Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Should Be a Way of Life

My platform is "Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude."  This is something that took me time to learn, but I have really been trying to live this since I heard Ann Voscamp speak about her book 1000 Gifts this past fall.  I have been intentionally trying to look for the "gifts" all around me ever since that time.  This is something I have been doing off and on for the past several years, but I had never made it an intentional, daily habit.  There are some days that it is still really difficult and at first glance it doesn't look like there is anything to be thankful for.  But, if you stop and change your focus from the negative to the "gifts" all around us, it changes your perspective.

This fall I went back and identified all the gifts in my life at the time of the car accident.  Some would say looking back is easier.  Hindsight is 20/20 after all.  I would disagree.  When you face a trauma in life it is pretty typical to shove all the memories from that time into the back of your memory and shut the door.  When you open that door, even to identify "gifts," it's like opening the floodgates.  But, I did it and managed to identify and give thanks for gifts like:

Ÿ  An off-duty paramedic came upon our accident before the ambulance
Ÿ  Eric had presence of mind to call friends and family and call our daughter's babysitter to tell them
 not to come down their road
Ÿ  Eric being able to get my CD's out of the CD changer in our totaled car

Ÿ  The NICU nurses who loved our son so much they took great care of him and even came up to visit his mom
Ÿ  The NICU nurses and my mother-in-law preparing a gift from our son to me in the hospital
Ÿ  The Ronald McDonald House that took such good care of my family
Ÿ  Friends and family who took time out of their own lives to come help see me and take care of my family
Ÿ  Family taking such good care of our daughter to help keep her 2 ½ year old life as normal as possible
Ÿ  Eric refusing to allow anyone to take our daughter to the zoo because that was a special mom/daughter activity
Ÿ  Hand hugs
Ÿ  That the clothes I was wearing were maternity clothes, so I didn’t miss them when they had to be cut off
Ÿ  Good friends took special care of my wedding rings that first night and then my mom cared for them for 3 months
Ÿ  My parents came as soon as they were called and made it safely to Tulsa, my Dad time and time again
Ÿ  My mom for spending the summer in the hospital with me
Ÿ  My aunt and grandma for spending time with me when Mom went back to work
Ÿ  My sister for making time to come see me between her trip to Africa (where she was when the accident occurred) and her wedding that fall
Ÿ  That our son and I were able to make the trip to Indiana to be in my sister's wedding
Ÿ  Music playing constantly in my hospital room
Ÿ  Laughter in the midst of everything
Ÿ  The hospital helping arrange a special 9th anniversary celebration for Eric and I (including Red Lobster)
Ÿ  Thickening liquid and swallow therapy that allowed me to get back to eating whatever I wanted (like Red Lobster)
Ÿ  Getting rid of thickening liquid so I could enjoy Dr. Pepper again
Ÿ  Losing my baby weight without hard work while in the hospital
Ÿ  My family being willing to take me to some special spots in Tulsa before heading home (Red Lobster, the scrap booking store and to get my ears re pierced.)
Ÿ  Therapists that came to my home in Oklahoma
Ÿ  A speech therapist who believed my speech could improve and used some special tools to massage my vocal cords to help wake them up
Ÿ  Ending up back in Kansas where I could have superior traumatic brain injury rehabilitation
Ÿ  Care attendants, friends, and family members who help me become more and more independent
Ÿ  Finding great friends and a disability community through Ms. Wheelchair Kansas
Ÿ  God healing my voice so that I can be understood when I speak

 That is only the beginning of what I have to be thankful for, but this blog post is already way too long as it is.  What are some of your thankful thoughts?  I'd love for you to share them with me.

Check out my review of the book 1000 Gifts

I will be posting my blessings or "gifts."  Join me on this journey. Let's make thanksgiving a part of our daily lives. :)

Thanksgiving for today
People willing to make seating adjustments
Word of mouth
Well-behaved dog even when people are not
Successful search
Knowing your size
Friendly cashier and grocery carry out
Opportunities to Share
Cell phones
Weather warm enough to not "need" a jacket

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