Intentionally thinking on and thanking God for the things I have to be grateful for has been a practice of mine for quite a while now. Usually the moments that I need to practice it the most are not the moments when everything is going well and all is serene. Practicing gratitude in the midst of Salem testing my patience, Judah waking up at night for the umpteenth time, or Brian texting saying he is going to be coming home late again, prevents me from growing bitter by remembering that I have a lot to be thankful for. In those moments, it takes all my strength to say out loud, "God, thank You that I have the baby I've always prayed for to wake me up at night." But when I do it, the fog of frustration is lifted and I sense the Holy Spirit helping me die to my flesh so Christ can be strong in me.
I wanted to start a little monthly series here where I will post about one piece of my life, an ordinary thing, that I'm really grateful for. When I first thought about what I would post concerning gratitude, the big events of life didn't really come to mind as much as the little things that happen everyday. Thus, the idea for Ordinary Gratitude was born. I realize these stories are so ordinary that they may not be super fun to read about, but it's a tidbit of my life that I want to cherish here.
I love mornings with my boys, all three of them. I usually am woken up by one of two things. Either Judah's coos and baby talk and the sound of him rolling around the pack 'n play not far from my bed, or the thud of Salem's feet walking down the steps. I lay there and try to ignore Judah's sounds until I can't anymore because he's starting to get upset that I'm not coming, so I pick him up and nestle him on my hip and kiss his rosy red cheek and face the day. If Salem gets up first, I usually bring him in bed with me in hopes that he'll fall back asleep, but usually he doesn't and it's not long before I feel his breath on my face saying, "Mommy, I want some lunch. Let's go get some lunch." And I say, "You mean breakfast?" "Yeah, breakfast." We finally put two feet on the cold floor head to the kitchen, and Brian is not far behind. With Salem's bed head still in tact and blankie in arm, and he loudly requests that I not turn on the lights because they're too bright. He graciously allows me to turn on the kettle for the coffee before I get him breakfast. When I ask him what he wants to eat, he thinks about it for a long time, as if he's deciding between 10 different items at a gourmet restaurant, when I know he's really just trying to decide between pancakes or Cheerios. He usually gets bowl of Cheerios, and Judah is planted on the floor below his highchair hoping to catch a little bit of whatever Salem drops since he eats later on. Once Salem is settled, I get my granola and coffee and join everyone at the table. All of us eat breakfast together, which I love because we usually don't all eat dinner together. Salem is getting interested in how everyone's days/nights went and he usually asks, "so how did you sleep last night mommy? And how did Judah sleep? And what about you, daddy?" On some mornings, Brian makes pancakes for everyone, since he's the unofficial breakfast maker, and Salem asks for his pancake to be smothered in butter. The kitchen smells like a mixture of pancakes and maple syrup and coffee and the sun is finally coming up over the hill country and peeking in through the windows. Once Salem is finished he sits on Brian's lap and tries to get a few more bites of whatever daddy is eating. When Salem's done he's eager to go upstairs and play with his toys or watch a little cartoon. Then the three of us linger around and talk about the day ahead until we inevitably have to start getting ready.
I savor what our mornings look like because I know it won't be long before we are rushing off to school and aren't able spend as much time together. When we learn to savor and thank God for all the aspects of our season, highs and lows, we intentionally stir up gratitude which leads to joy.