Last Saturday found our family piled into a rental car and headed to Indiana for a week of college visits as well as spending time with family. Sunday after church, Brad, Jake, and I headed to the Chicago area for a three day whirlwind college tour. A bonus to this part of the trip included spending time with dear friends.
Monday was Wheaton College; Tuesday was Northwestern; Wednesday was University of Chicago. A part of me still can’t believe I am in this season of life—considering college for Jake who was clearly a toddler only yesterday!
However, the focus of this post isn’t college visits. While driving through Pennsylvania, Brad and I compiled a gratitude list. In the hustle and bustle of our lives, I find it important to stop every once and a while and spend some time reflecting on the many blessings in our lives. While your life circumstances are different than mine, may this list serve as impetus for you to pause and to consider the blessings in your own life.
- A positive boarding experience for Jake. We truly have the best of both worlds in this regard. While Jake doesn’t sleep at our house, we see him daily in the academic buildings or at dinner. We are grateful he has this opportunity to exercise some independence and to experience a foretaste of college life.
- A real winter last year. This is more Brad’s than mine, but boy, did we have snow and true winter temperatures in 2013!
- Our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean over Spring Break. I wrote about our adventures in the post A Travel Tale, Part II. Many times throughout the year, Jake or Anna would mention how grateful they were that we went on the cruise. I am thankful for these memories and the time together as a family.
- Work on my book project this past summer. I am grateful to Ed Cyzewski for his expert eye as a writer and editor. Ed’s suggestions and insights were invaluable to me as I revised and honed my book proposal. I am thankful for fellow writers who can encourage and guide me in this long process.
- Good coaching seasons. Both Brad and I enjoyed our fall coaching gigs. Brad coached the JV dinghy sailing team and I coached the girls’ cross country team. For Brad, spending four days out of five on the water was a delight. For me, I enjoyed watching our team grow closer. We are grateful for these coaching opportunities.
- The teaching profession. As educators, Brad and I have the unique opportunity to watch our students experience wonder on an almost daily basis. We are grateful to teach at the same school and to see God at work in the lives our students and fellow colleagues.
- Watching our children experience success. Okay, indulge me as proud parent for a just a minute. Both Jake and Anna made it as finalists in the school’s Declamation Contest. In fact, they both competed in the same category—drama. Standing in front of a full house in Carson Auditorium, Jake portrayed an excerpt from Macbeth and Anna portrayed a scene from Steel Magnolias. Their performances were wonderful! We are grateful they attend a school where they can use their gifts in a variety of ways. In February, they will both perform in the play The Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.
- Reconnecting with old friends. These past few days have affirmed once again how dear and important friendships are in our lives. Spending time with the Carpenters and the Burkes, and the ability to pick up where we left off, is a gift.
As you gather around the table today, sharing food and conversation, may the words of the Psalmist be on your lips as well. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 (NLT)