The past two months have been a whirlwind with school well underway, afterschool activities, and much more going on here in Accra. With that said though there is no excuse for my silence over the past two months. I am sorry if you feel like we had a bad break up and I am that awful ex that has not returned your phone calls, texts, or Facebook messages. No worries I am here to rectify that situation and update you all on life here in Ghana.
I have still been posting pictures and such on instagram and Facebook so I do not feel like I completely wrote everyone off like a bad check. However I have not written on here in a while. For this post though I think I am going to simply list some things I am thankful for over the past two months. Back in Virginia our small group read the book One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp and it helped revolutionize my everyday thought life. Finding thankfulness in the simplest of things. With it being November and American Thanksgiving coming up, I thought what better way to re-establish our relationship than letting you know what I have been thankful for over the past two months. I have had some recent conversations with close friends about not being attached to the material things in life because it seems in Ghana; eventually they will disappear or be stolen 😉 It has forced me to focus more on the non-material things (however I am human and this list will contain some material things, because let’s be honest living as an ex-pat in West Africa you still get excited about your embassy friends who have you over for dinner and bust out Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip cookies or present you with a real authentic Diet Coke ha-ha). So here we go in no particular order
Natalie arriving safely to Ghana (Yes, it has been that long since I wrote
Hammock adventures with friends in botanical gardens
Face timing with my parents
Notes from one of my favorite third graders
Impromptu dance parties with friends
Ukulele jam sessions with my roommate Laura
Playing in a basketball tournament where you are only one of two females (the other being one of your closest friends in Ghana), however showing other girls that they too can play with the guys. It raised a lot of questions and encouraged female spectators to ask questions.
Visiting an NGO that equips girls and women with actual life skills they can use to make a living and reintegrate back into society
Korean festivals that have amazing food
Hope City Church Accra
Johnny Appleseed day at school with the kindergartners. Epic cuteness
Snap chats from far away friends
A cool drink on a steaming hot day
Birthdays, mine was nothing less than spectacular in Ghana
Impromptu dance parties with students
Church barbecue and pool party
Meeting new people
Sharing a meal prepared by friends
Pedicures (Finally found a place in Ghana that is legit and this is a great self care therapy for a school counselor)
Seeing people you love smile
Hearty laughter with close friends
Married folks who are farther along in the journey of life who take you in as their own child, have you over for dinner, and give you advice. I am particularly grateful for one couple that does this frequently and for that I am eternally grateful for their love and support.
My friend Mallory’s laugh…it is the best and once she gets started she can’t stop and it always is contagious and gets me laughing.
Carving watermelons for Halloween instead of pumpkins because we don’t have any big enough to carve here in Ghana
Face time dates with my friend Chelsie in Singapore
Packages from loved ones back home.
Impromptu trips to South Africa
Reuniting with a close friend who you have not seen in nearly 10 years.
Dancing at weddings
A good cappuccino
Sunsets that make it look like the sky is on fire
Road trips through the country
A stranger’s smile
Dancing with small children, they are fearless and so carefree, not self conscious like us adults sometimes are about our moves
Phone calls with mentors back home
Solid alone time with Jesus
A cool breeze in South Africa to remind me of fall back home in the States
Accountability from those who know you best
Conversations with strangers
Scripture verses that come alive when reading them
My mom making it through a major back surgery and beginning to see her move through the recovery process with such strength and determination
Loved ones who surround my family during difficult times, who support, pray, and visit
My relationship with my siblings, no matter where we are all at in the world we can always call or chat each other and pick up where we left off
Hearing stories of how God is moving in other people’s lives
Warmth of the sun on your skin in November when you know your family is shoveling snow already
Looking back and seeing God’s sovereignty in your life
Proper Diet Coke, not Coke Light from the middle east (This picture is with my friend Mallory who has the contagious laugh as well)
Meaningful conversations with students about life and watching the wheels turn in their mind, praying and waiting for that moment when they “get it”
I want to challenge you all that as you go throughout your next full day, look around, soak it all in, and see what simple and extreme things are you thankful for. You would be surprised. Trust me as a girl who used to take consistent electricity for granted, I am thankful that when I flip the light switch and it actually turns on, I am impressed. I am also thankful for those little moments when I am sitting around a meal with close friends and everyone is smiling.
Take in every moment.
Don’t let life simply pass you by.
Most of all, be thankful.