Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am thankful every day of the year but today (or this whole month) is really a time that I really think about all I am thankful for. My family has had lots of dinner table conversations about thankfulness and my students have had many share squares and table talks about all we are thankful for. There has definitely been a theme of thanks all month long in my life!
I am thankful for....
God. Wow! Where would we be without God and the continuous grace and forgiveness that we are offered through His son every single day. I heard that a student of mine (this is a first for me) doesn't believe in God or Jesus. Absolutely heart breaking! So I have prayers that seeds will be planted in him this year. I have already eavesdropped on my missionary second graders hard at work and I know nothing is impossible through Him. Teaching is a calling that God put on my heart and while I can't minister to him directly, I can love him and I can answer questions honestly. I am excited to watch God work in this situation this year.
God was recently revealed to Greg and I through the book The Shack. Oh my, was this a healing read for my family. After reading this, I do have a different picture of God, as Papa, as a comforter and healer. As one that is far from legalistic but seriously wants us to trust him and let him fully love us. We are letting him do this. We are allowing him to work on people who have hurt us. We are trusting that we can forgive others and let him do the tough stuff. I am thankful for the words of William Young and biblical picture he painted through this story.
My husband. He is my rock and my soul mate. He is my partner... in the fun and the not so fun parts of life. He is also a father.... in the fun and the not so fun. He is the lunch packer and the bath giver. He is the grass mower and the weed picker. He is the man who teaches my girls to love all that nature has to offer. He is the calm in the storm. He is the reliever of my stress. He is my TV buddy. He is my tattoo guru. He is the one who lessens our footprint on this earth. He is the artist and the creator. He is the do-it-yourself-er. He is the subtle make you laugh til you cry commenter. He is the one who humbles me and praises me. He is my husband and my best friend. And for him.... I am so thankful.
My children. They are a joy every single day. I still pinch myself to think of my healthy girls and to know that I am entrusted to be their mama. I am thankful for the memories we create, the lessons they teach me, and the never ending laughter. While every age and stage has it's difficult times or tough conversations parenthood is still such a blessing. And that picture makes me more than ready for the summer and a wonderful family vacation.
Family. Having a family who is open and loving is something that we are thankful for every single day. My parents teach us so much- they are role models in the way they have raised us. They have shown us the importance of putting your marriage as a top priority. They have been married 31 years and that is impressive. And their marriage isn't old or stale, it has spark. They do fun things together, they laugh together, and they have supported one another through raising a family, dealing with loss, and stressful jobs. Such an example of true love. My parents also work hard to teach us God's love. They lead by example in the way they give to others. They are disciplined about many things in life but a relationship with Christ is something they never skimp on. I am thankful to be their daughter, I am thankful that my husband as become a second son to them, and I am thankful that my girls will always know they are loved by Nana and Pops.
My parents aren't all I am thankful for! My brother is amazing and I am thankful for him. If you would have asked me if I was thankful to have a brother when I was 8- it would have been questionable. (I wasn't very nice!) But by the time he reached high school he was someone I really looked up to and loved to talk with. He couldn't have chosen a more perfect bride. Chelsea is better than I could have hand picked, and we knew that almost instantly! I am thankful for their presence in our lives and the impressions that they make on my children. And I can't wait to be an aunt to their children someday :)
My home. My home is not perfect and it is usually not in tip top shape, but it is a home. If the walls could talk they would share our laughter and dance parties. They would tell of our moments of sadness and stress. They would paint a picture of my family. And that is what makes our house a home.
A home is where toys need to be strewn about and kids need to playing. It is a place for imaginations to grow and art work to be created. A home is where sisters become best friends and good character in our girls is formed.
A home is not about perfect floors and kitchen tables without sticky spots. A home is not about furniture so shiny you can see your reflection. A home is not about being able to lay on the floor without cat hair and graham cracker crumbs. A home is to be lived in, and a to create a happy family. And my home is definitely that!
My job, my students. I am a teacher and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for my students (this is sweet, hilarious, Turner- I know his mama won't mind that I stole her picture). I really work for my students and that is that. I do not work because I am passionate about change in education- even though somethings do need change. I work because I love those 25 faces that look to me Monday through Friday to be their consistent, nurturing, exciting teacher. And my classroom is like my home away from home.... and oh, if those walls could talk. They would tell stories just like the walls in my home.
They would tell stories of change in students- like this card- seriously unbelievable change in my 2nd graders. The walls would tell stories of on fire learning and blooming of new friendships. They would tell a tale of character building and tough conversations. The walls would tell about confidence, hard work, and pride. I love my job. I love who it makes me become at 7:55 when my kiddos walk through the doors and I love who it allows me to be when I walk out before it is dark outside, plenty of time to go home and be a wife and a mom. I love that God chose me to teach, and through a series of ups and downs he helped me to fully embrace that calling.
I have so much to be thankful for and this is just a snipet.... because let's be honest.... it is more like a novel! But I could go on and on and on. I hope that today you find yourself surrounded by love and thankful for the gifts in your life.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!