Thankful Thursday Three

I know, I know, it’s not Thanksgiving anymore. We all shared our thanks and moved on to all the things we could buy or get for Christmas. But, as I may have done before, I want to go back to the thankful part. Perhaps it’s better to be reminded of gratitude when inundated with sales and stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I bought some new jeans last weekend, but still find thankfulness to be pretty valuable, even after we’ve finished off the turkey and pie. So, here are three things I’m incredibly thankful for (besides the obvious friends and family, because of course I’m thankful for those).

1. Comforts of home. This was going to say, “my bed,” but then I wanted to change it to “my house” but felt like the couch was being left out and then the practical side in me said “there’ a baby in this house, what would we do without the washer and dryer!?”  So, let’s sum it up by saying I am so grateful for the many comforts of home. A bed to squeeze in those few hours of sleep I somehow manage to find each night and a couch on which to rest, work, and slouch during the day. A washer and dryer (and I guess other cleaning products in the house) to keep some level of cleanliness when I get around to it and simply a house to clean at all. This house has easily been my favorite of all the places we’ve lived, not only because it’s where we first brought our sweet little baby, but it has simply become our home. This list is barely scratching the surface because I can’t imagine life without electricity or running water or a refrigerator. Let’s face it, there are just too many comforts of home to be thankful for, and I haven’t even mentioned Netflix.


2. Health. I think it’s easy to take your health for granted until it’s bad or maybe someone you know is facing health challenges. I don’t want to wait around for either of those, so I’m just going to claim my gratitude for my health right now. Are their ways it could continue to be strengthened and improved? You betcha. But I’m glad that there are online videos for yoga and zumba (despite how crazy it looks), doctors when needed, and my apple a day (which helps me justify a little chocolate most days, too).

3. The Thursday Three. Now I’m talking about writing the piece that I usually use to write about writing? WHAT? So meta. Or something. I’m grateful for this little outlet of a blog, and the Thursday Three post has been a way to get something written almost every week (with the exception of much of last year’s hiatus). It has allowed me to think through each week and share tidbits and highlights with you. I’ve written over 100 Thursday Three posts over nearly four years, and I’m grateful to continue doing so today.

What are you thankful for?

Haven and Hospitality

When we got married we quickly established that our home was to be a welcoming and calm space. It’s so comforting to come home to a made bed and an inviting living room. Obviously, we live here, so it definitely has its messes from time to time and piles of laundry that will never fully be conquered. I might get stir-crazy on occasion but there’s a peace about this place that I cherish.

We also desired hospitality and generosity to come from this household. What that means may vary, but right now it means being open to couchsurfers. It gives us joy to host people for a few nights while stretching us beyond our comfort. In the moments of learning about others traveling through, I learn a little more about myself.

In my home, I am an introvert. I’ve questioned my designation between being an extrovert and an introvert for years, but at home I love the calm, quiet space alone. Having that space allows me to be an extrovert outside of the house. It’s my retreat and safe haven, my place to think and ponder. Without it, I might be more introverted after all.

Bringing someone else into that haven is a risk. It’s as if I have these two goals: having a peaceful, calm home and an open-to-anyone, hospitable space, but they may seem mutually exclusive. I can’t decide which goal should supersede the other, but I can’t give up either one. It’s another of life’s many contradictions hanging in the balance. That struggle between the two illuminates beauty and deeper understanding as we seek the proper balance.

Go Big or Go Home

Okay, sure. You’re motivating me to really go for it, right? Win that big game, challenge the cowardice. Reach beyond the minimum and shoot for the stars. Go big or go home.

You’ll hear me saying, “let’s do (this)…just to say we did!” as if someone is keeping track of the number of adventures I’ve had in my life. I love pushing for that extra experience. Love traveling. Love a decent challenge or brainstorm for an even better idea. I mean, we did just move halfway across the country without a whole lot pulling us here. I’d like to think that means we aren’t the safest players out there; we take risks. We’re living life.

That said, can I just pick “go home”, given the two choices?

Because what if killing yourself for a project isn’t worth it? What if being “successful” by certain standards means never seeing that house or family you’re supporting? Or losing hours of sleep each night to a point of poor health? What if “going big” amounts to a lonely personal life? What if the words have stopped flowing easily because you decided to go big instead of go home and your brain is no longer able to think creatively?

I don’t want to live a life of mediocrity, I assure you. But something is off in our society when people aren’t taking vacation time, lunch breaks or getting a good night’s sleep. We need rest and rejuvenation in our lives. It’s the only way we’ll ever really be able to take on something more. Go big or—really win this one and—GO HOME.

We Made It

I am so tired, and sore, and exhausted that I am struggling to lift my fork to eat this crepe (you read that correctly – there’s a crepe place where I live! And I can eat them!). My little arms are screaming at me but my brain is racing. The past 24 hours have been insane. I think I’d like to take a week-long nap followed by a day-long shower.

But as of this moment, we have a home. We live somewhere. And we slept in our own bed last night for the first time in over three weeks.

We also have too much stuff.

Taking all of our worldly possessions down from the storage unit, out to the truck, down the ramp and sidewalk stairs and then finally up the flight of stairs to our new apartment has left us with this realization. We have too much stuff. We aren’t sure how or why or when we acquired all of these things, but the new way of life is “less is more” from here on out. That or, next time we move we’ll sell everything we own and then buy it all back over time. With each step we questioned the worth of the items we spent so much time, money and physical pain to keep. Over a thousand dollars to rent a truck and drive it halfway across the country (Penske is the way to go), another hundred for a climate controlled storage unit for a month, a couple hundred dollars in boxes/tape/rope/blankets (even with the donation of boxes from friends)…it all adds up. And for what? A life lesson learned the hard way. Less is more.

We did have a garage sale beforehand though and felt we got rid of things, which freed us up to make some purchases that we are so glad we acquired here instead of lugging across the country. Before loading up the truck, we snagged some major craigslist deals. We bought our first washer and dryer, a nice couch set, a bike rack and the hubby upgraded his bike for his new daily commute. We left a car back in Iowa to sell and will try and live on just one car for awhile.

Everything went so quickly, and overall, so smoothly. We’ve really been blessed by that and all we’ve been given. We had great friends help us pack the truck, wonderful relatives providing us with a “home base” (and friendship, meals and muscles too) and have been blessed by the kindness of strangers as we pick up these miscellaneous items and navigate around town. As we made a midnight run to Walmart last night for cleaning supplies and ice cream, we looked at each other and said, We did it. We made it. It certainly wasn’t done alone, but we did it together. We drove across the country, just us. We packed the bulk of our house and moved the bulk of our things and will inevitably unpack all of those things – just us. Hubby said last night that he felt like we were newlyweds all over again. Just figuring things out with a fresh start. Stuff or no stuff, the best thing we’ve had on this move was each other. Call me cheesy, but I’m pretty thankful for my husband and getting to do this thing together, with him. This thing called life.

Ring in the New

I’ve been fortunate to have visited several places around the world. In most of these places, I’ve picked up a piece of jewelry. It’s not a given or an absolute, but I like the idea of having a little reminder of the place around my neck or on my finger. Just last week I started to think of what my “Iowa” jewelry would be. Trust me, I have random earrings from Target and impulse buys that resulted in a few necklaces, but I really wanted something that would be a little reminder of home.

I thought maybe in the next month we could be on the hunt to purchase this “perfect piece” when I realized that I already had it. Six months ago, we found this ring in a pawn shop. The hubby and I love to go to antique shops and thrift stores to look around. It’s like visiting a museum that I can take home if I so choose. It reminds me of a past I never knew and the items within carry all sorts of stories of their own. Sometimes you have to wade through a lot of junk to find the good stuff, but it’s so interesting when you do.

While I do not know the story of this ring before I owned it, I know the story it has with me. It wasn’t just any pawn shop (and for the record, we frequent antique shops far more than pawn shops). This was the one on Ingersoll in Des Moines. More importantly, this is the first place the hubby and I ever went together. It’s a bit of a strange story, and we weren’t dating, but were rather resisting the idea at the time. I’d never been to a pawn shop before and didn’t particularly have interest in it then either. He looked at instruments as I sat patiently waiting to go. It’s not exactly the kind of place you take a girl for a first date, but in all fairness, it wasn’t really a date. Just the same, it’s one of the first memories of being together. Right after Christmas this year, we were with friends and stopped in again. Gravitating to the jewelry, I found this ring and the hubby insisted we should get it (after a little cleaning). I considered it my “New Year’s ring” and wore it to the party that week where we celebrated with a bunch of friends and danced in the new year.

Now, this is not about placing value on worldly things. Its worth is ultimately insignificant but what matters more is what it reminds me of. My husband. Our friends. Our first “date.” Our home state. The end of one thing and the start of another.