Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gratitude


I bought this adorable little turkey before the first Thanksgiving that Chris and I celebrated as a married couple. He was sitting out on a display table and caught my eye, and he makes me smile every year. If you look closely, you can see where his poor little head was severed (kind of ironic, actually) in one of our moves, but other than that, our cute turkey has remained on of my favorite items of the season.

I miss my sweet husband today. He is in Logan working, and I am here in Idaho Falls with my family. I love you, Chris, and more than anything or anyone else, I am thankful for you.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving and the things I am grateful for. I love that my wonderful mother-in-law, Marilyn, and my cute friend Elena, have kept lists of the things they are thankful for. I had contemplated doing the same thing, but all of the sudden Thanksgiving Day was upon me and I didn't get around to it. Instead, I thought I'd take this opportunity to express my gratitude for a couple of specific things that have been on my mind today.

I think the answer to "What are you thankful for?" may most often be family, so perhaps this seems a little clich├ęd, but I don't care. I was actually thinking about my friends: the way we choose them, the way like most often attracts like, and the way our relationships evolve based on our efforts to provide support to each other. Families, on the other hand, work the opposite way: we were thrown together by chance, often the most different of individuals, and even if we try our hardest to avoid each other, we're bonded by blood that will keep brining us together, if not physically, at least in our thoughts. Perhaps I wouldn't have chosen my family members, and perhaps it sometimes seems we have little in common except for that blood that connects us. Even so, today I am eternally thankful for the people in my life who have known me and will know me for my whole life, the people who forgive my most grievous mistakes and overlook my small annoyances, the people who call me part of their own and love me for no better reason than that I belong to them: my family.

After spending last evening talking and laughing with two of the most awesome women in my life (Becky and Elena), I could not let today go by without expressing my thanks for my dear friends. I am a very social person by nature, and I have been extremely blessed to cross paths with the most amazing people in my life. There are so, so many qualities in each of my friends that I love and admire, so without listing all of those, let me just say to you, my wonderful friends, that I appreciate and love you more than you know.

Yesterday, as I was driving with my sons to Idaho, I was listening to the little DVD player while the boys watched Ratatouille. Someone told me that the artists had a difficult time trying to make the rats characters in the movie look like rats--yuck--, but look cute and loveable at the same time. I thought about how clever they had to be to come up with the idea in the first place-- a rat who likes to cook!-- and how much work it took to make the idea of a rat in the kitchen not only acceptable, but ultimately desired by the audience. Anyway, while I was contemplating, I was both suddenly and very proufoundly struck with the miracle of human creativity, and more specifically, my own gifts and talents, the qualities that make me unique. I spend so much useless energy comparing myself to other people, and in this one very real moment, I recognized, however briefly, that the things I have to offer the world are special and creative and uniquely me. I don't often blog about spiritual things, but since Thanksgiving is a religious holiday for me, I will tell you that yesterday, in a car in the middle of nowhere Idaho, I felt that God both knew and loved me deeply. I am grateful for that significant moment in my life, and I am resolved to make the best use of the gifts God has given me.


"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
~W.T. Purkiser



Happy Thanksgiving!

7 comments:

Marilyn said...

I love you, Elise! That was so beautiful, it made me cry. You are so very special and talented and LOVED!!

Todd said...

Thanks Elise for sharing your talent for writing with all of us through this blog- not to be too cheesy on public internet, but your blog is really part of my daily routine and I always look forward to what you have to say! I agree 100% on your thoughts about family- and thank you so much for just having fun with all of us very different sisters yesterday and for many days to come!! A-M

Elena said...

OH! So good (and not to preachy)! Thanks for letting me hang out with you the other night, it was such a great time. I couldn't believe we sat in the car and talked for another 2 hours! So fun!!!

p.s. Jarom told me that I was out of line inviting you and Chris to join us for the game. ;) Good luck tomorrow, but I'm afraid you're going to go away with heavy hearts. :) GO BYU!!!

Elena said...

p.s.s WAY CUTE header! (Even if they are wearing the wrong color.) J/K

becky ward said...

Your new Christmas header is adorable and you look gorgeous! I am so with you on every thing you said...thanks for helping us all to realize what we have to be thankful. I am SO thankful for a friend like you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Christy said...

I love your new Christmas header...maybe I should do one...

Becca said...

Love the new header, love hearing about your cute kids, and would love love LOVE to get together next time we are up north. We're not coming for Christmas, alas, but I will let you know when we DO come. Keep on keepin' on.