Only at 20….but still counting

Dude I’m only at 20. Still 980 more items to be grateful for. At this rate I think it’s going to take me a really long time. I need to practice the habit of looking for and expressing my thanks on a daily basis.

20. Natalie singing “I’m so proud of myself” a million times on repeat. It was her one-line, made-up song to congratulate herself on the H-U-G-E accomplishment of learning how to tie her shoelaces today. Watching her carefully study my fingers as I showed her how to “make the bunny ear” and tie the other lace around it, and then watching her face so intensely focus on her fingertips as she tried to follow through with all the steps on her own……awwww……..pure awesomeness for my mother heart. Today I bought her Hello Kitty pink sparkly shoes at Target. I told her she’d need to promise to try to learn to tie shoelaces if we got these shoes. And she sure kept her promise! Tonight she asked me to please, please teach her. And she sat there with fierce determination to learn and master it! I didn’t expect her to learn it so fast. I have one smart cookie! Actually, one very, very, very proud, smart cookie. 🙂 She giggled and sang her one-line song to herself in bed, over and over and over again. Oh the joy of seeing a child relish the pure adrenaline of sweet success and accomplishment. 🙂 Thankful for her determination. Thankful for how quickly her 5-year old mind understood and successfully worked out the steps of tying her shoelaces for the very first time!!!!!

21. After we bought two pairs of shoes at Target for Natalie (the one pair of Hello Kitty with shoelaces and another pair of fancy black shoes for the upcoming Christmas Dinner/Dance we’re going to), then we headed off to the mall together. Just Natalie and I. She was in sweet heaven, having just received two pairs of shoes and now strolling hand-in-hand with Mama into a mall. We never do that- just go to the mall. Our intention was the Hallmark Store, to buy a card for her music teacher. But both of our eyes caught sight at the pretty dresses hanging in the windows of the adjacent store. I had hoped to purchase a dress for myself for this dance we’re headed to. I’ve worn the same skirt/top combos to the past 5 or 6 of these Fameja Veneta events. It was SUCH a thrill having Natalie help me shop for a dress. She was so very opinionated about some. I would hold up a dress and she would make this sour-looking face and say “Noooooo!!!” She said it so emphatically and delivered the opinion with the most scrunched up face of disgust that I couldn’t help but just soak in her adorable cuteness and love every moment. She’s only 5 and yet she has very, very strong opinions about clothing. It seriously cracks me up. I was thankful for that time spent perusing clothing racks together. But the real clincher is when I tried on the dress we had both decided was best……and she let out this beautiful “awwwwwwww” sound and then said in the sweetest, gentlest voice “Ohhhh Mama you look like a model!!!!!!” It was as if the sight of me in this dress swept her off her feet and carried her away into this land of sheer beauty. I felt gorgeous. To hear her exclaim her awe of me in this dress, caused me to forget every bulge and pound I struggle with. Thank you Natalie for that gift of your “awwwwwww” today.

22. Thankful that today Jacob chose to be a good guy. Intentionally. For the past couple of weeks during lunch time there have been two teams of guys that play football at school. The Core 1 kids with Xavier against the Core 2 kids. Jacob has always wanted to be a part of the Core 2 team because they’re the team that always wins; he is competitive, deep down to his core, just like his mama and daddy. We’ve talked about the importance of being the good guy who shows greater concern about being a nice friend than about winning. So today he joined his friend Xavier on the team with the kindergartners. He cared more today about his friend Xavier than about being on the team that scored more points. I am thankful that God’s Holy Spirit tugged on Jacob’s heart just as I had prayed. Thankful that God heard my prayer. Thankful that the Holy Spirit tugged. Thankful that Jacob responded to that tug. Thankful that God is alive to hear my prayers and move/shape/mold my son when I’m not there to help Jacob make good decisions.

23. Thankful for friends who pray for me and text me and hug me. Thankful that they know me and my struggles. Thankful they are in my life and are concerned about me and that I can confide in them.

24. Thankful for my husband and how hard he works.

25. Thankful for my husband’s sweet care and concern for Annie and Charlie this weekend. He gave them their much needed baths. But because it was cold outside and he was worried they wouldn’t dry in time before the evening, he crouched down on the driveway and blow-dried their fur. Seeing my manly man holding our small Conair blow dryer, lovingly drying our dogs’ fur- that’s ‘melt-my-heart’ material. Thankful for his caring concern.

26. Thankful for my husband’s humor. We decorated a Christmas tree this weekend and as is always the tradition- he tried to place the “Annie” yellow dog ornament in some location of prominence on the tree. Annie is his favored dog- so he always wants to make sure that Annie takes some form of priority in the decoration of our tree. Ha! It’s hilarious. So when I woke up Sunday morning to find Annie in the hands of the angel adorning the top of our tree, I couldn’t help but laugh. Of course he would. That’s the way he is. Annie would of course be up in the angel’s arms. Oh my goodness! And now the Annie and Charlie ornaments sit at the manger scene. Not sure if that was Steve’s doing or Natalie’s. But nonetheless those two dog ornaments have brought much laughter over the years.

27. Thankful for books. Thankful for our local libraries. Thankful for Jacob and Natalie’s deep desire to hold and treasure stories. Thankful for the way they each snuggle up very close against my arms and shoulders when we sit together on the couch. They press their bodies into mine as I unfold the stories with my voice. I love those moments. I love how many hundreds and thousands of books we have read over the past few years. I should have created a spreadsheet years ago, just entering the number of books we check out weekly. Just this week we had 90 library books checked out, sitting on the floor next to the piano in stacks. Thousands of books have been held in my hands and their hands. Beautiful illustrations. Rich texts. Journeys to faraway places and different times. Stories of bravery. Stories of care and concern. I remember the first couple of times I checked out books, when Jacob was just a tiny thing, and I had this germaphobe view of the books. The book covers seemed so sticky and filled with germs. I imagined someone in an unkempt dirty home or children with dirty hands holding these same books. And so I felt like I was bringing uncleanly books into my home. I remember wanting to wash my hands after reading the books to Jacob. I wanted to prevent those unknown, unseen germs from rubbing off into our lives. And, yet, now that concern seems so distant. Now I’m just abundantly thankful for the thousands of books we have had access to. And the thousands of books that have enriched my children’s imagination and understanding of the world. They are treasures that have kept us saving hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. We seriously would have been broke by now if we would have had to buy books to keep up with the voracious appetite my two kids have for reading.

28. Thankful for the focused, concentrated faces of my children as they were building robotic alligators out of LEGOs. Yesterday we were able to enroll them in a robotics class at LegoLand. That class was awesome! Seeing their concentration and zest for completion was awesome! Hearing Jacob explain to the instructor his understanding that gears of the same size turn at the same speed, but gears of different sizes turn at different speeds. The smaller gear, he explained, needs to turn faster because it makes more turns in the same time it takes a larger gear to make its full circular turn. So a gear half the size of a larger gear, would move twice as fast as the larger gear. I sat there with my jaw open. Seriously? My kid knows this? And seriously? He can explain it so well. I was thankful for the smarts of my kid. 🙂

29. Thankful that Jacob has such an awesome best friend in Jack.

30. Thankful that Natalie has such a sweet best friend in Miriam.

31. Thankful that Miriam’s mom invited me to do homeschool with her at their home. Thankful for her invitation and her offering to let us in, into their life. Thankful for the opportunity to develop friendships with people from Natalie’s class. Thankful to see Natalie in all her sweet girlness, playing and story-telling and being girly-silly with her sweet friend Miriam. Thankful to get to see her in the full glory of all that within her is girl. I saw a different side of Natalie that I don’t normally see when she is with her brother. I could see in Natalie and Miriam’s friendship and the way they interacted, the genuine joy and beauty that comes from two girls hanging out together. It was such a happy picture.


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