When I rush, when I get frantic I start to mess things up. I start wondering what is coming next instead of enjoying what is right now, I start to forget and try to move faster. I think one of the recent joys in life has been my intentionality in slowing down a little bit. Saying no when I need to and recognize just how wonderful this part of life really is. 30 is coming, quickly. I’m not where I thought I’d be but if I keep focusing on that “idea” I miss the goodness. So I want to be intentional in focusing on those things. The things that light up my eyes and my soul. I want to remember what my friends always say, that I should enjoy this part because I’ll never get it back. So that is requiring me to make a gratitude list:
1. Family. Seriously I have the two cutest nephews. So different and such an age difference it’s really fun. Those boys make me smile. My sister. She’s overprotective and annoying but I love her. It’s how she cares. My parents. They’re possibly the best. I learned from them how imperfect people can try. It wasn’t always the best, divorces are hard but they tried and I think I never questioned they’re love. To this day my parents do not put themselves in my business, they let me tell them about things as they happen. They don’t rush me and encourage me to live the life I have been given, fully. They supported crazy moves, to different cities. Listened to me cry day after day with a broken heart and watched me pick myself up into a better relationship. They’ve never asked me why I didn’t date much and didn’t worry that I was late 20’s and not married. My mom actually gets mad when people ask me, just part of small town life you get used to. I’m grateful.
2. Sun. Seems silly but the sun, it really does some good things. It’s a natural mood enhancer for me. I love the warmth. I think that’s my way of feeling a hug from God sometimes. Silly I know. I’m grateful.
3. Friends. I could write pages and pages and pages about the friends I’ve been blessed with. I have a great mix of friends from high school, college, and post college life. There have been people who have come into my life in the last year that have taught me so much. They remind me of the goodness, the heart they see in me and they believe in me. My friends are like my family since I don’t get to see my family as much as I should. I mentioned that my parents never asked me why I didn’t date much and I’m grateful that I used that time to develop some amazing friendships. They remind me of God, and that there is room for someone like me in the Christian life. I don’t claim perfection or even discipline. I’m a person in this messy world and they walk through the mess with me. I’m grateful.
4. Job. I prayed for a job like this. One where I can serve people and feel like I’m doing something. It’s an uphill battle every day and such a huge learning curve but it’s good. Challenging. I’m grateful.
5. Playground/Woodhill. This is the work of God and none of us. How else did $10,000 get raised in 30 days. It’s a beautiful thing in a neighborhood that gets a terrible reputation. It’s a work of art in my opinion and I just want it to be love. I want the kids to be reminded someone cares about them, outside of their parents. We often tell people they can do anything but I want them to know they’re purposed. They’re not here by mistake. I often forget that about myself, and I don’t know want them to think they’re just a statistic or a Monday night activity. They’re a prayer and a blessing. I’m grateful.
6. Music. This just music. I can’t sing, you’ll be grateful I recognize this. I’m in awe of the talent God has given people. I’m grateful for those who step out and share it with us.
7. Sports. Always. Again I can’t play but I love watching sports. It started as a way to connect with my dad and turned into a passion. Something that keeps my attention and something I enjoy watching. I’m more passive but that doesn’t do justice to how much I love watching athletes perform. With the upcoming Olympics I can’t wait to see those who work everyday with little recognition. I’m grateful.
8. Counseling. I will advocate forever about counseling. It’s good. An outside perspective to point out how we can overthink and twist things in our minds. Or at least I do. I’m grateful for a counselor who lets me cry, laugh and just say what I think. She points out the good, the bad and the real. I think I have this new peace because she always says honey you’re not as bad as you think. You’re doing well. The peace comes with putting in the work and evaluating the thoughts and dismissing ridiculous things, learning. I think that’s part of growing up, right? I’m grateful.
9. My Church. I’ve never been in a place where I’m just welcomed. I never thought I would go to a large church but I have felt weekly my life being touched, changed and inspired by the heart of Southland. I’m grateful.
10. The Man. I put this last one purpose. I’m not sure one person has affected my life more than this man. To be fully honest I went into this scared but knowing it’s completely worth it. I believe in falling in love and I know the risk of getting my heart broken but something in me said go for it. I will never regret it. He challenges me to better, to watch my actions and reactions, to choose my words carefully and not let my emotions rule. He makes my smile bigger and my laugh louder. We’re just goofy sometimes. He forces me to slow down, to rest and he worries often about me not eating enough. He supports me going to counseling and cheers me on in victories over anxiety. He doesn’t understand it or try to ignore it but he also doesn’t let me use it as an excuse which I believe has been huge. I’ve been forced to face it head on and try to conquer. He tells me he’s proud of me and for me, that is huge. He’s there, and he’s what I’ve prayed for. I can’t be grateful enough. I found something better than me, and makes me better. Isn’t that what we pray for?
So I’m grateful. Let’s remember in this time when the hate is filling the world and we can lose joy, that there are things to be grateful for. Let’s remind people of the goodness and inspire love. There’s room for all of us in this world, let’s start acting like it.