"It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life." - Elisabeth Elliot
When we moved into our house three years ago, the one drawback was the lack of outside entrance to the backyard. Sure, we could wander out the side of the house or through the storage room to the yard to watch the kids play, but it wasn't exactly convenient. So we just didn't use our backyard. We'd almost always pile kids in the car and drive a few miles to a nearby playground.
So Shawn and I began to dream in color, knocking out a window and turning it into French doors in our minds... and adding a deck that would lead to our unused backyard. After a year of saving up and another year of hiring out the work, that dream became a reality. A glorious, life-changing reality for our little family. The kids see it as another room in our house, freely moseying in and out at their leisure while I make lunch or catch up on laundry. We build a gate with a hidden latch so we know they aren't going far, and it's been such a luxury to enjoy the Spring outdoors.
The Elisabeth Elliot quote about gratitude streamed across my Facebook page the other day and I couldn't help but think of these happy kids and our new deck. We live in a small house, much smaller than most of our friends. We try to live simply, well within our means. So when I watch Liam and Lanie and how they appreciate things big and small - from a new lunchbox to a new deck, a sunny day to a newly discovered popsicle flavor - I am convicted and enamored by their gratitude. And I'm inspired to have the same perspective: choosing awe and wonder at our very good, very generous God.
PS - Lanie was also part of this near-daily pool party, but wasn't adequately clothed to make an appearance on the internet. ;)