Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratefully Yours

Oh me, oh my, how I LOVE Thanksgiving!

When my mind first drifts to thoughts about America's favorite food holiday my mouth starts to water as I imagine Parker's deep fried turkey, pumpkin pie (my favorite treat this week for some reason- Publix has some very yummy pumpkin pie on sale for $2.99!) along with the other yum yums at family gatherings.

Of course seeing family and catching up on some much needed hang out time is a priority above the treats we'll eat, but this season is also a fun one to share with my first graders.

Oh how they love to hear the story of the Mayflower coming to America. I have a funny book of Thanksgiving jokes that I read to them each year that would make your sides hurt from laughing so much! Oh and this year was even extra special because we had what we named a "Progressive Thanksgiving Feast" in first grade where we talked about how certain foods were prepared "then" and how we prepare them "now". It was all in an effort to create a sort of thankful attitude for the many conveniences we have now in this day and time. At the end of that eventful week, however, I told my kids that the only thing that truly mattered, the only thing that we should really spend our time on during the Thanksgiving season is thanking others and telling them why we are thankful for them (I wanted to say GOD too but it is a public school).

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season- which naturally is my and most people's favorite time of year (well with the exception of summer break- as a teacher that is definitely tied for first place)! I love that already in Target I hear Christmas music. It puts an extra skip into my shopping feet. Starbucks happily participates in the joyous celebration of the season with their ever enticing delicious mix of espresso and frappuccino holiday style drinks which I never successfully turn down.

Inhale, exhale...ahhhh... it's here again! Happy dance! The time of year when the world stops to love and laugh and recognize the important things. Simple lesson. Love and be grateful. Here's my prayer~ this Thanksgiving I may embody this: God, may I focus on what is truly important.

We have so many distractions in my life- little thoughts that want to steal our time and joy. We get to choose how I spend my time. I love God I'll spend my time honoring him by loving him and loving others around me.

So in celebration of Thanksgiving this week I'd like to name my blessings- count them one-by-one. My heart attitude this week, and for always I pray, will be one focused on gratitude for all the blessings I've been given and loving others around me in the way Christ has loved me.

"Count Your Blessings- Name Them One By One"
1. My God, my Heavenly Father, My Redeemer, My First True Love, My Healer: the one who rose me from the grave I created for myself, redeemed me, captured my heart, and gave me purpose and love. I live my life for Him.

2. My sweet, wonderful, and loving husband Parker Bailey. My life has changed in every wonderful way since I started dating him in May 2009. God has answered all my prayers for a life mate through him and I'm forever grateful that I get to spend my life with this amazing person.

3. My family: each person in it. I have a family of unique and fantastic individuals! They are beautiful in ways that I rarely see. I love them more than words and their friendship in my life makes every day brighter. We are such a cohesive unit!

4. My amazing friends: I have girlfriends and some guy friends who have stuck it out with me through dark places, the highest of mountains, and boring plateaus. :) These are the folks that see me for who I really am and can laugh at my goofiness and flaws and forgive my shortcomings and mistakes. You are like a fresh breathe of grace in my life.

5. My job- Even though my future plans are to work in a different position than first grade teacher I appreciate the gift that God has given me in this current situation. I don't feel that way everyday, but goodness it's true! When I break it down here's what I get to do everyday: I teach sweet 1st grade minds, hearts, and souls the information they need for their lives. I play mom, doctor, counselor, babysitter, mentor, instructor, interventionist, and disciplinarian. Kind of amazing!

6. My abilities and gifts that God has given to me.