pink shoes

My daughter’s pink shoes on the rug by our back door. Usually I urge that we keep our sand outdoors. I hate to sweep. And mop. Sand makes both those tasks that much more laborious. Looking at the shoes and the sand, I thanked God for the ability to play outdoors. To build sandcastles. To dig. To run.

It’s about 1am.

I’m done with my cooking and baking for Thanksgiving tomorrow… or wait, I guess that’s today.

I looked around my messy kitchen and home. I was tempted to be frustrated. Disheartened. So much work to do. I hate waking up to a mess. Then I remembered that today is a day that reminds us to be thankful.

And suddenly I saw everything in a new light.

These are the ugliest photos I’ve ever posted here on Apples to Ziti. But they have more meaning than any of the pictures you’ve seen before.

I recently saw an advertisement that pointed out the difference between what we present to the world and what is reality. We post the cutest photos, the perfect vacations, the nicest decor, and… in my case… the yummiest looking food. What we don’t often show is the chaos behind the calm.


Next to the back door is our kitchen table. I look below one of my daughters’ seats. Every night there are crumbs, smashed pieces of food, and who knows what else lurking there. Usually I wipe it up, tired and exasperated with one more mess to clean up. Why did I sign up for this job anyhow? Looking at the bits of food, I thanked God for food. For the times my family sat in these messy chairs and enjoyed laughing, singing, and eating together.

The crumbs faded. The memories flooded in.


I looked over at our entryway bench. There are baskets that hold mommy’s shoes, daddy’s shoes, and the kids’ shoes. Next to the bench is this pile of shoes. This pile always seems to be there. Either the shoes don’t fit in the overflowing basket or they just haven’t been put back in their designated places. I often glance at this pile on my way out the door. I wish it would go away. I wish I had a more organized home. Sigh. Looking at this never-disappearing pile, I thank God for shoes. For clothes to wear. For a home for my children to grow up in, stay warm in, and make memories in.


Next to the shoe bench is my husband’s office… aka our ‘dumping ground’. I finally got rid of our ‘junk drawer’. All sorted and put away where everything belongs. Now instead of a junk drawer we have a junk room. Perhaps I should have stuck with the drawer. I clear the room. I clean it. I organize it. And somehow it ends up right where it started again. Looking around this messy space I saw all the things I wish it could be that it wasn’t. All the things I wish I could buy to make it a sleek, satisfying workplace for my husband. Instead of dwelling on these ‘what ifs’, I again tried to find something I was thankful for instead. What stuck out were the photos. Some are on the walls and some are in piles on the desk.

I saw a picture of my husband David and I at our high school prom. I thanked God for bringing David into my life. I am so blessed to be his wife. Another picture of us holding our firstborn baby daughter. That was three years ago Thanksgiving Day. Now we have three precious little ones. I thanked God for each of them. I am so blessed to be their mama.

I also notice some headphones next to the photos. I thanked God for the ability to hear. Music, singing, laughing. I can’t imagine the world without it.


Next to the office is a bathroom. I attempted to paint the builder’s grade sink cupboard a white color. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing. No primer. No nice paint brush. All I see everyday are a bunch of chips, brush marks, and bits of food that get stuck there when I wash up my daughters after a messy meal. I’m not a great home decorator. I wish I was. I’m just not. I can copy. I can imitate. But I can’t do it alone. I need help. It reminded me of my other areas of weakness that I need help with. I thanked God for my own imperfections. For my weaknesses. In my weakness, He is stronger.


Finally, our stair rail. There are few days that pass by that there isn’t a piece of my husband’s clothing draped right here in this spot. Some days I ignore it. Some days I point it out. Some days I just take care of it myself, grumbling along as I do so. Then I see the fan that still is not assembled. How many weeks has it been since this was going to get fixed? Sigh. I touched the stair railing, looked up at the hanging thing, and thanked God for a loving husband. A husband who comes home every night. Who works hard every day to provide for us. Who throws a pretend ball in his daughters’ room. He dresses up for the occasion and dances with them. He is their prince. And mine. He kisses me goodbye and goodnight. How thankful I am for him.

Usually I post delicious looking pictures of perfect looking food.

Today I post imperfect things instead.

Oh how thankful I am. For these things and so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

love, jenna

3 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. Aw I’m all weepy! It was a beautiful post full of feelings I’ve felt in very similar ways so many times. I remember reading lyrics to a song a long time ago that said “my cup runneth over and I complain about the spill” which revealed my heart at the time. I’m so thankful that the fight for gratefulness is not one we have to do on our own. Believers have Christs righteousness that includes perfect gratefulness to God. Such a sweet gift!
    Thanks for the poignant reminder jenna!
    Love you!

  2. This was beautiful Jenna! Very much my home too, that’s what makes it a home! So many things to be thankful for, thank you for reminding me of all the things God provides for us! Happy thanksgiving!

  3. Pingback: Sweet Potatoes Three Ways | Apples to Ziti

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