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Day 1: Chaos

I'm sitting here in the midst of Christmas season and New Year's Day chaos. There are 17 of us staying all weekend in my parents' lake home. I hear constant noise: kids laughing, screaming and fighting. I hear farming, sports and political talk. We compare and admire gifts. We drink wine and beer and snack on cheese and crackers. We change diapers and comfort crying babies. And I realized how grateful I am for these crazy and regular moments in my life. 

My temperament is melancholic, and I am much more apt to complain about what's wrong than realize and express gratitude for all that is right. I am constantly begging God to meet my needs, but am rarely praising Him for all the good in my life. And there is so much of it. So very much. 

The other night when I was lying awake from 2 to 6 a.m. seething that I was awake while the baby was actually sleeping, I remembered how several times I've considered starting a gratitude journal. I've read about the benefits, and I know people who write down one or five or 10 things each day that they are grateful for. I listened to Ann Voskamp's "1000 Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are" on Audible a few months ago and I thought it noble and enticing to list 1000 of my own gifts. But then life continued and I forgot about it. 

I haven't fancied myself a writer since early in college when I worked at my hometown newspaper.  A couple of generous, kindhearted friends have suggested that I start a blog but I never had a topic. Until now. I don't know if I even want to tell anyone about it, but I know I don't need another notebook on my nightstand with a few pages of scribbled lists. It could have been sleep deprivation convincing me of things I am not ready to handle, but I thought "Could I write a short blog post each day about something I'm grateful for?" It would be a reminder to me, on those days when I'm feeling anything but thanksgiving. Maybe there's a tiny chance someone would read it and praise God for a blessing they've overlooked? Who knows. Maybe I'll delete the whole bit by January 21st.

I deemed it worth a try and so here it is. I have mixed feelings. I constantly read things telling me I need to put my phone down and focus more on my real relationships. And I do. But I also know writing can be therapeutic, grateful people are happier people, and I need to praise God more for the blessings in my life. 

I'm realistic, and I know I can't won't post every day. Maybe I'll shoot for 5 days a week. A shorter post than this one about something I'm grateful for that day. So here we go. 

Day 1: Crazy holiday chaos at my mom and dad's house. There are 8 adults, 9 children (10 months to 12). I could point out that I'm especially grateful for the 10- and 12-year-old nieces who love taking care of my 5-, 3-, and 1-year-old sons. But I just generally love all this nonsense. We eat well, we laugh, we fight, we spill on grandma's carpet, we sled, we eat more, we drink beer and juice boxes (not together). We delay putting the kids to bed for one more hour. We play cards and games and watch sports and the Disney channel, and even though the Disney channel is annoying, I know these are days I will look back on with a sad and delighted fondness. I best get back to it. 

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