November Thanks #25 | 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful

A thirty-day exercise in pausing, reflecting, appreciating, and giving thanks for simple things.

box of rocks

There was a time when I found myself in a therapist’s office, searching for answers about life. Stuck and unable to move forward or back, I had spun in circles for months before connecting with this particular therapist. She made me think so hard at times my brain hurt. She reminded me how to feel. But most importantly, she helped me find my true self. The time came for me to “graduate” and move on. And at my last appointment with her, I held out my hand and showed her half of an ugly rock. The round, rough edge was facing up and the cut half was flat against my palm. And I held it out and told her, “This is how I think I looked and felt when I first walked in your door. And with your guidance and support, you helped me believe in myself again. I am no longer ugly.” And I turned up the flat side of the rock to allow the crystals to shine. She was so taken aback by my presentation that she had tears in her eyes. The geode was my present to her, so that she would always have a reminder of the work she does to turn something ugly into something beautiful. Whenever I see a geode, I am reminded of that moment and all the challenging work I did to put my life back on track. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be reminded of how far we’ve come.


In a few days we will dust off all the boxes of Christmas decorations and get our tree set up. Like most moms, I have a box filled with some special ornaments made by my daughters when they were very young. There’s a picture frame made from Popsicle sticks and a school photo of the artist. I think she was in third or fourth grade. There’s another picture frame made of cardboard shaped like a wreath with elbow noodles glued to it, spray painted in gold. There are paper cutouts colored in crayon with a string attached to hang them on a tree. For years my daughters didn’t even want to take these items out of the box; they were embarrassed by their primitive artwork. But they have finally come to appreciate the decorations for what they are…a gift from a child so special that a mother saved it for a lifetime.

I know I am supposed to name three gifts, but my brain has ceased to function. I have a lot on my mind lately and I haven’t been able to sleep. I keep waking up at four in the morning and cannot go back to sleep. At night, I’ve tried my best to stay awake until ten o’clock thinking I’ll sleep until six in the morning for sure. Not to be. No matter the time I go to sleep, I’m waking up at four. And my eyelids are like curtain shades tonight. I cannot keep my eyes open even as I sit here typing. Going to sleep now.


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