Thursday, November 26, 2009

Year-Round Thanksgiving

Throughout the year I make it a point to sit down and write out the many things I am thankful for on a regular basis. For me it is critical to recognize that I have been given so much, not just once a year, but all the time. God is good...all the time!

In spite of the ups and downs I consistently face, I can't help but wake up every day grateful to have woken up! Sometimes I have to remind myself of this because the challenges seem overwhelming and almost insurmountable at times. I have my days when I am unable to get out of bed, yet those days give me the opportunity to rest and think about things that I would not otherwise. It can be a time of worship, prayer, to laugh at my own imaginative thoughts, deal with my inner struggles, anger, and misunderstandings, or a time to question life and review my own. It is often during these times when the greatest inspiration for my writing comes through.

In recent weeks, there has been an explosion of status updates focusing on what people are thankful for. While I recognize that it's important to take time out each year from our busy schedules to recognize how fortunate we are and focus on what we have been given and the sacrifices made for our country, I also believe that we need to recognize this throughout the year. Therefore, I did not participate in the status update experiment. Instead, I have gathered a collection of "thank yous" that I have written in notes throughout the year and am compiling the most consistent ones all in one.

I am thankful for God's continued work in my life and for the opportunities I have to serve Him in a variety of capacities

For LCBC Harrisburg, the impact it has had on my life, and the many friends I have made there this year who are so supportive, loving, accepting, and fun!

My Life Group which is always there for each other regardless of our life circumstances. The close bond we all have to each other. I'm thankful for the way God brought together a perfect match of people who had never met before, but immediately connected. It's a place where we can all share openly without fear of judgment or breach of privacy. Plus, we just have fun!

LCBC Harrisburg's new building which we are moving into in January! The opportunity to serve in the construction process and contributing to lives being changed by Christ

My family who is there for me through the tough times and the better times. For my mom who has sacrificed many weeks and weekends with me in Pittsburgh this year. For my dad and his sacrifice of having to fend for himself while my mom has been with me in Pittsburgh. For both parents for putting up with me and providing me a cool apartment to live in downstairs and be as independent as possible. The financial sacrifices they have made as a result of so many trips to Pittsburgh.

My sisters and their families for their sacrifice when my mom needs to be with me in Pittsburgh. For helping me out when my parents have been out of town and I've gotten in a bind. The unconditional love they have, and their interest in making my quality of life as good as possible. I'm thankful for my nieces and nephews who enjoy life, have a heart for God, and visited me and made me things to show their love after Spunky died.

The birth and health of my youngest sister's first baby, Nolan.

My organ donor family for giving me another year to enjoy life and be thankful!

For an amazing medical team in Pittsburgh who kept me alive well beyond the amount of time any other medical team could before my transplant, and their continued dedication to all aspects of my health since

For my transplant family who is always there for me and each other. Their understanding from a first-hand perspective what we deal with, their humor throughout it all, and the community and bond we all have to get through the good and the bad

I'm thankful for good food!

That there is light at the end of the tunnel for getting off TPN. I am thankful that at least today I did not wake up in the hospital!

G-PACT and the incredible team that has come together, unselfishly giving their time to help find a cure. The progress we have made this year, all of our supporters who have kept us going through donations or overall encouragement, and the amazing people I have met who never give up. The volunteers who so passionately work together to fight this.

Spunky, my guinea pig, who gave me 6 1/2 years of happiness, love, and laughs

Karis making a miraculous recovery and pulling through what seemed to be the impossible on many occasions.

I'm thankful to be an American- no matter what.

I am thankful for each and every one of YOU who has in some way played a role in my life, whether you know it or not!

My jeep :)

The needs AND wants that have been fulfilled this year!

I'm thankful for yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Any Steelers win!

I could go on and on, but these are the things that are most meaningful to me (ok, yeah, some less important than others...many of which I didn't list or this would go on forever!!).

Every year for Thanksgiving day my family gets together for lunch, football, the Wii, naps, black Friday coupon clipping/sale hunting in ad papers, and to make Christmas crafts or sugar cookies with the kids for Christmas. My older sister has a tablecloth and each year we write on it what we are most thankful for. There's so many I have a hard time choosing just one! But in looking back over the year, two major things stand out. First, the impact of LCBC Harrisburg and my family there, the growth I have experienced, and the many cool friends I have made. Because of you, I look forward to every single Sunday. I notice that when I miss a Sunday, the following week is more challenging for me. It's clear the impact that connecting with you each Sunday has on my life. The second is the new, incredible opportunities I have been given this year to represent people suffering from GP and CIP. For the incredible team of volunteers, our supporters, and the many inspirational people I have been able to meet as a result. Without all of you, I wouldn't have the determination or ability to contribute to the advancement of GP/CIP research and awareness. Your fight keeps me fighting too.