Seeing as how it's the formal day of the giving of thanks in our country today, I thought I'd pop in quickly and tell you 10 things I am grateful for…that might just surprise you. This exercise was a fun challenge I gave to myself to help me stop the mundane, and look beyond the typical. Sure, we're thankful for our family, health, job, nature, home…those are all wonderful and we should be grateful for them! But what about all the seemingly insignificant things we take advantage of on a daily basis? Here are my top 10:
P.S…I challenge you to make a list of your own and share it in the comments below! I'll show you mine if you show me yours 😉
P.S.S…sorry, this post is focused a lot on America. I love you to pieces, my international readers! I just didn't pay attention well enough in school to really know what goes down in many countries besides my own. Oops. But I love you and hope this inspires you somehow regardless! 🙂
What I am thankful for…
From baby bottles that don't break when you drop them, to hearing aids and umbrellas. Take a day to really notice how plastic has truly blesses our day-to-day lives. Sure, there are arguments about issues such as recycling, litter, and toxins. But really, you could find something negative about Heaven itself if you try hard enough. Think of the medical miracles performed with the help of plastic, and all of the conveniences that help us thrive every day. I am seriously so grateful for that random stuff! As well as silicone, rubber, and all those other crazy materials.
2. Public works
Street sweeping. Fluoride in our water. Regular garbage and recycle services. Public restrooms and garbage cans ANYWHERE you go. These are incredible luxuries our country provides us that many other countries can't enjoy. I spent time in India one summer. And trust me, the difference between having public garbage cans within 50 feet of you at all time and not, is very significant.
This one will probably surprise you! No, I'm not talking about a loan for a fancy new boat, or credit card debt because of Christmas shopping. But the fact that we can borrow money to pursue the American dream is incredible. In many other countries if you don't have the money, it doesn't happen. End of story. We don't have to save up our entire lives for a family car, or to start a little business, or buy a house. Our country has systems in place to help us borrow money to help us grow and progress personally, and as a whole. How that debt is managed in this country is a debate and discussion for a whole other day. But let's just focus on the positive and that we are able to borrow money, RESPONSIBLY is the key, to enrich our lives and the lives of others.
4. Air Traffic Controllers
To me, they are the unsung heroes in our lives. We see a pilot and flight attendants and can physically see how they assist us in the skies. But the ATC's are the true brains and pulse behind safe flying. They work day in and day out at a job that is sometimes stressful beyond comprehension, and other times boring beyond comprehension. Yet they do it, and do it well. My brother is one and trust me, it's just about the farthest from a cake walk that you can get.
5. Birth mothers
I have several friends who adopted children because they weren't able to have kids of their own. I can't think of an act more selfless and brave than to place a baby lovingly in the arms of a new family, out of doing what they feel is best for their child. I think birth mothers involved in adoption are some of the most selfless, incredible people on the planet and that there is a special place in heaven for them. Likewise, for the adoptive families who welcome a baby into their family and love them fiercely as if they had given birth to them personally. It is a special gift, and one that should never be ignored or understated.
Showering. Drinking. Cooking. Swimming. Sprinkler-running. Hot-tubbing. Car-washing. Flushing the toilet. We have access to clean, hot and/or cold, running water day or night, rain or shine, all year long…any time we need it. Do you have any idea how lucky we are? There are those in other countries who have to hike miles to fetch a single bucketful of water, and many times it's not even hygienically sound water at that. Other countries have to shower with their mouths closed so the water doesn't make them sick. We have the most gorgeous water available to us at any time…and it even has fluoride in it, for heaven's sake! Let's try not to waste any, eh?
Dang, what did we do before them? It allows leftover-freaks like me a much easier time feeding our families and saving us money!
8. Safe play
How amazing is it that we have safe, clean, organized places for our children and families to play, spattered across every city in our country?? City parks, national parks, school grounds, summer camps, play groups, after-school programs. In other parts of the world (and even places in our own country, sadly) there aren't safe places for kids to play, leaving them in the streets and not-so-good environments. Be grateful for all the safe places you and your child have to enjoy sports, talents, socialization, and activities that help shape them to who they are today.
9. Trials and hardships
The times that we grow the most are the times we are knocked to our knees. I'm grateful for every trial I have ever had in my life. No, they haven't been easy, nor fun. But each time I'm knocked down, I seem to be able to stand a little taller, and it takes me a little longer to get knocked down the next time. I'm a believer that you can't appreciate sweet until you've tasted bitter. Sometimes it takes a little kick in the pants for us to get our life on the right track, focus on what matters most (the gift of presence, anyone?), grow, change, learn, inspire others, humble ourselves, prove ourselves, or grow closer to each other. Whatever the trial, no matter how great or small, it's comforting to know that we all have them; no one is exempt. It's how we react to these trials that defines us – not the trial itself.
Not talking about the latest and greatest iPad app or cell phone gadget, here (though, those are definite blessings in my life, that's for sure!). Think of the leaps and bounds our world has made in the last 100 years due to technology! The medical miracles, the growth of information, the learning and discovery…it's incredible! We have endless amounts of information at our fingertips. We are so lucky in our country to have internet access basically anywhere we go. We can grow and strengthen relationships with people any time, anywhere. We can build, create, explore, and inspire wherever we want! I am especially grateful for technology because it has put you all in my life. We are all connected now, as a group; a unit (family unit in my book).
How amazing is it that, even though we aren't interacting face-to-face and might not even know each other, we are inspiring each other and potentially changing the course of each other's lives? I hope you can feel that you all inspire me every day – to be a better person, a better wife and mom, a better blogger, and a better thread in our society's tapestry. I love you all, and am so grateful for YOU!
P.S.S.S…no, for reals, play along! What are some surprising things YOU are thankful for? Leave a comment and share, I think we'll get a kick out of it!
P.S.S.S.S…banner made by my cute SIL, not me. I am grateful for crafty people who make things that I can awkwardly pose with in pictures so I don't have to hurt my head trying to do it myself.