I am thankful for...
I have so much to be grateful for. For the sake of time, I will try to keep this succinct. Here's an overview of what I am especially thankful for tonight:
Safe travels. My little family and I have been all over the country and to Europe this year. Most of our trips have been very smooth. However, one instance comes to mind of driving through an incredible snow storm in Washington D.C. this January, in the middle of rush hour traffic. That was probably the most frightened I have felt in my life. Thanks be to God, we drove through without accident or injury, and then enjoyed a relaxing, unexpected couple of nights at the local Holiday Inn.
Carrying a new child growing in my womb! This is such a deep blessing that I cannot put it into words right now.
The ability to share my gifts of singing and playing piano. I attended a huge musical event this year with about ten thousand aspiring vocalists. It was a great reminder of how fortunate I am to live out this call to music ministry.
Friends who stand by me even when I am not feeling like "myself." Such as...during my first trimester of pregnancy, for instance.)
The pain of separation. My younger sister and I grew up as best friends. We were roommates for about about 18 years. We shared our secrets, our laughter, and our tears (that just happened to rhyme). Now, as we walk our separate journeys, I am starting to feel so distant from her! I am thankful because I know this heartache is a sign of how deeply I cherished our childhood friendship. I believe these growing pains will produce a fresh, new version of our friendship someday.
Great books. I took a lot of time to read this year, especially during quiet cuddle time with my son. Many books have expanded my mind and my heart, especially "Left to Tell," by Immaculee Ilibagize, and "Love and Responsibility," by Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II).
Spiritual Seasons. How wonderful that there is constant change in the spiritual life. Although sometimes I would prefer to always feel uplifted, the times of dryness and uncertainty in prayer are invaluable. As my spiritual director reminded me today, joy is great but suffering produces growth.
I could definitely keep going, but I need to pack up for a big day tomorrow. We are heading to Chicago to celebrate. Family, food, and football, here I come.
P.S. Go Packers!