Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

September 5, 2011

A Decade of Change

The decade of my 20s has been marked by transition.  I turned 20 the same year, actually just 6 days after, terrorists drastically impacted the way we, as Americans, were going about life.  Talk about a day the world changed in a matter of minutes.  I'm also talking about big and small, monumental and subtle changes in my personal relationships, living locations, responsibilities, career(s), ways of thinking, and so much more.  My 20s have been filled with life-altering decisions and the world around me has been changed at a frantic pace in many ways.

As I reflect on many of the various transitions, some stressful and others purely fun, some a combination of the two, some difficult to wade through and others easier than expected, I wonder if it's possible for the decade of my 30s to be marked quite the same way as my 20s were by change.  I'm guessing there will be another theme (along with more change) over the next 10 years. As I ponder all of the change that has occurred in my life and in the world around me in the past 10 years, I am profoundly grateful because as Gail Sheehy said, "If we don't change, we don't grow.  If we don't grow, we aren't really living." Looking back, a lot of 'changing', 'growing' and 'living' has been happening in this life and while some of the changes have been more negative than positive, all of it has been instrumental to developing and growing me physically, spiritually and emotionally into a (hopefully) more mature person.

Some of the transitions/changes from the decade of my 20s ...
I developed a greater appreciation and love for my parents and siblings - I developed deeper friendships with people who are still influencing and so very important my life - I worked at Camp Spofford for a life changing summer - I was an RA for a year during which - I fell in love with my future spouse - and during that year I grew a lot in my understanding of my identity as a child of God - I graduated from college - I became a married woman - I survived and passed my senior piano recital - I became an aunt, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law - I became an employee of several different places (all tied into things I was/am passionate about) - I learned how to create a budget and what finances are all about (at least somewhat) - I joined facebook and survived a decade of crazy social media developments (yep - I didn't even own a cell phone when I turned 20) - I became an official resident of Minnesota  - I helped put my husband through grad school - I taught close to 200 students piano at Keyboard Kids - I started my private piano studio - I led numerous church bodies in worship of our great God - I was privileged to do my 'dream' job at Bethel, coaching and developing student worship leaders - I became a homeowner - I survived child birth - I became a mother (!!!!!) - I experienced loss - I learned how to share my home with people other than my immediate family -  I said goodbye to my childhood home in PA when my parents moved to MN - I enjoyed a few months of my entire Ridder family (parents and both siblings) living in MN - I was extremely blessed to live 3.8 miles from my parents for almost 4 years -

And these are just a few of the things my very pregnant self can process right now ... many of the above things are still in process and will continue to be ...  thinking about everything I learned during the decade that I was birthed into the 'adult world' of 'independence'... is ... slightly overwhelming, fantastic and yet a little bit terrifying. So much has been entrusted to me over the past decade.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am grateful.  I am hopeful that in my 30s, I can continue to be a good steward/care-taker of all I have been given in my 20s.

September 2, 2011

So it's been awhile.  I have several excuses for why I haven't been blogging about my moments of gratitude (e.g. when the weather is gorgeous in MN you just have to be outside and we've also taken a number of awesome, extended family vacations this summer plus I'm growing a small baby while hanging out with my dear, extremely busy and always in motion 3 year old ... you  know ... excuses excuses) but rest-assured, I continue to think in 'gratitude moments'  and I am watching for them and trying to mentally record them.  As I've been contemplating what to do with this blog (being that baby #2 is about to make his appearance any day now and I can only imagine what life will be like for the next few months), I thought I should bring some closure to this process of self-development I have been going through and will continue to go through.   I made the decision this week, I am going to be dedicating my final posts of this blog to my '20s'.  As I anticipate turning thirty in just fifteen short days,  I have been thinking about how much life has changed for me in this past decade of my life and I have so many 'gratefuls' I'd like to reflect on in the next few days.  So, if you will indulge me, I will be doing some reminiscing and pondering while trying to summarize my 'thankfuls' from the past decade of life.  Stay tuned!