Friday, December 24, 2010


It's Christmas time, right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and for whatever reason, it's been a particularly pensive, reflective season. Life is never easy or "perfect" (whatever THAT is), but I'm feeling especially thankful for some of the things that I often take for granted.
  • Life. It's a fragile thing, and not everyone gets a full, long one. I'm blessed to be alive to mother my children, torment my friends, harass my siblings, and enjoy the daily trials and wonders this world offers.
  • Health. Few of us have the fully perfect health we'd like, all of the time, but I certainly don't have room to complain. I can move and see and hear and sing and play, and I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
  • Family. Definitely one of my most extraordinary blessings. In fact, let's break this one up:
  • Parents. I have great parents. They each bless my life in a million little ways, on a pretty much daily basis. And I consider myself doubly blessed to also have a very kind stepdad and a generous, caring stepmom.
  • Siblings. All bajillion of them. My mom always told me that my brothers and sisters would be my best friends. I didn't believe her. I tell my kids the same thing. They look at me like I'm smoking dope (or would, if they knew what dope was. Which they don't). Apparently moms are right about this. I have amazing brothers and sisters. I'm proud of them, love them to pieces, wish for good things in their lives, pray for them & sometimes worry for them, and owe them more than I could ever repay for the endless love they give me.
  • Children. Often the source of most of my annoyances and petty frustrations, they are also the source of 90% of my gut-busting laughter and 99.9% of my daily hugs. Quick to forgive my numerous flaws, they are each delightful, bright, interesting people who I enjoy having in my life. So glad we have eternity!
  • Friends-who-become-family. This list could probably go on for miles and miles, as I am surrounded by incredible friends, soaked & saturated in good friendship from loving people. Girlfriends to giggle and party with, old friends & new friends, guy friends to hang with, work friends to make the days more interesting, church friends to serve and worship with, neighbors to chat with...I count my friends as some of the best evidence of how much God must love me.
  • Home. It's been a mixed blessing, being a homeowner again (can we say, endless and ongoing repair work?), but I adore my house. It's a good one. It's pretty much perfect for us right now.
  • Work. Everyone needs a way to pay the bills and indulge in some of life's little luxuries. I am richly blessed in having employment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally satisfying, socially rewarding, and worth getting up in the morning.
  • Books. One of life's chief pleasures since I was five years old. I can't imagine my life without books. Thanks to Alicia, I had two stay-up-until-4am nights this past week, but it was worth it. I polished off my second-to-last Jane Austen and am now working my way through David's contribution to my literary development, before tackling the most recent bequests from Holly. Life is good.
  • Art. I don't make nearly enough time in my life to indulge this gift. However, I did recently take the kids to an exhibit at a nearby museum, and while I can't speak for their experience, I was reminded once again how powerful beautiful art can be.
  • Music. If anything, this has been part of my life even longer than books--just ask my parents. I used to get in trouble because I wouldn't ever stop singing. 30+ years later I still haven't stopped. I finally have a piano again, after going the longest stretch of my life EVER without one (two whole years!!!), and Santa brought me a guitar (with some help from Luc, who restrung and tuned it the night before, only to have the kids do their own "restringing" and "tuning" the next day....sigh). Beethoven, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Johnny Cash, Mozart, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Cole--oh, oh, oh, that's another thing to celebrate--thanks (also) to Luc, I have new Natalie Cole!!!
  • Hot showers. I don't think that one needs any explanation.
  • Good food. It's a blessing to live during a time when we have the ability to preserve and store food in a range of ways, when an overwhelming variety of food is available at the grocery store, when all kinds of time and labor-saving devices allow us to enjoy good food without any real investment of time. I'm claiming even more specific blessings than that--I'm grateful for neighbors who bring boxes of fresh apples over, for lunch dates at Guru's (the-very-best-food-EVER) and La Jolla Groves (my new favorite thing), for affordable family dinners from Little Caesar's Pizza, for the fun of teaching my kids how to cook (hey, jello and cheese sandwiches still count as food!), and for Krispy Kreme just down the street.
  • Warm socks. I must be getting old, because this never would have made the grateful-list in my younger days.
  • Church. This could refer to many different things, and I'm grateful for each meaning of the word, but I'm feeling especially thankful for church as a community of believers, for the opportunity of communal worship, for the fellowship of the saints. It's a very good thing.
  • Pretty clothes. I may not have the greatest fashion sense, but I do like pretty clothes. And shoes. Proof that I am indeed a girl, there's just nothing quite like feeling fabulous.
  • IKEA. Enough said.
  • Testimony. Somewhat related to church, but focused much more on my personal relationship with God, I am blessed to have that relationship, to claim that personal and intimate knowledge that He is real, that I'm His child, that He has a plan for me and for every other person. There are many things I don't know, and many more that I don't really understand, but I do know God loves us. Know it deep down to my toes and woven tightly into my soul. This is the core that binds everything else together. My testimony carries me through the rough spots and makes the good parts even brighter and happier.
Happy Christmas!

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