Finding Gratitude in Unexpected Places

By Brytani Weber

I grew up in Roseburg and met my husband when we were in our senior year of high school. We’re coming up on 12 years of marriage, and we’re raising three sweet girls. I enjoy spending time outside with my family, riding bikes, visiting the beach, and reading. This year, with all three kiddos in school, I felt a tugging at my heart to pursue some kind of role as an advocate for children. During this pandemic, I’ve had a unique chance to complete the required training virtually, growing more passionate about it the deeper I get. I’m excited to see how the Lord will use me in this area!

Empty Shelves: I am thankful for the voids in the shelves that are supposed to be filled with pencils, crayons, markers, paper, craft supplies, puzzles, board games, flash cards, workbooks, and bicycles. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time I went to the store to get a few supplies for this unexpected online learning. I walked up and down the aisles and saw empty shelf after empty shelf. It was an eerie feeling at first, but then I couldn’t help but feel thankful. Thankful that so many families in our community are using this time to invest in their kids. Thankful that parents are making the effort to run out for resources and tools, come alongside their little learners and facilitate an environment for growth, learning and creativity. As much as I wanted a new puzzle that day, it made me happy to think of all the family game nights happening now. I can’t seem to leave the house without noticing the influx of families on bike rides. What a sweet gift in this crazy time!

Basketball: I’m thankful for what time with this basketball hoop has done for our relationship with our neighbors. We bought this hoop shortly after we got word that the kids would be home for the remainder of the school year, mostly as an effort to give them something fun to do outside. I had no idea it would bring the neighbors from a few duplexes around us out to play almost every evening and weekend. Our relationship with our neighbors went from a daily smirk and wave to really getting to know each other, having dinner together, offering childcare, and asking if the others need anything from the store before one leaves the house. We’ve become a little village, and it really all started after we spent one weekend in March playing ball together.

Life Edits: I’m thankful for this chance to sort of hone in on how we as a family should be investing our time and energy. A few years ago, Pastor Brett spoke on illness and how it is often used to humble us and/or cause us to slow down. I try to think on that when our family goes through things and to pay attention to what to let go of and how to better rely on the Lord rather than my own ambition. Some sort of life edit always comes out of these seasons. This time in quarantine, with full-day school, gymnastics at different times for three kids, preschool pick up and drop off, work, volunteering, etc. all being cancelled has given us a chance to stop and to think about the things we do and don’t miss about “regular life.” It’s been refreshing to have these conversations, hear each other’s needs, and then get in touch with extracurriculars and withdraw from things that made us too busy and/or neurotic. It’s also been refreshing to go from burnt out and dreading important things to really missing the responsibilities that we didn’t have energy for. 

The Apps Live From Rest and Dwell: I’m thankful for a couple of apps that help me stay centered in His peace and truth. Live from Rest is an app that offers guided meditation sessions “rooted in the way of Jesus.” Each session I’ve done has been so grounding and wonderful. You can choose between several soothing background sounds and categories across a multitude of subjects. I’m an introvert with a husband and three extrovert kiddos at home and this has been a great tool to use when I need to catch my breath and take a moment to reset. I have also really enjoyed using the Dwell app and often fall asleep to Felix’s voice reading the Word to me. If you find yourself having a difficult time resting in this chaotic time, I highly recommend trying the “Fall Asleep to Scripture” section!

This Celtic Prayer: I’m thankful for this beautifully and simply written reminder of the peace we can have as we connect with creation and the Son of Peace. My uncle shared this as we rang in the new year, and I knew I needed it printed for a constant reminder. I’ve found it to be especially refreshing this week with all of the heartbreaking things happening, and I hope you enjoy it, too!

2 thoughts on “Finding Gratitude in Unexpected Places

  1. I loved hearing from you and look forward to meeting you. (Or have I already met you?) I appreciate your positive spin on empty shelves as that has been a source of distress for me. I have had a hard time, thinking only of the eeriness instead of people investing in things they need to provide for their families.


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