Thanksgiving, A Week Early

I woke up at 5:00 AM today. It wasn’t my intention, but pregnant women tend to awaken at all hours of the night. Either we’re suffocating due to the fact that we’ve somehow managed to lie on our backs, which “compresses both the inferior vena cava and the lower aorta.” (And here I didn’t even know I had a vena cava, much less one that was inferior. Should I send it to counseling, and if so, do you think it’s covered by my maternity insurance?). Or it’s time to visit – once again – the WC. (Note: If you can make your way to the bathroom, use the facilities and get back in bed without ever opening your eyes, you probably make the trip too much. As my husband said last week as I gulped down yet another bottle of water, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to pour it in the toilet and get a full night’s sleep?”)

So. I woke up. But I couldn’t get back to sleep. Which is strange for me. Sleeping is one of my better skills.

Instead, I lay in bed, thinking about my life. About the kids sleeping peacefully in their beds down the hall from me. About the man sleeping two inches from my face. About the baby sleeping (yes, sleeping – not rolling or kicking or mambo-ing) in my swollen belly. And I was suddenly overcome with such a deep feeling of gratitude that I was almost giddy.

“Thank you, God, for these blessings! Thank you that we have shelter over our heads. Thank you that we are healthy. Thank you that you have restored my relationship with my husband. Thank you that we’re building a family. Thank you for pursuing us and loving us and giving us all good things.”

And with that glow in my heart, I slowly – ever so slowly – went back to sleep. It only took me about 50 minutes.

Five minutes later, I heard the shuffle of pajamad feet coming toward our room. I cracked open an eyelid. 6:00 AM. Our four-year-old quickly appeared next to our bed and climbed in. (Translation: Sleep-time is so over.) My six-year-old daughter woke up about an hour later and immediately started whining. The four-year-old responded by hitting and spitting. The words “stupid” and “hate” may have been slung. Cries of indignation and hurt filled the air. And during our morning prayer time – a new things for us, so don’t get too impressed – my husband had the audacity to open his prayer by saying, “Lord, thank you that I get to go to work now.”

It wasn’t even 7:30 AM. Those warm and gooey feelings that had flooded me earlier melted away with the night. The day had begun.

During breakfast, the following events occurred.

1. My daughter refused to study her spelling words, even though she can’t spell many of them, because she’s “tired and it’s too hard.”
2. I mismeasured the amount of water needed for my hot Kashi, creating a bowl of watery gruel that was so hideous, I had to toss it and start over.
3. My son sat naked and crying in his bedroom for a full ten minutes while I ate my (second bowl of) Kashi because he didn’t want to put his clothes on by himself nor did he want to humble himself to ask for my help.
4. During an attempt to put something away in the pantry, I knocked over the brand-new-yet-open canister of cornmeal, which poured out like a yellow waterfall onto every shelf and every box and every floor item below.
5. My children accused me of trying to freeze them to death. (True, it was 63 degrees on the main level when we came down this morning. Since we’re in a middle townhouse unit, we haven’t needed to turn the heat on yet. But for crying out loud, people, this is Minnesota, and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better! Toughen up!)

Yes. It’s a wonderful world. Do you hear the music? Do you feel the love?

By the time I delivered Natalie to school and got into the car to return home, I was glum indeed.

But then, a song came on our local Christian radio station. And it wasn’t “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me.” (Anyone else grow up watching “Hee-Haw?” Or is it only those of us who spent their early years in Kentucky?) It was Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Live Out Loud.”

It’s always been a favorite of mine. And this morning, it did something miraculous. It changed my attitude and reminded me that I’ve been given something far better than anything I could imagine – a new life, a forever heart, a restored relationship with the very God who created the universe.

"Why are you so downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God."
- Psalm 43:5

So for the rest of today, I’m going to live out loud. Even if my children launch into a whine worth of Napa. Even if the white laundry turns pink. Even if the chocolate-glazed pumpkin cookies I’m itching to bake this afternoon end up tasting like chocolate-glazed feather pillow.

Because I was made to live out loud. And nothing can steal that kind of joy.


  1. That was absolutely poetic.

    And here I am stressing over Wii's. Which is about to close in less than 2 hours I might add.

    But, I'm going to be thankful whether I get my money back or not because you said so.



  2. When I am pregnant, I keep the baby gate at the top of the steps locked all night, so that as I stumble in the dark toward the bathroom, I can't fall down the stairs.

    I'm glad you found joy in a difficult circumstance.

  3. I so needed to read that this morning. I've been battling a headache all week and my house is a wreck, hubby is due home from Lousiana this afternoon and of course I want perfection, but it's ok...I'm going to do what I can and Live out Loud! Thank you!!

  4. "Live out Loud!"

    What a beautiful sentiment! So often we are completely distracted by the bumps in the road and completely miss the journey and forget our destination. Brilliant post my pregnant friend! It seems even though you are pregnant (I hesitate to even type that as I never understood the thought that pregnant women could not think!!!!) and sleep deprived......your wisdom shines through!

    Happy Thanksgiving Season.


  5. What an awesome, beautiful, inspiring post. This is my first time visiting your blog but I'll be back. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I'm just browsing today and came across this post! Loved it! What a great reminder to live the abundant life we are promised, no matter what the circumstances!

  7. I read this the other day and it was so encouraging to me, Kelly. Why do we let such minor things get to us?

    Your husband's prayer was perfect. Maybe not for you, but it did make ME laugh. :)

  8. What a perfect post! You are so funny and so honest...I am going to Live out Loud today!
    Thanks for the inspiration!