#1000

I wrote earlier about reading a book focusing on thanksgiving and grace in life. You can read about it here.

In the book the author accepts a friendly challenge from a friend to record one thousand thanksgivings. One thousand praises in everyday life. It got me to thinking…I should do that. One of my biggest struggles is contentment.

How to be content and thankful is a practice that I have yet to master nor do I think that will be accomplished in any foreseeable future, but I don’t think that should be used as an excuse to not start. So I’m publicly challenging myself to record one thousand blessings and hopefully, will continue on. I know that by doing the same practice won’t necessarily end in the same results, but I also don’t think that it could hurt me either. Some say it takes 21 days to make a new habit, I managed to quit biting my fingernails (mostly), and I certainly think this is more important to mine and my family’s well-being. Although my nails are a pretty mint green right now.

I may or may not share some of these praises with you, some of these blessings. I’ve decided to start today–this weekend in an attempt to find beauty and grace in my everyday life. My attempt to find contentment in all plans laid before me. Who knows where this journey will lead?

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I’m thankful for…

Day 27: I’m thankful for my home. It’s certainly not the fanciest or the biggest or the newest, but it is ours. It fits my family of four + Moses, the pug, perfectly, and reminds us to be thankful for the things that we have (read: edit our belongings every few months so that we don’t get featured on Hoarders). I’m thankful while it’s not always pristinely clean, it’s a warm and welcoming environment that often smells of something yummy (or not, depending on Nellie’s potty training). I’m thankful that it keeps my children warm and gives them a place to call “home,” a place to feel loved and to call their own.

Our House

Day 28: I’m thankful for Grand Forks. I know, I know. I never thought I’d say that either. But it’s true. I am thankful. I’m thankful that this small city has enabled my family to spend it’s first few years here and the growth its opportunities (and closed doors), its people, and its culture have fostered in us. I’m thankful that we have family near us and that we’ve kept old friends and made new. I’m thankful that my children have great places to go during the day while Dylan and I are at work and school. I’m thankful for the life that we have here (even if the wanderlust bug is never very far away 😉 ).

I’m thankful for…

Day 21: I’m thankful for flowers. Beautiful ones of all kinds of shape and size, smelly and fragrance free, colorful and simplistic, and especially ones like these, that my Dad brought up when they came for Nellie’s birthday. I’m cheap when it comes to “disposable” items like flowers, but truthfully, they’re such a nice reminder that someone loves you and they certainly brighten the cold winter months.

2 dozen pink roses from my Dad for us girls.

Day 22: I’m thankful for Ada’s teacher this year. Ada loves school and I can’t help but think that this correlates somewhat directly to the woman who is in charge of her classroom. And after parent-teacher conferences, I’m even more sure that it’s Teacher Zeljka’s patient firmness that has helped her to hone in her impulsive sensitivity and to grow more and more into the little person that she is.

Day 23: I’m thankful that Thanksgiving, though not as awesome as it could have been, was still pretty darn good. I still was able to see some of my family, and even though I couldn’t make it out to lunch, Dylan still brought me back a plate loaded with stuffing. I had time off with my sickie girls, time to leisurely decorate and prepare for a birthday party, and time to celebrate Nellie’s 2nd year of birth. (Nellie actually turns two this coming week but Dylan will have to work that day 😦 so we celebrated early.) Thanksgiving is still, and will always be, my favorite holiday.

Day 24: I’m thankful that Dylan is a morning person who is willing to drag himself out of bed to get the girls’ started and allot me a couple more minutes of precious sleep wakeful rest.

Day 25: I’m thankful for home videos. I’m not sure that’s what they’re called anymore since most of ours are camera videos and uploaded to YouTube  but nonetheless, I’m thankful that I can look back through them and be reminded of what it was like then. And to be reminded that I am so, so, SO blessed.

Day 26: I’m thankful for Christmas decorations and Christmas music. There will be more about this tomorrow, but just know that the holiday season truly puts me in a festive mood.

I’m thankful for…

Day 19: I’m thankful for this man:

I’m thankful for…

Day 14: I am thankful for fresh produce. We are so incredibly blessed to have access and the means to eat fresh produce everyday. My daughters love bananas to pomegranates to tomatoes to pineapple to mangoes and the like. They will chop away on spinach salads, corn, caramelized onions, avocados, broccoli, and kale. Dylan and I love to have fresh berries with our yogurt and pears, scallions, and cucumbers. The list is truly endless and I am so, so, SO thankful that we have been blessed to eat healthy and well.

Day 15: I am thankful for other crafty, foodie, stylish, bookish mom-bloggers who are willing to share their gifts with others and unafraid to show their imperfections. Sometimes being a mom can be lonely. There may be millions of us but for whatever reason when it comes to making mom friends it instantly can transport you to another place and time where awkwardness seeped through your being. And with our world being so global now, it’s nice to peek into other moms’ lives and know that they let the laundry go, they have tantrums now and then, and get behind schedule. Life isn’t picture perfect and I appreciate and am thankful for other mom bloggers out there who simply are trying and doing their best. I’m grateful to them for their willingness to show all the messiness of life and still are able to find the beauty. It’s refreshing, and encouraging to me.

Day 16: I’m thankful for my co-workers. I know that I was thankful earlier for my job, but really, I think that they deserve more distinction. They truly are a group of people that are working to make the world a better place, even our cold, ice-bitten piece of home in North Dakota. I’m continually inspired and encouraged, challenged and supported by my peers. It makes my day interesting and so much richer.

A couple of my co-workers and I at World Refugee Day 2012.

Day 17: I’m thankful for humor. My daughters crack me up. My husband cracks me up. In fact, I think that’s a main tenant of my good relationships, humor. My family’s wit continually reminds me to not be so serious and to embrace the mishaps as graciously as I can.

Day 18: I’m thankful for movies and Netflix. As annoyed as I get by my children constantly wanting to watch something, I am grateful that they are available for sick days such as these. Charlie Brown and Dora have enabled me to finish the laundry, dishes, organize the bedroom closets, make lunch and freeze extra breakfast burritos for this week, and now, now during glorrrrrrrrrrious nap time, those very same movies have allowed me to read through the Sunday paper and catch up with the blogosphere. I am thankful for movies.

I’m thankful for…

Day 13: I’m thankful for my hairstylist, Chelsea. She is awesome and, if you live in the area, you should go and see her. She has taken away my fear of haircuts that was so horrifically established in 2009 by a haircut gone terribly, terribly wrong. And on that note, I was going to post a pic of the new ‘do but apparently I didn’t save any of the ones that I took on the ‘ole iPhone and thus they have been relegated to instagram infamy.

She listens and finds out what you really want, she puts you at ease, and cuts hair dry (no more increda-shrink bangs)!

I’m thankful for…

Day 9: I’m thankful for my job. I love my job. Seriously. It’s such a blessing to wake up every morning and be excited to go to work with other people who really care about what they do and want to make a difference. I’m so blessed to be apart of a team, of an organization, that believes all people are created in God’s image and thus deserve to be treated with respect. I could go on and on (seriously) about my job and how it makes not being home with my girls bearable doable.

Day 10: I’m thankful for Moses. My annoying, smelly, snorting, farting, almost-5-year-old pug. As aggravated and enraged that he makes me (he is now a 3x pound convict), I can’t imagine how less snuggly my life would be.

Day 11: I’m thankful for my parents, who will drive to my house and entertain my girls and install a beautiful new sink in my kitchen for a day and think nothing of it. I’m continually reminded and inspired by their willingness to give and I’m thankful that I have been given such an example to pass onto my daughters.

Day 12: (Hey, might as well get a jump start on the week while I’m on a roll.) I’m thankful for all the men and women who have served our country throughout the years. Thank you for your willingness to serve and for all the sacrifices that you made. I cherish the freedoms that you have pledged to protect and uphold for me.

I’m thankful for…

Day 8: I’m thankful for modern medicine. I know there’s been a lot of talk of what this vaccine does or doesn’t do or what this flu shot does or doesn’t do or if I should eat burnt cheese or stand next to a microwave or use a cell phone… phew Makes me tired thinking about it. BUT I am increasingly and definitely thankful for it being readily available to me and my family. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we would’ve had some pretty tragic consequences without it for my sweet, little family as Ada had extreme asthma (another thanksgiving is that she’s continually grown out of it now that it’s being managed properly), Nellie had a large hemangioma on her eye and both girls were born via c-section. Our current “battle” is pink eye that Ada was so gracious to bring home and share with her sister (cross your fingers that Dylan or I don’t get it). Thus, I am thankful, thankful, thankful for modern medicine and it’s increasing advances at improving the quality of life my daughters and my family can live.

I’m thankful for…

Day 6: I’m thankful for technology. To be truthful, not always, but generally I am thankful for technology and that it allows me to know what’s going on in the world with real time updates (BBC 2012 Election coverage anyone?).

Day 7: I’m thankful for my morning cup of coffee (okay, coffee in general). I’m not sure if it’s a physical need but more of a routine, an emotional need to get my day started off on the right foot. No matter how scream-y, whiny, or angelic my family is in the morning, if I can just get that one cup going it makes everything so much better. And really, a cup in the morning with some toast or at work with some co-workers, a cup in the afternoon to stave the post-lunch slump, or a cup in the evening with good company…I am very thankful for coffee.

I’m thankful for…

Get out and VOTE!

Day 5: I’m thankful for my freedoms. I’m thankful that I live in a country where, even when it might not always seem obvious, I have the ability to choose and to make a difference. Sometimes I may feel dismayed or discouraged by the bureaucracy of freedom (ironic, no?) but ultimately, I am so blessed to be able to live my life how I see fit. Tomorrow (or yesterday or today if you’re an early or absentee voter) I am going to vote at my polling site, and tomorrow I will help to decide the future–for better or for worse. As a woman, as a person of color, and as a member of humanity, I am eternally grateful that I live in a country that deems my person-hood to be worthy of choice and worthy of a say.