This week I had my 31st birthday and there's something about a birthday that seems to make me gloomy all day. I'm not sure why. I love getting older and I love this stage in life but all day I struggled with a vague, non-specific feeling of discouragement. As I tried to grasp onto any sort of optimism for the day, I read a friend's expression of gratitude for the challenges in her life because of the beauty she had learned to discover in life because of those trials. As common as this might be to hear people say, it takes on a deeper meaning when we understand who the statement is coming from. This came from a mother of several young children who's world was unexpectedly and completely turned upside down in a shocking and cruel twist of fate. Yet even through the unimaginable nature of her trials, she has blossomed from a sweet and wonderful woman into a woman of unprecedented optimism and strength.
With the Thanksgiving season upon us, I wanted my list of things I am grateful for to be a little different this year. So in honor of my friend's example, here they are:
-I am grateful for the tight budget we have to live on because it means we get to share that budget with four of God's sweetest children.
-I am grateful for the three times Lauren spilled milk at lunch the other day because it means I had enough milk in the refrigerator to refill her cup each time.
-I am grateful for the loud and obnoxious nature of the presidential elections because it means people can speak openly without fear of incarceration or death.
-I am grateful for this cold, blustery day because I know summer will only be all the sweeter.
-I am grateful for the weekends and evenings we spend without my husband because it almost always means he is busy doing service for someone somewhere.
-I am grateful for the monotony and tediousness I sometimes feel as a stay-at-home mom because I would take it any day over working outside the home.
-I am grateful for the many bitter regrets I have about my past because of the motivation they give me to try to improve on myself.
-I am grateful for the times I have felt hurt or betrayed because it has opened my eyes to how it feels when I have done the same to others.
-I am grateful for the post-baby funk I fell into after Calista was born because of the much needed soul searching I had to do to climb out of it.
-I am grateful for bedtime because life invariably looks brighter in the morning.