Giving Thanks

Life happens and blog writing, unfortunately, falls to the wayside. However, since my mother requested a blog for her birthday, it’s time to stop slacking and return to my keyboard.

In the interest of honesty, today is a day that I have been dreading for quite some time. I’ve never spent Thanksgiving away from my immediate family ever. I’ve only spent one Thanksgiving sans this one without being with the vast majority of my extended family as well.

I love Thanksgiving. I love gathering around the table with my people. The laughter, the good-natured bickering, the food, and the love make my heart happy and my stomach full. There is usually a somewhat haphazard football game, delicious pies, snuggles on the couch, card games, and the general craziness of a family coming together. It’s mass chaos. I love it.

I do not love being an ocean away on Thanksgiving. It stinks. It really, really stinks.

That being said, it does not do to dwell on what cannot be, especially on day that is all about being thankful. So instead of being miserable, here is a far from inclusive list of things I am thankful for this year.

  1. God. Doesn’t it make your heart skip a beat when you realize that we have a God that not only loves us beyond comprehension, but delights in our very existence? I might be far away from my family and my home, but I am never far from God. He is with me wherever I wander—guide and companion. Thank goodness .
  2. My family. These people sometimes drive me absolutely bonkers, but they have always got my back. They always answer the phone, the text, or the email. I know that if I ever need them (and sometimes when I don’t) they will show up. Why God decided to stick me with them I will never know, but I’ll always be grateful.
  3. My friends. These are the family that I chose. These are the people that keep me in-check whenever I start to get too stuck in my own head. They laugh with me and at me. They also pick up the phone to text or call me. They offer me perspectives that are different than my own. They challenge me. They support me.
  4. Ireland. The last few months have been the chance of a lifetime. I’ve learned and seen so much. After not studying abroad at SMU, I thought I would never get the chance to study-abroad. When this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. I definitely don’t regret it.
  5. Running. Y’all I love it and hate it, but as long as I have two legs and no serious injuries I’m going to keep doing it. When I run I feel more at peace and more centered than at any other time (unless I am watching P&P with my mom with hot chocolate and popcorn).
  6. John and Charles Wesley. Before I go to sleep, I’ve taken to either reading a sermon or a hymn by one of the Wesleys. I love this newly developed habit. I love how hymns can teach difficult theological truths in a few stanzas instead of few hundred pages.
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I just finished re-reading The Hobbit. I could turn around and re-read it a million more times. Tolkien and Lewis are just two of the authors that have shaped me. Their words stay with me long after the cover of the book as been closed and placed back on their shelf until the next time eager hands pick them back up.
  8. School. The end of my formal education is coming to the end. Thank goodness! I’m ready to walk across that stage, accept my diploma, and step into the next season of my life. However, this season isn’t over yet and I intend to enjoy every minute. I’m humbled by the opportunities that I have been given and I hope I have not wasted them.
  9. Tea and Coffee. No explanation needed.
  10. My Grandparents. My paternal grandfather passed away when my father was seven. My paternal grandmother—Grandma Ene—passed away when I was four. My maternal grandfather—Grandpa—passed away 18 months ago. My maternal grandmother has Alzheimers and lives in a long-term care facility. I miss them all. I miss the one I never knew. I miss the one I barely remember. I miss the one who knew me best. I miss the one who doesn’t remember. And, yet, I am thankful for them. They shaped my parents. They shaped me. They are gone or going, but I am still here. They left legacy that I will try my best to follow. It’s the least I can do for the people who have given me more than I will ever truly know.

I could go on. The list of things—big and small; serious and silly—that I am thankful for is rather extensive. However, y’all have Turkey to eat and family to tease, so ten things will suffice.

Have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. May your day with friends and family be blessed with more memories and laughter than you can possibly remember. Those are the best days.

Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today. – Martin Rinkart, Now Thank We All Our God

Most of my Crazy, Wonderful Family (Grandpa’s 80th Birthday–July 2015)

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