At this stage in our life together Matt and I are both incredibly busy, but as of late it has seemed to become even more hectic. The past few months have come and gone so quickly that I can barely believe it! Naturally Fall is a fast paste time for our family. From August, which is technically late summer, all the way up until New Years we have special family events and traditions taking place such as birthdays, holiday and anniversary days. It is a time of gratefulness because in one way or another we are remembering the people, and relationships, in our lives that we are thankful for and are incredibly blessed to have. It brings our family back to center, and puts at the for front of our minds what life is really all about. Love. Loving your family, and making certain that you do not waste a single precious moment with them. Loving what God has blessed you with, those intimate bonds that can only be built by time and trust. And extending that love to others because no matter where you are in the world there is always someone that can benefit from kindness.
So here is a mini recap of those sacred, tender moments that come and go in our family during this season of gratefulness.
1. Our Anniversary: We were married exactly a year, two months and twenty-nine days ago on Friday, August 19, 2011! Now, every year this is the very first event that takes place in our family, which begins the season of gratefulness in our life. It starts off slow in August, with this important anniversary date (8/19), then with the start of school (8/22) and lastly, for the month, our dear friend Nick’s birthday (8/26). Then is begins to pick up and become more rapid as we move into September and hits a high peak starting in October and going straight through until January. I have to say I am thankful that our Anniversary is the first event we have, not only because it is our anniversary, but because since it is the first, of the many events we have taking place during this season, it is not rushed or surrounded by other ones. Therefore it doesn’t have to be somewhat crammed into the schedule. It can be calm, relaxing and care-free, so to speak. A true time to spend embracing our marriage and all the wonderful things God has given us, and brought us through, in the past year.
On a side note, I find it fascinating how, in our family, this season where we remember and take extra time to cherish those people in our lives, as well as the blessing God has generously given us, begins with Matt and I celebrating our most important and intimate relationship. Our own marriage between God, myself and my husband. I guess you could say this is my food for spiritual thought 🙂
2. The beginning of the school year: For some this wouldn’t seem like such a thing to be thankful for, but for me, a person so who loves school and learning new things it is! I am studying to be an Elementary School Teacher, at the University of Kentucky, and am basically tickled pink at the beginning of each school year because that means I get to further the desire that God has placed in me to teach His children. I get to learn the necessary skills that I am going to need to not only make a difference in their lives, educationally and emotionally speaking, but also their families lives and their community. On top of it all this was my first semester in Practicum which means, aside from classes, I have been in the classroom for at least ten hours every week! There I get to observe the teacher I am assigned to work with her students, as well as get my feet wet in teaching them! This has been such a fulfilling experience for me, and though it has shown me how difficult the career I am choosing is, it has also cemented the fact that this is where God wants me to be.
3. Kirby-girls I gotcha day: This day is a bittersweet day. It is sweet because it is the day that Kirby joined our family, and therefore brought many life changing experiences with her, which God has used to bond Matt and I tighter then I ever dreamed. It is bitter because it is also the day that we remember the attack on our Country, 9/11. Where would we be with out the struggles in life? Who would we be if we never had to fight for what we wanted to keep? Through becoming “pet parents”, as we call ourselves, Matt and I have learned invaluable lessons about one another and how well we work together as a team. We have had to deal with many trials that this sweet little puppy has brought our way, including a horrific food allergy, but through those times we learned how to work together, communicate better and lean on God and one another to meet our goals. She has been a blessing in our life and marriage and we could not picture our family with out this sweet, loving dog we call our Kirby-girl.
3. Various birthdays including: Our God-son Noah’s, he just turned 3! Our Nieces, Chloe and Evie. Some of our siblings, Brother John, Carrie, Devra and Carrieli. Some of our parents, Mompom’s and both of our Dads. A few best friends, Christy, Darren and Nick, and then to wrap them all up there’s Mawmaws…. o and I guess mine too 🙂
My philosophy about birthday’s is that on this special day you celebrate how much the specific person means to you and how grateful you are that they were brought into your world. For each person you have a different reason as to why you are so thankful they are here, why they are so important to you and how they have affected your life drastically for the better. Because of this I am a full believer that birthdays should be acknowledged. You might show this through buying them a gift that made you think of them, spending time with them and/or preparing a special meal or treat that they enjoy to show them how much they mean to you. Whatever you do though, at the center of it all is the gratitude you feel towards them and the thankfulness you have towards God for putting someone so uniquely extraordinary in your life.
4. Thanksgiving: A day of good southern, and Swedish :), home cooked food! A day to spend with those that matter most to you in life, whether that be by helping prepare the meal, watching the Macy’s Day parade or a game of football together after the Turkey comma has set in. For us though it is also a time to be introspective. The year is coming to a close and so it is now that we remember all the things we are so blessed to have. All the ways that God has provided for us through the past year and giving thanks to Him for what He has given us, both through the triumphs and the tribulations. Because a lot of times, I have found that, after He has brought you through something you are a better person because of it. To take it a step further this year and inspire more gratitude in my own heart I have intentionally been taking time each day to reflect upon my life, and find at least one thing that I am abundantly thankful for each day. One day it might be something small. The next it might be earth-shatteringly large. No matter the size though, they all have one thing in common. They all make an impact in my life. They are all gifts that I am blessed to be given, and that I must remember I am not entitled to, but rather privileged to have.
5. Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day/our Engagaversary: Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the music that is played leading up to that day. I love that cold chill in the air and the beautiful blanket of snow that covers the ground. I love the fact that no matter how cold it gets outside, for some reason or another, there is this inherent warmth that radiates through me, and through others, keeping me toasty at this time of year. I love finding that perfect gift that is going to bring such joy to them. I love being a blessing to those around me and seeing others kindness towards those in need, that they might get side tracked from because of the busyness that surrounds their day. I love having all of my family together, and spending extra time with them. Most of all though I love slowing down and remember what this holiday is all about, my Lord and Saviors, Jesus’ birthday, and the fact that because He came to die for the worlds sins we can all start a new. I just love everything about it!
On top of all that, as if I didn’t have enough reasons to love this holiday already :), Matt proposed on, a snowy, Christmas Day 2010 at his families farm. To me Christmas is a celebration of love and to love, as well as be loved, has been the best decision I have ever made; inherently making it my favorite choice/emotion/feeling of all.
6. New Years Eve/ New Years Day: The weekend after Christmas we go to visit family that is distant through mileage, but close to heart. Before we were married I would go see my Aunt B, Uncle Doug and my three cousins, Emily, Ciara and Savannah who live in Pennsylvania. Matt would go and visit his older brother John, his wife Carrie and their three daughters, Chloe, Mary and Evie in Tennessee. Now that we are married we have decided to alternate between the two every other year. Last year we went and rang in the New Year with our family in Pennsylvania and had such a wonderful time! This year we are headed to Tennessee to celebrate the start of 2013 with our family in Tennessee! We love having this last celebration to wrap up our season of gratefulness because we are ending it, just as it began, with family. I once heard a saying about New Years that goes”However you spend your New Years is how you will spend the next year.” I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to bring in the New Year then with those I love and care for the most in this world, and if that saying ever held true then I would be happy to know that the next year ahead meant more moments to be thankful for with them.
Some of these have not happened yet, since we are in the midst of this season in our family, but, none the less, they have been a blessing for us to experience in the past, remember in the present, and look forward to for the future. And each time, when this season in our family comes to an end, we always feel closer, and more connected, to each other and to our God, as well as look forward to it starting all over again in the upcoming year.