Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving thanks. Showing thanks.

We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and in-laws.  Considering Jack's favorite activities in the whole wide world are eating and socializing (not necessarily in that order), he truly enjoyed his first Turkey Day!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I couldn't help but reflect on just how abundantly blessed I am, have been and continue to be.

I have the most amazing husband in the whole wide world.  I know in my very soul we were meant to be together and that God made us for each other.  I am a better person because of my husband, not only because of his calming and loving influence, but because he inspires me to be worthy of him and his unconditional love.

I have two absolutely incredible children that have made my life so much more wonderful than I could have ever imagined it to be.  Any mom can tell you how hard being a parent is, but in that same breath they will probably tell you just how worth the work it is.  Nothing humbles you and delights you quite like parenthood, and to have two healthy children that are growing and thriving is just an indescribable blessing.

I have the best job on the entire planet.  For me, nothing could be more rewarding and fulfilling than being a stay-at-home mom, and I am blessed to have a husband that not only supports my job financially, but emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

I live in an amazing home.  Every day I wake up and marvel and the beautiful home we are blessed to live in at such a young age.  It was made possible by my husband's hard work, the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents, but mostly God's grace.

Those are just the biggies, I could go on for days.  With each one of the blessings comes a sense of profound gratitude and indebtedness to God in heaven.  Healthy children, a loving spouse, a beautiful home...none of these things are 'earned' or 'deserved', they are gifts from God.  I have to remind myself of that every day, but especially on this very wonderful Thanksgiving day.  I love the spanish translation of Thanksgiving: 'Dia de Accion de Gracias.'  Day of Acts of Thanks.  Not just a day of saying 'Thank You', but a day of action...a day of doing.  A day of showing God just how thankful we are for his blessings.  What did I do to show God my profound gratitude this Thanksgiving?   Ate a bunch of food and did a lot of sleeping! :)

Luckily the season of Advent is upon us and the time to start preparing for the arrival of our savior.  Acts of hope and examinations of conscience have always been at the heart of the Advent season.  Despite the abundant blessings in our own household, it's impossible not to be troubled by the number of people currently out of work, the number of homes being foreclosed on, and the investment funds drying up.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that over 50 million Americans were members of households that struggled to get enough to eat last year...that number included 17 million children.  I think it's safe to say, fear has eclipsed feelings of hope for many Americans these days.  So this Advent, my goal is to show my thanks by giving hope to someone around me in need.  I missed an opportunity on Thanksgiving to act, but luckily I woke up to a new opportunity the very next day, and the day after that.

If you, like me, have been abundantly blessed, I challenge you to give more this holiday season than ever before.  For us that means putting some decorating on hold, and scaling back on our Christmas budget.  It's hard to see the plethora of to-do's and want-to-do's around the house and turn the other way, especially when you know you will be expecting guests.  It's hard to see the perfect gift for someone and opt for something less expensive in order to stick with your tighter budget.  But when those moments strike, I'm going to have to remind myself of the parents that are struggling just to feed their children this Christmas.  I can't imagine the stress of being in such a situation, and the thought of giving a mother or father relief from that stress for just a brief moment is my inspiration.  If Advent is all about acts of hope, then I can't imagine a more hopeful act than one that promises a struggling family that God hears them, and that His love and grace abound for them, even in their time of trial.

Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks-showing!  Love and Blessings,
The C Family

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