I don't want to sound all high and mighty, or preachy. However, I cannot help but take some time to be overwhelmingly grateful for what we have been given, and the fact that we value service and love so much that we work hard to "give back" - and that we instill those things in our kiddos.
I am thankful for my ability and opportunity to serve our community through Ever After Gowns and Kappa Alpha Theta. I am thankful for my professional privilege to help shape minds via my teaching career at the University. While those things have a lot of opportunity for service, the truth is I don't know if there is such a thing as pure, unselfish service....because in truth I receive so much personal joy from all of that. I get to work with incredible, amazing people. I get to be exposed to astounding brains, talents, and hearts in the college students and volunteers that I encounter. Yes, I aspire to make an impact on the world...but honestly the world has made such an impact on me. I am so blessed to have my heart open to that. We are so thankful to be aware that we always have more to learn.
I am thankful for the fact that Nick and I volunteer in our community (be it my organizational involvement, our membership in the Jaycees, or Nick raking leaves for the elderly or doing Habitat work or mentoring high schoolers....) and it has "rubbed off" on our kids. They make a point to consider donating clothes and toys on a monthly basis. They point out someone's car stuck in a snow bank in our neighborhood so we can join in the crowd and help dig them out. They gleefully help me sort inventory for Ever After Gowns. They bring food donations for the food shelf. They ask "how can we help"? My heart bursts. I am over the moon crazy in love for this family of ours.
Again, I don't share this stuff to brag - though of course I am proud of their loving hearts. Rather, I just don't know how we cannot take some time to share the many blessings that we have been given! We have so much to be thankful for. Certainly, our needs are met with a warm home and food on our table. But we have so much more. Love and happiness, not just a job but professional opportunities, educational success, a good amount of health, and the chance to travel now and then. Any challenges we have with my Rheumatoid Arthritis, work issues, or general life irritations are so insignificant! We do not take anything for granted - I think I am especially thankful for that awareness.
So - to sum up.....we are thankful! :-) Here are some things that the kids are thankful for, in their own words, and in the exact order that they shared.
I am thankful for:
family, shelter, that my parents have jobs, Jesus and God, Mom and Dad, food, water, transportation, family time, holidays, Nintendo, my pillow pet, American Girl dolls, balloons.
I am thankful for:
all the things that I can do, animals, the world, Mom and Dad, kids, Christmas, people, things that keep us warm, my pillow pet, Hot Wheels, houses, coloring.