Gratitude and Appreciation

my journey into being thankful for what i have

Gifts! =-)

I was given a SUPER cool present yesterday – my very own knitting needles, crochet hooks, and a bunch of yarn in two different colors/patterns (not quite sure how you say that when they have more than one color on them?).  You’d never know it, but I have long wished I could knit or crochet… while I’m not completely sure when I’ll be able to do it (with two young kiddos!), I think it’s a step in the right direction!  Now I just need to watch some videos online that show me how to do it… or at least how to get started.  =-)

I am grateful to have a friend who was willing to share from her supply stash… and grateful to now be able to try to make something!  I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes, once I get started.  Might make for some fun pictures!  Ha ha!

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I often forget that as an American, I am incredibly blessed to have Bibles.  Not just one, not just a chapter or a page, but multiple full-length Bibles.  I have them in a variety of different translations (including one that’s got two versions side by side!), and I love being able to compare the wording from one to the next.  I even have a New Testament in French!  =-)  For those of you who will ask: yes, I actually CAN read it without having to use a French-English dictionary (but it definitely helps that it’s the New Testament, so has a lot more phrases that are familiar to me!).  Ha ha!  =-)

We are all so incredibly blessed by having the freedom to own a Bible, to have access to more than one!, and to be able to openly study them.  There are many, many people in this world who don’t have that.  Who think that having a single page from a Bible is amazing.  Who would be tortured or persecuted for even thinking about studying the Bible.  Praise the Lord that we are not among those!  May we never forget how blessed we are, or take it for granted.  And may we remember, on a daily basis, to take time to study the Bible(s) we have.

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Weight Watchers

I have been a member of Weight Watchers more than just a couple times… always having to stop going for some reason or another.  After having a baby in July, I waited 6 weeks and then joined WW again.  I’m so glad that I did!  The support and encouragement of having a group of people going through the same challenges is such a blessing to me, but more than that, now that I’ve gone back, I’ve really gotten even more serious about weight loss.  The week our little guy arrived, my weight was pretty high… but I had dropped over 20 pounds by the time I joined WW.  Now I’m down over 35 pounds.  I’ve lost a full 5% of my weight since joining WW again – that’s the first time I have EVER hit that goal, in all my times being a member!  Obviously, I have a lot more weight to lose… but what an encouraging start it’s been for me!  My leader keeps sending me these really cute postcards, and there is another mom in my meetings who has a baby that’s two weeks older than mine.  She has a lot less to lose, but having her there is still an encouragement to me.  =-)  Today, I am grateful for the motivation and support that being part of WW provides, and for the weight I’ve been able to lose thus far.  Now on to the 10% goal!  =-)


Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Need I say more?  =-)

I am a big fan of all the different yummy flavors with Jelly Belly jelly beans, especially how you can mix flavors, and savor them one by one or all together… yummy, yummy, yummy.  =-)

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tidbits to give praise for

I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed lately by all the stuff in life that seems so “bad” or “frustrating” or “difficult”… it can often be hard to force yourself to look at the good, when all you really want to do is wallow in your misery.  Or maybe that’s just me?  Anyways, here are a few things that I’ve been thankful for lately.  They aren’t big things, and they probably aren’t even things that would necessarily matter to anyone apart from me, but I still thought I’d share them.  Maybe you will be able to take this list and create your own from it!

Misty Rain – the kind you can walk in and not get very wet.  =-)

Water – the ability to have clean water to drink from our very own faucet (no water hauling necessary!)

Giggles – this may very well be the best part of having a 2 year old, getting to hear his giggles over the smallest things.  =-)

Google – I’ve been using google a lot lately, to help finding answers to even the most mundane things.  How would I ever find this stuff out if I couldn’t search for it on google??

Baby Movements – while it does sometimes seem like my entire tummy area is borderline possessed (baby is 27 weeks today!), I absolutely LOVE that I don’t just feel the baby moving, I can SEE when he’s moving.  My tummy kept bumping up in different spots this morning, and I thought it was the coolest thing EVER!  =-)

Do any of you have “little things” that you’re grateful for?  I’d love to hear them!

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gifts from the heart

Last night, I received one of the most thoughtful gifts I could have received, from a lady who has been friend for many, many years.  She was my AWANA (a Scripture memory program that’s popular in many churches) leader for quite awhile, but I know she was my leader for sure in 6th grade.  After 6th grade, we started going to a new church, but she and I kept in touch – mainly via letters written back and forth (not emails, but the kind of letters you write by hand).  It’s been many years since I was in 6th grade (which makes me feel super old!!), and she’s been there for me through a lot in my life – jr. high, high school, mission trips, undergrad, internships, grad school, first (big) job, meeting my husband, our wedding and move across the country, my stroke, our first miscarriage, my little guy being born, and our second miscarriage… and all that time, she has continued to love and care about me, just like she did when I was in 6th grade and working so hard on memorizing verses.

What touched me most about the gift she sent was that it included two parts – an outfit that says “little brother” on it (which is so cute), and a handmade blanket that is really adorable.  By sending those two things (along with a handmade card!), she showed that she cares deeply about this baby – and about me.  I know she has been praying from very early on for this baby, and I feel certain that her prayers were sewn into the blanket too.  I am so very grateful for that.

We all have people who impact our lives in different ways, and who make a difference for us.  I have been blessed to have quite a few people over the years who really stand out for me.  I only pray that I can be a blessing in someones life, like these people have been in mine.  This lady, my very dear friend, is definitely one of them.  What a blessing her gifts were to receive!


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Surprise Money!

This is going to sound like a really silly thing to be thankful for, but I am very excited about it, so I wanted to share.  =-)

I have really been wanting to get two books, both by a Christian author, both related to a Bible study that I’m currently in…. but as I’m trying very hard to watch the budget, I haven’t been able to justify spending the money on them, no matter how much I think they could help me.  Sooo….. as I’m sitting here considering what I can do to come up with the $20-something I need, I get an email  – telling me that I’ve been sent $20 through paypal as a referral reward for something I didn’t even know I could get referral rewards for.  But I go to paypal and the email was legit – the money is there!  I was so incredibly excited about it, because that meant that I could go ahead and order my books…. which I promptly did.  =-)

Isn’t it amazing how God provides for us, not just what we “need” to have, but what we “want” too?  I feel very blessed, and very grateful.  What a great unexpected surprise!  =-)

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Pastor Dave

I have learned things from every pastor that I’ve been under, but there is one that made a bigger impact in my life than anyone else – Pastor Dave.  He was my pastor during the second half of undergrad and all through grad school, during a time when I was asking a lot of questions, learning, and growing in my faith.  He never told me I couldn’t ask questions, and he always took it seriously when I had something I couldn’t figure out.  He encouraged me to go after what I believed God wanted me to do in my life, even when it may have seemed a little bit crazy to do.  More than any of that, he believed in me – even when I wasn’t sure I had a whole lot of confidence in myself.  He was the pastor I chose to marry my husband and I, and he’s the one I contacted for input on the dedication service for our little guy after he was born.  I have kept in touch with him all these years since he’s been my pastor (over ten years since then, wow I feel old now!), and I am truly grateful for his presence in my life.  I really am.  We each have people who really impact our lives – he is one of the top people who made a difference in mine, and I am so, so glad to know him!  Thank you for everything, Pastor Dave!

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What? She had a stroke??

Five years ago today, I had a stroke.   I had only been married for a year and a half, and had just turned 27 – I was way too young for something like that!  As I look back and reflect on the past five years, and all the blessings God has given me since then, there is a lot that I’m grateful for.  Here’s a shortened list (in no particular order) so you can see a few of the things that I appreciate in looking back…

1. My wonderful husband, who stuck by my side while I was in the hospital, while I couldn’t remember anything about who I was or who he was, and in the weeks and months (maybe years, ha ha!) after that when I had millions of questions about what happened during the two weeks that I still don’t remember.  He has truly been the biggest blessing to me, and I am so thankful for him!

2.  No lasting impact on my health.  Because the stroke was caused by birth control, I can’t use any hormonal birth control now – but that’s the only thing that’s changed.  I was on blood thinners for three months after being released from the hospital, and that was it.  I did have to meet with a hematologist when I was pregnant with our little guy, and after running umpteen bazillion tests, they couldn’t find any indication whatsoever of a clotting disorder, and said that I didn’t need to worry about being on blood thinners while pregnant.  That was a huge answer to prayer!

3.  My typing speed.  Those of you who know me very well, know that I can really type fast.  One of my biggest frustrations after the stroke was how slow I typed (I think I was typing in the 50-something wpm range).  It took me awhile to get back up to speed, but I’m back to my normal 90-something wpm now, and that’s so great!  =-)

4.  My speech.  I had to go through three sessions of speech therapy after I went home, and absolutely HATED that.  I knew exactly what I was talking about, and could explain it so everyone else knew what I meant, but had a very hard time coming up with the exact word I was looking for… so the doctors made me go to speech therapy.  I still maintain that no one uses llama in their normal, everyday conversations (at least not in this country), but it only took me three sessions to get back to “normal”.  Okay, maybe I still struggle to find the word(s) I want, but don’t we all?  I really had to give myself permission to not be perfect all the time – it’s okay if you don’t know the word you’re thinking of, people do that in normal life too.

5.  My memory.  Like I mentioned above, there are still two weeks that are completely gone from my memory.  I don’t know if I can say that they were erased, it’s more like my mind never held onto that time to begin with.  From what I’ve been told, it’s probably best that I don’t remember it – and as the years have passed, I care less and less about remembering.  They’re just my “missing weeks”.  That’s okay.

6.  Amazing doctors.  My stroke neurologist was fantastic, and so were many of the other doctors that I saw.  We live in one of the best places to be if something like this happens – praise the Lord for the care I received!

7.  Being stubborn.  I believe that this is one time in my life that my stubbornness served me well.  I was determined to walk (without a walker!), to be able to write (and eat!) with my right hand, to drive a car (that was actually a huge one for me), to have conversations, and to be “normal” again.  I’m pretty sure that if I wasn’t as stubborn as I am, recovery would have been a whole lot harder for me to go through.  My stubborn streak was definitely a blessing in this time!

8.  Family and friends.  So many people came around us, lifted us up in prayer, sent notes/cards/emails, loved on my family, and encouraged Ryan.  We were very blessed on multiple levels by all the people who cared so much – and I am still grateful for all that everyone did.

There are many, many more things that I am thankful for in the experience, but those are the big ones coming to mind right now.  I have been blessed – really and truly.  I don’t know why God brought me through after the stroke, but I do believe that He has a purpose for me and for my life.  Why else would I be here right now, if not to be able to point people to Him?

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Massages! =-)

I have been blessed with the BEST. MASSEUSE. EVER.  Not only does she take great care of me (and my plethora of sore spots!), she really cares about me.  At my massage on Saturday, she gave me presents for my birthday!  Such a surprise, but what a fantastic one!  =-)  I feel like she is a definite blessing in my life, and I am very grateful for her and her fantastic care.  =-)

I’m already planning what to do for her as a surprise – will keep you posted on how that goes!  =-)

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