Grateful boots

I had a lot of "heavy boots" moments today. You know, it's that post-holiday-back-to-work-Monday feeling. The worst.

Also, I learned a lot of sad things today. Like how many people have been killed in Israel/Palestine recently. The bloody history of nutmeg, surprisingly enough. The insane amount of people who turn Black Friday into a Lord of the Flies scenario. And the fact that Americans throw out 40 percent of the food they buy. 40%! That is not okay. Also, I realized, too late, that our cleaning lady threw out all the contents of our recycling can. And I did nothing to stop her. (Why don't I have any gumption when it comes to saving the planet?)    

Not only that, but apparently since Thanksgiving is now over, Christmastime is here. It was my 3 year old niece, Mikaela, who, out of the blue, started randomly singing my new favorite song.

"Help me. Christmastime is here. Help me. Help me." (Yep. Best 3 year old I know).

If you remember from last year, there is nothing that makes me put my on hater boots more than the Holiday season. I don't know why or what happened to make me like this. I remember, very vividly, my best friend, Bethany, and I counting down the days to Christmas (from a ridiculously far off starting point) during out childhood.

That is no longer the case. Now, I am such a grump. or a grinch. or a Scrooge. or all three.

No matter how hard I try to have a good attitude about it, society keeps throwing terrible renditions of Santa Baby at me (which, in fact, is all of them) and thus the extreme annoyance begins. It's like Jessica Simpson trapped me in a snow globe with Santa, who makes me give him all my money. Yep. Exactly like that.

I could analyze these hater boots more in-depth as to why Christmas brings out the worst in me (and America), but that's not what this post is about. This past Sunday, the pastor at my church gave the typical Sunday-after-Thanksgiving sermon about gratitude, but it got me thinking. Maybe if I shake off these hater boots and try on a pair of grateful boots, then it might help me be a better version of myself this December. Thanksgiving might be over, but I thought I should spend some more time dwelling on for what I am grateful. After all, I kind of let the whole practice of gratitude thing slip by me.

So here we go. Some things might be profound, most probably will seem shallow. But hey, it's the whole attitude of gratitude thing that matters the most. (So don't put your hater boots on when I tell you I am grateful for Taylor Swift's new album).

1. I am grateful for the three classic Thanksgiving answers: God, my family, and my friends. But let me tell you why.

a. I am thankful for the gospel of Christ which calls me into Shalom and challenges me to love deeper, give more, and have a greater imagination. I am also grateful for the grace extended to me when I fail to do these things.

b. I am thankful for my family for many reasons, but I am thankful, especially that I live in the same town as my sister. I know this won't always be the case, so I am extremely grateful to be able to share this season of our lives together. Plus, the Baker's are fun to be around and I like their baby a whole lot. They help me to loosen up and do irrational things like eat pie 5 days in a row, even though Thanksgiving is completely over.

c. I am thankful for my friends, no matter in what part of the globe they find themselves. From Bolivia to Ohio to Kansas and everywhere in between, I am blessed by their friendships. And actually, all of a sudden, Kansas has become a wonderful place to live. Having a healthy, loving community around me is incredible. I am extremely grateful for my housemates, who make home a fun place to be. I love laughing with them and eating breakfast with them and trying to rap the Big Sean part of Justin Bieber's  As Long As You Love Me song with them. They are the best. And to think, a year ago, I had no idea who Annali and Jasmine were. Crazy. I love when life suddenly surprises me with friendships.

Also, I am thankful for our "neighbor" Jill

2. I am thankful for my new job at MCC. I've said this many times already, but it is incredible to be a part of an organization that I believe in wholeheartedly. Working with an organization that is making a difference in the lives of people all over the world is such a blessing. I am also grateful to be a part of a workplace that believes in well-being and good coffee breaks.

3. I am thankful for Joy the Baker, New Girl, and Taylor Swift. (Go ahead, haters). Joy the baker makes my life more tasty, New Girl make me laugh every week, and Taylor Swift makes me dance around the house while I clean. And all of these things help me cultivate joy in my life. (My current fav Taylor song is Holy Ground. It is currently what driving home from work sounds like - you know, that part in the evening when the setting sun is flickering behind the trees and the fields are golden brown).

4. I am grateful for freelance work. Because of the way things fell, Oct-Nov was a really good freelance time for me. With the combo of writing and photography jobs, I actually made a decent size paycheck. That has never happened before. It is definitely motivation to keep searching for new venues.

5. I am thankful that the climate in Kansas is sometimes very mild. It was in the 70s on Thanksgiving day. Wonderful. It's like we get a break from winter on occasion, which helps my spirits a lot.

6. I am grateful for tea, the peppermint kind in my cup right now. Also, for the fact that even though winter sucks, at least I am extremely well hydrated.

7. I am thankful for really good works of literature, the kind that you cannot wait to get home so you can cuddle up on the couch and dive into. (I just finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn if anyone is looking for a good read. I loved it).

8. I am thankful for food. Not just that I am lucky enough to have a steady supply and access to nutritious options, but because I love the whole culinary experience. Finding new recipes, being brave and making my own stuff (like bread or pasta), and exploring local options is definitely my passion. It's so fun and delicious.

Eight is my favorite number, so I think I will stop there for the evening. This is definitely not all of them, but it's a good glimpse. And actually, creating this list was very therapeutic. I feel way more calm right now. These grateful boots are way more comfortable than my hater ones. Hopefully, I can remember that as the madness of Christmas begins.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!