Friday, December 31, 2010


When I reflect upon years gone by I try to sum them up by using one word. 2008 was all about Caleb. 2009 was about marriage. 2010 has been a year full of, well, surprises. Some were good and some were so awful I'm still trying to accept them as reality. Given everything, I would say the word for 2010 is "thankful".

At the beginning of a new year everyone is ready to bid adieu to the days gone by. We ring in the event with fireworks, parties, a glass ball that may or may not contain Snooki (Google it). Everyone is looking for a chance to be hopeful again. We make resolutions for better behavior, health, or financial management for the days ahead. We kiss the one we love at midnight and celebrate the fresh start. All of these things are done with the desire to make our life the way we want it to be. The way we see it in our dreams. "When I have a fat bank account then I will finally be happy." "When I can wear a size 4 life will be perfect."

There's nothing wrong with desiring different circumstances in our own lives. Motivation is key to success. But in our quest for the "perfect life" are we remembering to be thankful for the status quo? Do you (and when I say you I really me "I") wake up every morning and thank God for your house even though there's a pile of dishes in the sink and the bathroom really needs painted? Do you (I) rejoice in the relationship you have with your spouse/children/parents/siblings/friends even if they are getting on your nerves or stole the covers AND the good pillow last night? Are you (I) thankful when, at the end of payday, there's no money in your bank account but you still have a roof over your head, food on the table and people to share it with? If you want to know true happiness try being thankful for what you already have. The key to happiness is gratitude.

My grandmother lived this theory out each day of her life. Sure she read books and fantasied about traveling to different countries and experiencing new things, but she was grateful for just the opportunity to be surrounded by family and friends. She cherished family dinners and took the time to make them special. I find myself on a daily basis dreading the idea of having to make dinner. The forethought, the preparation, the cooking, the's too much. My grandma "got it", though. She would make meal times special...setting the table, using fancy plates and glasses, requiring that the television be turned off and conversation ensue. I think she did these things because she remembered what it was like to be poor and not to have food to feed your family. She spent many years as a single mom trying to feed more mouths than she knew what to do with, without the help of any man or the government. Thus she turned mealtimes into celebrations. She set the table EACH day in a way most people reserve for holidays. And she was thankful to do it each and every time.

In 2010 I learned the art of true gratitude, in 2011 I plan to refine it. I will do this by practicing it everyday. Instead of being annoyed that the bus is late I'm going to be thankful that I have a job to go to each day. Instead of getting depressed when a pair of jeans don't fit just right I'm going to be thankful for the person I am on the inside, thankful for my health, and thankful for each day that I can work to make myself even healthier. Even though I do miss Caleb and my Nana so much, I'm going to rejoice that I had them in my life and know that I will see them both again one day. And instead of crying each month when I realize that I'm still not any closer to being a mommy, I'm going to thank God that there are other paths to parenthood and in the meantime I have a beautiful niece and an adorable nephew to dote on.

2010 has been a challenging year, but I'm so thankful for every moment of it.

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Summer, This is beautiful and you have such a wonderful way with words, I wish I could express things as eloquently as you do. I think you need to take your gift of this to higher levels. Maybe childrens books or whatever would be of most interest for you to write about. You and Brandon have been thru a very rough few years and it was wonderful that you had Mom to help you thru it all. Just remember She Is Still With You and I am Sure right by your side thru the rest of your paths in life whatever they may be. I am also here for both of you if ever you need me. I love you both very much and I hope the New Year brings all both of you are hoping for.

Anonymous said...

The reason I listed as anonymous is because there is no option to just sign your name.
Aunt Debby

Bev Johnston said...

I love you Summer! I love you for who you are, for your strength as a mom, daughter, granddaughter, sister wife, and especially friend. I love you for this reminder you gave me today! I pray that your 2011 surrounds you with blessings abound!!!