|Muddy at the mud flat beach|
First, he suggests that no matter what we are going through in life, it will be made better if we are grateful. Not just grateful for what possessions we have, but make being grateful part of our day to day mind set and way of life. As I have tried to apply these teachings in my life, my eyes have been opened to the day to day miracles that show me that God is watching out for me. Not only do I know that God knows me and loves me, but that he cares how I feel day to day. It can be lonely being in a foreign country and hanging out with a toddler all day long. There were many days when I only get to see Austin awake for 1-2 hours, and in those hours sometimes he is tired and grumpy. Yet all the places we get to see and fun experiences we have together make up for that. Who else gets to say they had trouble explaining a killer whale stuffed animal to Korean front desk staff, or that they traipsed through a knee-deep mud flat in India on a quest for a beach? These experiences have strengthened our marriage and our love for each other. This is definitely something to be grateful for!
|This kid? Run away? NO!|
One specific miraculous experience stands out. Landon and I were doing laundry. In Korea, Landon liked to get the provided laundry baskets out of their shelves in the laundry room and sit in them and pretend like he was riding in a boat. I decided to wait for the washer to end to change laundry before leaving. We were watching baseball and Landon was playing boats. He took them out into the hall. A few seconds later, I realized I couldn’t hear Landon anymore out in the hall. He had gotten on an elevator and vanished, with his boats! Immediately I called the elevator and went down, because I thought that was the only button he could reach. I went down to the lobby and tried explaining to the security man that my son was missing. I don’t think he understood me; I had never seen him before. I said, “Forget it!” and took the elevator down to the mall. I thought this was probably where he had ended up if not on the main floor- and by now he could be anywhere! The only solace I had was that he had brought his boats with him, and so if he had indeed gone down to the mall then he would have ditched the boats in exchange for the other more fun things down there.
I went down to the mall floors- nothing. I went down to the parking floors- no sign of him. Panicked at this point, I went back to the lobby and spoke with the front desk. The guy at the front desk thought I had lost some tools. I said, “NO! MY CHILD IS MISSING!” and then he got it. He called the maintenance people and cleaning ladies to start searching for him. Meanwhile, I went back to the laundry floor to see if he was hiding somewhere. For some stupid reason, I went back into the laundry room and called Landon’s name. An English guy was there ironing his shirt. He asked me if I was looking for a little guy. Miracle. I was! He told me that Landon was on the 7th floor with some big baskets, and that he had tried to get on the elevator but he had shoved him off because he thought he belonged on the 7th floor. I went up to the 7th floor where a cleaning lady had cornered him with his boats and he was just fine. It was so amazing that one of 3 people who saw Landon spoke English for one, and for another was in the right place at the right time to tell me exactly where he was! I am so grateful that I had this experience although at the time it was very scary- and I am watching Landon much closer now that I know he’s an elevator rider.
Before starting this whole traveling thing, I did not recognize that many of the things I took for granted were blessings I could show gratitude for. This past horrible winter in Chicago I’m sure I could have used this perspective and list to cheer me up when I was stuck indoors for so long.
THE THINGS I TOOK FOR GRANTED, and am now GRATEFUL FOR/MISS!:
- Full size refrigerator
- Reasonably priced, clean fruits and vegetables
- freezer of any size
- kitchen table and chairs
- high chair- it is challenging to get a child to eat either in restaurants for all meals everyday, or to sit still in a hotel room and eat a meal
- comfy couches
- separate rooms- so your life can continue after toddler goes to bed
- multiple bathrooms
- air-popped popcorn
- homemade cakes and cookies
- being able to read English
- eating with a fork- chopsticks are a challenge!
- eating food I prepared
- receiving mail almost daily
- kind, friendly neighbors
- participating in a rewarding profession
- space for toys!
- bookshelves full of books- both for me and Landon
- in-home laundry
- swimming pools without weird rules
- driving myself wherever I please and feeling safe doing it
- closet full of clothes
- comfy bed
- routines and consistency