Oops, I just realised it’s Friday and I forgot to post my Thursday post. Well, I’m sure it’s still Thursday for some of my readers!
This past weekend I was reminded to be thankful in ALL things – I was given this little prompt while doing chores and it was most definitely the recurring theme over the next few days.
Yes, I was getting grumpy as I put ANOTHER load of togs and towels through the washing machine. But hang on, why was I washing their togs and towels again.
Because the kids had a water fight inducing a great amount of fun, laughter and squealing. I am thankful for that.
As I spent three hours reorganising a child’s bedroom I started to feel annoyed. Why was I doing this, there are plenty of other things I could be doing. Then I looked around and realised how blessed we are – we have a lovely home, our children have what they need and then some (a lot more ‘some’!). And I have children, I know something not everyone is able to be so thankful for.
While vacuuming the dog hair off the rug I thought about our dog and how much joy he brings to our family. He’s just so cute and loving, quite often a balm when things are stressful.
I dusted the bookshelves and was so grateful for the fact that I can read, I am educated, and the same goes for my children.
So you get the picture. What started as me going along doing my usual chores and feeling grumpy, turned into me looking forward to the next thing so I could find another blessing to be grateful for.
Today is Thanksgiving in the USA so to all of you celebrating this day:
For me here in little old New Zealand, it’s just another day. But every day is for gratitude and as it’s Thursday, here’s what I’m especially thankful for this week.
This week it is most definitely family.
Last Wednesday I was able to fly to Auckland for a few days away. Just me, no children, for three days complete break. It was bliss. It would not have been possible without a big pile of my extended family (it really does take a village to raise a family it seems!).
My husband who not only supported me in taking off, but encouraged me to take the break and negotiated reduced hours at work for a few days to look after the boys. He also drove Nat two hours up to…
…My dad who looked after Nat while I was away. She’s not great at being at home while I’m not there so my dad stepped in and looked after (spoilt!) her. She probably really needed that time with him anyway.
My cousin and her husband who looked after Nat while my dad was at work – the highlight being the frozen coke they treated her to!
My great-aunt and great-uncle who picked me up from the airport, had me stay, showed me the sights and spoiled me quite completely. It was a joy to spend time with them, with family who know me, who knew my mum. I can talk about my mum with lots of people, but those who knew her aren’t really in my life on a regular basis. My husband only knew her since she got sick, my dad has a new partner so that’s a bit awkward and my Gran passed away recently. To share stories of my mum, especially with my great-aunt who my mum adored, with all that history, was really special. Because sometimes I do want to talk about her. A lot. I miss her and she feels more alive when I know she’s in the hearts of other people too.
My super talented cousins who conducted 500 children in an amazing choral performance. It was amazing to see them in action. They also dedicated the evening to my mum, Lynley. One of the songs in the line up was the song they sang so beautifully at my mum’s funeral. There were tears – it was really special.
My cousin who I met for the first time who is in NZ on a gap year – how cool is that to meet a new cousin at the age of 37?! Such a lovely person and I so enjoyed her company.
So wow, in three short days, look at all those family members who had a part in me being away! Yes, I definitely have a lot to be grateful for.
I don’t think there is a single person who is living a perfect life. I mean, we all have problems, challenges, issues, trials, tribulations. Whatever you want to call them. There are a lot of us walking through this life hiding the bad stuff, I know I do.
So this is probably a good reminder to us all, that while whatever we are facing seems tough, sometimes impossible, like it will never pass, everybody else has something hard that they are facing. And there’s a good chance that somebody else is in a worse place than we are.
So let’s be grateful for what we DO have.
Let’s be grateful for the storms we have already made it through – that they have passed, that they have shaped our character, taught us lessons and made us who we are today.
Let’s also be grateful for our current storms, knowing that this too shall pass, and out the other side, we will be stronger and wiser.
Being a mum – this is a privilege for me. I love looking after my family, teaching and nurturing, providing a safe and loving home for them. Meeting their needs, while definitely challenging, is enjoyable for me. Yes, sometimes when I collapse on the couch at the end of the day, when the washing machine has stopped beeping at me and the kids have finally all fallen asleep I don’t feel it so much, but overall, being a mum is cool and this time, having children at home, is a part of my life I know I will always cherish.
My kids – I do love these four little people. I have a different bond with each of them, especially given that one is biologically mine and the other three I have met later in life. But honestly, I see them all as ‘ours‘ and I’m so proud to call myself their mum/step-mum.
My husband – well obviously! But seriously, when my first husband left me with a newborn I learnt a lot. About life and about me. I made a decision, for myself and my daughter, that I would not casually date ‘just because’. That I would not settle for just anyone. It was also this time that I entered into a genuine relationship with God. So I waited five years (five long years single!) for this man to walk into my life and it was worth every lonely second. My husband is honest, genuine, loving, patient, caring, loyal …. and I could just keep going. Just know that God blessed me with a man who has all the characteristics to be the perfect husband to me (especially the patience bit, I’m prone to stroppiness). Oh and did I mention tall, dark and handsome 😉
Good food – yes I love good food. Fresh food. Healthy food. I love preparing good meals for my family and it’s so nice that they really appreciate the effort I put in.
Grace and mercy – God’s unrelenting love, offered regardless of what we’ve done, whether we think we deserve it or not, has changed my life no end. The person I am now is so different to the person I was 10 years ago. I am thankful daily for the work God has done, and I know will keep doing, in me.
Our new caravan – roll on summer, can’t wait for some fantastic trips away. SO excited!
My pets – I’m one of those people who truly loves cats AND dogs. Which is why I have one of each. They hate each other, but I love them both! Polly is a rescued tabby cat who is the most smoochy loyal little thing ever. Moe is a border terrier who we are caring for while friends are overseas for a few years. He is loyal and super affectionate. I am never alone when my pets are in the house, their affection is unreserved and without conditions. Polly lives upstairs (with a litter tray after we established she had peed in the Lego many times!) and Moe lives downstairs. They make it work 🙂
This is a list of things in my life that I love – it’s not a complete list, not even close, just a small sample. These are of course, all things that I am extremely thankful for.
So much to be thankful for. Always. But especially when I haven’t written it here for a few weeks. So here goes, in no particular order, just bullet points today…
Two weeks school holidays with my family, only a couple of days where I had all four kids to myself but we made the most of them. Lots of lovely moments with each of the children, and my gorgeous husband who was on leave for part of the time as well.
Being able to help friends in ways big and small.
Friends who reach out to me when I need them.
Nature/creation, and being able to spend time in it.
Spring (and the anticipation of summer).
Amazingly supportive in-laws.
Booking summer holidays – can already feel the memories we are creating with our family!
Naps. I love naps. There was time for a few of those over the holidays.
That my Gran is in heaven now. Sad she’s not here, but thankful she is in a better place with our Lord.
My new fridge which is as tall as I am (1.78m) and that I can fill it once a fortnight.
Sunshine. Did I say that? I love sunshine!
People who are willing to teach and lead our children (youth pastors, teachers, Brownie leaders etc).
A tidy garage and for the day in the holidays where my husband and I could get together and attack it to make it so – we really to make a good team. Messy generally does my head in, it’s awesome having this sorted out.
I have happiness on the brain at the moment. I’m getting intentional about finding my happy. I do think that being grateful and being happy are intertwined – well, for me, I actually know it. Since I started my gratitude journal, I have on some levels, been happier. Definitely more aware of the blessings in my life.
So here’s a thought on Thankful Thursday from Joyce Meyer who I happen to think is pretty awesome…
It amazes me how complex we humans are – that I can feel so many conflicting emotions all at once but somehow, manage to compartmentalize, so that the bad does not overcome the good. I have so much to be thankful for, I’m walking in a state of perpetual gratitude at the moment. With that, comes joy. It’s a beautiful place. But then there are struggles with family, watching friends go through rough times, and spontaneously crying as I think of my mum (although this is happening less these days).
There are things I give thanks for EVERY day: family, safety, provision, food, being loved, health and God’s grace.
Highlights from my gratitude journal this week:
A lunch date with my husband – a blissful two hours to ourselves. Moments always to be treasured as we intentionally work on our husband & wife relationship in the midst of raising four children in a very busy family environment.
That my children are healthy, active and motivated – especially after Sam and Tom did so well at our school sports prize-giving last night (check out the haul of awards).
Looking forward to the weekend with my beautiful girl. A mother daughter night away as we go to a show in the city.
The ability to help a friend in need – editing a thesis. Believe it or not, that’s totally enjoyable for me and I love that I can help her out.
That my children have dreams (I will post more on what prompted this later).
I am super grateful that we have a faith-based radio station in New Zealand. Every morning in the car the kids and I listen to the hilarious hosts on the breakfast show of Lifefm. Funny as they are, everything is delivered under the umbrella of being inspiring and encouraging youth with faith on their journey. (I say ‘youth’ as I’m pretty sure the target demographic is on the younger end of the scale – but I love it all and we’re only as old as we feel right?!).
We love all the music, which varies in style and content, but doesn’t have any of the lyrics often found in the mainstream that I find completely inappropriate. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t listen to hymns, and I’m not opposed to mainstream music at all, I just find a lot of it overly sexual and grownup, especially for our two littlest people. It’s fabulous to turn on the radio and know we will be uplifted and entertained in a way that suits the entire family.
Lifefm’s community funds 75% of the costs – yes, that’s right, donations. This makes us pretty passionate about our radio station! It also means we’re not blasted by advertisements after every second song (love that!).
Lifefm is something that impacts my life every single day. It’s always on in the car, or you might find me listening to one of their forum podcasts. We have it on at home in the weekends. I enjoy the Word it delivers and love the music. Starting the day with a laugh is always good too. Not to mention some of the conversations the content has triggered with the kids and I as we travel to/from school.
I can’t rate it highly enough. So that’s my super-very-love-it-long-time Thankful Thursday for this week 🙂
Check out their website as they live stream and have a ton of podcasts.
…Spring is here! The sun is shinning (like it’s okay to wear a t-shirt kind of warm), there are lambs, daffodils and blossoms everywhere. Love it.
…There are amazing young women who lead my daughter’s Brownies every week. Natalie comes out of there absolutely buzzing every time. I get a kick out of hearing the girls sing Taps at the end of each session – brings back memories.
…I have a dog. Is it weird to be grateful for that? He is just the sweetest little thing and our kids adore him as much as I do. He always has a super excited greeting so I never feel like I’m walking into an empty house and he’s always up for cuddles. Every time I sit cross-legged on the floor he launches himself into my lap. Yep, feeling the love! Out walking last night, watching him run about happily exploring the world, he was so content, life in that moment seemed so simple.
I give thanks to God every day – for His provision, endless love and grace.
This week I am especially thankful that my children are healthy. That we are able to spend time as a family, especially in the great outdoors. That we live in an amazing country which is peaceful, safe and where one can choose their life. I honestly believe this for everyone in New Zealand, some people sadly, just haven’t been taught the FULL spectrum of choices they have to pick from.
On a less serious note, I am also very grateful that my iPod and my car stereo are fixed. I smashed my iPod screen, my car stereo had a battery issue. At the same time!!!! Both easy fixes thankfully as a life without music, especially all the driving I do, is just plain wrong.
I am thankful for a hockey trip up to Hawke’s Bay on Sunday – my home. I haven’t been up there since March, it’s been hard to face. Hockey kind of forced the issue. It was hard but I’ve done it now. Phew.
Lambs and daffodils – spring is nearly here. Oh my goodness, how cute are lambs bouncing their way around the paddocks and don’t get me started on those little tails wagging as they feed. Guaranteed to bring a smile to my face 🙂
My children being healthy. As I watch another family prepare to say goodbye to their daughter, only a toddler, I hug my children more tightly and thank God for every day I have with them and we have together as a family.
Books. I love books. And book week at school. Tomorrow is the dress up parade. Can’t wait!!!!
Teachers who are willing to go the extra mile for their students. Even if it means dropping them home at 8.30pm with a massive bruise on their face (hockey injury)!
My husband. He’s awesome. I should probably just permanently put this one on every Thankful Thursday post as it’s always true ♥
Something different for Thankful Thursday this week.
I came across these gorgeous words which really resonated with me.
Gratitude CAN turn things that seem hard/bad/wrong/challenging, into positives. I call them lessons. To be fair, sometimes it takes a bit of hindsight to see them (learn the lessons), but as long as we get there in the end…
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are also thankful for the
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
This week some of the things I have written on the Thankful pages of my journal are:
Birthdays. Turning another year older is a privilege not given to all so I’m grateful to be 37. Not only that I also enjoyed a birthday weekend catching up with family I don’t see all the time.
An awesome first experience hosting an international home-stay student. It was only 10 days but our whole family got something out of it – we plan to host more students in the future.
Sleep. Seems simple right?! It’s now four weeks since I took a sleeping tablet and I’m getting a good amount of zzzzzzzzzz’s every night. I feel so much more alive in body and mind. Even the mornings are easier (and I’m not a morning person)!
Coffee. Even though I’m sleeping better, I just love coffee. Especially the therma-cup my husband leaves each morning when he goes to work. He makes a mean espresso which is yum 🙂
The ‘thankful’ posts that are going around Facebook. I make a point of doing this every day in my journal and know what a difference it makes to me. I love, that even if only for a few days, people are walking around actively looking for the good in their lives.
Christmas shopping. I know I’m far too organised, doing it this so soon but we also have two children with a birthday either side of Christmas so I need to spread things out. I just LOVE buying gifts for others – it is a joy for me thinking about people and what would make them happy.
The opportunity to open our home to a Japanese student for two weeks. We’ve done this as a new experience for our family. The children are fascinated by Satoshi, asking him lots of questions, learning words of Japanese and teaching him words for lots of things in English. They are being so patient and concerned about his well-being. It is beautiful to watch.
A busy weekend coming up with visits from special family members. A full house which I love. So excited!
So it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve sat at the computer and written a post. Oh how I have missed it. This little blog that started as ‘oh I’ll give it a go and see what happens’ has opened up my mind – I want to write daily, I NEED to write daily now. Continue reading “MISSING”→
This week I am super thankful for school holidays and all that they bring.
This is week one of a two-week holiday after the autumn semester. I am so blessed to have a job in a school – during term time I can pick the kids up from school which is great, and it also means I get to be home on the school holidays.
We’ve stayed home this week, all catching our breath and resting up after what has been a full on term both physically and (for me) emotionally too. We have had welcome visits from family, some I’ve not yet met as they live a two-day drive away (pretty unusual distances in little NZ!). My dad has been here a few times as he picked up, and dropped off Nat, who had a few days of quality time with her PopPop. Kids have been out and about at ‘play dates’ and we’ve had extra kids here too. We’ve had a couple of sleep ins and I even managed to fit in a nap this afternoon – did I mention that I LOVE naps?!
Double bonus is that my husband is on night shift this week which means he doesn’t go to work until 3pm – we miss him a lot when he’s on nights during term time but this week we’ve had him here all day. As a couple enjoying leisurely coffees just chatting during the day alone has been a huge bonus. Loving it and grateful for every second!
Tomorrow we are off on a road trip up to the boys’ grandparents farm where we all love to go. We have the best house sitter who looks after our pets which is awesome. Once up there, there will be a meeting of cousins from around the country (13 kids all aged under 14!). So all in all, we’re looking forward to some time on the farm which will be screen, tv and technology free. The kids all entertain each other, so the grown ups all get a chance to catch up as well.
I am thankful that my daughter’s blood results show she does not have Celiac Disease. Still doesn’t resolve the sore tummy she often has but Dr assures us it’s nothing sinister.
So grateful to have a job that only requires me to work term-time – two more days until I’m on holiday for two weeks with the kids. So many fun things to do. Yeehaa!
Very very VERY thankful that Tom has finished his science fair project which is due first week of next term. That boy had a super idea (I’ll post photos later if he’s ok with that) and has let us guide him through the process of planning and researching when all he was itching to do was get into building and testing. He’s done all the work himself, and really well I will add, with a little building assistance from Dad. Our aim was to not spend the holidays doing a last minute scramble and he’s worked hard to achieve that.
Thankful that my true friends know they can turn to me when they need an ear to bend, a shoulder to cry on or a safe place to fall. I genuinely am that person.
I’m really loving the process of intentionally thinking about and writing down the things I am thankful for.
It is easy to travel day-to-day saying the same grace at each meal, and the same prayers with the kids at bedtime, but not really thinking about how many blessings have actually been heaped on our lives. I’m a lot more inspired and thoughtful and GRATEFUL now. My prayers are changing. Continue reading “THANKFUL THURSDAY (June 26)”→
There are a ton of academic studies showing how being grateful can help us be better in body and mind. I’m a bit of a geek, I’ve read a few of those academic papers because it interests me. And because I’m pretty sure it’s true.
But you know what? We can read until the cows come home, however until we start doingsome of the things we are reading about, what’s the point? Reading isn’t going to change us. Actions are. Which is why I was compelled to post this quote I stumbled upon today. Continue reading “THANKFUL THURSDAY”→