming. I love living on Cape Cod. I love base housing. I love that we have access to a very nice pool (and its free!) We are privy to free-view previews at the base theatre. Our friends love and accept our quirkiness- because, well, let's face it, they are quirky too.
This list can go on forever, so I will just end this blog post with the following:
reading, writing, art, photography, flowers, clouds, birds, air conditioning, game nights, Writer's Group, Sundays, ice cream, COFFEE, eccentrics, hippies, nature, the ocean, sand, swimming, sandcastles, video games, sketching, friends, goulash, Europe, Canada, musical theatre, Shakespeare, literature, museums, outdoor theatre, Portsmouth, vacations, staycations, family days, quality time, ancestors, history, books, libraries, schools, dancing, jazz, technology, dragonflies, myths and legends, silk, RenFaires, science fiction, psychological thrillers, extended family, heroes, kittens, puppies, bunnies, dandelions, clovers, being barefoot, grass, bike rides, straw hats, Pie in the Sky, memories, Chinese food, figure skating, cobblestone, opera houses, massage therapists, nail polish, glitter, ribbons, crystals, candles............What are you thankful for?