Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 16

I'm thankful tonight that an old friend was willing to break out of her comfort zone and try something new with me.  She may have only taken baby steps, but she took the steps nonetheless. She wouldn't know it, but that willingness helps me to find courage as well. I'm only as bold and outgoing as she thinks I am because I see that she's willing to put herself out there, and I'm willing to try and support her by making her as comfortable and at ease as possible -- even when that means stretching beyond my own comfort zone. She gives me an excuse to come out of my shell as well, and that's something I am truly grateful for in a friend.

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 19

I'm thankful for friends who care enough to ask the tough questions, and who want to pray for me with details.


I'm also thankful for unlimited messaging and data plans.

Trying to coordinate multiple events tonight, and my phone is burning up! If only I had unlimited battery life to go with it...

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 14

I am thankful for naps.

After days and days of going strong, sometimes it's nice to just lay down in the middle of the day and pass out for a while, and let the world go on without you for a bit. Especially if it's a good nap, such that when you wake up, you're ready to take on the world again.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 11, 12, 13

I'm thankful for a really great weekend.

Though emotionally difficult, this was one of the best weekends I've had in a very long time.

On Friday, I picked up my last paychecks from my previous job. As this included my vacation pay and overtime worked, it was a great start to the weekend. Although I'm saving the bulk of it for responsible stuff, like bills, I did treat myself to a little shoe-shopping (clearance, of course!) and a pretzel at the mall.

Even though it was a beautiful weekend weather-wise, Friday's football was played indoors, razzle-dazzle style (kind of like flag football meets ultimate frisbee). Saturday morning I met up with a local adventurer's group for a nice long outdoor hike. This was my first time with this group, and I met some neat people. We had a lot of fun, and a great lunch together afterwards. By the time I got home, I was more than ready to collapse for a nap in the hammock in the backyard. Afterward, sis and I took the dogs for a walk at the park. Once we returned, it was time to get ready to join a friend for her birthday celebration.

If there's one thing I really love to do, it's to get together with my dance girls. We always seem to have more fun than should be allowed, and Saturday night was no exception. The company sponsoring the karaoke was great. Good drinks, a little singing, a lot of dancing... let me just say this: when we closed down the bar, they made us promise we'd come back at least once a month, because they'd never had as much fun before!

Although I was pretty disappointed on Sunday that plans fell through to reunite with an old friend, I was still able to make the most of the beautiful weekend with a good hike with sis, a friend and her wee little one, and our combined four dogs. Maybe not the best little group to try to herd up a mountain, but we managed alright. Afterwards sis and I had dinner with the dogs on the patio of a good Mexican restaurant near the park, enjoying the last of the warm weather before the cold and rain come back this week. There's something about enjoying a drink on the patio on a balmy night that always makes me feel like I'm on a vacation somewhere.

To top it all off, my A-town team won the playoff game today, in what turned out to be a very close 4th quarter. There was a little nail-biting involved there at the end, but they pulled it through and are one step closer to the Super Bowl!

Great fun with friends, meeting new people, time with family, getting outdoors...  weekends like this don't come around often. I am so thankful for this one.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 10

I was incredibly thankful today to learn that I would in fact be receiving a paycheck for overtime hours that I had accrued at my last job.

When I left, there was a bit of dispute over them, and they were trying to pay me only a fraction of what I was owed (I had quite a significant number accrued -- and recorded! -- for which I had never been paid).  I am so thankful to have learned that I will be receiving the full amount owed to me, and that I will not need to proceed any further with the employment lawyers I'd been speaking to. That was not a battle I wanted to get into. Thank you, Lord! 

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 9

I am thankful for my diverse tastes.

If not for them, I wouldn't do/have done/had the opportunity for so many of the activities that I've enjoyed in this life.  I have been wonderful places, met incredible people, done some pretty nifty activities, and acquired diverse skills -- all because I have been interested in and willing to try new things. Certainly, I've sometimes allowed my shyness and insecurities to hold me back from trying something I would have really liked to do, but I try to overcome that as often as possible.  Usually, it's just money holding me back from the really fun stuff!  

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 8

I'm thankful to have found a new activity to do close to home.

Living in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area, it always seems as if the good stuff takes place downtown. However, I recently found salsa classes being taught at a studio on my side of town.  Those in the area who know what it can be like trying to cross town for anything in the evenings can appreciate how big this is. I would not have been at all likely to sign up for classes were they taking place somewhere else.  Now, I have a fun opportunity to get out and meet people while learning a new activity, without using all of my gas to do it. And for that I am thankful.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 7

I am thankful for small group study.

One day a week, I meet with my associate pastor to help lead a small group of high school girls in a morning bible study. Although it's certainly difficult dragging myself out of bed two hours earlier than I normally would and fighting traffic to make it to our sessions, I am thankful for the opportunity to see the stories of the bible through the eyes of these young ladies. Although in many ways I am reminded of why I never really related to girls my own age when I was in school, it is a terrific learning opportunity for me to study the word of God with these young women. I have learned some surprising things about myself in the process as well. I pray God blesses each of them, and that I may in some small way serve them through our study.

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 6

I'm thankful for lazy days.

I didn't feel particularly well today. I wasn't really sick, but neither was I at my best. Although there were things that needed to be done, I lacked the energy or motivation to do any of them. And so I didn't. I didn't do my laundry. I didn't run any errands. I didn't work on cleaning out the basement. I didn't even change out of my pajamas. All of those things needed to be done, but instead I let the day slip by without ever even opening my front door. And I'm thankful for that. I know that may make me seem lazy. But at the heart of it, what I'm truly thankful for is the fact that in my life, I'm allowed to get away with such a lazy Sunday. My basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, are more than fulfilled, such that there was no need for me to go out and work for any of them that day. Although there were plenty of things I could [should] have been working on, I didn't HAVE to do anything just to ensure my continued safety/comfort/health. And for that I am thankful.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 5

I'm thankful for healing in Stephanie.

Stephanie is a friend of mine who was badly injured in an accident several months ago. Since then, she has spent nearly three months in the hospital, has had multiple surgeries, and been through unimaginable pain. Her journey to healing is far from over, but she has made the most remarkable strides.

Although I've been receiving regular updates on her progress, I saw her tonight for the first time since before the accident. She is still in a wheelchair, with something of a bionic leg, but her spirit is remarkable. The attitude she has maintained throughout this ordeal, and the faith she has held, encourage me and do so much to restore my own (spirit, attitude, faith).

I don't want to seem to demean in any way here the importance of the miracle of her survival of what could very easily have been a fatal incident. I am thankful beyond words, naturally, for that miracle. I think it a remarkable example, however, of the grace of God -- and here is where I hope not to be misunderstood or thought insensitive -- that there have been perhaps more lives touched by her trial through the growth that has occurred since and the number of people who have benefited through the witness and testimony of her journey, than had she not survived the accident at all. It is truly an example of how God, not being responsible for the bad things that happen in our lives, can still use the most tragic events to bring about good. Thanks be to God Almighty.

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 4

I'm thankful for pedicures. I realize how shallow that probably seems, but I am. More specifically, I'm thankful for the opportunity to share in an activity with a friend that allows us the chance to catch up with each other while being pampered and spoiling ourselves a little bit. There are so many valid reasons for not indulging in such a treat, it can actually be hard to get one without feeling guilty about it. But that sort of self-indulgence is needed from time to time, I believe. Allowing ourselves to be taken care of or treated every now and then refreshes the spirit, and renews us for taking care of others. Having a friend call up and suggest it was just the excuse I needed this time to do something for myself without feeling entirely lazy/selfish about it, and made all the difference in my day; for that, I'm thankful.

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 3

I am thankful for my dance troupe. I am so thankful to have found a group of ladies to learn and dance with. Our backgrounds and interests are so varied, yet we're united in this one common interest and are able to have so much fun together. All week long I look forward to dance night, and I rarely give it up for any other activity. No matter what kind of mood or I'm in or day I've had, I always feel great after dance. I'm sure this won't be the only time this year that I express my thanks for the troupe in one way or another, but I am truly grateful for all that I've gained through the troupe being a part of my life.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 2

I am thankful for the ability to recognize excess.  Recognizing it is the first step to avoiding it (although there are most certainly many more steps in between).

My mother decided to remodel the guest bathroom over the holiday -- meaning I spent New Year's day hanging over the toilet (installing linoleum). We went shopping today for a new shower curtain and other finishing accessories. As we browsed through assorted bathroom sets I couldn't help but be struck by the absurdity of them. Waste bins - designated for bathroom waste, at that - for $50. Shower curtains - that must have been spun from the tails of unicorns, for what they were charging for them.  Row after row of  plush, luxurious towels -- clearly intended for decorative purposes, only. It was as we were debating whether we should purchase one or two of these never-to-be-used-for-their-intended-function towels, that I began to balk at the whole thing. As I helped my mother pick out towels that will likely never dry a drop of water, I certainly couldn't help but to think of the many who could never imagine such luxuries/absurdities.

Now, I'm not going to take any stance here saying that we should rebuke all material goods or that we shouldn't live in comfort, whatever that might mean for us. And I certainly wasn't going to have the conversation with my mother about the needlessness of these towels. (What a long and useless conversation that would be.) But I am thankful that I have enough of an awareness to stop and think of such things. No, it's not the same as doing something about it, and I'm not patting myself on the back for it. But I will note it, and remember it, and allow it to color my own future actions. I am thankful I am not blind to such things, so that I may attempt to help others through my sight, in some way small or large.

A Year of Thanks - Jan. 1

I am thankful for slow news days.

The 6:00 news today was filled with person-on-the-street interviews of people's thoughts on the rain we're having. Mind you, there is nothing special about this rain. It's not pouring. There's no flooding. No roads or services are shut down because of it. It's just a slow, constant drizzle sort of day.

At first I found it rather laughable that they spent so much time on this nonevent, clearly lacking other news stories for the day. But then I found myself quite thankful that this was the case. After the wretched weeks of coverage of the tragic Sandy Hooks elementary school shootings before Christmas, I was immensely thankful that there were no more "exciting" happenings to be reported on in the new year than weather that could be at best described as unpleasant.

May 2013 be filled with more slow news days for us all.