This Thankfulness Gig

As I mentioned on my last post, I was in a major funk.  This school year has been extremely hard for me both professionally and pesonally.  I need to feel good about what I'm doing, about what I'm accomplishing; I'm sure it is some cultural and personal flaw that I feel like I need to have a lot to show for my time.  I struggle with guilt and anxiety, and I just haven't felt good about the end result.

  Lately, I've felt like I'm really failing at it all, BUT I decided to focus on what I'm grateful for and I'll be damned, but it really worked.  You can't be grateful and in the self-pity state of guilt at the same time.  I wish I could be more effective teacher for every  one of the 180 kids I have (yes, budget cuts are a bitch), that I didn't have to choose between quality time with the girls and working out (my metabolism is a female dog as well), but as full as my life is, I've realized {again} that my life is full of good things.  I have a job I love, daughters who are happy and well-adjusted and a body I haven't neglected.  It isn't always good, but when I put I put it all together, it is all good. So the lesson of this whole month is one I have to learn over and over, and that is to STOP, look around and say I'm thankful for this.  When you say thank you, it sort of is like saying, "I am not owed this, I do not necessarily deserve this blessing, but it is good and I am grateful."   I have been writing, but not here, so if you are feeling like getting into the advent spirit, or just interested in the topics of advent (hope, joy, peace and love), you can read a series of devotionals here. I wrote about HOPE, yet all of them will be worth your time.

So back to blogging. I'm keeping it quick because I have a bunch of tupperware boxes and Christmas to get out, but I'm committed to stop and reflect before I enter the hustle and bustle of Christamas and setting out scenes of the nativity.

Before all the craziness, let me reflect upon what I'm grateful:

Fall lingering.

 Dear friends to share childhood.

This girl who is turing into the best big sister ever.  I know fights will ensue, but I just can't let myself believe it when I see her sweet, gentle compassion for Molly. And, she knows how to flash a smile that melts my heart.
The way these girls love each other.  Speaking of the guilt afore mentioned,  when they are playing together, I feel less guilty about doing all the chores around the house that need to be done in those few hours between work and sleep. They are getting quality time.

Molly's expressions and little personality. While her vocabulary is growing hourly, she does a great job communicating with gestures and facial expressions.  Check ou the crinkle of her eye brow.

And it doesn't hurt when I get this precious glare.

The monkey see, monkey do routine cracks me up:

 We had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with my parents coming up on Tuesday evening.  It is nice to get several days of quality visiting.

Not only do I not have to travel, but I also don't have to do the cooking on my own.  Something is so special about three generations of girls around a kitchen cooking a family meal.

Even if that meal is diametrially opposed to the way we think a family should eat.

The day was everything Thanksgiving should be, too much food, good fellowship, and family.

The next day, we were treated to an amazing experience hosted by my childhood friend, Dorinda, in her home on Capital Hill.  Dorinda is one of those people who is good at EVERYTHING with class about it all.  She even had goldfish in a crystal dish for Molly.

Lunch was divine..including home made ice cream with pecan pie.

Then, we went to look at the memorials near the mall.

The memorials paled in comparison to the joy brought to the girls (and BJ) by the company of Dorinda's french bulldogs, Lola and Blue (aka Bubba).

On Saturday, BJ and Daddy went to the UVA-VT game.

We stayed home to cheer.

Molly was dancing and it looked like she was doing Tai Chi. See how she is holding her chi ball of energy below:

We wrapped up the weekend by attending church and saying goodbye.

In wrapping up the weekend, and the season of gratitude, I hope to carry the calm presence of thankfulness throughout the season.  Long after the leaves are gathered, I pray my gratitude lingers for these precious souls who fill my life.

Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. ~Vernon G. BakerIMG_6409.jpg