Day 356: I have gratitude for the coincidence of passing through an important place. While leaving Altoona to travel back home, we passed the cemetery at which many of Marnie’s family are buried. I know in many ways those resting at these places probably care little of visitation, but there is a peace it can bring us living as we pay respects to those now gone. Marnie had the chance to do that as we passed through this place.
Day 355: I have gratitude for the opportunity to be part of Marnie’s family reunion. This was an amazing event — a reunion of a great family that hasn’t happened for thirty years. It was fun learning more about Marnie’s family and the interesting lives they have lived. Marnie did a phenomenal job pulling together multi-generational pictures — you could see the joy in the faces of people as they recalled memories initiated by the photos. For me, one of the best feelings was being so welcomed and accepted by her family — even to the point that my sister and dad (who came as well) felt as part of the family. It is one thing to be invited to an event, but it is an entirely different thing to be embraced at an event. We — the outsiders to this group, on a paper family tree — were the latter. I think this speaks to the quality of people in Marnie’s family; these are the kind of people that make friends and non-blood relatives feel as if they grew up in the family all along.
Day 354: I have gratitude for traveling in our van. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a van, but it has grown on me the past six weeks. We traveled to Pittsburgh in it, and the extraordinary amount of room compared to previous vehicles (especially with two kids and the amount of stuff with which we now travel) is astonishing. We can move around in the van without getting out of it. We can change diapers, stretch our legs, access suitcases, and seat four others if we wish. Good call Marnie.
Day 353: I have gratitude for traveling with friends that are willing to share in some awesome travel amenities. We were delayed in Detroit, and one of my coworkers had the ability to get us all into the Delta club in the airport. It was certainly a luxury and one of which I was greatly appreciative…great snacks and drinks, comfy chairs, and a big TV to watch the World Cup.
Day 352: I have gratitude for the ease in which we can travel. I went on a business trip today, and travel would have taken a day via car. Flying took a few hours. In a time when we so easily complain of delays in a fast method of transportation, I am reminded of my own impatience towards many things and my need to continue to have gratitude.
Day 351: I have gratitude for seeing a plant we purchased in the spring begin to flower. I wasn’t sure how well this plant would do given the torrential rain followed by scorching heat we’ve experienced so far, so I was pretty surprised when the plant bloomed. It is a gift, especially given the fact that I didn’t think it would flourish.
Day 350: I have gratitude for all of the ways in which Marnie takes care of our family. She ordered shoes for Callan, and they just arrived. While I would have been oblivious to his need even now that walking is beginning, she recognized, acted, and provided. I am blessed by a wife that is able to so effectively take care of our boys.
Day 349: I have gratitude for some awesome stuff that is going on in Kenya that started with a few folks in our community. We heard about how God has worked through those people in church today as one of the founders talked. It also opened the doors for ways in which I may be able to help and give back to bless those with much less than us.
Day 348: I have gratitude for the difference that one year can make in a child’s development. I remember when we first visited the shaved ice stand last summer…he was tentative around the dessert and was much more dependent on us. Watching him now is amazing….he ate nearly all the ice on his own, without much help from us. It seems like such a simple and obvious task…he is almost 3…but the contrast between last summer struck me. He really is growing up fast.
Day 347: I have gratitude for the new things Caden works to teach Callan. Today’s fun was Caden showing Callan how to use the powered quad that Paps got Caden a year ago. It was awesome to see Caden try to show Callan how to press the button. It warms my heart to see them work together.