Gratitude

 

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Gratitude can be hard. Amiright? Like, when life is aallllll good and easy breezy, finding things to be grateful for is easy. “I’m grateful my kids were all perfect little angels today. I’m grateful for my awesome job promotion. I’m grateful for the outstanding health of my family. I’m grateful my whole entire house is perfectly, spotlessly clean. etc. etc. etc.” But what about in the storms? What about when the sun isn’t all bright and shiny. What about when those strong winds blow, and I mean hard, against your house? What then? How can we be grateful when our wombs that we so desperately want filled are still empty? How can we be grateful when that baby we so longed for left us too soon? How can we be grateful when we are so sick we can barely stand? What then? How can we be grateful?

Friends. I’m about to tell you a really hard, maybe painful, truth, but please know that I am speaking it in love. This is in no way a smack on the hand, or an invitation to “be more holy,” but rather a loving nudge to find a way to breathe when you feel like you’re suffocating. Gratitude is a choice. Always a choice. Ever a choice. Gratitude. The definition of gratitude is: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The quality of being thankful. Readiness to show appreciation. This is hard stuff, right? Dear one, I feel you. I know. There have been days when I have strived to be grateful. Days when it felt like being grateful was simply not possible. In fact, I once got a mug for a friend who had recently lost a baby that said something along the lines of, “Thank you, Lord.” I told her it was so she could try to remember the things that she was thankful for, but that she also had permission to throw that mug against the wall and smash it into a million pieces, if that felt better. It can be that hard. Most of us have been there at one point or another. And that’s ok. 

It’s totally ok to be at a point in your life where you are struggling to feel grateful. Because it’s in those moments when you find the things to be the most grateful for. Sometimes when we’re put between a rock and a hard place, amazing things happen. God opens our eyes to see what’s truly in front of us.

Are you at a place where you’re struggling to be grateful? Can I help you take that very first step in the choice to be grateful? Find one thing. Just one. One tiny little thing to be grateful for. And then speak it. Did you load one dirty dish into your dishwasher today? Praise Jesus! Grateful. Were you able to pour yourself a glass of clean water to quench your thirst. Incredible! Grateful. Were both of your socks hole free when you pulled them onto your feet this morning. Nothing like it! Grateful. It doesn’t matter how small or inconspicuous it may seem, you will be able to find something to be grateful for. Did you have a tissue to blow your nose while you were crying today. Thank you Lord! Grateful. Your phone was fully charged and ready to go when you woke up. Can I get an Amen? Grateful. Somebody posted a funny gif when you looked at that fully charged phone. Yes, please! Grateful. Start small. Work your way up. You’ll get there. I promise. Just give it time. If you need help thinking of something to be grateful for, phone a friend and ask them! I’m sure they would be more than happy to help you out.

And friend, just because you’re grateful, doesn’t mean that you have to be ok. It doesn’t mean that all the darkness has gone away. It just means that you’ve taken a tiny little pin and started to poke holes in it to let the light shine through. That’s all. It means you’re taking a first, tiny little step into letting your heart heal, whatever that may look like.

In this season where gratitude takes center stage, even if every thing in your life seems to be going wrong, or simply not according to plan, know that you can also take part in this whole gratitude thing. The choice is up to you. And it’s a choice you won’t ever regret. Honestly. Grateful for all of you. Grateful you’re tagging along for my journey. Each and every single day. Thank you.

Moving Forward – Recipe Round-up

Well, last month was certainly heavy wasn’t it? I think it was appropriately heavy. A kind of “necessary” heavy. But now I’m exhausted! There is a time and a place for the hard and the heavy, and I want to walk through those places with each one of you, but I also want to walk past that with you. I want you to see the beauty beyond the pain, the light at the end of the tunnel if you will. Because while your grief won’t ever fully “end”, life does pick back up again. Some of you may have a hard time believing me, but life beyond grief is possible. It is possible to live a life fully thriving, even after tragedy and loss.

Have you ever seen the show “Monk”? It’s a comedic murder mystery show about a guy who has serious OCD, among other issues. Early on in the show you learn that his wife had been tragically killed many years ago. He lives in his grief everyday, but not in a healthy kind of a way. In one episode, he goes to visit his wife’s parents. Throughout their home you can see reminders of her: pictures, the outfit they brought her home in framed on the wall, and her room left unchanged. But in spite of those things, her parents are doing really well. Monk asks her mom how she can go on living a normal life and feel happy again. I think about her response all the time. She talks about how she grieved so hard for so long. She didn’t think she could go on living. “And then one day,” she says, “the sun came out, the garden was blooming, and there were some kids riding by the house on their bikes, and I decided to give the world a second chance.” He looks unsure and as she touches his shoulder she tells him, “It’s still a beautiful world.” She realized that life still goes on, the world around her was still going on, and there are good things in it.  I sometimes have to remind myself that life. goes. on. There is still beauty around me. And I can choose how to live the rest of the life I have to live. You can still thrive beyond this grief. If you want to watch that specific episode, it’s Season 3, episode number 8, “Mr. Monk and the Game Show.”

Part of the way that I thrive beyond my grief is making delicious meals for my family.  Somebody gave me the idea to do a monthly round up of my favorite recipes I’ve tried and loved. I love sharing recipes, but not necessarily blogging about them, so sharing someone else’s recipes sounded like and excellent idea. First on the list:

saucy coconut curry with rice noodles and garden vegetables From Half Baked Harvest

overhead photo of Saucy Coconut Curry with Rice Noodles and Garden Vegetables

If you don’t follow Teighan already, you’re missing out. She always posts the best recipes, most of which are simple – and crazy beautiful. This dish was AMAZING! And really, very easy. If you’re a fan of Thai food, give this dish a try. I don’t have her cookbook yet, but it’s at the top of my Christmas wishlist this year.

Next up:

FoolProof Eye of Round Roast from Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Eye of Round Roast

 

 

This one involves a little more effort, but is oh, so worth it! She prefers Eye of Round Roast, but I’ve found that I truly enjoy it with whatever roast is on sale at the moment.

For our third dish, I’ve included a side:

Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic from SkinnyTaste

Here's a great way to make broccoli if you are tired of making it the same old way. Roasting broccoli with garlic creates a sweet, nutty delicious flavor and the aroma that wafts through your kitchen will make everyone asking when's dinner ready.

 

Seriously. This one is life changing. We don’t make our broccoli any other way now – except that when I’m in a hurry, I don’t even smash the garlic. And it’s still good. We even make our cauliflower similar to this. They’re both a hit all around.

Finally, I’m sharing with you an amazing dessert/breakfast/coffee snack we make this time every single year:

Starbucks Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones Copycat Recipe from Momspark.net

Starbucks Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones Copycat Recipe! These would be perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee during the Christmas and fall season.

These are INCREDIBLE! And so close to the real thing. And honestly, they really aren’t even that difficult to make. At all. Take my word for it and give it a whirl.

That’s all for this month’s round up. What do you think? Do you like the inclusion of a monthly round up? Or would you rather pass? And what are some of your favorite go-to recipes?