Today, I tackled a project that I anticipated would take a good bit of time, but that I’d be glad to have done. As I painted, I listened to a few different podcasts, one of which shared the story of two brothers enjoying a bowl of ice cream. The eldest brother held his bowl as his father delivered two great scoops of Moose Tracks. He eagerly took his spoon and headed to the table. The younger brother then held out his bowl and his father offered three great scoops of the ice cream. When the younger brother sat down beside the eldest, the spoon of the eldest stopped, hovering above his bowl while his eyes assessed the three heaps of deliciousness in his younger brother’s bowl. You can imagine the words that escaped the eldest’s mouth.
“Dad, that’s not fair!”
The point of the illustration is that up until the moment he noticed what his little brother had, he was completely satisfied with his own portion. Such, is life. My car, my house, my kids, my job – it all seems well and good until I notice the car, house, kids, or job of someone else. So, in the podcast, we were challenged to write about what’s in our “bowl.”
Here’s my attempt to list out some of the things that I have and for which I am so very grateful.
- A house that keeps us safe, warm, and comfortable
- Two minivans that dependably get us where we need to go
- More than enough food, and the means to eat healthy
- Music – whether it’s Doe a Deer being played by 7-year-old hands on our piano, or “I Have Decided” being sung by a 5-year-old voice with forced vibrato, I am so thankful for music.
- Friends with whom I can walk, sing, talk, laugh and spend hours sharing the ups and downs of this crazy thing called life.
- My husband’s grandfather’s dining room table, chairs, and hutch. It reminds me that we’re part of something so much bigger than we are. When I see the leaves folded up and the table strewn with homework or art projects, fabric and a sewing machine or beans for a science activity – I can’t help but think about the others who have sat at this same table creating things.
- A church community that supports and encourages us to do life together – learning and supporting one another through it all.
- Our sweet puppy who is curled up on our blanket, snuggled in for the night after taking a walk around town with me tonight. As much work as it is to train and adjust our schedule to having a dog again, I’m so thankful for the joy he brings to our home.
- I’m thankful for a husband who works diligently to provide for our family and who can still surprise me after more than a decade of marriage.
- Grandparents – their knowledge and perspective are invaluable.
- Family – immediate and extended. When I’m frustrated with my kiddos, I remind myself of the years I spent weeping and longing for a child. When infertility seemed to say, “No,” but when I trusted that God had a different plan. Raising these kids in the midst of so many cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles – I too, hope they feel the sense that they are part of something big.
- I can see, hear, taste, touch and smell – I have the ability to run and jump, to move without pain.
- My children are healthy and growing, they are here.
- I’m thankful for the sun streaming through the windows this morning, warming me and illuminating everything before me. It’s such a blessing to be in the light.
- My mom, who gives and gives to others. I’m so thankful for her help and love.
- My dad, who is always willing to listen to my questions and offer help and insight. Who is always there, quietly supporting me.
- Cameras, computers, phones and other gadgets!
- Words!! I am in love with books, poems, blogs, writing, reading, inspiration and learning. If I could sit think, read, write and reflect all day that would be my ideal! And at this point in time, I’m so blessed to be living my dream
- Laughter! I’m thankful for moments like this afternoon, when my son asked my husband, “Am I part Irish?” Garth responded that yes, he was and they continued on their way. Calder was quiet. Thoughtful. Then, looking over his body inquisitively, “Which part?”
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are so many more for which I am thankful. It is so easy to feel cheated or discontent with what I do have, when I notice what someone else has. Seeing this list above, helps keep me focused and grounded on the blessings that really do abound.