It’s been a whirlwind of renovations, life transitions for adult children, and holiday prep. Thankfully, I remembered to be grateful, just in thyme for Thanksgiving.
Before last February, I would have never thought of replacing our hardwood floor, but after the ice storms the meltdown pooled around our hearth while we were out of town. By the time we cleaned up the mess, the floors had bubbled up.
“You’re going to have to replace it all.” The insurance adjuster indicated the living room, kitchen, and front hallway. “The flooring is too old, so there’s no way to match the color.”
To fix the water stains on the wall, insurance would pay for living room paint. And why not paint the dining room while we’re at it?
We dreamed about replacing our 30-year-old dining room set and our duct-taped couch. We’d been half-heartedly in the market for a long time anyway, and wouldn’t it be great if we could have the new stuff delivered to a renovated house, instead of putting the old stuff back in?
Installation didn’t go well. Instead of being squishy just around the fireplace, it was like that everywhere. After ordering new materials, ripping out the old floor, and installing the new one, the whole renovation process took five weeks.
One by one, the workers finished their jobs. Tuesday, the plumber installed our dishwasher and new garbage disposal. A crew delivered our dining room set and a couple living room pieces. Wednesday, the general contractor came to do the final walk-through of the house and get our sign off. “You sure are cutting it close to Thanksgiving,” he said.
In the afternoon, the delivery truck arrived and did not disappoint! The couch’s mahogany color blended in with my cocoa floor and latte-colored walls perfectly. My house looked like a showroom floor.
I arranged new placemats and organized ingredients for my Thanksgiving menu the next day. Move over, Martha Stewart!
As I continued Thanksgiving preparations, I passed through the living room and noticed my kitty perched on the couch. In need of a power nap, I decided to take her into the bedroom for a fifteen-minute snooze/cuddle session.
When my husband arrived from work that night, he admired the couch for two seconds before his eyes moved to the scratch. It didn’t take long to realize we’d made a terrible mistake.
Thanksgiving morning, I bustled about the kitchen. In my zeal to create extra-special dishes, I’d bought fresh herbs. I chopped sage and thyme up and put it into the dressing, in the turkey-roasting bag, and even in my savory sweet potato dish.
I’d covered the couch with thick blankets, knowing we’d have to find a more permanent solution eventually. Even still, the kitty pounced on it, playing with water bottle caps, her favorite toy.
“The blanket’s not working.” My husband called from the living room. “It’s getting really scratched.” He showed me a seat cushion now covered with multiple scratches. Not the work of a cat marking its territory, like a scratching post, but the result of a kitten at play.
“I’m going for my run.” My husband’s sad face tugged at my heart. I’d wanted a cat so badly, and then I’d wanted a leather couch too. He was out a lot of time and expense to make both of those things happen.
As I continued stirring and pouring in the kitchen, I weighed my options. Get her declawed? Permanently banish her upstairs? Cover the couch with a roof tarp? None of those gave me any peace.
When Doug returned, we sat together on the floor while he stretched. “What kind of house do we want to have?” he asked.
No matter how great the couch looked, we’d never stop worrying about damaging it. The cat would be only the first in a long, long line of potential leather gougers. Did we want to own stuff, or would it own us?
We settled on a plan. We’d clean up the old couches that had been sitting in the garage for five weeks and put the new couch out there until we could repair and sell it.
Later that afternoon, kitty scampered happily over the back of the couch, chasing one of her bottle caps. As we enjoyed a delicious meal and played games, I once again focused on who and what I’m truly thankful for, especially a husband who works through problems together with grace and wisdom.
In my empty-nest zeal, I’d lost sight of all the reasons to make a cozy, inviting home. My reminder came just in thyme to enjoy a day of thankfulness instead of fretting. I remembered once again that my value doesn’t come from creating a picture-perfect home, but simply being the first fruits of God’s Creation. From that place, I can freely say that all I have is His, to use for His glory.
What lessons in thankfulness have you learned over the years? How does knowing that we’re God’s most priceless possessions fill you with extreme gratitude? Please join the conversation in the comments!