One of my favorite times of year is the season of Advent.
It's the perfect mix of excitement putting up the Christmas tree, stringing the lights, guessing what's wrapped inside the packages, opening cards from friends and family, drinking copious amounts of cocoa and anticipating Santa's arrival on Christmas morning.
In the same breath, particularly when everyone is in bed and I have a cup of tea in hand, it's a beautiful, solemn time to look at the white lights of the tree and to be grateful.
Grateful for so, so much.
My middle daughter, Kate (7) came bounding home from school the other day and proclaimed, "Just remember, mama, a grateful heart is a full heart and there's so much to be thankful for."
To which I responded, "You're so right, what are you thankful for today?"
"No question, pickles. I am over the moon for pickles. Perfect food." And then, she was off.
I think that's how it goes for kids.
Most of the time, they are in the moment experiencing the now letting it come into their purview and out as all seasons of life do. They rarely hold grudges or live in the land of fear or fret about this or that. They just live and in the moment, they're grateful for pickles.
And so instead of worrying about the big mountains, most of which I have little control of, I started thinking about the parts of my life that I feel infinite amounts of gratitude for.
I love my legs and my lungs. When my courage and discipline show up, they are right there to take my body miles and miles into parks, neighborhoods, race routes and undiscovered territory.
I love my heart. It's big and heavy and never afraid to be shared literally right on my sleeve for the world to see. I pray that part of me never goes away.
Thank the Lord for my mind. It never stops. I live in it a good chunk of the time. It's big and vast and imaginative and on good days, it meets my fingers and taps out thoughts and ideas that I'm lucky enough to share with others who help me to know that I am not alone.
And it goes without saying that I'm blessed beyond measure to have a partner who gets me and encourages my growth and crazy exploration. Simultaneously, I stare out at the parts of my heart living in my three children and tears well because I know that they are my greatest gift. A legacy of gratitude in the deepest respect.
Whether you find gratitude in a moment that is all yours not beholden to your employer, your to-do list or your wandering thoughts....or in the perfect burger or bottle of wine...or the breaths your child takes when they're sleeping and you're quietly watching from the side of the doorway or your own breaths as your feet stomp the ground in a good, long, hard run...or from the perfect juicy pickle...a full heart, a joyous heart is a grateful one.