A New Year: Counting My Blessings

Happy New Year, Friends!

Today, January 6th, is the first day since November 20th, that I’ve sent all three of my boys to school from my own house.  They had a week off for Thanksgiving, and stayed a week at a friend’s house in Northern Virginia (and I was there too part of the time), and then little Will and Nate had more than a month off in the transition of changing schools.  It was not unlike having a summer vacation, well minus the friends, the warm weather, the activities and the long hours of daylight.  Thankfully we got to spend eight glorious days in Florida, because the lack of structure and community could probably bum anyone out, much less a moody teen and preteen.  But we did it.  Today is like the Jackson New Year!  Everybody is at school, and sweet Sammy even starts basketball today!  I would probably pop open a bottle of prosecco if I wasn’t doing the Whole30 (yes, maybe not the ideal time to give up alcohol and so many fun foods, but what is the ideal time?  And it will likely be the Whole25 since we started on the 4th and my birthday is at the end of the month).  Anyway, what better way to start the year than to specifically count up some of your blessings.  Because I’m sure you know that once you start you can’t really stop (you will never run out of blessings to count), and it does the soul so much good!

  1.  We lived through the exit of our mountain on Christmas Day despite record breaking rainfall.  Scary stuff.
  2. Although Will and Nate’s new school is 15-20 minutes away, my neighbor who teaches there and has a son right between my older two guys, offered to drive them.  I may have been more emphatic in responding to this gentleman’s generous offer than to Will’s marriage proposal.
  3. Even though Will just started a new job, he had the wisdom to tell his employer, “Hey, it’s our 20th anniversary and I’m going to need to take a week off, three and a half weeks in.”  Those may not have been his exact words, but you get the idea.  How fantastic of them to have graciously said, “Why, of course.”
  4. We have so many priceless memories made in our last few weeks in Virginia  These are two of the many sweet pictures I have and treasure from various sendoffs.  It sure is a wonderful feeling to be loved.

    Plus, the last week there the boys essentially had a 6 night/7 day long frat party.  We don’t do sleepovers so the treat of staying with friends who have two boys roughly Will and Nate’s ages was incredible.  So much football, basketball, and laughter.  So little sleep.

  5. I am overwhelmed with pride and gratitude over how little Will fared yesterday at school.  He never wanted to move.  He doesn’t exactly love meeting new people.  Without getting into the details, I saw him in couple of situations yesterday where I knew he wanted to jump right out of his skin, but he played it cool as a cucumber.  We all have to do things we do not want to do.  Seeing my son trying his best when he’d love to just go back to his sweet, tiny little school where he’s been known and loved since kindergarten is something I will never forget.
  6. On a lighter note, I am so grateful that for more than 8 years my boys were in a school that did not require any — and I mean any — school supplies.  Whatever they needed was provided as part of their tuition.  I don’t know if Tennessee just goes ludicrously over-the-top for school supplies, or if this is the norm, but MY WORD.  I had no idea how to be grateful in the moment, but I am now.
  7. Plans for visits from the boys’ friends from Virginia are in the works.  So so grateful we are not being forgotten quite yet
  8. Nate Jackson can be enormously frustrating (his schedule for school sits here beside me on my desk, and I’m 100% certain he needs it), but he is also the easiest person in the world.  I’m about as worried about him as I am of waking up one day and realizing I’m too thin.  Honestly he is so inherently fine that I’m not even sure Nate knows the how it feels to be awkward or intimidated.  He is a simple-pleasured child (over the moon that the Redskins are in the playoffs) with the most contagious laugh ever.  So grateful for him.  May he never change.
  9. I am grateful for a small, friendly community.  We’ve been welcomed with open arms from lovely people.  We’ve been to a cocktail party, a casual pizza dinner at one family’s home, and a huge white elephant party (which really is a fantastic way to get to know people — a white elephant gift is practically like taking a personality test it says so much).  We adore our new church, and our neighbors too.
  10. I’m grateful for lots of time to write.  The move is behind us, and now the boys are in school.  I’m not working anytime soon, and I’m going to power through organizing in the next week or so.  That will, theoretically, leave me gobs of time to write.  I have started a little devotional project — 30 Days of Praying for Your Spouse (catchy title, I know), and may tackle some fiction for the first time in a decade.  Time is a gift — may I use it wisely.

Like anyone, I have so much to be thankful for.  And I am thankful.  But I would still appreciate your prayers over the whole adjustment which despite some tremendous blessings, is just plain not an overnight deal, not even for someone as easy as Nate.

With Love,


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