Today I am thankful for the piles of crunchy brown leaves covering my lawn – begging to be raked and bagged – because it means I have a yard where my kids can run.

Today I am thankful for the mountain of shoes, jackets, backpacks, papers and books that adorn my mudroom – strewn about and begging to be organized – because it means my kids have everything they need for school.

Today I am thankful for the dishes that sit unwashed in my dull sink – longing to be washed, scrubbed and shined – because it means my family has full bellies and fresh water.

Today I am thankful for the chip in my manicure – reminding me that even the gel polishes only look great for a few days – because it means I have the time and means to afford small luxuries for myself.

Today I am thankful for my imperfect belly and stretch marked hips – telling me I’m less than perfect – because it means my body grew to accommodate three full term babies.

Today I am thankful for a husband to argue with – making me feel like we still have trouble communicating after all these years – because it means I have a dedicated spouse with whom I have the opportunity to share my life.

Today I am thankful for tense relationships with extended family members – discouraging me when things aren’t easy and perfect – because it means our loved ones are still alive.

Today I am thankful for my strong-willed child – challenging me daily with his boldness and energy – because it means one day (I pray) he will be a man of strong character.

Today I am thankful for this imperfect nation with its partisan politics – frustrating me every time I read the news and ponder America’s future – because it means today I am still free.

And above all, today I am thankful for my all-powerful, all-knowing God – who sent his son to the cross to suffer a brutal sinner’s death in my stead – because the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).