Come with me for a short stroll... through my front door, around the dining room, past the family room and into what I like to believe is the warmest room in the house. Yes, it's my kitchen – a warm, sweet-smelling place that will nourish your hunger pangs as well as your soul. If you take a few more steps through the kitchen, you will find yourself standing under an arched wall that, from a distance, appears to be filled with a bunch of scratches or sadly in need of a fresh coat of paint. To me, however, this is my wall of thanks. For those that look closely, some will see the stereotypical "growth-chart" wall used to track the changing heights of family members. But for those that look a little closer, maybe you will see what I see.
I see the scribbled names and dates of my children over the past 11 years of living in Austin. Thank you God for making them such happy, healthy and amazing people that continue to open their hearts to others in so many ways. Thank you God for trusting my husband and I to raise these very special gifts of life.
I see the names of friends old and new who have blessed us with their presence both in our home and in our hearts. Our friends are the family we have chosen over the years and the ones that will continue to watch us grow. I see family members that don't live here but have graced us with their joy and love and vacation visits.
I see the names of visitors from other countries who came into this house as strangers and left it as forever family members. They gave us a taste of their culture and left those memories forever imprinted on our hearts.
I see cracks and chipped paint, which reminds me that life is constantly in chaos yet the walls are still firm because the foundation of our family is strong and stable.
Each person who has signed their autograph makes me realize just how unique each of their personalities are and what a profound impact they continue to have on my life.
Of course this wall is near the entrance to my laundry room making it a high-traffic area and as such, dog hair can sometimes collect at its base - what a wonderful reminder of how important those furry creatures are, adding warmth to our family. I always say they rescued us and not the other way around.
Kitty-corner to this wall is a double-wide pantry that holds so many creative possibilities. I am so thankful for the years of conversations I've had with friends and family about there culinary adventures. It has kept my passion alive and continues to spark my imagination everyday.
What's that? Looks like an empty spot on our wall to me! And that is truly the one thing I am the most thankful for because that empty spot reminds me everyday that there are always new people to meet and invite into our hearts, as well as old friends who still need to come out and visit. It's only a marked-up wall. So simple yet so precious and something money can't buy. After all, reflecting on the things we are thankful for does not cost anything but time... I'm jus' sayin'!