Well folks, the turkey has been carved (who are we kidding - demolished) until nothing but a carcass is left and people in America slept last night in tyrtophan and carb induced comas. We spent the day saying "Happy Thanksgiving" to one another and being thankful for an entire 24 hours. But, it seems to me, that is not enough.
I love Thanksgiving - it is my favorite holiday because it is centered around being with family and sharing a meal and fellowship and that's it. I hate Black Friday - because I think it taints the whole idea of Thanksgiving. People spend a day being thankful and then slam into the stores to see how much crap they can load up with for Christmas. The Wise Men brought three gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh. They did not attend a Black Friday sale to purchase these items, they were of quality, not quantity. Now, don't misunderstand me. I enjoy a nice Christmas gift as much as anyone else, but I find as I get older, I just don't want people to spend the money on "things" for me. I beg people NOT to buy me gifts, as does my husband, and give them the solace that whatever they wanted to get us, they should spend on CJ - because the commercialism of Christmas has turned it into a children's holiday. Truthfully, I think it has always been if you don't understand the miracle of Jesus Christ. Thankfully, I do.
But, that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about being thankful, the day after Thanksgiving.
I've thought, this morning, of the things I am thankful for. While this is NOT in anyway a conclusive list, these are the ideas that came to mind as I went through my devotional today. The line of reading that really caught my attention was, "Most people ask God for things they already have...God has given us spiritual blessings which are the reality behind physical blessings, they are the cause of the physical manifestations." Yep - that sounds about right.
1. God - I am thankful for my Lord and Savior. He blesses me beyond measure, forgives me every time I make a huge mistake or doubt him, doesn't seem to judge me by my horrible sailor mouth from time to time, and continues to provide me with a life worth living. He is the say-all-be-all of the rest of this list. It is with him and through him that I have anything else in my life.
2. My parents - this includes my family-in-law, too. My parents and Jerry's parents are so supportive of us. So proud of us. So willing to see us the extra mile and love us beyond measure. Not everyone has this kind of support from their parents. I watch, with a broken heart, mass amounts of children whose parents really just don't care. Jerry, nor I, have ever had to deal with such heartache. We are blessed, we are thankful. We pass this love and devotion onto our son, CJ. He is loved and supported, too.
3. My family - Jerry and CJ. Yes, they are amazing. I don't know that elaboration isn't necessary here. I brag about them all the time. They are the first thing I pray for every morning, the last thought in my head every night. I am a truly blessed woman.
4. Kellie Raymond - now, to name a person so specifically is sometimes hard to do, but not with Kellie. This last year, through all of her struggles, she has been a true testament of faith to me. A living embodiment of Christ himself and all the beauty that comes with this. Through her I have been able to see the light at the end of any tunnel I enter, and I am so thankful for the years of friendship we've had and continue to have. God has used our bond over the years to be there for one another, to teach each other, to comfort, to listen, to argue, to mend.
4b. Friends - Tons of people that enter my life on a daily basis. Parents I've met through students (Cindy and Raffaela) that support me in my job making each day bearable. Wives of soldiers, co-teachers, high school buddies (Emily - you've been a true treasure!), and illustrious FaceBook connections. And sometimes I'm thankful for those that exit my life. God knows when we need to part ways, and his timing is always perfect. I want to list everyone's name here, but it's simply not possible - if I love you, I assure you, you know it! :-)
5. Books - yes, books. I love them. The stories they tell, the power of words, the imagination in the pages. I could spend hours just reading and be so happy to do so. I am thankful for authors that pen literature to fill my soul.
6. Writing - with books, comes writing. I am thankful for my ability to write. It has not always been present (as my mother could strongly attest to - if she'd be my HS English teacher, I would have failed). After years of teaching English and developing my desire to read more, God blessed me with the desire to write. It is also a curse because being a writer is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.
7. Running - really any form of exercise. Today my knee is killing me due to the 5K I ran yesterday. It hurt for the last mile and I pushed it anyway knowing full well the pain I'd feel today. And yet, I'm here, still kickin'. I need a brace for that knee, that's all. But, the pain doesn't diminish my desire to keep my body healthy - the strength I feel when I finish a task of physical exertion be it running, Turbo Fire, yoga, or a walk around the block. Taking care of my body makes me better all around.
8. Being gainfully employed (for now) - I want to say I love my job, but that's not true and people probably know it all too well right now. But, notwithstanding, I am still grateful for being gainfully employed because in this economy, that it certainly something to be thankful for.
9. My dogs - they are warm, snugly, bundles of love. They make me happy and drive me crazy all at the same time. All dog owners understand this. If you don't love dogs, I'm not sure we can be friends.
10. Food - I'm a closet foodie. I love it all, from coffee to chocolate to red meat to sushi. And everything in between. Sometimes I wish I'd gone to culinary school, sometimes I remind myself it's not too late to do that. Ahh - the world of "someday" - I'm thankful for it, too.
There's my top-ten list. There are so many other things I'm thankful for - clothes and fashion and hair dye and boots. Physical things and spiritual beauty. Summer and Winter, Spring and Fall. The birds in the sky, the fish in the sea. There is just so much out there to to thankful for!