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30 Days of Gratitude

November 2, 2012

Every year, on November 1st or 2nd, status updates that begin with “I am thankful for…” start popping up on facebook.  While I keep a gratitude journal, privately (well as privately as one can be with it hanging on my refrigerator door) all year long, in November I join the masses with publicly listing the things I am thankful for during the month of November.

This year, I am going to attempt to take my thankfulness a step further and post, every day, about what I am thankful for.  Yes, I know I am already a day behind, this will probably not be the first or last time I am a day behind, especially since we have a camping trip scheduled for November and I have no plans of blogging while camping.

Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience blog fame and A Thousand Gifts book fame has pushed gratitude back into the spotlight.  Before Voskamp was Oprah.  Way, way before Oprah was Paul, of New Testament fame, who told us to be thankful in all things, to bring our requests to the Lord with prayer and thanksgiving.  I’ve been keeping happy lists, thankful lists, and gratitude journal (the names of changes, the sentiment hasn’t) since about 1994.  My earliest list is recorded in my journals from when I studied in Latin America for a semester.  My life changing list was made with a college roommate at a particularly rough time in my life.  Now, I am attempting to post a thankful, for every day of November.

Day 1:  I am thankful for the opportunity to remember exactly how much I love teaching.

A week ago, I took a risk and signed up to be a Math Pentathlon group leader.  Since Madeleine joined 2 years ago in kindergarten, I’ve been wanting to lead a group.  However, two years ago, I had a one year old and a three year old in tow.  Last year I had a two year old and a four year old in tow.  I just didn’t know how I could manage.  This year, I did it.  The school’s weekly newsletter but out one last plea for an additional Math Pentathlon coach so 12 kindergarteners would get to participate.  I did it.  I had no idea how it would work with Isaac tagging along, but I figured with only one kid and an iPad, surely I could make it work.    Work it did.  Our first meeting was on November 1.  I absolutely loved it.  I loved figuring out how to configure our glorified storage closet we were meeting in.  I loved enlisting other parent volunteers to help at the meetings.  I loved teaching the kids the game.  I loved working the crowd of twelve kindergarteners, of assessing if they were following the directions and understanding the game.  It was an absolute blast and I loved it.


Day 2:  I am thankful for a knowledgeable yoga teacher.

I’ve been attending yoga off and on since July.  I try to make it every Friday, but in months like October when my Friday’s were occupied with things like dental work for my littlest, camping, flying to Virginia, and making cakes for cake walks, it doesn’t always happen.  I went back today, for the first time in over a month.  It hurt.  My body quivered.  I fell down (seriously friends, I fell over trying to do the triangle pose—a balancing on leg type of pose).  I modified my body in poses to accommodate the injuries I’ve accumulated over the years, my fused ankle in particular.  I relaxed as we did twists and felt lightheaded as I attempted to lengthen my breath from 4 seconds on an inhale to 12 seconds (I made it only to 10 seconds).  I rejoiced as we came into child’s pose.

Child’s pose has been my favorite in this current (since July) yoga stint.  Erin, my favorite yoga teacher at the YMCA, is big on correct posture in each pose to prevent injury.  While in the past, child’s pose has always been “whew, I can rest now” pose, with Erin, there is active work going on.  Even resting I am thinking about pulling my shoulders back, one of my biggest challenges in fitness and a very important one since I am the odd 38 year old who’s already had a bone spur removed (as my ortho surgeon told me, I was much too young for that).  Even resting, I am rooting to the ground and strengthening through my arms.  I am active even in rest.  I find a lot of truth in that.  No matter what I do, I need to remember to keep my roots strong in my God.  There with my head to the floor I remember who I am.  I am the Lord’s.  I was created in God’s image, from dust, from nothingness, humans were created.  As part of the liturgy for Ash Wednesday, as the pastor marks our forehead with ashes, we are reminded that from dust we come  and from dust we will return.  With my head to the floor, my body aching, my shoulders sitting on my backbone, I remember that I am God’s.  I am made in God’s image and I will return to God someday.  I remember with each breath that the breath of God flows through me and all of us.  For those things, I am thankful for a knowledgable yoga who creates a space for us to be active in rest, to work with us on correct poses, and to remind us to breath.  All these things remind me of who I am.


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