For the rest of the month, I plan to write a blog once a week listing 7 things I'm thankful for. These won't be in any particular order, just as they occur to me so please don't assume that something is more or less important to me based on when I mention it. :) Hopefully, every Saturday I will post and my goal is to get back to my usual weekly blogging in December. Thanks for reading this blog...it means a lot to me.
1 - Breaking Bread aka Cake
"I'm actually sort of anti-cupcake. There is an aversion to intimacy that has led us down the cupcake path. Whatever happened to the days when everyone was sharing a cake?" -Mo Rocca
Who doesn't love cake? I love almost all baked goods and cupcakes are pretty delicious. But what makes cake or any baked good better is to be able to share it with someone special. I made my own birthday cake for the past two years - it was a delicious Pioneer Woman creation of chocolate cake, Nutella, homemade whipped cream and macerated strawberries - AMAZING! To be able to make a cake for someone is special. This year, my best friend posted a photo of a gorgeous Van Gogh-inspired layer cake and mentioned she'd love something like that for her birthday. So, I did my best and attempted it for her - her scream of delight when it was brought out was the best appreciation. I love cake, I love sharing cake with others. I'm thankful that cake exists.
2 - Past Friends
“’You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’” ~ E.B. White
In a perfect world, we'd never have past friends, just friends. But life isn't perfect and things happen and sometimes friendships that were once so vital can disappear from our lives. I used to believe that I had to cling stubbornly to every friendship and "never let go." But I'm beginning to realize that sometimes people really do come into our lives for a specific time and purpose and they aren't meant to be there forever. The length of time doesn't keep them from being important, no matter how short or how long the friendship lasted. I am very thankful for the very special people who were once an important part of my life and I miss their presence. Even though they aren't part of my close circle of friends any longer, they were my friend and that is tremendous.
3 - The Ocean
“But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its infinite mystery – we may only wander, awed and spell-bound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one only – a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of the company of the archangels.” ~ L.M. Montgomery
I have always loved the ocean. I do not like swimming in the ocean (too salty and too many creatures). The vast size and incredible power of the ocean is just so amazing and awe-inspiring to me. Every time we drive up the coast, I'm like a broken record going on and on and on about how amazing the ocean is. It makes me so thankful to God for creating such a powerful, yet beautiful part of this world. I love the sound of waves crashing, the smell of the salty air, the cool air and frequent fog that spreads inland. The ocean is definitely one of my happy places and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see it and thank God for it.
4 - Tears
“(By the way, don’t ‘weep inwardly’ and get a sore throat. If you must weep, weep: a good honest howl! I suspect we – and especially, my sex – don’t cry enough now-a-days. Aeneas and Hector and Beowulf, Roland and Lancelot blubbered like schoolgirls, so why shouldn’t we?).”
~ C.S. Lewis
I haven't always been thankful for my tears and the fact that apparently I'm meant to be a very sensitive person and frequent crier. But my Mom has always told me to not be ashamed of them. Although there are times that I still wish I didn't immediately go to tears, as a general rule I accept with a smile the tears that come. There is something comforting and calming about crying...not always immediately, but after a good cry I do usually feel better. God made me this way and who am I to tell Him that He's wrong? So thank you God for tears...help me to accept them with grace, whenever they may fall.
5 - Traditions
“Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet,
I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.”
~ National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I am so thankful for traditions. Thanksgiving is one of my favorites - I love the idea that almost everyone in America is eating similar food, on the same day, spending time with their family and friends all at the same time of year. It's comforting to think of that and even though the food at Thanksgiving isn't really my favorite, it's one of my all-time favorite holidays. Our family tradition is to decorate the house for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving and then we watch the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation together. Throughout the year we have other traditions - some involve movies like watching High Spirits on Halloween, some involve food like junk food appetizers on Super Bowl Sunday, some involve things like using Tupperware trays when we eat dinner outside on my parent's patio, or taking photos on Easter in our dressed-up best. My best friend and I have a tradition of Baking Day - each year during the holidays (or any other time we feel like it), we get together and spend the day baking and sharing all the yummy treats. It's wonderful time together and we look forward to it every year. I love traditions and I'm thankful for the ones our family celebrates and for all the ones all over the world.
6 - My best friend Angela
“Every time I think of you – and I think of you often! – I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you – it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.”
~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-6
There are many reasons to be thankful for my best friend - our many years of friendship, our silly laughs, our code names and goofy phrases, her willingness to listen and support me, our mutual love for the film Beaches, Baking Day, so many things. But in the past few years, one of the biggest things I'm thankful for is her love for God and the ways that can be seen in all that she says and does. Her faith amazes me, makes me speechless in wonder, and reminds me daily of how good God always is. She helps me grow in my faith and gives me hope that miracles can and do happen. Her friendship is a gift that I am so incredibly thankful for and I love her dearly.
7 - "Real-life" vs. happy endings
“Only few ‘happy endings’ make us happy, but often someone’s careful and honest articulation of the ambiguities, uncertainties and painful conditions of life gives us new hope.” ~ Henri Nouwen
My sister and I have a kind of running conversation about how she generally only likes to read or watch books and movies with happy endings, whereas I usually prefer those with what we call "real-life" endings - meaning the main characters don't always end up together or someone dies or essentially the ending is not a "happily-ever-after." I admit that I'm mostly drawn to stories that raise more questions than they answer, that look at the gray areas of life, that can be sad or lonely or hurtful. I completely understand the desire to want to see happy endings - I enjoy them as well of course - but I like things that challenge my thinking and make me see things in a new way. I really can't say exactly what this says about me, but I'm thankful for the ways the books I've read and the shows and movies I've watched have impacted my life.
“We thank you, God, we thank you – your Name is our favorite word; your mighty works are all we talk about.” ~ Psalm 75:1
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being so amazing. Thank You for Your beautiful creation and the ways You live and move and have Your being in our lives. Thank You for providing so many wonderful things in my life. Help me to always, always, always find things to be thankful for and never forget how You take care of us. Thank You for loving us, I love you too. Amen.