A Grateful Heart

Gratitude and thankfulness abound across the interwebs as Thanksgiving approaches. Isn't it lovely? It would indeed be revolutionary if the kind and cozy feelings that prevail during the holiday season could extend into the new year and beyond... for everybody, everywhere.

I know that peace on earth is not fully possible until the return of Christ, but I am going to do my part to sprinkle love and gratitude and kindness wherever I can. Would you like to join me where you are? {smile}

I enjoy reading blogs... I am a quiet reader and rarely leave a comment (and I don't even have a comment option on my own blogs) but I truly appreciate the thoughts and things I stumble upon as I explore the vast and varied blogosphere.

Often, I have been encouraged by something I read on someone's blog... I even think of the bloggers I read regularly and connect with on social media as friends, though we haven't actually met face-to-face. There are a lot of kind and caring people in the world... along with plenty of the other kind, of course!

Occasionally, I happen across an absolutely beautiful blog where it seems as though life is quite perfect all the time. Everything is amazingly gorgeous. The children never argue, critters wouldn't dream of jumping a fence, and the cake always comes out of the pan in one beautifully decorated piece.

I sometimes find myself tempted to feel inadequate... (even though I try not to compare!).

It can't really be that way all the time, I know... everyone, no matter how perfect and problem-free they seem... has struggles. And they are indeed the struggles that we need in order to grow as people and in our relationship to God and to one another.

Struggles are a good thing if one has the right attitude about them, right? And if we learn the lessons we need to learn and then apply those lessons to our lives.

I used to really strive to look perfect... so to speak. On my former blogs, I would have never shared personal struggles or anything less than pretty pictures of calm and bliss. But real life, at least for me, is a mix.

Abundant goodness and wonderful things and just enough of the other stuff to keep things interesting. {smile} Actually... to show me my need for God, and to remind me to appreciate all of the blessings I have. To change and let go when necessary.

Among other things, I am grateful that I have decided to let go of that desire to look perfect, and simply be myself. Have you read my blogs? Then I don't need to tell you I'm not perfect, ha! (you already know it)

I have struggles. Our children do argue. Every now and then a critter jumps the fence and we have to get them put back where they belong. And if a cake I make actually comes out of the pan in one piece, that in itself is cause for celebration!

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be absolutely awesome. And while sometimes I am tempted to only share the seemingly perfect parts of our days, I think being real is a better choice for me.

I am good enough just like I am... and may God get the glory for any improvements.

And now that I have written the *longest* introduction ever to a simple gratitude list {smile} - here are the snippets of gratitude I am sharing with you this week.

:: Our newest homestead critter. That adorable creature is a Pacman frog... he (she?) is so tiny and round and cute! One of our boys bought it and all its necessary paraphernalia with some of his birthday money. A good decision, I think.

:: Running. Yes, I am in the beginning stages of eating disorder recovery and I am still running. And I plan to continue... it is a process, the changes I need to make and the balance I need to find in all of this. But I want to begin as I wish to end and I want fitness to remain a part of my life. So the miles I have gotten this week (not too many) have been very relaxing and given me time to *not* think.

:: Menu planning. We have been planning our Thanksgiving menu... lots of changes, this year. There will be traditional foods (I am the only vegan around here) and healthier versions of long-time favorites, and plenty of plant-based vegan choices, too. I'm thinking of adding baked sweet potato "fries" to the menu... I think that sounds delicious!

And nine-out-of-ten of our large family will be together which is the best part of all.

:: Focusing on the good. You know, I used to be so sad that one of our adult children lives too far away to come home very often... Florida is a long way from Montana. Sure, it still can make me sad if I dwell on it and of course I miss him, but I don't let that affect enjoying what I do have anymore... and nine of the ten of us all together in one place is an enormous blessing.

:: Homesteading in a skirt. I wore skirts and dresses exclusively for years and years... and then, as I began to experiment with my newly found confidence... I began wearing jeans more often. I have nothing against jeans for others, but they are not for me. Skirts and a cute top (or a dress) it is (and headbands, too)! Wearing them all the time (once again) feels a bit like coming home. Ahhhhh.

And don't fret, I have *not* lost my confidence! Going back to skirts exclusively *is* an act of confidence, for me.

I will have to tell you about my reasons for skirts and headbands someday... people have always expressed curiosity about that choice. Note to self... I need to make a list of all these things I keep saying I will write about so I don't forget!

Thank you for coming by my blog this week, friends... the thought of someone reading (and perhaps enjoying) my words in this space does indeed make my heart glad. And I wish for you a list of gratitude even longer than this post has gotten... ha!

Time for me to grab a cup of coffee and get on with my day. Have a wonderful weekend~

Please note . . .
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