Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts

holy experience

Linking up with Ann Voskamp and The Gratitude Community today to officially begin listing what I am grateful for today.  It it so, so easy for me to be ungrateful and discouraged (see yesterday’s post!)… and I am striving to be more grateful.  I have been seeing these 1000 Gifts posts around the Internet and finally decided to investigate today.  I was amazed and astounded by what I found.  I fell in love with the idea, with Ann’s writing style, with the community she has founded.  I have no doubt participating in this community will change my life.  If you are interested or intrigued, please join me.  If you think you have nothing to be thankful for… I can assure you that you will find something.  Even through the brief periods I have practiced gratitude, I have become much more aware of blessings in my life.  Starting today with as many as I can name… and because I am who I am, I am sure I’ll feel obligated to give commentary and not just a list.

Today I am thankful for…

1) Grace.  Grace from God, grace from my family (especially the little boy who constantly teaches me about grace and forgiveness), grace from my friends who put up with me all too often when I don’t stay in touch, spend too much time complaining, and feel like I ask so much more than I give.

2) Space for God — the book which first introduced me to the practice of gratitude and being thankful for the small blessings of life — and my friend Sheila who introduced it to me.

3) Music.  I am always thankful for music.  Listening to the music from Ann’s blog at the moment.  Music triggers so much emotion…and often peace… in my life.  I don’t know what I would do without it.

4) Books and being able to read.  Another thing that I don’t know what I would do without.

5) This verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  — Philippians 4:6-7.  Why?  Because I discovered it during a time in my life when anxiety reigned, life was nowhere near plan… and somehow, inexplicably, I found peace in the midst of chaos.  It has become the verse I cling to whenever life does not go according to my plan… which is most of the time.

6) Getting mail or packages, especially around the holidays.  Yes, a UPS package was just dropped off at my door.  It likely contains Christmas presents for my little boy, who is excited that a package came as well.  Isn’t it a great feeling to open up a personal letter or package and know someone thought of you?

7) Hot chocolate.  There is just something about curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, or coming in from the cold to enjoy a cup.  Coffee just isn’t the same.  Though I am also grateful for…

8 ) Coffee.  I’m grateful for coffee because, as an adult, it reminds me of time spent with friends over coffee.  A few years ago, a life-long friend and I spent time over mochas every week discussing our lives (yes, she is another who has extended numerous times of grace to me… especially since I have done horribly at staying in touch since we no longer live in the same town).  Last week I had the privilege of spending several nights with groups of mom-friends drinking coffee and just sharing life.

9) The friend I ran into over the weekend… with her 7 year old and infant in tow… who reminded me I’m not the only one out there who will have a sizable age gap between kids… who reminded me that plenty of people aren’t giving up hope of having kids after 35… or 40… or later.

10) My cats.  They offer unconditional love, warmth for cold feet, a listening ear, and an endless source of amusement at times.

11) Grief.  Last week I spent several hours concerned I was going to have to say good-bye to one of my cats.  It reminded me of too many other times I’ve had to say goodbye over the last few years… or of the times I spent grieving what was never there to lose… maybe lost expectations?  I have grown so much through times of grief… even though it is one of those experiences that often only brings gratitude once you are through it to a certain extent.

12) Autumn leaves.  The roads bordered by trees have burst into color over the past week.  I spent several days driving up and down the streets of Memphis amazed by their beauty.

13) Gifts.  I am grateful for gifts… not that I have received, but that I am able to give.  I have loved starting Christmas shopping for my family and watching my little boy be so excited over giving to others.

14) An unexpected “date night” with my husband last night while our little boy enjoyed children’s activities at church.  It ended up being a quick dinner and filling out an application for a part-time job… but it was still nice to get a few minutes alone.

15) The strawberries and nutella crepe I had during that date night… how can something so good be not-too-bad for you?  Yum!

16) Watercolor paintings from my growing artist-in-residence.

17) Candles and candlelight.

18) The simple beauty of a clean room.

19) Homemade soup waiting in the crock pot after a long day.

20) This post — a 10 point manifesto of joyful parenting.  Time to try to put it into action. 🙂

Wrapping up for today… but planning to make this a regular Monday thing.  Well… planning to make this a daily thing but only blog about it on Mondays.  I hope you will join me.

In remembrance

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  It is a day to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss or infant loss.  It is a day that 1 in 4 women have cause to “celebrate”.  It is a day to acknowledge losses such as miscarriage and stillbirth that are all too often not acknowledged as a loss of a child or as a reason for grief.  It is a day to acknowledge babies born too soon, babies lost to SIDS, babies lost to congenital birth defects… and probably many other reasons I have not had personally been affected or impacted by.

In honor of that day, I changed my Facebook status to link to Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope — a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the prevalence of pregnancy and infant loss.  And, while browsing their site and debating whether to submit *my* story… I came across a monthly writing challenge

September’s topic: How has the changing of seasons (from summer to fall) impacted you in your grief journey?

To be honest, most seasons remind me of my loss in one way or another.  I found out I was pregnant for the first time at Christmastime.  I miscarried in the winter… and spent much of the spring outside, somehow trying to work through grief by walking around in nature (not that I understood it to be grieving at the time).  My due date would have been at the end of summer.  Which leads me to fall…

It has been 7 years since that first fall after I had a miscarriage.  This year, it hardly feels like fall.  But, typically, that nip in the air and even the reunion with my beloved Pumpkin Spice lattes remind me of that first fall following my loss.  It was a fall that I had expected to spend with a baby in my arms and taking a break from the master’s program I was currently enrolled in.  Instead… I found myself doing my first internship at a local psychiatric hospital (and being introduced to Starbucks from the kiosk there, although I don’t think those pumpkin spice lattes were around yet).  I spent my days trying to counsel, console and guide others while still working through my own loss and depression.  Somehow… I don’t know how… I still managed to make a difference (I hope!)  And I managed to get through, with the support of a few people who probably helped more than they will ever know.

Fall also reminds me of how I was led through darkness and despair and somehow grew closer to God and my husband through the ordeal of loss and the struggle to have a child.  Since that first fall, I have been blessed with my amazing 4 year old.  Fall reminds me of special times with him… going to Harvest Festivals, visiting the pumpkin patch, how excited he was on his first hayride.  Fall reminds me of despair… and then reminds me of hope.  This fall I grieve less for the child I lost and more for so many who have more recent losses.  I hope for the day that they can discuss their own losses and get the support they need… and I hope for them to have hope that grief will lessen over time and one day spring will come again.