Amazingly, the holidays are upon us once again. Thanksgiving’s past and the gift giving season is in full swing. Funny how as we get older time seems to speed up… has it really been a year already? Truth is, it has.
In the spirit of this amazing season, the time of year when almost everyone stops for a moment to count their blessings, I’ve composed a list (in no particular order) of the many things I’m thankful for this year.
- My children top the list, for I’ve never, ever loved anything quite like I love these three little people. Sure they’re a lot of work and sacrifice, sure they can drive me to distraction sometimes, but to find myself sharing life with three healthy children who have routine problems and know little of the harsher realities of this world is such an incredible blessing. I thank God for it every single day.
- My husband, who, through thick and thin, good and bad and everything in between, has stood by smiling and stable and strong — my partner in this journey and one of the best people I’ve ever known. Someone once said that 95% of your life’s happiness (or sorrow) comes from your choice of mate — and I absolutely believe this to be true. I’m a lucky, lucky woman.
- The newest addition to our family, our lab puppy Bailey, for showing me what unconditional love is all about. This rambunctious little furball (now 40 lbs and going strong) has brought my children such joy and ready companionship, I can’t imagine how we got on without her. I see now why so many people fall totally and shamelessly in love with their dogs.
- Of course, this list must also include Bailey’s two arch rivals, our cats Puff and Nikki, These dignified creatures are soft and clean and loyal beyond belief — and they’ve shown me that sometimes love must be earned, but once earned, never lessens or changes. I can’t imagine my life without a cat in it.
- My parents, who are here in our lives instead of living only in memories, who are showing us all what it is to face crippling illness and the slowdowns of aging with grace and dignity. They’re comfortable. They’re together. They still laugh and have fun. And they’re finally treating themselves kindly and enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of hard work.
- My sweet god-daughter Jillian, and how it feels when she wraps those little arms around me and squeezes as hard as she can.
- My home, though far from HGTV perfection, offers me a roof over my head, a space to call my own, and a place for my family to live in safety and comfort. Sure the property taxes are exorbitant, the carpets have to be replaced and the backyard needs work, still 95% of the world would change places with me in a heartbeat. It’s a need as old as time itself, a need, I’ve been fortunate to meet.
- My two best girlfriends, Kim and Sandy, who make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts and tears run down my cheeks.
- The work that has offered me more challenges, and more fulfillment than I ever got from my 9-to-5 career. This year I finally, finally published one of two novels that have taken so much of my time, heart and energy to complete. Holding Out of the Ordinary in my hand has brought an unlikely mixture of awe, pride, and utter terror all at once. It’s an experience few get to have, and I’m glad to be one of them..
- The tools (computer, internet, satellite radio, digital camera, ATM card, cell phone) that put ever-improving technology right in the palm of my hands. How many great writers and thinkers through the ages would have given anything for the tools we have at our fingertips? When so many millions in this world still struggle for basic necessities like food and water, never mind freedom, these everyday conveniences are an incredible blessing.
- My mind and the ability to think… to remember… to learn… to appreciate humor and irony… to believe in things greater than myself and be able to discern right from wrong.
- Despite migraines and strep throats, eye surgeries and cancer scares, I’ve been blessed with a state of health (and ready access to health care, expensive though it may be) that many would envy. I’m not sure any one of us appreciates the true blessing good health is, until you find it threatened, or loose it altogether.
- My country, for as grasping and neurotic and self-obsessed as the U.S. may be, it still is one of the few places on this earth where you can say what you want, practice your faith without fear of arrest or torture, and have the opportunity to do better than your parents, and the hope your children will do better than you.
- That I am alive and aware and living in fascinating times.I’m sure there are more things to add… many more, that aren’t coming to mind right now, but these ones are the biggies.I hope that by reading over my list you are inspired to think about what you might put on your own… the things that make your life wonderful, despite the everyday disappointments, the trials and tribulations that clutter our thoughts and keep us from remembering all the good things we have.