Working on Thankfulness

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There are days when life seems so full of blessings that it almost seems unreal. The beauty and opportunities that encompass my life make it easy to be thankful. Other days, when family seems farther away than normal, or when pain and sickness are too close for comfort, it is a struggle to focus on thankfulness. Blessings are still present. There are still things to smile about. But they get pushed aside unintentionally as I dwell on what is wrong.

Here in England they obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so it really has been out of sight and mind. Our town is already fully decked out for the holidays, I have boxes, gifts, and shipping forms littering my kitchen table instead of thanksgiving decor. The main news I hear from the states about the subject is whether or not stores should be open on the actual holiday. Someone at the doctor’s office today told me to have a nice Thanksgiving and it caught me off guard. Oh yeah, Thanksgiving is soon! Thanks and gratitude have not been #1 in my mind. But as I continue into my recovery, however uphill it feels, I’m trying to change my view. I’m asking God to change my view. There is so much to be thankful for and so many positive things to dwell on. Here is a list of sorts.

– I am so thankful for laughter, and how much of it is in my life. Because of my surgery and the steel bar that is now at home in my chest, it hurts to laugh and it will for a while until I get used to it. I’ve pointed out a few times since being home that I never knew how much I really laughed! The first few days post-surgery I would have to tell Sam to stop being so funny because he kept making me laugh. Or the dog or cats would do something silly and crack me up. I said a few times as I tried not to laugh, “Who knew my life was this funny!?” But those little pangs have reminded me of the joy that I am blessed with. In the midst of pain I can still find things to laugh at and I am surrounded by sources of laughter and happiness. That’s something to be thankful for.

– I am thankful for friends and family who make the oceans and miles seem a little smaller. I have been so uplifted by cards, care packages, messages, and prayers. New friends and old friends alike have visited, cheered me on, and encouraged me. I have felt the love of my family even though they are far. I know I’m not alone. 🙂

– I am so thankful for modern medicine and wise, caring medical teams. For too many reasons to list!

– I am thankful that God’s timing is perfect and that I had this procedure done while unemployed and childless. What a blessing it has been to not have to worry about sub plans, getting back to work or asking for more time off. Heck, today is my first time in real clothes (not pajamas) in over a week!

– I am thankful for a husband who is living the promise, “in sickness or in health.” What an incredible caretaker he is. He has cooked, cleaned, vacuumed, washed dishes and clothes, bathed me, helped me change my clothes, organized my medicines, and seen some sights I hope he can forget (ha) … Without one complaint. We were sleeping on the lower guest bed because I can’t get up into our tall four-poster bed and without me asking or even hinting, he switched the two beds (box springs, mattresses AND frames) by himself so I could sleep in our bedroom again. He is incredible. And all the while he continues to make me smile and laugh. He’s the best.

– I am thankful for home and that our new house here feels like home. Sam and I have noted that several times to each other. It’s cozy and comfortable. Welcoming. We can come in and drop our burdens, plop down and relax. This is something I am hugely thankful for in the midst of the newness that comes with an overseas move. Our houses is far from perfect or spotless – the previous renter patched the paint on the walls with the wrong color, the carpet has stains, the windows are thin, etc. – but it’s our haven.

– I am thankful for my furry family (my pets). To those of you who don’t have pets – or to Mrs. Vix who thinks my dog is the ugliest – this might be odd, but they are such a comfort and joy to me! Little, fluffy Peanut Butter is curled up on the bed next to me, Toby is breathing heavily as he snoozes on the floor and Muffins is probably snuggled up with the radiator downstairs. When I came home from the hospital they greeted me at the door. I heard the kitty collars jingle as they ran down the hall towards us, and I immediately smiled. They are a major comforting presence in my life. And, they’re crazy. We have the strangest pets and they make us laugh all the time. The other day Sam asked, “Are the pets just weird or did we make them weird?” Great question. Either way. We love them and are so thankful for them.

– I am thankful for the reason I have hope and joy: Jesus Christ. Titus 3:4-7, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

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