**Note: posting is and will be limited! Sorry about that – I’m dying to connect more! – but we don’t yet have internet at our place. Just wanted to throw out a disclaimer about the lack of online presence! 😉 **
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers and Columbus Day to my American friends! Thanksgiving comes much earlier up north than it does to our neighbors in the south, and, to be honest, I’m not really sure what is being celebrated here after growing up and learning about the pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and the natives. But either way, the tradition is generally the same: gather together and eat turkey! 😉 One big difference, though, is that the holiday creates a 3 day weekend here (there is ALMOST one a month for different reasons! Gotta love that!) and people eat their meal anywhere from the Friday to the Monday. It’s great because you can connect with different friends or family groups but that’s something that I love about Thanksgiving in the States – you know that virtually everyone across the country will be sitting down on that last Thursday of the month to celebrate. Such a time of family and community! At any rate, I’m glad to celebrate this weekend and give thanks – it’s something I should do more consciously daily.
So here’s a list of a few things I’m thankful for, especially in light of where Mikey and I find ourselves in the present:
- Family. Although it’s kind of a given, it’s so true – I am so thankful for family on both sides of our marriage. I am thankful for marriage because it’s helped me to see my own sin more clearly (they say that about marriage; it’s really true!) and has helped make me a more patient, thoughtful and loving person. Plus, it comes with a great partner in adventure with Mikey and I am thankful for where God has taken us and for how Mikey leads – I continue to learn about what it means to love and respect him as we journey together. I can’t help but think about the great times we had in California recently with my immediate and extended family; tears come to my eyes as I think on the faces, the conversations, the significant memories shared that just don’t happen often enough with me living away. It sure makes me appreciate the times we do have, however!
- A home. As the weather gets colder I’m always extra-mindful of a place to sleep and take shelter in, and having just moved out and in to a new apartment (a big step for Mikey and I!), I’m very thankful for a place to call our own. Speaking of which, want to see a tour?!
- The ability to move. I most definitely get caught up not being “right where I want” and focusing on things that I know full well don’t matter that much, like my weight or how my jeans are fitting. But despite the little frustrations that I believe we all face regardless of our fitness level, I am grateful to simply be able to move. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of wind around you while hiking up a hill with the ocean crashing far below, the sea salt licking at your lips; there’s the feeling you get after a tough workout in the gym, sweat-stained and feeling drained; knowing you accomplished something physical also leads to accomplishments in the mental and emotional realm. Movement is such a part of my life – my work and my passions – and while I have it, I will continue to be grateful for it.
- Work. In my line of business, work ebbs and flows. Starting out this can be frustrating, but now that it’s been almost 5 years that I’ve been working as a personal trainer both in gyms and house-to-house, I realize that this is part and parcel for the industry. As you guys know, I’ve been working for Fifth Avenue Club, a gym downtown, since March and I am loving it! There are pros and cons to being on your own versus working for someone, so of course there are things that are difficult about it after working solo for 3 + years, but overall it’s a great community, my hours are filling up, and I love watching people come in and out and getting to know them over time as they stay fit and keep changing their lives! In general, I love being a trainer because it allows me to use one of my gifts, encouragement, to urge others to a healthier lifestyle. And that’s what it’s about – being healthy for the long term, not just to fit into those jeans or that suit (note to self: listen to your own advice!). 😉
- Our journey. It’s not been a typical one (but in some ways, whose is?), but it’s also not been one that I would take back and change for a “do over.” Mikey and I have been able to say “yes” to some pretty amazing opportunities since we’ve been married and have lived life first, in a sense, before “settling down” to make money and “be responsible.” This has been our path: marriage; working at a Christian non-profit outdoor adventure camp as guides; hit with a cancer diagnosis; a fast immigration and change of life for me as an American; moving in for the first time with my in-laws, 4 months married; becoming a personal trainer and learning the ropes during Mikey’s chemo and radiation treatments; wondering what God was up to and eventually creating Survive & Thrive Expeditions, a non-profit adventure therapy organization that we run together. From there, we’ve created (with the help of SO many and God’s leading!) two films with a webisode series on the way in January, toured across Canada in an RV showing our first film, worked on a boat in the Caribbean for 2.5 months, seen some opportunities taken away from us that completely shifted our life direction again (like cancer!) and moved back in, jobless, with Mikey’s parents, and now are where we are today: Mikey’s pursuing his Masters in Health Services Research and working on CancerBridges for Alberta Health Services while I continue to love being a wife and train others. Oh – and did I mention we’re in our new place yet? 😉 It’s been wonderful and amazing and trying and difficult; unknown and unexpected but filled with joy and discovery. Thank you Lord, for how you make everyone’s story unique; we continue to trust in you as you lead us in ours.
- Things that make me sing. What do I mean by this? I’m grateful for the little things that God brings across my path daily that make me and me alone smile. It’s an amazing thing to feel loved by our God, by the Author and Creator and life! That he should love me? forgive me? think about me? It boggles my mind and indeed is something I can’t think about too much or I feel my head and heart might burst. I hear him and see him in the ocean, over strong cups of coffee with friends as we talk about more than just the weather, as community is formed in different social circles and we begin to “bear one another’s burdens,” in the way my husband lingers in a hug and says “I really love you,” in the family he’s given me and the close-knit relationships that continue to form with my mom, dad and brother, in the joy I get from sharing small moments with others…I am thankful for my salvation – for how God opened the eyes of my heart to see my sin, see my need for him, and allow him to take over my life. I’m convinced it’s the best way to live and I am grateful for the purpose and hope that he brings despite the circumstances – any circumstances! – of my life.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! The obvious end-of-post question here is “What are YOU thankful for?” but I’d like to take it a step further: What are you thankful for in your life that started out as something that seemed negative, bad, confusing or unfair? How did it turn around for good? That’s what I’d love to hear from you! Be reminded of the good in your life today, even when it comes from the seemingly bad, and continue to live well & be well!