I'm thankful for...
-The beginnings of a fresh coat of paint on the walls--it will probably be a work-in-progress for a while, but the sunny glow of the new olive-green tone is already promising extra warmth for these long, dark winter months.
-A new bookshelf expectantly bare and beckoning with possibility.
-Colored popsicle sticks, a box of fresh markers and fuzzy pipecleaners that make perfect butterfly antennas.
-Eowyn's favorite request: "I want to malen ("to paint" in German) with you, Mama!"
-My two favorite round little faces covered in marker-ink and paint.
-A conversation with a far-away friend in a dream.
-Prints of my artwork, lovingly packaged and waiting by the door--and a "shipping assistant" (my husband) who faithfully delivers them to the post office.
-Purchasing a Christmas tree at half-price before Christmas!
-A gleeful husband who keeps asking if I want to open my Christmas present early.
-Finally getting to light the fourth candle in the Advent wreath!
-Watching a favorite movie translated into German--it feels new again!
-Remembering why I grew up loving country music--I'm really enjoying Vince Gill's album, "Guitar Slinger."(Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!!).
-December, and a handful of pink roses--dusted with the first snow of the winter--still smile up at me from the neighbor's arbor below.
It's been a while, but I started counting again, adding these thing and others to my list of 1,000(+) gifts.
It's not that I haven't been thankful. Well, of course there are always moments when I'm selfish and not thankful enough. But I know I have so much to be thankful for, and I am thankful. Sometimes I just get into a rut, when it's like I'm talking myself into being thankful and trying to convince myself that I have joy--the feelings just aren't bubbling up from my heart.
Do you ever feel that way? Like sometimes you'd rather just be dissatisfied? It's easy to do (for me, anyway) because although I usually know what the right thing to do is, I like to let my feelings get in the way. Maybe it's just that I like the drama? I say, "I'm thankful, I'm thankful, I'm THANKful, I'm THANKFUL, I'M THANKFUL..." until I'm saying it through gritted teeth and feeling the very OPPOSITE of thanks!
Here's the subtle difference: saying "I'm thankful" is NOT always expressing the same sentiment as saying, "thank YOU." Because when I thank HIM, the focus is not on my attitude--"look at me and how thankful I am!" (said in a Nellie Olsen voice). When I say thank you to my Father, who provides what He knows I need at the very moment I need it (or withholds what He knows I don't need, even when I whine like my two-year-old), my focus is on the promise of His GOODNESS--even when my little self doesn't always understand.
What I love about Christmas is that it's the time of year when my heart truly is overflowing. Lately, the thankfulness has come easy. I have been loving this time of Advent--really slowing down and trying not to get caught up in the feeling of a Christmas "deadline." Lots of crafting with the girls in our cozy apartment that starts to twinkle with lights starting around 3pm or so. (It starts getting dark here around 3:30!) A few little presents purchased online, a couple of packages I'm slowly filling with goodies...Christmas cards still waiting to be sent (most likely, for New Year)! No Christmas tree yet--been waiting until after the last Sunday of Advent and Winter Solstice. Ingredients lined up on the counter for the Christmas baking to commence this week. We're just getting warmed up to enter into the Christmas Spirit full-swing!
Linking up at Ann's with others who count gifts. Hope you're feeling warm and thankful too!