While perusing the internet for Domestic Violence updates and news (October is DV Awareness Month), I stumbled upon rebeccaburns.com and diddled around on her site before finding something she calls a "Gratitude Journal". According to her, gratitude "turns what as have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude make sense of our past bring peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow". A little over a year ago, I was able to use my (favorite) gift to voice how important it is to be thankful for every single thing that happens in your life. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXovbDLqo4U. Intrigued by such a prospect, I've decided to make a list of the things I am grateful for.
Faith and Fellowship
There is no explanation for the life I came from before I [truly] found God. It's true that I believed, but establishing a relationship with Him didn't come until much, much later. I had been swept up by drugs and alcohol, perverse behavior, and for a lack of a better phrase: perceived badassness. Today, I'm much more calm and reserved, but I still have my moments (those of which Justin hated...and attempted to eradicate without success). In addition to being so undeniably faithful, He has given me so many wonderful friends that have encouraged and molded my faith. While it's true most of the friends I have come to know are going along their own path--I rarely get to see them--it doesn't change the fact that the time that we did spend together was wonderful. My keenness for isolation doesn't help much either. But I'm working on it.
Food and Fitness
I think that everyone can attest to my love for food. I'm incredibly picky, and I know what I like. While there is much more in this world that I'd like to taste, there are flavors and combinations that I absolutely can't get enough of. And when it's good, it's good. I'm so glad God has given me the ability to enjoy food the way I do. That being said, I've been recently grateful for my newly acquired gym membership at the YMCA. Forty pounds heavier today than I was a year ago is not somewhere I'd like to be, but stress, stress eating, having friends with terrible eating habits, and lack of exercise has really taken it's toll on my body. So I'm doing what I can to eat smaller portions, RE-eliminate fast food from my diet, and gym it up at least three times a week. When it gets a little cooler, I'll be riding my bike more!
Friends and Family
There isn't much that needs to be said about friends and family that I don't talk about in nearly every blog. I have the BEST friends that have really been there through everything. I always talk about my "best friend" so and so, but it's really because I can't have just one. While it's good to have a few close friends, I have so many people in my life that have seen me at my very best and very worst, but have never let anything come between us. They will offer me a place to sleep, feed me when I'm hungry, and lend me clothes when I have nothing I want to wear in my own closet. Those are people you never want out of your life. For real. I love you guys.
Fun and Fall-Outs
The concept of "falling out" is relatively new to me. I couldn't find a suitable urban dictionary definition, but my understanding of it has been parallel to the idea of nearly passing out, or crying, because you're laughing so hard. I'm grateful for my strange sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at myself (and to join others who are laughing at me). I'm enjoying this new "not-taking-everything-too-seriously" attitude. Life is too short.
Film and Fantasy
It pains me to admit it, but recently I agreed to watch Star Wars Episode IV, V, and VI. It was....interesting. To my surprise, it wasn't as terrible as my preconceived notion made it out to be. Forget it being a riveting action/adventure movie; it was pretty comedic. Movies from the 70's are unintentionally hilarious! It reminds of Last House on the Left (the original). I'd always thought that I've seen a pretty good variety of films- both blockbuster and foreign- but it wasn't until moving in with Maggs that I've broadened that movie watching horizon. My reading list, however, is somewhat short. While it's true that I'm still in the process of reading a few different books at the moment, I've been reading a lot less than usual. I have about 10 books in my queue, but I feel like I'm not getting the most out of the books that are out there. I've just reread The Giver and Gathering Blue, but I'm starting to think that having a Kindle has decreased the amount I read in a given week. Dance with Dragons and The Five People You Meet in Heaven are among the current reads. But I need more! My desire for new words and new plots is fervent; I feel slightly desolate without it.
Flirting with Free Will
This one is a little more general than the other categories, but I knew I needed something to be generally thankful about. Free will is something that I've recently come to control and admonish. Previously, I had used the concept of free will to justify my actions and behaviors that weren't quite acceptable, or even normal. If I could do it, I would do it. These days, however, I rarely utilize that strategy, and base my decisions more often on the ends rather than the means. Today, I found myself making a pro and con list about a decision that needed to be made....and I made it! I never do that! I've been living a life based on illegitimate decision-making skills, and choosing paths based on how they would benefit me in my current situation. But I'm thankful for the ability to discern between what I can do and what I should do.
As an update for those who crave the nitty gritty in my life, you'll be tickled to know that I'm incredibly happy. There's no drama to share; no bullshit to explain. I'm just....perfect. And not the overly, obnoxious "perfect" where I'm head over feet in my idea of "love", or falsely inspired by something new. I've discovered that by letting go of my inhibitions, as well as my expectations, I can experience a content state of mind I don't believe I've felt in a while. I'm planning broadly for my future, and not around anyone else's. And for those who haven't heard, I'm starting on my master's degree this December. Every decision I've made up to this point has been for this very moment, and I'm utterly humbled to say that I'm thankful for my God who has led me to it. Be blessed, friends.