something that was a real eye opener to me quite a few years ago, was the difference it makes when i focus on what i'm grateful for each day....instead of just living in a sort of unconscious zone. from the time i figured out what a difference gratitude makes, i have tried to look for things to be grateful for every day. and they are always there. even in the midst of troubled times. sometimes it's just easier to be grateful than others. today, i have many things that i'm grateful for, and at the top of the list, are always the relationships....stuff can come and go, but it's the loved ones who really matter. don't get me wrong, i love nice things. so here is my 2008 thanksgiving gratitude list.
1. God, the Father, Jesus, His Son and my Savior, and the Holy Spirit. in the bible there's a verse that says: "Every man who acknowledges me before men I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven." matt 10:32. so even though sometimes the human side of me finds it hard to be so bold...i need to be bold. i know that there are times to speak up about my faith and times to just live it and not preach it, but i do believe according to the Word that we need to acknowledge the Lord boldly before our fellow man. without Him, i am weak. without His grace, i am nothing. i am grateful for not only all the Lord has done for me, but for who He is. in this fallen world with evil all around, i'm thankful for a sovereign God who stands for Truth and Goodness and Love.
2. my family. i have a husband who is beyond anyone i could have hoped for, grown children who i am proud of and love unconditionally. and the most amazing and beautiful grandchildren ever. my parents are the salt of the earth, my sister and i are closer than ever and as real as real can be with each other, my nieces and nephews are some of my favorite people on the face of the earth, my cousins (and especially er, james, em, el, dane, marc) and my unbelievable aunts and uncles who are WONDERFUL role models for me, as well as tom's family who i love and adore.
3. my friends. in my whole life, there has never been a time, when i have felt like i had so many true friends. there are friends who are in our everyday life (donna, jamie, pam, greg, tara, my bagels, vicki, and many more...i'm gonna get in trouble if i name drop any more!) and my *love to pieces* friends who i don't get to see or talk to often enough(suzy, kl, terri, sandy, cara), but when i do, we pick up right where we left off, and all of my new friends who i feel like i have connected with through photography and scrapbooking...and then there are my blog/email friends(who even though my family doesn't get it, are a big part of my life) . i am so, so grateful to all of you. every person who i cross paths with, i feel has an impact on me in some way or another. i don't take relationships lightly. the things that stand out to me that i have in most of my relationships are these particulars: acceptance and love, encouragement, sincerity, support, humor, time together just being...and i haven't always necessarily had these things in my friendships in the past. so thankful.
4. my passion for what i'm doing. huge thing for me. i know it's God. i was lost when my kids were raised....but within a very short time after jared left, i had this newfound passion and i haven't looked back. i think our grown kids are fortunate that i am not obsessed with them! love them to death, but i have my own life too. and now God has blessed me with new opportunities that i would have never ever imagined. it's humbling.
5. my home. i seriously feel like this home is a big part of who we are and how we are able to really relax and refresh. it's a very comfortable refuge-not perfect, but very cozy.
6. my dogs. okay, i know in the scheme of things, this may seem trivial. but they really are faithful little friends and companions. who else will curl up on my lap and stay as long as i will have them?
7. my church. alright, probably not cool to have church under my dogs :) i love my church. i love the people and i love the sanctuary that it is, in this real world that isn't always wholesome and good. tonight we are having a thanksgiving service and i can hardly wait!
8. music and art. i know that's pretty general, but i love both so much, my list wouldn't be complete without.
9. books. they really make a difference in my life. i have had books change my whole outlook on life
10. traditions. why are traditions such a comfort? at this time of year, i'm all about all the traditions. can't wait to experience the holidays this year!
i did a recent photoshoot of a family that i think is appropriate to share on this day before thanksgiving.
can't you just see the love?
i sincerely hope that you and your loved ones, have a most blessed thankgiving...no matter your circumstances. i know that there are many people who are missing loved ones this holiday and i pray that God will comfort you and bless you even more than you can imagine.