Fluffy snow. It's perfect for a good sled ride. I had a great time sledding with my kids today. I, who hate snow and Winter, ventured into the cold to please my children. I ended up having more fun than they did, I think. It was worth the freezing, soaked jeans and the cold fingers inside my wet gloves.
A happy day. I am always thankful for happy days. I know that they outnumber the bad days and I'm grateful for that, most of all.
Freedom. There are days when I think about history and the things I've learned by studying it. I know that freedom comes at a price for any nation, race or culture. I am so grateful for the people who have gone before us and paved the way for the level of freedom that we have today. Before I exercise my "rights", I try to think about who made them possible. So many people died for my freedoms and I will never take that lightly.
Joy. It's different than happiness. For me, it's not easily lost, like happiness can be. Joy is something inside of me that is there whether or not I'm feel "happy". I have the joy of knowing that I am loved and accepted by God, the one who created me. There is no greater joy than that, even in moments where I allow my daily experiences to override my happiness. My joy will never be lost. There are many times where I question myself and my beliefs and why I truly hold the convictions that I do, but in the middle of those times of questioning, I don't lose my joy.
Standing. Life gets us down, all of us can say that we have experienced a knockout at the hand of our opponent at one time or another. However, I can say that learning to just stand when there's nothing else I can do has been a gift from God. Sometimes the standing comes before taking a big step, sometimes the standing comes in a period of waiting, sometimes the standing comes after making a wrong turn, but I have found that in those moments where I just stand, God gives me peace and lets me know that everything will be okay. I am grateful that I am learning just to stand and wait. In those times, God wants me to learn that HE is the one who gives me everything I need and I can do nothing without him...and everything WITH him.
My heart. God has changed my heart in so many ways. He's traded my "heart of stone for a heart of flesh". He's made all things new, as he's promised to do, and he continues to do so. I sometimes try to grab onto the old me and pull her up from the grave, but I've learned that there's a reason she's in that grave to begin with. The old me has passed away, ALL things are become new. My outlook on life. My emotions. My joy. My character. My convictions. My ability to hear God inside me. God has made my heart new.
Miracles. In most people's lives, miracles are small moments that they may not even recognize, but as I look back on my life (even at the young age of 34), I already see a whole life full of small miracles...to me the sum of all of those small miracles is one GIANT miracle. I am alive. I am breathing. I have the ability to love and experience emotion. I have had a lifetime of experiences and decisions that have led me to exactly this moment, sitting on this couch and writing down my gratitudes. There are other galaxies and planets and moons spinning in the vastness of space. There are animals and organisms we humans have yet to see, even on our own planet. A tiny snowflake or a blade of grass is a work of art. We are all works of art, created by God in his image. We need to treat ourselves that way. Life itself is a miracle, so don't take it for granted.
You are a work of art, fearfully and wonderfully made by the one who loves you best. My hope for you is that you NEVER forget that. People joke about the fact that everyone is unique...but it's true. There is no one else on the planet exactly like you. There may be people with your hair color, skin color or some of your personality traits, but there has never before been someone like you and there never will be again. You are a blessing and there are things you have to offer to the world that no one before you has had and that no one after you will have. Remember that, when you're going about your daily life, when things seem kind of mundane. You are here for a purpose, whether you know that purpose right now or not.