Gifts

Choosing gratitude has been a theme in life lately. Cynicism and a disposition of complaint can be easy to slip into without realizing how poisonous they’ve become to my soul. I’m pressing into gratitude, seeing life as the gift that it is, even on hard days. Today I’m grateful for…

…eggs. I’m not sure there’s a more perfect food. I love eggs. Our family goes through two flats of eggs a week (30 eggs per flat). I seriously love eggs.

…chirping birds. I hear you, small heralds of creation in the midst of all the honking, hollering and blaring music. Thank you.

…grace for sleepless nights with sick babies. I know people were praying for me because I was more patient and capable than my own resources allow for.

…riding a metro. I love public transportation. I especially love it with kids who think a metro is better than a roller coaster. I love the small human kindnesses, like when people shift and create space for older riders or moms with babies (me!) or the disabled.

…”number one” (nothing about potty training). I love the little English phrases that become part of the vernacular of other cultures. Here one such phrase is “number one.” We’ve had so many taxi drivers tell us they are “number one.” Our favorite also told us his name is Crazy Mustafa, and we call him Crazy Mustafa Number One, which he seems to love. I hope one day I’ll have time to write about our most memorable ride with him, which included doors flying open in the middle of a roundabout and tools falling off the roof at full speed.

…watercolor painting with my kids. We took time to paint together last night. Even having a few moments to create beauty together is such a gift.

…hot tea. I’m not sure what I’d do if I had to pick between hot tea and eggs.

…frozen lemonade. Yesterday Joel and I squeezed a lot of lemons and made our kids lemonade slushies. Tart and sweet enough, they cut through 100 degrees and make me feel refreshed.

…running water. The water here cuts out enough to make running water seem wonderful and not enough to need big water barrels as Plan B. It’s great. Ditto for the electricity. Nothing like a few hours of no power to make a cold fridge feel like a miracle.

…the Nose Frida. This little invention replaces the bulb syringe for infants and babies too young to blow their noses (as a side note, it’s pretty amazing all the things we’ve learned in life, including how to blow our noses! I had no idea that was a learned skill until I was a parent.). It’s life changing. Thank you, Laura and Teague. If you need a go-to baby gift for new babies, get this. Parents will think fondly of you on their hardest nights.

…purpose. I’m reading a very interesting book called All Joy and No Fun. The author writes about how children impact parents (rather than the more typical reverse). One of her points is that modern day parenting is challenging because we don’t know exactly what we are preparing our children for. While I understand and even agree with her point, I’m grateful for a larger sense of purpose that my faith gives me because my long-range plan for my life and for my parenting decisions are grounded in something larger than my kids’ happiness or human success. I can not control the outcome of their lives and I don’t actually want to (anymore. Most days.) But I can make my choices rooted in love for God and love for others, which takes away a lot of the challenge the author writes about.

…my preschooler’s outrageous quotes. Just yesterday, she asked me why I was treating her like a rat. I have no idea what she was talking about, as I was making her dinner at the time. Pretty unratty, in my opinion. How she makes me laugh.

These are just a few of the gifts I’m grateful for today.

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