For a God who is patient in the times of drought; who listens to an angry, frustrated heart; who offers comfort and rest for the weary; who is unchanging when the winds of change blow hard against me. For a Father who is trustworthy, who somehow never lets go of my heart, who wants the best for me and for my future. For One who is faithful, always and forever.
For a husband I love, respect, and trust. For a husband who uses his day off to join me in challenging, difficult work. For a husband who buys surprise football tickets and reserves a night in a swanky hotel, despite it being impractical and expensive, all for five years of marriage and nearly 10 years of love.
For a marriage growing better each year, for a love becoming truer.
For a family who pulls together to tackle tasks just for me. For aunts and uncles who use their days off of work to work for me and for the challenge I decided to undertake, knowing full well I couldn't do it well without their help. For a mom who doubles as the world's best story lady, for a dad who sits on benches and directs people into "his daughter's store." For parents who are proud of their children, who are generous with their love and practical with their wisdom. For a brother who occasionally remembers to call, who says I love you and means it, who offers encouragement and empathy. For cousins more like sisters, for giggles and texts and fashion advice and the promise of grown-up friendship.
For work that is hard, but good. Work I sometimes hate, but mostly love. Work that stretches me and makes me grow, that challenges me to become better, in all kinds of ways. For a job I really only ever dreamed one day might happen. For making Kathleen Kelly proud, in all her fictional glory.
For a church that has tested my every spiritual limit, that has pushed me to ask questions and search for answers. For a body of believers who love, support, and care, and who have done so for 27 years. For a minister who preaches and lives out truth, who sees spiritual gifts in others and encourages them to grow.
For friends who call and text and visit, all despite differences in time and distance. For those who have known the hurts and continued to pray and ask for help on my behalf. For those who have remained true and present during this particularly challenging season of my life, who have been better friends than I have, who have made time when I have not. For sweet gifts and cards and notes and emails.
For the blessing of long-distance communication.
For employees who are respectful, considerate, and kind, who have stepped up when needed, surprising me with their capability and competence. For employees who have taken over when I thought I might need to quit, who have helped me continue to pursue the dream.
For kind strangers who compliment the store and spend their hard-earned money in a small, local bookstore. For friends and family who have specifically chosen to shop with me instead of on the internet. For customers who have remained faithful during an odd year, who have embraced a new owner, a new face for a store they already loved.
For music soothing to the soul and mind.
For this blog, with its faithful readers and friends. For inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. For truth-telling and story-sharing, for those who read when I don't have much to write, for kindred spirits across the globe.
For new grocery stores and long walks; for color-coded planners and a park right outside my door; for long, thoughtful commutes; for old cars that still run; for a cozy cottage to call home; for new beginnings and fresh starts; for the legacies of our grandparents, living and passed on; for freshly painted offices and expensive shampoo; for warm socks and Netflix marathons; for road trips and plane tickets; for fictional characters and pages quickly turned; for four-part harmonies and Anglican communion; for autumn and spring and summer and winter; for candlelight and movies; for date nights and The West Wing; for football and baseball and Instagram; for homecooked meals and crockpots; for book club and themed parties and the Christmas tree to come...
... for all of these and so much more, I give thanks. With the deepest part of my being, I say grace.
"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
– G. K. Chesterton
– G. K. Chesterton