30 Days of Thanks – Day 30

It has arrived! Day 30 – what 5 things shall highlight this final list? I narrowed that down by this morning, but first I wish to challenge each of us. Can we each identify 5 things each day that we’re thankful for? Fine, I agree – we CAN. But will we? If ending a sentence with a preposition irritates you, feel free to find a different wording method. In honor of preposition placement, I’ll even word today’s list title differently.

5 Things for Which I Am Thankful:

1. schools – As a former public school teacher, the mother of two high schoolers, and a product of such schools, I appreciate the blessing that education is! And ours will start in just a week.

2. reading – I am so thankful that I have been given the gift of literacy! And that so many books are available to us, on paper and digitally.

3. writing – and I’m so glad that I learned to write, not only with pencil and pen, but also via keyboard and pixels.

4. arithmetic – particularly, I’m thankful for calculators. :) I much prefer balancing the checkbook electronically!

5. freedom – to study what we wish, to worship as we like, to do all of these things without persecution. Watching the news makes me quite edgy, as it seems that history is repeating itself in relation to anti-Semitism in Western Europe. Freedom is not free, I know, and I hope that people take to heart the sculpture and sign on the wall exiting Dachau Concentration Camp.  “Never Again,” it reminds us.

 Not to end on a “downer” sort of note, but this freedom is certainly something to be thankful for! And I don’t wish to forget that.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 29

My 30-day journey is almost at its end, and as I was thinking about items to highlight today, I was reading different articles and blog posts. I then happened upon the newest entry from a blogger whose perspectives I’ve come to value during the past few years of my MS journey. Then I realized that today, July 30, marks exactly seventeen years since my official diagnosis. (In the words of this blogger a few days ago, my MS can almost vote.) It’s become an intrinsic part of my life, whether I wanted it to or not.

So today’s post? Trevis Gleason talked of wanting a “day off from MS.” As he says (and I totally agree!), it’s not that he’s depressed and needs a pill for that and not that a nap would make it all better, he’s just tired of the bag that he has been toting for those years (seventeen here), and the things that keep being added to the bag. It does get heavier. That in itself gets tiring.

So I know I won’t be taking a day off or setting down the “MS bag,” but I decided that today’s 5 things would be things I’ve had the opportunity to be thankful for in the midst of multiple sclerosis. Sometimes there are things I couldn’t have experienced if not for the scar-monger that is this disease.

5 Thankful things appreciated more due to MS
1. Others’ examples – I recall seeing the movie “Joni!” when I was young, about Joni Eareckson Tada and her experience. Among my readings today, I discovered that today, my 17th diagnosis anniversary, marks exactly 47 years since Joni haphazardly dove into too-shallow water at summer camp. The inspiring ministry that Joni developed years after this event makes me stop and think. She is certainly an inspiration to me in many ways.

2. the ADA – When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990 I had no idea that this piece of legislation would one day make it possible for me to enter buildings, park reasonably, and have simpler access to parts of life that I take for granted too often. 

3. unique teaching opportunities – I enjoy teaching others (hence the college degrees in education), and I certainly wouldn’t have predicted the live lessons I would be called to teach. Many of them are never written, just experienced. But people are frequently asking for input or assistance in facing issues that would be foreign to me if not for MS. Credibility through obvious experience, I suppose.

4. deeper relationships – My husband doesn’t particularly feel the need to be lifted up as an example, but MS (and its “bag”) has forced the development of a deeper relationship, I think you could say. I don’t often include photos in my blog, but a particular picture has gleaned many comments and questions on Facebook… remembering the beach wheelchair I mentioned on Day 23 of this Thankful Journey, this photo clearly shows the tenderness of my dear husband. (I’ll let that picture be worth the proverbial thousand words.)


5. our Father’s love – I certainly didn’t require MS to receive the gift of God’s love, but the weakness this malady amplifies helps paint the picture of my need for His grace. One of the scripture verses I cling to is in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. “ Then the following verse ends with Paul’s statement, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (ESV)

And this journey continues… but likely more deeply than it otherwise would,

Trevis ended his musings sharing that it would be nice to LIVE without MS, but since that isn’t currently an option, I’ll live with MS. I’ll add that I may be living with MS, and I may not desire the MS part, but I DO desire to be used just as I am. Whatever that means.

Day 28 – 30 Days of Thanks

As July continues to fly by, I continue to come into contact with many blessings! Some are things I take for granted – good things become too commonplace, I fear. I think this is the purpose of my new July tradition, to continue recognizing the many reasons I have to be thankful.

So what shall we highlight today?

Today’s 5 things I’m thankful for:

1. online school registration – When my daughters were five years old, I had to spend a few hours in different lines in the school cafeteria, filling out different papers and writing at least two different checks… it was rather crazy. The last couple of years, registration has moved more and more online – and this was the first year that it all worked for me as it was supposed to!

2. Corelle dishware – I am thankful for nice-looking dishes that are lightweight enough for somebody like me and durable (i.e. hard to break). Awesome

3. children who get along – As the teen years continue, it is fun to watch and hear the girls interact. The duets they create are a joy to listen to… wish I had been recording the instrumental/vocal Star Wars theme they created impromptu a few days ago!

4. Ivanhoe’s chicken salad – the grilled chicken salad sandwich is not only yummy, but it makes me think of my wonderful college roommate. I was thinking of you during lunch today, Catha, as I enjoyed the Ivanhoe’s lunch entrée you always favored. :)

5. “volunteer” tomatoes – two of our tomato plants are ones that sprouted in our garden on their own, from last year’s plants. We weren’t sure which type to tomato these were until today – they’re ripe, and the orange cherry tomatoes are great! (When two  of our tomato plants had wilted away, we replaced them with the volunteer plants, and these are their firstfruits of the season!)

Day 27 – 30 Days of Thanks

5 “thankful things” for today:

1. breakfast as a family – during the school year, we regularly have breakfast together before folks leave for work and school, and it was nice today to have another of these early together-times, while school hasn’t even started yet.

2. nice naps – after a refreshing nap this afternoon (that I felt a little guilty about), I read this insightful post that helped me put the nap need in perspective.

3. “iron chef” daughter – we used to watch this program on the Food Network, where chefs would be given a particular ingredient, then would create a meal centering around that theme. So a few years ago, we started having Iron Chef lunches, with such ingredient themes as peanut butter, toast, bananas, yogurt… today was blueberries and yogurt.

4. MacGyver – our family has been having a wonderful time watching all seven seasons of this classic series from the 80’s and 90’s. One episode at a time, we’re planning to finish it by the time the girls graduate from high school. 

5. bookshelves – it is so nice to have a way to organize books! Granted, there are never enough bookshelves, but as my husband was sorting through some new additions and doing his wonderful organization wizardry, it was beautiful to see the loveliness of bookshelves in proper use. :) 

30 Days of Thanks – Day 26

5 things of thanks for today:

1. Sabbath – I am certainly thankful for a “day of rest”! Sunday is a day we aim to keep this way, though “rest” isn’t always defined the same way.

2. generous hearts – it has been a joy to watch as our daughters each give their Sunday morning time as leaders for the younger church attendees (ages 3-5). I think they each roll their eyes inwardly when I remind them that the antics they describe are the same things they did not too long ago. :)

3. working washing machine – two years ago, we came home from vacation, tried to wash our clothes, and found that our washing machine no longer worked. I am so thankful that history hasn’t repeated itself!

4. three quarter length sleeves – when a t-shirt isn’t quite enough for the weather but long sleeves are too warm for July, this sleeve length is just perfect. (I usually wear these more in September or October, but this year is a little unusual.)

5. my own pillow – Last night’s sleep was much more peaceful with my head resting on my own pillow. Others are fine, but I suppose that even my pillow falls into the “no place like home” category.

Day 25 – 30 Days of Thanks

What a lovely month it’s been thus far! July does seem to speed by, so I’m glad I’m taking a few moments each day to remember a few things I may otherwise take for granted.

5 things I’m thankful for today:

1. home – Dorothy was right: there’s no place like it. I so look forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight!

2. fast food – on the way home from a lengthy trip, it is nice to be able to stop and pick up a nice, warm meal, one with no dishes we need to wash.

3. Frosties and fries – a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty is a lovely treat, perfect for dipping lightly salted French fries into… mmm! (You may laugh, but try it, and you may agree.)

4. Very fresh blackberries – how lovely to return home and find that our blackberry bushes were starting to offer delicious, ripened fruit for us to enjoy. These were more impressive than anything we saw at the Farmer’s Market last week – and so juicy!

5. comfy chairs – we have had a wonderful week spending time with family, but one thing  truly am appreciating here at home is my comfy chair… I’m sure that my wonderful siblings, in-laws, parents, nieces and all would heartily agree in their own homes now. Wooden chairs, picnic tables, folding chairs and cramped couches work just fine, but the La-Z-Boy retains its special place of comfort for me :) .

Day 24 – 30 Days of Thanks

With today being a Friday, 5 things of thanks are not difficult to come by! :)

5 things of thanks for today:

1. Fridays! – whether this is a work week or time of vacation, Fridays always seem to be special days. I like them, and I know I’m not alone,

2. fresh blueberries – it’s that time of year that blueberry farms have wonderful fruit – and it freezes well for enjoyment well after July!

3. sharing a trip to the movies with family – and if the show you go to see ends up to be not as good as you had hoped, you have somebody to joke with, groan with, laugh with… but you had family time together, at least.

4. cousins… again – earlier this month, I shared thanks for my own first cousins, but this week, I share thanks for my daughters’ first cousins (my nieces). It is lovely to see our children share time together – from crochet lessons to beach trips, this cousin time is indeed precious.

5. family time without trouble – the fact that up to 17 people can spend a week together, with 12 of that group being ages of eighteen and seventy-one, all sharing space within a rented home, without huge arguments or injury or other unforeseen difficulties…well, this just amazes me. With more introverts than extroverts among us, it’s been a neat time to connect as adults. Then prepare to return to our homes. :)

Day 23 – 30 Days of Thanks

Day 23 is here – and as always, the hard part is narrowing down my list to five things. (A tougher thing this week has been having time to sit and write during a special family week. :) ) So balancing those two factors, I’ll be a little less verbose today. At least I’ll try…

Today’s 5 things of thanks:

1. fishing – even when you don’t catch anything!

2. the beach – on a day that isn’t a typical hot July day, it was lovely to visit the beach without overheating!

3. Great Lakes “ocean-like” view – winds brought on whitecaps near the Lake Michigan beach that looked so much like what we would see on the Florida coast!

4. finding a wheelchair that allowed me to visit the beach – not just the boardwalk. We were able to rent one like this http://www.beachwheelchair.com/standard.htm for the day – fun!!

5. family card games – maybe Euchre, Hearts, Phase 10, Fluxx, or “Love Letter,” family card games are indeed fun. :)

Day 22 – 30 Days of Thanks

The first of today’s “thankful things” almost make me feel guilty… we live with so many blessings we often take for granted. Issues we deal with are “first word problems” – having problems with cell phone battery life, needing to decide which of 12 pair of shoes will work with the new outfit, a closet that is too crowded to fit something new, a refrigerator that is so full that I lost track of items inside… the need for balance in the midst of cultural excess is a struggle. So today’s list will be a true testament of thanks for things I experience today, and for a reflection of how blessed we are as a nation.

So after that bit of a ramble, I’ll get started:

5 Things of Thanks for today:

1. family shopping excursions – daughters and cousins have fun trying on outfits and finding sales – this does make for fun memories and great bargain buys!

2. new shoes – especially for children with growing feet, a discount shoe store is indeed appreciated!

3. soft pretzels – especially warm, fresh ones – with melted cheese dip… a nice treat!

4. racks of clothes at affordable prices – a visit to the outlet mall was a treat, and it’s fun to have the chance to purchase new things. So much to choose from… rather amazing, when thinking of a global perspective.

5. freedom to experience these things – my appreciation for things like this was magnified when I finished a book recommended by a family member. Time to Choose detailed the life of a German family that immigrated to the U.S. near the end of World War II. Hilda left her home at age 12, and her journey told of many experiences. After waiting six years and jumping through several hoops before travel visas arrived, Hilda and her family needed coats, but they had a hard time keeping food on the table, let alone purchasing new overcoats. But her father found a large case of beige yarn that a vendor sold for a very low price, so after he borroqws a weaving unit and set this up beside the sleeping quarters, Hilda’s sister wove the cloth for traveling coats for the entire family, sewn by a tailor friend. And they did this so that they could start their lives in this land of freedom. I need to remember this when I feel like complaining about a scratchy coat,

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!

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