November 24, 2011


I am returning for a moment from my self imposed exile to talk about what I am thankful for. It is so cliche to do it on Thanksgiving, but what other time to be reminded of what I am thankful for, and more importantly what it means to give thanks. Also I want to share that I have been feeling emotionally and spiritually pretty incredible. I want to stop every person I know and tell them that I figured it out. I figured out the happiness factor. We are not all born with it, and it can be really hard won, but when you figure it out it is like a burden is lifted and you are freed of the nagging question of "When will it be enough?"

If I took the time to list all I am thankful for I would have you here for pages :)

I am thankful for God, for my relationship with him, for his perfect timing, for the fact that he loves me, forgives me, and pursued me all these years when I tried to do the "Jana plan" meanwhile he gently nudged, and sometimes forcefully shoved in the direction that HE wanted. My dad says its so much easier when we just do his plan because it unburdens us from the worry. He always segues into how our treasures are not here on earth and how comforting it is to know that all of this is temporary and that our true home is with him.

I never get tired of hearing it.

I am thankful for a wonderful husband who still courts me like a teenager with sweet compliments, gentle cheek kisses, and hugs from behind. I am thankful that we can have a row and then get over it and move on with the day. I like how we are at our best when we are home with the kids all crammed into one bed snuggling and watching tv...really sometimes it feels that perfect. And other times when it doesnt feel perfect, when things are hard and I cry, when the house is a disaster and the dishes in the sink are enough to just shake my head and turn around and go back to bed, when problems arise with, seemingly, no solution in sight...he is there with hugs and love and encouraging words of "we will get through this...its just a couple more years and then you don't have to work if you don't want to" Or "do you want some ice cream or a milkshake from Burgerville?"

That. Is. Love.

My kids...I am thankful for them beyond measure...even when I wish I were childless I remind myself that I wouldnt be able to fully appreciate that concept if it werent for them so I might as well stop with that nonsense. They make me laugh, they want nothing more than to please me and do what I am doing...dishes, baking, whatever. They are full of life and love and I cannot believe they are mine. I know God chose them especially for me and I am thankful every day.

Other things that make the list are family, friends, friends that are family, family members that are friends, my camera, my home, this humbling experience of living with far less in a place that is REAL small...I am thankful for education and the kind of life it will afford me when I am done...I am thankful for books, inspiration that comes in droves from all over the world via the internet (there are lots of good things about the internet)

So much to be thankful for...

And that is what has made the change in me...what has flipped the switch...what has made life exponetially more wonderful, and given me incredible perspective.

Thankfulness. Truly.

It IS that simple. The more I count my blessings and go over all the things I am thankful for...the more I open my eyes to ALL my blessings, all the luxuries I took for granted. I really just enjoy everyday SO MUCH MORE...and nothing can take that away. There is always something to be thankful for.

I am reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp and it has been an incredible awakening for me. I was already on the path and I was close...I was really embracing the journey of a fuller life...I was so close to making the connection when I picked up this book and it confirmed in me what was a feeling not yet formed into a verbal explanation...that the height of our joy is made possible by the depth of our thanks. period. I pick it up and reread some of the most poetic and resonating portions when I need to hear it the most. It reminds me to give thanks and by doing that I automatically focus my thoughts in a more positive direction...the rest just thought begets another and it becomes a day full of blessings.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now I am off to cuddle up in front of a movie with my hubbs and kids.

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