Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks 2013

Today is the day that I try to slow down and remember how truly lucky I am.  Even though it's Thanksgiving and everyone says what they are thankful for, I wonder how many people put their money where their mouths are?  I know for one that I do not entirely enough - I try but I can do better.  Below is a list of the things I am thankful for and what I can do better to make sure I am thankful for them for many years to come.

I am thankful for....

My Health:  I am overweight and I have been my entire life.  I came out at 10lbs 11oz and as far as I know I've never been skinny without extreme dieting or other health issues going on.  With all of that said, I'm relatively healthy.  I do have thyroid issues and hormone issues but neither of these are caused by being overweight - that I'm aware of.  With that said, I am so grateful that I do have my good health and I'm committed to getting to a healthy weight.  I've already lost 62lbs from my highest weight (without being pregnant) and I've started working out - walking and jogging mostly.  I am going to go to the YMCA on Friday and start a membership.  It is $1 to join and the month of December is FREE!  I've already scouted the classes that I would want to take and have a plan in place.  I'm very excited to add this to my workout schedule.  I'm also committing to eating more fruits and veggies - something that is super hard for me to do. I  want to know why it is so hard and just get to it.  It is after all the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.

My Family:  My husband and my children are my everything.  I am so grateful that we all have and love each other.  Even though everyone gets on my nerves at times - they are a true blessing.  I didn't date much in high school (because I was practically related to everyone!) and in college I was so focused on my school work that I just didn't get around to it - I know, lame, right?  So when I met my husband after going on many many 1st dates with random losers, it was like the heavens opened up and a gift was hand delivered to me.  Eleven and a half years later and we are still going strong!  I love him so much and he does so much for me and our kids.  Our kids were blessings that you just never sure will be bestowed upon you and even though they've given us a run for our money in several different ways, I wouldn't trade them for the world.  They are the best children ever and I'm not just saying that so they'll take care of me when I'm old and gray! I want to be more there more for them.  I want to slow down and take more time just to "be" with them.  They deserve it.

My Job and Our Income:  This spans just so many things that I am grateful for.  Both my husband and I have been employed our entire working lives. Yes there have been layoffs along the way, but nothing that lasted over a couple of months and that a severance didn't cover.  We are so lucky to have the jobs and careers that we do so we can support our family free from worry.  I also am so happy that I can use my income to help others.  I donate to a wide variety of funds (you can tell by how much mail I get from random organizations) each year and also am teaching my children to do this by donating gifts at Christmas time to Toys for Tots and non-perishable food items to the food shelf all year long.  These are tangible items that they help me shop for or collect in our home so they can actually see the giving happening.  When they are older with jobs, even though their incomes will be small, I will teach them that the more they give, the more they will have.  We are just so lucky!

Unlimited Food, Shelter, Clothes, and Warmth:  So many people do not have these basic necessities.  I've never had to budget our grocery shopping bill and do not know what it is like to have to choose between fresh fruit and laundry detergent OR worse yet, between food and heat.  Due to my grateful item above, myself and my family have always been covered on all of these fronts and for that I am eternally grateful.  So grateful that when I was at Wal-Mart last week, I saw a young mother with 4 children: 2 girls ages 5&4, a little boy who was just about 2, and a infant little girl - not even 1 yet.  It was about 20 degrees out with a -5 wind-chill.  Pretty cold.  They did not have coats, hats, or mittens.  The infant was dressed in a summer outfit and was covered with a worn thin blanket and the little boy had a short sleeve shirt on with shorts.  The rest of them had long pants, long shirts, and hoodies at least - but not enough to keep that kind of cold out.  My heart broke when I was watching them in line in front of me.  It wasn't until they were out of sight (yep they left the store that way) that I realized, I could buy them winter gear!  I hurried the cashier up who told me that they had just moved here and ran out to the parking lot.  I looked and looked but they were already gone.  I was so ashamed that I didn't stop her before she left the building.  I could have really helped and it pained me that I didn't have the courage to do this small task.  I have never known the cold like those children did that night and for that I am so grateful.  I am going to try to be brave and follow my heart in these situations.  I want to make a difference.

Our Support System:  This will be my last item for today as I plan on continuing this on Christmas Day and New Years Day.  I am so grateful for the support system that my family and I have.  Of course we still have our parents living (except for my mother) and my husband's parents are so good to us.  They take the kids any time they need us to and they are loving and giving - we all adore them.  We have good friends in our community who I know will be at our side.  My daughter (#1) has a friend from early days in daycare that I am very close with and they are a great support to me especially when it comes to having kids, navigating the school system, and other types of kid activities, etc....  We have met some amazing families through our Girl Scout troop that would be there for us in a blink of an eye if anything should happen to either of us or I just needed someone to talk to.  We also have fantastic friends that we've had since childhood.  My husband bowls with a friend from grade school and new friend (that he's now known for 10 years) and I know both of those men would be here for us if needed.  I have a dear friend from all the way back to 2nd grade who is always on the ready for me.  She is a true kindred spirit and I love her dearly.  I also know deep down in my heart that our neighbors and remaining community would rally for us as well. I've seen them do it as tragedy strikes our small-ish town.  They band together to help in a heroic fashion, it truly is amazing and that makes me feel like people here in our little space of the universe are really great people.  For all of these folks, thank you for always being there!  As for me, I want to make sure that people see me as someone that they can turn to for help, support, or a simple chat.  I want to be a part of your support system and I will make it a goal to let them know this.

That's it for today!  I am grateful for so many more things but for now these are the top items that I ponder on a daily basis and thank God for them.  We are truly blessed!  How are you blessed?  What are you grateful today on this bountiful Thanksgiving 2013?

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse

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