I'm a whiner and a complainer. I find it very easy to focus on the negatives in my life. Ryan's truck has been in the shop (getting the clutch replaced) all week. The weather is cold and dreary, which affects my mood and sleeping pattern. The twins are in yet another challenging/whiny/messy stage. Elizabeth can't stay clean to save her life- I don't think any of her clothes will survive her and be able to be used by Annie and Maddie. You know, just regular run-of-the-mill everyday challenges that make up this thing called Life.
Most days I feel a little bit sorry for myself at some point. The twins spilled their cereal all over the floor and then stepped on it again. I can't get Emma and Elizabeth to pick up after themselves without threatening and bribes and the Mean Mommy Voice. Ryan has evening meetings a few times a month that leave me alone during dinner time. Other people have family close by that provide free babysitting and I don't. My favorite shoes have holes in them. Boo hoo. Poor me.
The funny thing is, my life is actually really good. I have 4 beautiful and healthy children. I have the best and sweetest husband. I have wonderful and thoughtful friends. I have a home. I have a dishwasher installed. (This house didn't have one when we moved in- and the dishwasher we have was actually a mobile unit originally. I am stoked that it is under the counter now where it belongs!) I have a washer and a dryer so I don't have to do the laundry by hand. I can hop in the car and drive to the store and by just about anything I need. I am very blessed.
I have a little girl named Ella in the Primary class at church that I teach who gave the closing prayer after my lesson last Sunday. It was about the longest prayer I have ever heard a 4-year-old give. (All 8 other 4-yr-olds were very squirmy by the end.) She listed off all the things she was thankful for during her prayer. I figured if she (and her family- who must be providing the behavior to be copied by their daughter) could be thankful for so much, I could too.
Here's a little background on her family: Not quite a year ago a baby boy named Cannon joined their family. He was a quiet and sleepy baby that Natalie (Ella's mom) found a relief after her first two very colicky babies. But Cannon didn't develop the quite the way he should have. After months of tests and research on their own (you can read about their emotional journey by clicking here) they found out their son has a rare disease called Menkes.
Menkes is fatal. Most children with Menkes do not live longer than 2-3 years, the average being 20 months.
Cannon can't swallow well enough to eat on his own, and has respiratory problems that make a good day for him challenging. On top of that, he is sick often and has been hospitalized several times. And on top of that, Kent (the dad) tore his Achilles tendon, had to have surgery and is out of commission (work, helping around the house) for a month.
If they can find things to be thankful for, surely I can as well. And I am thankful. My heart is also full for those who go through such challenges, and I hope that I can be there for them to help in any small way I can. It brings to mind a song we sing at church-
Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty Lord each day I live.
I must divide my gifts from thee, with every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack, and I not share-
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, my roof's safe shelter overhead
That he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I'll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need, I'll show my love by word and deed.
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.