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Ten Things of Thankful: I'm Not Good at Picking Favorites Edition

Photo: A short gravel driveway leads to a one-car garage attached to a small, cream-colored house

This week, John and I went out to dinner with his parents, and his mom asked me out of all the houses I had lived in as an adult (well, she didn't say, "as an adult," but I just assumed that), which was my favorite. I gave her an answer, then agonized the rest of the evening that somehow my opinion was wrong (not for anything that anyone said; just because my middle-aged, menopausal mind can't seem to turn off.) 😆The truth is, I have liked all of the homes we have lived in, for various reasons. The home I gave as my answer was the smallest, oldest, least expensive, had only one bathroom for all seven of us, and was just one field away from the train tracks. It was also the home where birds made a nest in my hanging fuchsias, my youngest daughter splashed in mud puddles, my youngest son's pumpkin that he planted in kindergarten grew to take over our garden, and all the kids could go pet the horses in the nearby pasture. It was filled with sweet memories. John reminded me that the "basement"--taller than a crawl space, but with not even a ladder to get down there--flooded and required multiple sump pumps. The old windows were drafty and the bedroom walls weren't even well-insulated. Oh, and did I mention one bathroom for 7 people? 

The point is, I loved it despite its shortcomings. My love of that house does not decrease my love for my current house, though. (There is a really good children's book, I Love You the Purplest, which I recommend to anyone with more than one child, and which helps explain this concept as it pertains to parental love.) Anyway, the Ten Things of Thankful does not require you to be thankful for only the best, or most important, or favorite--you can be thankful for the small, overlooked, and undervalued--anything that has elicited that feeling of gratitude that we come together each week to celebrate. 

Now that my introduction is longer than some of my posts, let's get right into this week's list:

1. I'm thankful for my neighbor's chickens, who gladly eat our table scraps. Before I started giving our produce peels, etc., to our neighbors, I would think, "Our chickens sure liked it when we would give them these." Now I can make my neighbor's chickens happy!

2. I'm thankful for the size of my kitchen and how I have things organized. Unloading the dishwasher takes about 2 minutes; I don't even have to take a step to put most of the things away.

3. I'm thankful also for a fun afternoon spent with John going to the Parade of Homes. (Our realtor who helped us purchase our house stopped by earlier this month with free tickets for us, so we decided to go see what the parade was all about.) One 22,000 square-foot home especially stood out, as one might expect. With that much space, I was a little surprised there were only 4 bedrooms, but I suppose in a pinch, you could put overnight guests in the theater or roll out sleeping bags in the indoor tennis court. Though the house just wasn't "me," I really liked much of the backyard. A creek/raging river ran through the middle of it, and a great big man-made waterfall and pond was in the back corner. 

Photo: A creek (with sandbags piled high along its bank) cuts through a huge backyard, and a waterfall and pond occupy the far side of the creek
4. I'm thankful for finding some cute birdhouses, feeders, and other outdoor decor at stores (on sale!) this week.

5. I'm thankful that we have birds around. I was surprised, though, to see this quail using the bird feeder as a look-out perch.

Photo:  A quail sits on the top of a metal-and-glass domed bird feeder
6. I'm thankful that I could easily come up with a Six Sentence Story this week. If you are like me and have photos you would like to store digitally, but dread how much time it might take to scan them, please read my story. I saved 900+ images in less than 2 hours!

7. I'm thankful for a sweet surprise in my mailbox this week--a book of poetry from none other than TToT's own Lisa Tomey!

8. I'm thankful for a small act that meant a lot. I was walking into the chapel at church on Sunday, after silently passing several people in the hallway. Let's be honest here--though the people I passed hadn't said hello to me, I hadn't said hello to them, either. Regardless, moody me thought, "Well, I guess it's going to be a lonely day today." No sooner had I thought that, the latest person I passed called out my name. I turned around, only to be met with a "Hi! How are you today?" I do not think that timing was coincidental; I believe God lets us know that He is aware of us--even when we are silently sulking. 

9. I'm thankful for wildflowers. We spread some seed this spring, and with all the rain we had, the seed sprouted. We've been surprised by all sorts of flowers. The operative word is wild, and I'm pretty sure we're growing some tumbleweeds, too, but it's nice to see pretty flowers amid everything else. 

10. I'm thankful for John. He has moved dozens of big retaining wall bricks as he continues working on the fire pit area. He accompanied me to the Parade of Homes, even though that meant giving up time on his fire pit project. Most importantly, he understands how much I love where we live now, even when I listed another house as my favorite.

What about you? Is favorite-picking easy for you? What are you thankful for this week? 

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  1. I know what you mean by favorite houses. One of my favorites was tiny, but oh so sweet. It had one bathroom, as well. Growing up with my large family, I still wonder how we managed with one bathroom all those years. No matter what size house we had, they were all one bathroom.

    1. We always had just one bathroom in the houses I grew up in, too. It's funny how what is expected changes over time. I imagine most homes built now have more than one bathroom.

  2. Lots of small, beautiful things make up your list, and your week!

    1. Thank you. There really are lots of little things to be thankful for, and knowing that I will be writing a post each week helps me remember to look for them.

  3. This week I was thinking about all the places I have lived and about some of the idiosyncrasies of each place.

    I love your quail photo!

    I don't know if I would like having a creek/river in my back yard and worry about it flooding, but wait. . .I guess I grew up in a setting where the creek flooded in the winter. LOL

    So glad someone called your name as you were entering the chapel. Hugs.

    I remember when we planted wildflowers and how much I enjoyed seeing what came up.

    My mind doesn't compute a 22,000 square foot home, but it would be fun to take the tour.

    1. The quail leader always takes a high spot to look after his flock--and just yesterday, I noticed that there are babies now! I'll try to get a photo this week.

      I'm OK, Mom. I imagine if I had said hello to the other people I passed, they would have said hello, too. And every week, a friend sits with me, so I never sit by myself while John is on the stand. :-) I was just in a mood that week.

      I think we will be reseeding wildflower seeds each year, so we can get a big blanket of flowers.

      The house was enormous! The indoor tennis court took up a fair chunk of the square footage, and walking into the house felt like walking into a hotel lobby. I noticed that the style of many of the homes on the tour was very modern, which made the houses feel rather stark to me, and not very homey. They were beautiful, though.

  4. I will occasionally watch a couple of the shows on tv that are (supposedly) about people looking at mansions and exceptionally expensive homes... I admit that I don't get what passes for larger scales homes (or, at least, the ones they choose to put in their shows).
    (Reminds me of a time I was touring a new listing with my office and the seller's wife happened to come into the kitchen for a glass of water and she had to look through 3 cabinets to find the one with the glasses.)
    How did we do it!?! My own version was a family of 5 with one bathroom. Maybe there was evolution or something? We have 2 baths (for Phyllis and me and Una (though, truth be told, Una prefers going outside)).
    Have a good week.

    1. I remember as a young girl imaging how cool it would be if my house had a tunnel to my grandparents' house--with bedrooms along that long hallway, so I could stop and sleep if needed on my way to visit them. (They lived 100 miles away!) Now, I think that trying to keep up with the cleaning of a house with hallways even a tiny fraction of that length would not be fun at all!

  5. I think so many memories are tangled up with places, that we can love a place that may not seem that great to someone else just because we remember what happened there (I suppose that could work to the negative, too, but that wouldn't be fitting with the TToT!).

    A 22,000 s.f. house?! Jiminy crickets! Our house is 3800 s.f. and we rattle around in it, just the two of us (it's very old a rather oddly laid out).

    I really love #8. I think it's easy to get butt hurt and feel slighted in our busy world, but you proved we aren't always interpreting a situation well, and we can also make someone's day without even realizing it just by smiling and saying hi to a friend OR stranger!

    1. The house we had in California was roughly the size of yours now, so I understand your "rattle around in it" comment. It was great for family gatherings, but most of the year was just too big for the two of us.

      As for #8, I really shouldn't have been feeling lonely when I wasn't even greeting anyone either, but that little hello meant a lot--and it was a good reminder that I should smile and say hello to others!

  6. What a lovely intro and ten, Kristi! Although I am behind with reading TToT posts (when am I never not behind in life), God's timing is indeed perfect and this was just a total evening brightener as I sat here and read it. I had to smile about the church greetings because I've found the same thing to be true. If I am not in my usual cheerful, chatty mood when out in public, God is sure to put someone in my path that greets me with conversation and a smile. :-)

    I could so well appreciate your story about choosing a house, and not the nicest one, but the one with the sweetest memories attached. Life really is about the moments, not the material surroundings. Knowing you a little bit, I bet you have sweet memories attached to every place you've lived! Seven and one bathroom... that took some coordination and cooperation for sure! When I was younger, most families just had one, now we are spoiled and think is so nicely convenient to have two for just the two of us! :-)

    We have a quail family in our yard too, and I love watching the little ones parading across the yard in a row behind the parents.

    Thank you for faithfulness in keeping TToT posts ready to go for us, I hope your week has many bright spots and blessings! XO

    1. I have also struggled with the feeling of being "behind," as there is always something to do! I have come to the conclusion (and this is one of those lessons that I learn over and over again) that it doesn't really matter HOW MUCH we do, but rather that we use the time we have to do good. In other words, focus the shift from a check-list mentality (gotta hurry up and get this task done so I can move onto the next) to being in-the-moment focused on whatever it is. (Not that you have that problem; your parenthetical comment just propelled me up on my soapbox to give myself that oft-repeated sermon-to-self.)

      Yes, I do have sweet memories attached to every place I've lived. You're right about the bathrooms--how far removed we are from even my parents' childhoods, when they remember an outhouse in the yard!

      Thank you for your sweet comments!


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