Thankfulness Through All Things

Sometimes, when you’re really tired, and your baby won’t stop crying no matter how many boobs you have or shooshes you offer, it’s easy to have a negative point of view. Why won’t you stop crying, baby? Why?! Frustration sets in. Fantasies about life pre-baby begin to cross your mind. But during one of these moments recently, I was logged onto Facebook and saw the heart breaking news that friends of ours had lost their baby boy, who had been born just a week after Lucy and had been struggling with a heart condition for the three weeks of his short life. I quickly grabbed Lucy, held her close, and kissed her a hundred times. I began to wonder, do I take my blessings for granted? I totally do.

I don’t want to have something taken away from me or from a friend to to fully appreciate my blessings and to really experience the true joy in loving my life as it is now. Not as I wish it were, or what I hope it will be in a year or so. Happiness is really all about perspective, isn’t it? And thankfulness isn’t just for those who appear more fortunate. Contentment comes with being thankful for where you are and finding that silver lining no matter how bleak the situation might be.

I’ve been thinking about how great my life really is, and not in a bragging self-righteous way, but in a purely thoughtful and thankful way. Things can seem completely different when you shine a bright light on them.

  • Phil found out he will be unemployed after this school year. But we found out early, and now he has seven whole months to find a new job.
  • Lucy is having rough days of extreme crying, projectile vomiting, and issues with food sensitivities, but she has been sleeping peacefully through the night, and seems to be a healthy baby otherwise.
  • I have this tumor in my neck that I need to have surgically removed, but now we know that it’s not cancer, and that our insurance will pay a good portion of my medical expenses.
  • Our second vehicle is out of commission, but my mother lives close and always offers to help me run errands and get around town.
  • Some days I despair at tending to a screaming baby all day long, often without a chance to bath or eat, but I have a partner! And when Phil comes home from work, he asks me what he can do to help, and by evening our baby is a joy to be with.
  • Money around here is extremely tight (to say the least), and Christmas has traditionally been a stressful time financially, often overshadowing the joy that should come with this time of year. But this year we planned ahead and saved money every month so that now we can bless our family with thoughtful gifts on Christmas morning, and not worry about the financial strain.
  • I’ve been struggling with body image issues since Lucy’s birth, and don’t know how to dress my new body, or how to love it. But I successfully carried my baby to full term and am able to breast feed her now, which is more important to me than fitting into my favorite clothes.

There’s so much more that I’m thankful for right now, but I really needed to write out my list of gripes and reconsider them as blessings for which I am truly thankful!

44 Responses

  1. Bekuh says:

    This is an excellent example we could and should learn from. You’re a fabulous, talented, hot mama, and you have the sweetest little family. I’m so glad you can count your blessings, despite some hardships. My thoughts and prayers go out to you this morning.

  2. Kristian says:

    Wow.

    okay, gathering my thoughts… First off, my sympathies to your friend and their family. That seems simply unimaginable. Secondly, this is so timely and not only in the it’s-nearly-Thanksgiving sense either. A wonderful reminder to love the now, to love present life, and your examples of shining a positive light on the negative incidences in life… I will be doing the same. It changes not only your mood but how you deal with things and that is a great example to have.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kristian says:

    Also- your little girl is so adorable!

  4. Beautiful words Mandi. I’ve always loved your sincerity and honesty.

    Everyone goes through rough patches, but thanks for reminding us all that ‘shining a bright light’ on things can make things seem more manageable.

    Hope you know if you’re ever down or stressed out there’s a world-full of loyal readers who have your back (even from across cyber space).

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  5. VanessaMeryl says:

    Aww love you all!!!

  6. Lune Vintage says:

    Oh boy, so well said. First off, your girl is a stunner, and the photos are so sweet. Secondly, I truly identify with what you’re saying. I also have a few friends and acquainted who are struggling with very heavy news about their children s futures. But, it shouldn’t take hearing about how unfortunate another person is to make us see how fortunate we are. I love how you model how to see that silver lining on a dark cloud. I have a lot of the same problems as you actually (down to one car, STILL daydreaming of before parenthood 7 years later, body issues, and stress over holiday finances). But, there is so much more to be thankful for.

    Glad I visited today! – Jill

  7. mandie says:

    What a beautiful attitude you have, Mandi. I love it.

    Your baby is pretty darn sweet, too. ;)

  8. Marie says:

    I loved this post! You made some really good points, especially for being thankful for what we have. It seems like especially during the holiday season, many people just focus on what they want instead of what they already have. You have a beautiful daughter!! <3 And she looks so much like her dad, especially in the first picture! ;)

  9. Oh, beautiful. Great thankfulness.

    Steph

  10. elise says:

    beautiful, beautiful post. happy thanksgiving!

  11. Cora says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty! I cant totally relate to some of the things you are struggling with but at the end of the day it’s just you, your sweetheart and your little love and all that other heavy stuff fades a bit. Your doing a swell job and you have such a beautiful family. Enjoy your first Thanksgiving with your wee one.

  12. Cori Magee says:

    You are so right, happiness is all about perspective… And I love yours! My thoughts are with you and your family as your husband looks for a new job and you have surgery.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    xo

  13. Robin says:

    Hi, I’ve been following you for a while and enjoy your eye and your wonderful talents. I’m a slacker about replying to posts/never comment much. But, I felt like I should speak up as someone who relates to you as a wife and mother, artist, thrifter. You know it’s about balance and to keep things simple and basic — it will get you through tough times (as I mentioned you already know ) and may I add — you do so beautifully. And even more important to know is that it will make the good times even more incredible. Sometimes I appreciate being reminded, thought you may as well. Stay healthy and happy and grounded. It’s lovely to witness on your fabulous blog.

  14. I cried for hours and in people’s arms about my body after I had a baby. Honestly, I still sometimes cry over it. Yeah I got my body back for the most part. . my belly button never returned to normal and I am covered in scars. I guess that is what I should have expected in gaining 60 pounds and having a 10 pound baby, but it really really really hurt my vanity (I am vain, indeed). How can I help comfort you??

    Also I know how hard it is to adjust to the screaming baby. I had a HARD time adjusting and cried trying to figure out what my little boy wanted. Thankfully it DOES get easier to figure out and I feel badly that my firstborn was my guinea pig baby.

    It is amazing that Phil asks how he can help you!! He must be stressed out about the job situation and longing to figure out how to provide for his family. My husband felt that way anyway, but he never offered to help me, so I suffered a lot alone in those days of early motherhood. Praise God for a partner! Thankfully my husband helped out more afterwards, but you are truly blessed!!! I pray that Phil is able to get a new job quickly as that is such devastating news!!!

    I don’t have money for Christmas presents and am pretty sad about it. I am behind in paying bills and have financial woes. It is great that you were able to even save money. May God provide for your family (and mine too).

  15. Jess R says:

    The more I read your blog, the more I WANT to read your blog. I feel like I’ve always been one to look towards the future, “when everything will be better/different/more,” however, since I got married and am now an Army wife, I just feel so thankful for being with my husband daily that everything else seems like a blessing. Having to drive 900+ miles with no leg room because our car is full of our luggage and we don’t have a house right now? It’s wonderful because I’m with my husband. Having to live with our parents for a month because we don’t arrive in our new state for a while? It’s fabulous because every night I get to sleep next to my husband. Not having a job/my career and being a two-income family? It’s okay because I get to live with my husband and we get to spend TIME (not money on) our families. Pretty much everything pales in comparison to the blessings of being together.

  16. Malayka says:

    What a beautiful and honest post! I feel like I can relate to a whole lot of your problems right now. Our little one is arriving in February, we currently share one crappy old car that uses HUGE amounts of petrol (and live out in the country so have no option but to drive everywhere), my guy has just finished a four year degree today and so the hunt for a job is on as of now, money is very tight and we’re trying to figure out where to squeeze all these baby things into our tiny house etc. On the other hand we live in this amazing cottage by the beach, have awesome family support and couldn’t be more excited about meeting this little person. So yeah, when it comes down to it life is actually pretty awesome!
    xx
    P.S Your daughter is absolutely adorable.

  17. val says:

    you are seriously an inspiration to me, stay strong and have a happy thanksgiving!

  18. roxy says:

    love this post.

  19. I needed to hear this today!!! Well said :)))

  20. paula strong says:

    Mandi your blog touched my memory of years past. I had a young family on a small military budget. I wish many times i reflected on all we had instead of what we didn’t have. Now we make good money and I wonder how we did it back then when at times now we go pay check to pay check. God blessed us then and now more than we deserve. I thank you for putting yourself out there with honesty and love

  21. amber says:

    Gorgeous post. Silver linings. I hope that things continue on an upward trend for you.

    PS Your little girl is a beauty.

  22. Megan says:

    What a poignant post! And these photos are absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing! Love how honest & personal your blog is, very inspirational!

  23. This is beautiful, absolutely beautiful – but it’s that first photo that I can’t get over; it is simply stunning.

  24. julia says:

    When looking at your latest outfit post yesterday, I though – “wow! She looks the same post baby as she did pre-pregnancy! Way to go!”

    Judging form the photos I’ve seen since (beautiful) Lucy’s birth, I’d say you’re looking great!

  25. Mel says:

    What a beautiful post Amanda! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your adorable little family. xo

  26. Heather Bosse says:

    Beautifully written.

    You are lovely, your family is wonderful, and your outlook is inspiring. Thank you for this post.

  27. So moved and touched by this post my friend. Thinking of you!! <3

  28. juinet says:

    Lovely Lucy.

  29. Lisa W. says:

    Absolutely PERFECTLY said. Remember ALL of those things, Christmas stress, money, our bodies, our crying babies, ALL these things we can relate to! Thanks you SO much for the pics of Lucy and Daddy of course, I love LOVE to see them!!! We really all do have allot to be thankful for! Until the next time:)

  30. Charlotte says:

    I have been thinking so much about thankfulness these days as well. My own little boy who is about 3 months old now was diagnosed with a very rare heart condition at 8 weeks old. Life has been…intense, to say the least. A week ago we almost lost him 24 hours after his repair. I have been crushed emotionally by so many things the last few weeks, but the truth is my little one is alive, and slowly getting better. We have to celebrate the little feats when we visit him in the hospital each day, because they are things to be thankful for.

    My heart goes out to your friends who lost their little boy. I can only image.

  31. nina says:

    I know all your thoughts and the feelings they come with.
    I’m a single mom of two. konstantin is 7 and laurenzia nearly 5.
    Go on with what you are doing. I love your blog and I thing as long as you find solutions or have ideas on solutions for all the things wich are not teriffic you’ll make it.
    That may not sound so nice but in a way I’m very happy that you share all of your problems. The most time it looks like there is nothing black in a bloggers life. :)

    May the force be with you and your family. ;)

  32. Krissy says:

    This is absolutely beautiful! I’m so thankful to have found your blog. Your post are very inspiring!

  33. Great post! Happiness really is all about perspective. It’s easy to lose perspective of what’s truly important in our lives when life happens (and it will always happen). BUT, it’s also easier on us emotionally, physically and, if it suits you, spiritually, to let go and happily let things be as they are.

  34. Bethany says:

    I just love how you are so realistic about tough things, but also so humble a grateful for what you have. So refreshing, and it definitely challenges me to look at my life the same way!

  35. Robin says:

    This was very inspiring for me sometimes instead of focusing on the not so good its better to see the glass as half full instead of half empty(Im trying too), don’t worry about your body, you just had a baby so I think you’re entitled,just eat right, exercise and most importantly take care of yourself, Im sure everything will fall into place

  36. This is such a beautiful post, that inspired me to stop for a while and do the same: be thankful for all the beautiful things I have.
    Thanks Mandi.

  37. KimS says:

    I can’t get over how much little Lucy looks like her Daddy! Such a lovely family x

  38. Thank you for being so super-duper honest about this- the good and the frustrating. It’s nice to know that there are other people out there trying to see the good in some crappy situations. A lof of the time (especially in the blog world)– people tend to only blog about the good, magical, pretty things in life and while these are important to stay focused on, the bad can put a lot of good into perspective.

    I’m due in December to have my baby girl and we’re saving money, I’m having body image issues and starrting to mourn the loss of my life before baby & and she’s not even here yet! LOL Thank you for the inspiration and honesty- your blog posts are so lovely and heartfelt.

  39. Cindy says:

    What a beautiful post! Your bubba is georgeous – just like her momma! :)

  40. Jill says:

    Thanks for this lovely post, Mandy. I’m convinced that hard stuff has the potential to make life all the richer. Attitude is everything. Blessings to you and your cute family. Lucy’s hair = fabulous!

  41. evie says:

    oh you are one beautiful lady! realizing blessings and being grateful is more than some manage. a conscious life is one well lived, i believe. i love your blog and have missed it for some time. im so happy to return and see beautiful little lucy gracing these posts. oh my what a sweetheart and a very belated congratulations. i wish you all a very joyful festive season. i had hair like lucy’s when i was a baby, it gave me the biggest smile to see – so funny, such a full head of hair. mine is still so very thick and dead straight! best wishes x evie

  42. vivi says:

    have you looked into acid reflux? food sensitivities through breast milk are actually extremely rare, but acid reflux is quite common. zantac or prevacid really help make them more comfortable if nothing else helps the reflux (like keeping baby upright for 30 minutes after each feeding).

  43. natalie says:

    Thank you so much for this post I clearly needed this! I also just want to share something I heard that has stuck with me as i work hard to love my new body after baby. It was said by Reece Witherspoon it goes something like “it took 10 months to grow my baby and it takes about 10 months to get back to “normal”‘

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