Day 21 – 30 Days of Thanks

Yesterday was a special holiday, and though we didn’t spend time in recognition yesterday, our family took a moment to celebrate it today. What holiday was this? Well, that is where today’s list will begin:

5 Things I’m Thankful for today:

1. National Ice Cream Day – really, I’m thankful for ice cream every day, but July 20 has this special designation. Mmmm, ice cream!

2 ice cream shops – today we visited a lovely, unique ice cream parlor, Oink’s Dutch Treats, where one special treat is a chocolate chip cookie bowl with scoops from their menu of a myriad of mouth-watering flavors (My favorite hometown cool treats are from Ivanhoe’s, of course. :)

3. small businesses – I love to see little spaces where people have set up beautiful, successful shops that cater to unique audiences! We discovered such a spot today, where myriads of colors and textures of yarns were sold, and our daughters excitedly sorted through the offerings. What a perfect place to spend “birthday money.”

4. sunsets over the lake – and a day like today with blue skies by day certainly allows for a stained glass look in the evening.

5. agenda-free time of rest – being able to enjoy a restful, unscheduled day to visit new places, read books, play games, chat with family… days like this are few and far between, and I am very thankful for them!

Day 20 – 30 Days of Thanks

Wow – two thirds of my thirty-day journey are past – it’s hard to believe! So today I’ll take the time to highlight five things that didn’t get mentioned yet, though there may have been days I wanted to. (I tend to go on and on and on, so it’s good for me to have that limited list of five each day.

5 things of thanks from various times – today or last week or last month, finally having their moment of recognition:

1. finishing a really good book – even if it makes me cry. I just finished The Book Thief   last week, and I wept at the end, but this was okay.

2. Mackinac Island - We had never been to Macinac Island before, the spot where my parents celebrated their honeymoon 49 years ago, so it was fun to visit for our 20th anniversary! Very beautiful, and “quaint” was the most accurate descriptor we could pinpoint. :)

3. scones – fresh ones made by my loving sister-in-law – yum!

4. extroverts and introverts -  Being more of an introvert myself, I am so thankful of the spectrum of personas that populate our lovely world!

5. electric lights -  This is so something that I take for granted daily; I appreciate the ability to light up a room with the flick of a switch! I know that those switches don’t magically cause the luminescence to emerge, but talented electricians have strung rubber-coated copper wires to complete a circuit and send a signal to a glass-enclosed bulb of some sort… rather cool, I must say.

Day 19 – 30 Days of Thanks

On a lovely, packed day like today, it can be hard to narrow down a list of any kind, but I’ll give it a try. :) So here is my attempt:

5 things of thanks today!

1. reliable transportation – when our family travels even a short distance, we continue to be blessed by a family minivan that gets us where we need to go… not to mention the driver! (a rather dashing fellow, if I do say so myself…)

2. audio books – particularly ones with talented readers! Our family has particularly enjoyed Harry Potter series, as read by Jim Dale. He does such a wonderful job portraying each of the character voices! 

3. fresh rhubarb pie – my brother lifts his nose and calls it “celery pie,” but I still find that there’s nothing quite like this special treat. Add a scoop of ice cream, and I’ll sometimes choose this rather than chocolate cake. Really!

4. watching the magic of crochet – I remain amazed that what starts as one large skein of yarn at 7:30 in the morning can be a sweater before 11. Em, you’re awesome!

5. adult siblings and their spouses – If you’d told me thirty years ago that I would love and appreciate my brothers, their wives and children this much, I’m sure an eye roll have been part of the response… and perhaps a bit of disbelief. But as time moves on, I certainly appreciate family all-the-more! (Even when they fail to appreciate good pie.)

 

 

Day 18 – 30 Days of Thanks

5 Things I’m thankful for today:

1. lists – Though I’m not always a “list person,” groceries each week make me appreciate these, and packing lists for a trip are quite valuable! When I remember to use these, I find that I forget so much less stuff. ;)

2. fresh green beans – especially ones we grow from seed in our own garden!

3. haircuts – a nice little trim can help refresh the frizz that is my hair. Hooray!

4. fresh, warm cookies – especially when baked by a daughter, who has learned to do this by herself!

5. an organized husband - who can pack a vehicle in such a classy fashion that Fed Ex could hire him to train delivery folks! :) 

Day 17 – 30 Days of Thanks – Doctor Day!

Growing up in a medical sort of family, life was a bit different for me than some, I’m sure. For one, doctor’s offices weren’t frightening places. Physicians themselves weren’t intimidating to me, and I found that doctors could be found with different personalities, hobbies, specialties, sense of humor, the whole gamut. The same is certainly true of nurses, who would chat quite nicely with patients of all shapes and sizes. I even learned not to fear hospitals, as Sunday dinner would sometimes be purchased in a hospital cafeteria, then carted back to the Doctors’ Lounge if Dad was on Call. 

As life has progressed, I’m glad I learned to trust doctors. Also to be patient when they are delayed. And to appreciate the doctors and nurses who not only demonstrate a wealth of professional knowledge, but also show care and compassion.

So why the medical treatise? Well, today was what I call “Doctor Day.” The trifecta – a brain MRI, an hour-long medication infusion, then a visit with my friendly neighborhood neurologist. And I must say, there is plenty to be thankful for!

5 things of thanks on “Doctor Day”:

1. MRI – It is so nice that the doctors can view pictures of my brain without cracking my cranium! The spinning magnets around a tube in which I lay are truly fascinating! I wrote about this five years ago – this will explain what I mean when I share thanks that there were “no new glow worms” today. :) (The doctor said there were no active lesions, but I knew he was really talking about those durn glow worms.)

2. nurses! – I must admit that I am generally partial to those in this profession, as my mother is an outstanding one. But I so appreciate the nurses in Fort Wayne, where I visit each month for my Tysabri infusion . They get thing going with a smile!

3. insurance folks – I so appreciate the behind-the-scenes folks who cut the red tape and jump through hoops needed to finance the medical hullabaloo that is our health system. Thank you!

4. Dr. Stevens – Since he offered my official diagnosis, Dr. Stevens has shown himself to be knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, and more. We noticed today (his diploma was on the exam room wall) that the good doc graduated from medical school the same year T.R. graduated from college. So I don’t need to worry about him retiring too soon! :)

5. Dad – the doctor who first taught me to trust the medical profession, who demonstrates what a good doctor should be (with his work at the free clinic each week near their home), who gave me a ride to Fort Wayne today (as my dear husband got to take our daughter to the orthodontist at the same time in another part of the state). Thanks, Dad!

Day 16 – Thirty Days of Thanks – My Lifetime Dance Partner

20 years! Almost half of my life, I suppose… seems like a long time on one hand, but being in our young forties (at least I like to think it’s young forties… humor me, please), I hope we reach bigger milestones in the years to come.

So what’s with the 20? This is “Day 16” in my now annual journey of thanks. You see, on July 16. 1994, I became Mrs. Thomas R. Knight. In my mind, that sentence is framed with a myriad of exclamation points, but I think life has taught me that a firm declarative sentence doesn’t have to end that way. But you know what? This is my blog, and I am free to stretch rules of punctuation and grammar as I wish.  So here you have it – today is our 20th wedding anniversary! As for the title, you’ll see the explanation in #1 below. Allow me to continue here:

5 reasons I am thankful today, July 16, 2014

1. Dancing partner –About five few years ago, Andrew Peterson recorded the song “Dancing in the Minefields.” I loved this song, which is ironic, because I’ve never been too talented with footwork, and our alma mater didn’t have dancing as a part of life on campus. The words to the song tell the story of what the promise of marriage is. And my lifelong dance partner who hiked trails with me in state parks twenty years ago now skirts the “disability minefield” by finding state parks with paved paths, then pushing up to see an amazing waterfall.

2. reading partner – One of the first things that attracted us to each other was the love of the written word. Recently, he shared a fascinating article with me last week about this very topic http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/date-reader-readers-best-people-fall-love-scientifically-proven/662017/ – there is a lot of truth here! It’s interesting that our family picture a few years ago had us all wearing t-shirts proclaiming, “The book was better.” ‘Nuff said.

3. new appreciation for so much – While growing up, I know I was often pegged as a “nerd.” Life with T.R. has helped me learn to embrace such monikers. “Geek” wasn’t quite as popular, but it became appropriate also, and to have a best friend and partner who values such things is precious indeed. He has helped me see sides to life that I’m sure I didn’t appreciate before. And this leads to the next…

4. partners in cinema – Back we had VHS tapes, T.R. and I found that we enjoyed watching movies together, rewatching favorites, sharing with friends. Fast forward to today (because that used to be how one would finish a tape, for those who don’t remember). Over a few years now, we’ve been building a personal library of DVD’s to watch, then share with family and friends. T.R. and I can frequently be “frustratingly frugal” – purchasing a film is often more economical than a trip to the theater, so it’s not uncommon for us to watch shows this way. We have had so many fun discussions, interactions with movie-watching friends… this has been great! And I do appreciate how the DVD player has your finished program “rewound” before we hit the eject button!

5. partners in faith – to be united with a husband who partners with me as he leads our family, who prays, studies, and works as both a follower (of our Father) land a leader each day is truly a privilege. And a joy. The fact that we’re both planted on the same foundation makes life… well, it makes it work!

 

Growing appreciation for games, new music, growing “old and curmudgeony” together… I could write pages about any little facet of this. But not today. As T.R. and agreed while awakening this morning, it has been a good twenty years. Happy anniversary, Sweetie!

Day 15 – 30 Days of Thanks

Today’s 5 things I’m thankful for:

1. Mom – I’m so thankful that I live close enough to my mother that I can see her at least once or twice a month! And spending the afternoon together is lovely, even if it’s just to do something as unexciting as much-needed cleaning. Thanks. Mom! (Lunch together first was lovely, of course.)

2. Summer’s first tomato – at least OUR garden’s first tomato of summer. :) It was a rich, deep, red, and the diced meatiness of this fruit livened up supper’s salad. Yum!

3. July’s ‘polar vortex’ – I do appreciate the lack of searing heat! I understand that this isn’t how July should be, and for the sun-loving majority (and for our growing tomatoes), I do hope that warmer air enters soon. This is a nice break, though!   

4. ice cream sandwiches – Even during the July Polar Vortex, ice cream sandwiches are a treat! After a very fresh and nutritious salad, I think I’ve earned a fun little treat. (Our last night without the kids here, we’re allowed to be a little unhealthy just between us adults.)

5. “found money” – a phone call last month informed me of money from a retirement fund I thought had been deposited a few years ago… it wasn’t, so I received a pretty good-sized check! It could only be deposited into a different retirement account, but it will be fun to watch as interest is earned  on money I didn’t know I had. (…from the state Teachers’ Retirement fund, which I thought had been dealt with years ago. My last year in the public schools was 1997.) So this check was deposited today – fun! I wonder what it will look like in 20+ years?

Day 14 – 30 Days of Thanks

Fun evening, much room for thanks! Here are just 5 of the things I’m thankful for tonight:

1. Special coupons at restaurants we like (that our daughters aren’t so fond of) – go Internet!

2. fresh, cheese-garlic drop biscuits – I can’t quite mimic the Red Lobster biscuits in my similar recipe, but I do try. The biscuits are one of my favorite parts of their meals!

3. Mmmm… seafood – shrimp, crab and such are so tasty! I know that our friends near the coast enjoy fresher delights, but we appreciate what we can glean here in the landlocked Midwest.

4. A cheery, helpful waitress – the server tonight reminded us a bit of the waitress the night we were ;engaged. Tonight’s server was younger (or we’re just older), but she was memorable and helpful. And witty :) . (And she had the same name as one of our daughters!)

5. a real Date Night with my dear husband – our anniversary isn’t until Wednesday, but we had to celebrate sometime near there, don’t you think? (Several years ago, when we didn’t find a sitter, the girls came along to Johnny Carino’s – we had decided children’s pasta would be less expensive, if I remember right. But they’re old enough now that they could have stayed home… or they can go camping in the rain. That works, too.)

Day 13 – 30 Days of Thanks

5 “Things of Thanks” for today:

1. TOPPIT Pizza – We adore the small town pizza place, a spot I first grew to love in college, then became a fan all over again after Upland became our home. Their sauce, their crusts, the beadsticks, the baked subs… all phenomenal. It is moving from its in-town location to a better spot, and we wish them the best! Of course, we had to make one final visit last night before their move. (Going from a 2 minute drive to a 6 minute drive away won’t keep us away, I’m sure. :) )

2. school supply sales – though it seems school is coming too fast, I love taking advantage of the school supply sales – folders, sharpies, paper, pens, erasers – you can’t match the deals at any other time of the year!

3. great youth leaders – we’re thankful for the lovely young lady who will be taking a group of high school girls camping – brave lady! :)  (It’s a neat group, and I’m sure they’ll have a fun, memorable adventure!)

4. The Lego Movie – I finally saw this yesterday evening, and it certainly surpassed my expectations! Who knew that a story about plastic building blocks could have a sweet plot?

5. The Story behind God’s holy word – I am appreciating the step we’re taking back in our summer scripture studies, with sermons that look at “the forest,” not just “the trees.” Many thanks to our pastoral staff who are leading us beautifully through this review of sorts!

Day 12 – 30 Days of Thanks – Brotherly love

I remember this date 39 years ago – my big brother and I were staying at Aunt Chrisann’s house, with six cousins, all older than me. The one specific memory was that of picking blueberries, and this remains the one time in my life I had the joy of visiting a patch of this favorite fruit. But a few days after July 12, we left the berries behind, as Chris and I returned to our house on Crown Hill Drive. When we walked through the front door, I know my things went to my bedroom, but Mommy took my hand and led me to a crib. “This is your new brother, Matt.” I had hoped for a sister, but 39 years later, I know this brother was exactly what we needed. The name “Matthew” means “Gift of God” – that is certainly what he is. (The 3 ½-year-old me wasn’t so certain, but within the next several years, she was convinced.

5 things I’m thankful for regarding my “little” brother:

1. Wry sense of humor – Using just a few words, a sideways glance and a wry grin, Matt can make me laugh like few others. (Really, only my husband competes, but Matt can refer to inside jokes from the past that may not make sense to anybody else. ;) )

2. He was my best “outdoor exploring” partner! – Matt would traipse with me through the woods, be excited with me about the single yellow trillium that sprouted each year amidst the red trillium, around the brush area that I dubbed “Trillium Garden.” He was quite willing to squeeze into the hollowed out tree to see if there was anything there (only sawdust and darkness), and he and I enjoyed swinging on a giant vine “swing” that had grown between two trees. [When I was in college, Matt did let me know the swing had been destroyed in a windstorm of some sort… it brought on a bittersweet smile, as I appreciated the memory, and that he noticed this and let me know. It wasn’t an area one could see without a bit of a trek through lots of trees.]

3. Biking buddy – I remember he and I biking a mile or two, going to visit an aging church friend, Bruce. It was fun to not bike alone.

4. So much to be proud of – Once he passed those early years, I was always proud of the way Matt lived his life at school, at home, at church… I know he had struggles I didn’t see, but this young man was smart, classy, thoughtful, talented… and more!

5. He is now a great father and husband to a classy wife – and they’re all beautiful, I must add! J It is a pleasure to watch his two daughters grow into young ladies, and to continue to get to know his lovely wife more each year. And they all have something I had wished for growing up… I had wished my hair was blonde, and though I’ve become accustomed to the brunette world, it’s nice to see this in the family.

 

I hope you’re having a very happy birthday, Matt! Love you!

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