I must admit, all too often November is a blip on my radar, a passing of time from Halloween to Christmas. It is nice to remember to be thankful, but aren't we to be thankful all the time? I have found just how easy it is to be cynical of November expressions of gratitude, and just how easy it is to have Thanksgiving sail by without too much thought.
This year November arrived gray and cold. But for unexplained reasons, my heart was bursting. I looked out the window at the gray sky and it felt cozy and warm. A few days into November I turned to Chris and said, "I just love November. I don't know why, but I'm just so happy about it." He wasn't sure what to make of me. That is not to say all is perfect. No, the days are still hard, my patience is too thin, and frustration and exhaustion persist. But happiness in the midst of the hard was more apparent. I still don't know why this year my heart has been so full. But while we should be grateful all the time, I think Thanksgiving exists so we remember to be a little bit extra grateful. And what I have discovered these few weeks, is that the more I express my gratitude, the more grateful I feel.
We hung a "thankful tree" on our living room wall. It is far from Pinterest-perfect, but it has been a blessing in our home. Carly loves doing the leaves every night before bedtime. She would come up with such great things to be grateful for, everything from planets to bugs to her grandparents to Jesus. On good days, I would have a hard time choosing what single blessing I wanted on my leaf, and on hard days, I was reminded to look for the good. Carly asked if we had to take it down. Maybe we won't for a while.
I tried to be mindful of my blessings every day. Often those thoughts were shared on Instagram, and often they were not. Whether shared with the world or kept in my heart, being more aware of my blessings has been a blessing in and of itself.
This November we've been grateful for
-the end of Halloween; what a relief
-sweet loving big sisters
-starting gymnastics class
-a warm, wonderful (albeit small and messy) home
-the never-ending adventure of having twins
-a healthy body, and running scenic miles
-good books all around
-big daddy hugs
-cozy blankets as the days grew colder
-being a stay-at-home mom, spending my days in blanket forts
-and more books
-the House of the Lord, and the clarity and peace that exists within
-a fridge full of food
-cake (of course!)
-catching snowflakes during first snowfalls
Its no secret that one of the greatest blessings in my life is the people I share it with. Chris, Carly, Quinn, and John make my life rich. Carly participated in her first Primary Program in our church a few weeks ago. She was prompted to come up with her own part. She did, and she memorized it and delivered it flawlessly: "My family is special because we love each other and Jesus loves us. I can be a good future mother by helping with my brother and sister and learning to feel the Spirit." It doesn't get truer than that. I'm so happy she feels the love in our family and knows the Savior loves us, too.
And above all, I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the knowledge I have about this life, and the life to come. I'm grateful I can be with these people I love so much forever. I'm grateful that the gospel provides me with happiness, comfort, and peace in my everyday life.
Our tree is full.
And so is my heart.
Have a happy Thanksgiving.