Thanks, you might hear that a few times today…

At the risk of posting something on Thanksgiving day and having it get lost in your feed…I like this saying & it’s fitting for Thanksgiving week. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to stop and be thankful. Instead of worrying about what we lack, we should focus on what we have. Many of us live in abundance – we don’t worry about our next meal or where we will sleep. I didn’t thank God for the ability to walk until I broke my foot. Then that simple thing that we take for granted suddenly becomes a big deal. I wasn’t thankful for my health until I had cancer and my life forever changed.

Everyone has a story. We’ve all had some event or circumstance that shapes who we are and the journey that we travel. Sometimes they are huge, significant things like death/loss, cancer, accidents etc. Other times they are small and we don’t recognize it at the time (or maybe ever). For example, back in 1993, I went to a 4H picnic & walked over with a friend to a group of “the cool guys.” The one guy asked where my ex-boyfriend was. I explained that we weren’t dating. He said, “I’m sorry.” I said, “I’m not.” The rest is history. Small, every day occurrences can shape our lives significantly also. That cool dude became my husband. Life forever changed. You may look back on an ordinary day and realize that it was a turning point.

We all also cope with those significant changes differently. Some people feel sorry for themselves, some pretend it didn’t happen, and some are more vocal. I’ve been more vocal about my cancer journey than some. It doesn’t make my way better – this is just how I cope. Writing stuff out is like making a big list. Have you ever made to-do lists? I have plenty. (I’ve been known to make a list or add to it so that I can cross something off). I do think that sharing with people allows you to bring them in, share in your joy or pain and feel more connected. You might learn something about them or yourself.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful on purpose. Today you may hear people be thankful for family or friends or a big turkey dinner. There will also be people who are alone, scared, homeless or wondering where their next meal will come from. They might be cold, tired or struggling with addiction. Not everyone enjoys the 4 day weekend filled with food, football, shopping &/or family. I say this, not to make anyone feel bad, but to make you aware that you probably have so much more than you realize. My husbands job at the school opened our eyes to the struggles that some kids face. Some of those kids worry about more than just turkey. They worry about being safe, where to sleep, what to eat. Yes, we have way more to be thankful for than what we realize. When we really think about it, the list could be very long. Sometimes it might not make sense.

I wondered if I should put this quote in, because it seemed kind of negative… but to me, it is a reminder to be thankful for our struggles, challenges and even difficult people. Maybe an odd thing to be thankful for, but hasn’t a difficult person also shaped your life? Did they make you realize how strong you really are? Did they make you strive to be nicer? Less judgemental? More loving? We learn a lesson from everyone who touches our lives. What path we take is up to us. Fill up with turkey and blessings this weekend, but take some time to relfect too. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Honeymoons & snow days…

Ha ha, did I get your attention? Well, it’s not that kind of honeymoon … it’s the honeymoon of being new to the area/school/job instead of new to marriage. We are on a new journey of enough. We made it through our first 2 weeks at work and schools. You know what I learned? A few things…1) Kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for. 2) Candy at your desk makes you more approachable & is a great conversation starter. 3) An employee store with cheap post-its, tape & command hooks is like having Black Friday every Wednesday. 4) A double oven made cookie baking much quicker – I miss mine. 5) Home is wherever you are together with your family. 

Many of the boxes have been unpacked, the garage has been organized just in time for the first blizzard (thanks to Cam), and we are getting settled into our new area. We have found the grocery store, tried some new places to eat & toured several homes. We even went to a winery and did wine tasting. We still need to find a Dr, dentist, orthodontist & hairdresser, but we will get there eventually. The nice thing about moving 2 hrs away, is that it’s only 2 hrs – there isn’t much “culture shock.” There is a Target store, Menards, Fleet Farm, Culver’s and Zorbaz, so there is enough of the familiar to make things seem more normal. 

Today was the first snow day that the boys have had in a while. The last few winters have been more mild, so I don’t remember when the last snow day was. At 6am, it seemed like they might have overreacted, but by 8am, it was really snowing and blowing. By 2pm, my car was a snow drift in the parking lot and it was a challenge to get home. Our rental house is on the lake and it’s hilly (especially compared to ND). The boys asked to go outside, so they found their snow gear, climbed up the tiny garage attic ladder to find the sleds, and headed out. The wind blew 30-50 mph, and we got 8-12″ of thick, wet snow. They spent 2-3 hours outside making snowballs, sledding and videoing their adventures. They had a blast. They were enjoying the snow and even each other. In their video, Myles said, “I love Minnesota!” Dallas said, “So, this is winter in Minnesota,” like we had moved somewhere exotic. 

While I know there will be challenges ahead, I’m pleased with how things are going so far. Our journey will no doubt take us on ups and downs, but we are together. I am grateful for our past experiences, thankful for where we are now and hopeful for what is to come.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Adventure awaits…

Have you ever asked God for a sign? Has it ever come in billboard form for you? (This has happened to my sister more than once, by the way) I think God has a sense of humor… otherwise why would we have a platypus. So sometimes he puts gigantic signs for us – if we are paying attention, we can see them. We all saw this sign as we went to Alexandria to sign the papers for our rental house on Sunday. Very fitting. “Adventure awaits, Alexandria, Minnesota.” Yes, yes it does. 

Rental house signed for on Sunday & we made two trips back and forth. Monday was the last day of school & Halloween. I stopped by the school in time to see Myles’ 4th grade class all tell him why they thought he was great. My favorite part was when the kids said that he tried to include & play with everyone. They had a Halloween costume parade and a little party. I brought snacks and watched “The Great Pumpkin” with them. It was an emotional last day for Cameron as a para. He has touched the lives of kids and staff and will be missed. Dallas said his last day was kind of uneventful… just another Monday. Monday night was trick or treating for Myles with his twin buddies. Dallas went to a Halloween party and I handed out candy. It is such a wonderful neighborhood for trick or treating- lots of kids and very little traffic to worry about. I will miss it. I’ll miss seeing the neighbor kids & their excitement of candy and glow bracelets. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even get a picture of my 3 guys. I’m thankful for the 12 years that we had there and all of the memories made.

Tuesday started the packing. 3M is moving us so we had people come to pack. It was supposed to take 2 days to pack, 2 days to load the van/semi and 2 days to unload. We helped them and it took way less time. We were supposed to unload on Monday/Tuesday which would have made it interesting for going to work and school. Thankfully, we were unloaded by Thursday afternoon! The boys were a great help & earned a pop and a big thank you from the movers. Now begins the adventure of unpacking & finding a new temporary home for stuff. We had gotten rid of a lot before we moved but there is way too much left. We will need to pare down for our next place. 

Myles found 3 pennies while unpacking. He said, “mom, we are starting our next chapter.” Yes, buddy, we are. He’s done amazingly well. Everyone has. Their positive attitudes make a world of difference.

 This is what we get to wake up to each morning…God is good. 

While our piles of boxes can seem overwhelming, we will eventually find a place for stuff (or we will get rid of it). Next week I will start a new job and the boys will start a new school. I pray the transition continues to go well. Thank you to everyone who has shared well wishes, fond memories & offered or given help. 

Remember to keep your eyes open on your journey of enough… God might just give you a billboard. 

Peace be with you.