Saturday, November 13, 2010

More 1-a-Day Blessings for November

November 11: I'm so thankful for the opportunities our kids have. Cameron's band concert was fantastic--I rushed there and barely made it after driving Ava to violin lessons and picking Noah up from volleyball. We are blessed to have so many ways to have fun and grow.

November 12: Friday night family movie night. Tonight: X-men Origins. Suitable family fare? I don't know...but you can't beat the feeling of the family squashed together on the couch!
November 13: I'm thankful for a fun and uneventful trip to town, one that resulted in me getting everything I needed without much bargaining!

November 14: My kids are all home, safe and sound. Ava is hosting her book club, Noah is drinking hot cocoa with his friend Ian and playing PSP, and Cam's vegging on the couch--he went to camp over the weekend, but then left via a driver with friends to come back to the winter formal. I'm thankful that so many of the pressures and influences that bombard kids in the States simply don't exist here. Of course, there are other challenges, but I find them much easier to deal with. I love these guys!

Novmber 15: I'm thankful for my home. With the news of the snow in Minnesota and the dropping temperatures here, we are so blessed to have a beautiful warm home. We are blessed to have a room for each child and lovely things to look at. I need to remember this more, especially when I get the "I wants" for more of I really need it?

November 14: I'm thankful for family meals together. When Mark leaves for a trip, his presence is missed most at dinner...the kids just stop even pretending to enjoy dinner after the first night. Even though there are crazy busy schedules in our house, we manage to eat dinner all together at 6:00 6-7 nights a week. ALL TOGETHER. That's fantastic!
November 15: I'm thankful for a slow start to the week. Cameron has no homework and neither does Noah! A blissfully RARE weeknight found us all cozied on the couch watching "Amazing Race." On a SCHOOL night! I think it's gonna be a good week.
November 16: I am thankful for a good night's sleep. In the worst throes of depression, I went weeks sleeping about 3 hours a night. Long before the Prozac kicked in, the sleeping pills made all the difference in the world! This year has been very stressful and I've had so many late nights! For the past two nights I've been able to get to bed before is so much better when you're rested!

November 17: I'm especially thankful for Thanksgiving. To detail what has gone down over trying to find 30 minutes in the next two weeks would be not only TMI but would likely involve snarking about someone, and snarking does NOT belong on the blessings post! Anywhoodle, I'm thankful because Saturday we will sit down to a fantastic meal (the first of at least 2 Thanksgiving dinners this year) with good food and good friends and that's fantastic. Now, if I could only find 30 minutes to see Harry Potter in the next 2 weeks...

November 18: I'm thankful for the professional opportunities that I have at work. At a time when so many people are struggling in the work force, I feel so blessed to have a job that I really love. And, since teaching gets so little respect so often and teachers struggle so hard in so many ways, to have opportunities for professional development are really not to be taken for granted. I'm going to a conference in February in Florida and almost all of it is covered by my PD fund (which I've been saving for a couple years now) and I'm so excited at the learning opportunities that I'll have.

November 19: I'm thankful for a truly wonderful friend who surprised me with a hilarious necklace as an early birthday present and who I'll have a chance to see in February when she visits me in Florida when I'm there!

November 20: I'm thankful for good friends and good food on this early Thanksgiving Day celebration. The house was warm, the food and wine were delicious, and the company was great. What more could you ask for?

November 21: I'm thankful for church, Harry Potter, and Kro's Nest pizza...sometimes the best blessings are found in routine everyday things. And, just for the record, it was fan...wait for it...tastic! We're heading back next Sunday with ISB friends to see it again--you gotta love a school where the PTA buys out an entire showing and then sells the tickets at school!
November 22: What else could be said on this day? After 23 years of marriage--and 29 years together--what could be a greater blessing than the love of a good man and a lifetime to share with him? Happy Annivesary, baby!
November 23: I'm home sick today and watched the very painful movie "Precious." I am so thankful for growing up in a peaceful, safe, predictable, family. I thought about how many thousands of children live lives like the characters in the movie and I'm counting my blessings.
November 24: Still home and very thankful that on the two days I've been feeling awful and Mark had evening commitments both nights--the school of a whole-lotta-homework mysteriously assigned very little for Ava and Noah on those two nights! THANK YOU.

November 25: How many times do you get official days to be thankful for your husband? Today is Mark's birthday--he's the biggest blessing in my life, and he deserves many more days dedicated to what a terrific husband, father, and human being he is. Look at that face--what's not to love? Besides that goatee, of course--I can't wait for Movember to end!

November 26: Ugh. What a week. I'm so thankful it's FRIDAY. Really, that's about all I can come up with.
November 27: I'm thankful for wonderful morning shopping at the Christmas Charity Fair with Ava--she's such a great date! I'm also thankful for older boys that can spend a few hours unsupervised so I can go--although they don't seem to know how to feed themselves yet!

November 28: A wonderful night listening to Ava and her choir sing at the Lido for the tree lighting ceremony. And, getting to know her Finnish friend Alva's father more while we waited for the girls to finish their dinner. And, listening to Ava and Alva madly giggling all the way home while trying desperately NOT to giggle.

November 29: So thankful that our cat, Mao, is still with us. Due to Mark's apparent difficulties in recognizing our cat from some other cat laying on the road, it was a very hard morning full of tears but a wonderful evening as we watched him (Mao, not Mark) sneak turkey off the table. I'd much rather have a mistaken husband than a missing cat!
November 30: A month of recognized blessings! How many special moments slip away because we put our time and energies toward the negative? They say it takes 30 days of doing something before it becomes a habit. I'm going to try to actively recognize the positive for another 30 days until January 1--hopefully, I'll have retrained my tendencies toward the negative in a more positive direction.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November Blessings--1 a Day, Baby, Just like Vitamins

Being in a bit of a funk lately--Mark will be gone for a month of weekends (VERY uncool) and work is crazy and the weather's's time to focus on blessings. So here goes. One blessing a day for 30 days. I like this cartoon about blessings on the moment--it's those momentary blessings that put the spark in the day and add up to the joys of life.

I'm just going to add one a day here--if you're willing, let me know if you're doing it on your own blog...or be willing to post your blessing a day in the comments section.

November 1: I'm thankful for the opportunity to live overseas. It's demanding and comes at a cost, but our kids go to one of the top schools in the world, and I have a housekeeper. Oh, and we get to travel and see truly amazing things. Over at Derfwad Manor Mrs. G asked people where they would want to go if they had a pile of money handed to them. Places listed: African safari, the pyramids, the Great Wall, Glacier National Park, Angkor Wat...places I've been blessed to see with my family.

November 2: I'm thankful for Noah's essay in humanities. He read the book Seedfolks by Paul Fleischer and is currently writing another chapter for the book in the same pattern (each chapter was a different person and a different story, with all the stories centered around the development of a community garden). He has worked so hard and with enthusiasm. And, he's really got an excellent chapter--good ideas, good execution.

November 3: I'm thankful to be an American. I didn't vote in this round (boo) but one of the things about living overseas is that you see the best and the worst about America in new ways. I'm constantly reminded about the freedoms we enjoy--and all the assumptions I make as I go through life because of them. Living in countries where those freedoms don't exist (and knowing they wouldn't exist for me if I ever got in trouble) makes me really appreciate our freedoms, and those who stand to protect them.

November 4: I'm blessed to have my husband. He never stops trying at anything. He sets impossibly high goals for himself and achieves most of them. He is always positive and sees God working so clearly in his life. It's intimidating and inspiring! He keeps our family heading in the right direction, something that I couldn't do on my own. I love him so!

November 5: I am grateful for our ayi, Xiao. Lord knows how fortunate I am to not have to do laundry or cleaning or cooking! But it really is more than just having a sparkly house. Most things take longer and are less efficient here--my washer only holds about a 1/3 of my American washer and 1 wash cycle takes 45 minutes! If I had to do those chores, it would be a huge burden over here with working and momming. Xiao comes every day and works hard, always with a smile. I can count on her completely. Because of her, I have peace in those areas. I have the time to spend with my kids on their homework. I have a house that is neat and (mostly) organized so we all feel comfortable. She doesn't just make our lives easier...she really does make our lives better.

November 6: I'm thankful for small moments of peace in a busy life. Today Noah is at camp, Ava and Mark are camping, and Cameron is at jazz practice. I've learned long ago not to feel guilty about how I spend that precious time. Right now I'm just watching TV. And loving it. There is a joy in being able to just do nothing for a little while.

November 7: I'm thankful for my children's friends. They have always had friends that have come from families that shared similar values (if not in our faith, in our common sense and parenting styles). Their friends have brought out wonderful qualities in them--and, I hope, ours have done the same for them. Cameron's friends will leave at the end of this school year, and I think I will miss them as much as he will. They are a really wonderful group of quality kids. Now that we are well into these teen years, friends like his provide amazing peace of mind to parents!

November 8: I'm thankful for Capital One and their incredibly annoying policy of freezing my credit card every. single. time. I use it overseas. Plus they only let Mark call and straighten it out. Today we got a notification that someon in the Czech Republic has twice tried to make a $2600 purchase. We had to send a photocopy of the card to a place we were staying in Cambodia and I was worried that something might happen. Luckily they caught it and notified us. New cards on the way, all is good!

November 9: Today has been a hard hard day and everything I start sounds phony. I'm not feeling the blessings, even though they are all around me. A friend of mine's mother has had cancer and she had to fly home a couple weeks ago for a health scare. She just returned this week from her funeral. Because of time and distance, having the whole family go back for the funeral just wasn't possible. I am thankful that I am not at that place. Our parents are strong and healthy for their ages and, while I think about the days that will come, I am thankful they aren't here yet.

November 10: I am thankful for my job. Teaching is a so demanding and teaching at ISB pushes me so hard in so many ways. I am thankful that I can do a job that I love--I can' imagine doing anything else. I am thankful to be in a school with such terrific resources. I am thankful to have a job in these times!