Thankfulness: the surprise

Day twenty-nine: I know there are many people who don’t like surprises; I’m not one of them. I love surprises. Planning them, being surprised, surprise parties, even just general knowledge of surprises – I love them all. (Scratch that, I love good surprises) I think they’re fun and exciting. They’re usually celebratory and for a specific purpose. They often lead to amazing memories and stories to share for years.
2013 brought its share of surprises to our family. Most were “bad” so they weren’t my favorite kind. From our Down syndrome diagnosis to David’s arrival a month early, we were blindsided and knocked over by surprise. But, we’ve made it through and we’re stronger. I’ve said that a million times already but really, our “bad” surprises have turned out good. Our lives are unexpected and not at all what we expected and surprising. But that is exactly what we signed up for. We said for better or worse and truly, through the worse, it’s gotten better.
I’m so grateful for this season, our lives and the continual surprises that keep coming our way. Keep the good ones coming!

IMG_1696.JPG
Baby number three – April 2015

Advertisements

Thankfulness: the Help

Day twenty-five: I’m so grateful for generous people. Some strangers, some new friends, some long-time friends, some family. There always seems to be people willing to give, to go beyond or to help when they aren’t required to. My life has been pleasantly changed & affected by people who were kind just for kindness sake. I’m so grateful to anyone who lends a hand, an ear, a hug. Thank you for all those who have been kind & helped us. We are so grateful for you.

Thankfulness: the Need

Day twenty-three: This morning, after church, Jason asked me what I wanted for Christmas/my birthday this year.  My birthday is in between Christmas and New Year’s and I always feel badly for my loved ones who have to worry about Christmas gifts AND birthday gifts during an already stressful, gift buying season.

I don’t know if it was my month-long focus on Thankfulness or the sermon we had just heard about being thankful and appreciating what we do have, but truly, I was at a loss.  There is not one thing I Need for Christmas or my birthday.  Truthfully, most years, I don’t Need anything, but I can always manage to come up with a decent list of wants.  This year, I’m at a loss.  I am feeling truly blessed and don’t need one thing, or even have anything topping my want list.  I am so incredibly grateful to have food in my belly, a warm place to sleep, clothes to wear and a means to get more of all of those things.  I have a family that would never let anything bad happen to me and friends that make life fun.  I am rarely bored, I am about to take a week long vacation and I have still have books I haven’t read and crafts I haven’t completed.  If anything, I have too much!  Honestly, I feel so overwhelming blessed in this season in my life that I could get warm socks for Christmas and be blissfully happy.  Actually, I’ll put that on my list for Jason because warm socks would make me very happy #chronicicytoes

If I have any influence at all, I hope that everyone who reads will be grateful for even one thing today.  We are SO blessed!  I’m thankful for this season and for all I have been given.

Thankfulness: the change

Day twenty-two: There have been so many changes in my life. From early childhood through my present life, either self-inflicted or as a bystander, there have rarely been constants. There have been times when the lack of a plan or an unknown future really bothered me. But, as I age, I truly enjoy the change & am always looking for something different. It drives Jason crazy because I always have hair-brained, impulsive ideas that I’m excited to run with and he has to talk me down to reality.
I am lucky to have weathered the unexpected & I don’t fear change the way I may have when I was young. I’m thankful to be able to go with change instead of fighting against it. Change has sometimes been forced on me & sometimes been of my own making, but I am so grateful for all the changes that have made up my life.

Thankfulness: what we can handle

Day nineteen: I read an article today about suffering & what we as humans can handle. I’ve written before about the well meaning things people have said to us on our journey. Much has been kindly ignorant (emphasis on the kind). When something is uncomfortable or foreign, it can be easy to say the easy or cliche thing, simply because you just don’t know. I know I have said my fair share of ignorant things about topics I knew nothing about in my life.
The article today focused on one cliche in particular, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” We’ve heard that many times over the past 19 months. But the reality is, sometime you do get more than you can handle. And it’s hard & scary & tough & you want to scream! But I’m willing to bet that there aren’t a lot of personal trainers out there who only give their clients what they can “handle” or teachers who only give their students exams that they’ll ace. Because fortunately, growth happens through the struggle. I don’t believe we were picked or destined to be parents of a child with Down syndrome or a strong willed child. I don’t think that we were already perfectly suited to be parents to these two. I believe we are working and struggling and growing everyday. I’m so grateful we’ve been given more than we can handle. What a blessing to be pushed and to survive.

Thankfulness: the joy

Day eighteen: Technically, I could write 30 posts about my children. But I don’t want to bore you. So I’m trying to mix it up a little & show all the little things about my kids that I’m thankful for.
Today, it’s the overwhelming joy that this little guy brings us & exudes. I know, “kids with Down syndrome aren’t always happy”. Then someone should tell David. He’s really almost always happy. What a joy he is to our lives! I’m so thankful for his happy nature.

IMG_1348-1.JPG

Thankfulness: the faithfulness

Day sixteen: I’m going to let the words of Matt Redman speak better than I could today (emphasis my own)

Never Once

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore well be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

I’m so incredibly grateful for the faithfulness of God throughout my life.

Thankfulness: the energy

Day fourteen: I may never say this again so read this closely. I am thankful for Ella’s energy. (Gulp, that was hard to type – it’s a double edged sword)
From the day she was born she has been excited, animated, stubborn, feisty & fierce. I knew early on that she was going to give me a run for my money. She is strong willed, passionate & has energy that should be bottled – we’d make a fortune!
Some days her energy exhausts me and frightens me for the future; I’m only going to get older! Other days I just sit back and observe. She is creative, fun, excited about everything & on the days I sit back and let her, she inspires me.
I am so glad God blessed me with the surprise girl I prayed for. She’s everything I dreamed of and nothing I expected. I’m so thankful for her.
Though she be but little, she is fierce.” William Shakespeare

IMG_1529.JPG

Thankfulness: the support

Day thirteen: Once a month I lead an Infertility Support Group. As a therapist, my specialty is Reproductive Mental Health so this opportunity to connect with women on their fertility journey is so important to me and I love it! I feel like each month I get as much out of our group as the ladies do. We all share, sometimes cry and at the end of our session, I think everyone feels like they are really understood for the first time in a long time.
We had our own reproductive journey with David & even now, I sometimes feel I have some PTSD from that pregnancy. Once you’ve experienced trouble conceiving, you join a new club & you have a different outlook on pregnancy and parenthood. But even if I hadn’t personally experienced what these women are going through, I can still “get it”. Support is an overwhelming thing. It can get you through your darkest moments and give you the added push to believe that it’s all going to be ok. At our core, humans are made to connect and we are prewired for companionship. I am so grateful that no matter my circumstance, I have always been surrounded by support. For as much as I have a love/hate relationship with social media, the connections I have made & the people I have “met” through Facebook groups or Instagram are invaluable. They have gotten me through some of my darkest days.
C.S Lewis wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” I have reread that quote many times this month because of its simple truth. That moment of connection is priceless. I’m so thankful for support at it’s deepest level and from every form.

Thankfulness: the plan

Day twelve: Yes, I had a topic to write about today, but things got derailed. I’m ok with changing course (sometimes)
Not every moment of every day is full of thankfulness. Some days the temperature is 5 degrees and the 7 minute drive to school takes 25 minutes and you just barely get home after an hour and a half on the road when daycare calls & says your little guy (who had been giggling and laughing not 2 hours before) is projectile vomiting. And on your way home from picking up the sick boy, you get into a fender bender due to snow & slick roads. So you exchange insurance information in the freezing cold & drive home with a dent in the door. And then you get home, get your sick one to sleep and you receive an uncomfortable email. You change the third outfit the sick baby vomited through and turn around and get back in the (dented) car to pick up your other sweet one. Then finally, relief! Your sweet husband brings home pizza to try and make the best of a not so awesome day & the whole family tucks in early on a cold, snowy night. But then you hear your four year old sobbing as she walks toward your room with an “I’m covered in throw up!” to discover that she is in fact covered. So a bath interrupts your early night and your fear of catching whatever is going around your house is far less than your eagerness to let your sick four year old snuggle in your bed for the night.
So yeah, it’s not always days full of thankful moments. But I am thankful everyday.