Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not Lucky--Blessed

Thanksgiving has never really had much meaning for me. That sounds kinda petty, but it honestly just isn't one of the holidays that I anticipate or truly love. For me, it always seems to be kind of a pitstop, a point to get through to get to Christmas. You can really tell this by looking at my past blogs. Last year, I didn't say a peep about Thanksgiving. This year however, it's been a little different.

I've been on a Nicki Minaj kick lately, and I was listening to this song--

The lines, "No, I'm not lucky, I'm blessed--yes." really spoke to me. Because she's right. I'm not lucky. I'm blessed. Truly blessed.

So here's a sappy Thanksgiving post. I'm going make a list (you all know how I love lists) of seventeen ways God has blessed me. Why seventeen? Because that's all I could think of. Lol.

1. God

I am thankful for God. I am thankful that through all my temper tantrums, my irrationality, even when I hated and cursed Him, He stuck with me. He led me back to Him through the careful use of my friends, the people I've met, and my transforming experience in Oxford. I don't think I'll ever understand why He loves me and why He puts up with me, but I know I am truly grateful that He does.

2. Old friends

I love this picture because it captures everyone I love in a place that I love. These are the ladies that have been there for me, no matter how hard. These are the girls I'd do anything for and I thank God every day for bringing them into my life.

3. New friends

This past year, I've done a lot in a lot of places. Whenever I do something new, say, transfer to a new university, go to England, etc., I always have this strangely irrational fear that I will not make any new friends and be shunned. This has never been the case. Especially this year, I've met so many amazing people that have impacted my life in incredible ways. For that, I'm grateful and indebted to them. I hope they remain in my life and continue to help me grow and learn.

4. My VBC seminar

Instead of taking formal classes, I chose to do a fifteen credit project this semester. The project involved researching 'vernacular memorials'--such as tattoo memorials or roadside crosses, things of that nature. My initial reasoning for doing this project was to take a break for the routine of regular courses and try and get back on my feet but in all honesty, this seminar has done so much for me. It's given me confidence in my abilities, reminded me that if I work hard enough, I can do anything. It's forced me to work outside my comfort zone and honestly create something, something I can be proud of. Most of all, it's forced me to face my fears of death. I will never be comfortable with death, but I think the emotional maturity I've gained from this project has prepared me better to deal with it.

5. My trip to England

I very nearly did not go to England this summer. There were financial struggles, I missed several paperwork deadlines, I nearly didn't get the loan I needed, etc. For a while there, I was sure I would not go. But God worked it out. I am so grateful He did. I gained some of those new friends on that trip. I visited places I'd always wanted to go to. Most importantly, on a rainy day in Oxford, I came back to Him. Good lord, where would I be now if I hadn't gone?

6. My family

I'll be honest, my family drives me crazy. My oldest brother's inability to wash a dish. My mother's inability to see how awesome she is. My family's basic inability to communicate with each other. But if there's one thing I've learned in my VBC seminar, no one lives forever. I appreciate them and love them even more for being there. And through all the little aggravations, there will always be things I love about them. Saul's never failing ability to make me laugh for one. When my oldest brother (the one who can't wash a dish) brags about my favorite papers. My middle brother's patience. How my mother never fails to coddle me when I want to be coddles. My father's determination to fix anything that comes up in my life. They are my family, and I love them fiercely.

7. My Grandpa

I love my Grandpa. He's the only grandparent I've ever known, and he is incredible. I have been blessed enough to see him regularly and actually forge a relationship with him. He's 96 and I know he won't be around forever. But I'm so thankful for the time I've been given with him.

8. My sister

My sister is obviously a part of number 6, my family, but the amount of my gratitude for having her in my life deserves its own spot. I met my sister for the first time the fall of 2008--well, technically, the first letter from her arrived not long after my eighteenth birthday. I met her the following summer. That story will have its own blog post one of these days, but suffice it to say she is incredible and God has blessed me sooo much for bringing us together.

9. My cat

This seems an overly sentimental one, but I'm feeling particularly sappy, so deal. This occurred to me last night, while I was reading on my bed, and my darling crotchety cat hopped on my bed and curled up next to my chest. There is nothing quite as contenting as a cat using you as a pillow, purring up a storm. I have had this cat, formerly called Goldenrod (I've been calling him THE DOCTOR lately due to my obsession with Doctor Who) since I was nine years old. He has been a constant companion and is very dear to my heart.

10. My mother's new job

My mother has been searching for a new job for a good two years now. It has caused my family no end of stress and fear. This past month, she finally was accepted into a new position. I haven't stopped thanking God for it.

11. My music

I am thankful that God blessed me with musical genes and a musical momma. Everything I write comes from Him and everything I play/sing would be nothing without Him.

12. My writing

All the stories I create, all the blogs I scribble, all the papers I sweat over--these are the things I love to work on and I am so blessed that He granted me a talent at it.

13. My puppy

I have the most beautiful German Shepherd in the world. She is slightly neurotic and drools over all my sheets and is generally crazy, but I love her to bits. She is my baby.

14. My church

I've never felt quite at home with a church. I refused to get confirmed at thirteen and basically flitted from church to church, feeling that nothing was a right fit for me. However, the church that was attached to my school--has always been a home, even when I didn't see it that way. They recently sent me a college care package and I was so touched by their love and thoughts. So nowadays, I've accepted it--Immanuel Lutheran will always be my home church.

15. C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis has impacted my life so powerfully. He has been quite possibly my greatest teacher, leading me forward in my faith and challenging me to think critically and logically. His words have meant everything to me, and for all he's done, I am thankful.

16. House Church

I mentioned before that finding new churches is often a trial for me. It's even worse when I'm in an unfamiliar school and town. I prayed to find a new spiritual home and like he does, God answered my prayers. He introduced me to someone in my VBC seminar who led me to House Church, a weekly Bible study and Sunday church. Having a friend there was comforting and relaxed me. So I am thankful for that.

17. My education

I have been very blessed education-wise. My father, with somewhat snobbish intentions, refused to send any of his children to public schools so my brothers and I went to private institutions our entire life. This was a very important stepping stone in my life, however, and I'm grateful for it. The quality of my education has always been good and my very Lutheran high school and elementary school gave me a wonderful Christian foundation to fall back on.

In the end, it's true. I'm not lucky, I'm blessed, and I hope never to forget that.