Giving Thanks – November’s End

November sure flew by, did it not?  The calendar was so innocently empty at the beginning of the month, but it filled up fast.  We traveled, volunteered, hosted friends at our home, and spent a lot of time learning about dyslexia.

thanks grateful blessing gratitude finding joy

This last month, our family focused on gratitude.  We also asked ourselves how we could be a blessing to others.  I discussed our month of gratitude in posts here and here.

At times throughout November I felt very overwhelmed.  There were not enough hours in the day to complete to-do lists.  Change is hard for me.  I was forced to acknowledge and embrace a lengthy list of new information, tasks, demands, and priorities.  And that was before I was told one of my children has a learning disability.

Here’s the thing, though.  I weathered the storm okay.  God was gracious and I did not completely fall apart.  I have an extremely patient and supportive husband.  And my kids?  I am not even certain they realized I was on the verge of a meltdown.

So while you read our family list of gratitude below, please know there is one larger blessing hovering over all of these gifts.  We had a tough month, but we handled it.  We planned, we talked, we prayed, and we got through it.  Together.  As a family.  And we are forever grateful.

1. Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Our family was able to travel back “home” for Thanksgiving this weekend.  We saw all of our parents.  My brother and his wife were able to spend a day with us, too.

We ate great food and spent much-needed time with people we love.  In addition, my dad took my brother and me out for a drive.  That was funny.  I cannot remember the last time my poor dad had to chauffeur the two of us around in a car together.  The experience was even more fun because our spouses were there to see how hilarious we both think we are.  Sorry, dad.

2. We are surrounded by supportive people.

The last three weeks, Todd and I have initiated conversations with many professionals and friends concerning our plan and approach with our daughter’s dyslexia diagnosis.  We debated whether to enroll her full-time in the public school, seek private tutoring services, or continue homeschooling.

We examined curriculum choices.  We second-guessed ourselves.  And in the end, we decided to make the choice that’s best for our her.  We are investing in the best curriculum we can find, consulting with the best professionals in our region, and teaching her ourselves.

3. Until today, our weather was mild.

It is actually kind of sad, but most of our family members are pretty wimpy when it comes to winter.  As I write this, our first significant snowfall of the season is starting to come down.  Yay for all the kids in our city that did not have to bust out their winter boots before December!

4. We found opportunities to help others.

Todd spent an evening loading groceries into cars.  I taught a Sunday school class for teachers that needed to be out of town.  One of the girls provided an afternoon of free childcare.  Our other two daughters helped their dad organize our ridiculously messy storage room.

5. The season of Advent is finally here.

Our family does most of our Christmas shopping online.  Almost all of our television viewing is through Netflix or videos from the library.  As a result, our exposure to the consumer-driven side of Christmas is pretty limited.

This allows us to really enjoy Advent and thoughtfully prepare for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  Yes, we have a full calendar.  And yes, we often get caught up in tasks and thoughts that distract from the meaning of the season.

Our goal is to enjoy December, though.  We want to continue appreciating all that we have and eagerly anticipate all that is yet to come.