Now that it is November, with Thanksgiving coming up, I constantly am seeing people posting on Facebook daily as to what they are thankful for in their lives. I am terrible at this, because first of all I’m getting a terribly late start and secondly, I know me and I know that while I’ll have good intentions to post every day, I’ll get busy or forgetful and it just won’t happen. So instead, I’ve decided to sit down on this early Sunday morning and take time to reflect on my life and those in it and make my list all at once. Now as I said, it is early so changes are I will overlook a thing or two (or ten) so more than likely this list will be revised… many times… but here goes…
1 - I am thankful for God. I am thankful for salvation and for the plan that I know exists for my life. Some people may dispute His existence or His power, but I certainly do not. The one thing I know for sure is I wouldn’t have made it through the trials that came up in my life these past days, weeks, months and even years if I didn’t have the fact to hold on to that He has a plan for me and while it may not seem like it now, there is something wonderful planned for my life and this difficult times have a purpose… to make me stronger and to turn me into the woman I was created to be. I am thankful that He gives me so much more credit than I give myself. Looking back at all I went through, a lot that I suffered through silently and still haven’t been able to share out loud because of the pain it brings up, it’s almost unreal that I was able to make it through. The person I was before those hard times was so much weaker than the person those hard times created me to be. And while I’m not 100% happy with who I am, I am definitely happier with my self than I was back then.
2- I am thankful for my parents. I know many children say this, but I have been blessed with the greatest parents I could have asked for. They are certainly not perfect (none of us are) but they are the perfect set of parents for me. They, even when I didn’t feel like they are, always support me and want the best for my life (which a lot of times means they disagree with my decisions). My mom is my best friend, which I never thought I would say. Growing up, we disagreed a lot and she drove me crazy (sorry mom, but it’s true), but as I have entered adulthood, we have a much better understanding of each other. I can tell her almost anything and instead of judging me and my decisions, she will talk me through everything until I reach a decision that I know will be best for me. My dad is just something else completely. He tries to have this rough exterior and seem unemotional, but I am without a doubt his “little girl” and he would do anything for me. The way he shows his love may be unconventional… instead of saying it, he shows it in little things… checking my car when I get home, offering unsolicited advice on anything and everything in my life, making sure I have an ice scraper in my car when the weather starts getting cold… he is one of a kind and I can’t imagine my life without him. He has definitely set my standards high for my future husband… I used to cringe when someone would say “most women end up marrying someone just like their father”, but now I realize I could only be so lucky!!
3 - I am thankful for my little (or not so little anymore!) brother. Not only am I incredibly thankful that I have him in my life, but I am also incredibly proud of him and his recent endeavor to leave home and train for a new job. We don’t always get along (or rarely do to be more accurate) but I know that ultimately, he loves me and would do anything to protect me. We’ve had some disagreements over the years, but I am so happy that our relationship is relatively normal. I am thankful I was able to win the Nashville trip last year and take him with me… I feel like we were able to get a lot closer on that trip, and it was a once in a lifetime type thing that we got to experience together (even though I’m sure I embarrassed him with my cowboy boots!)
4 - I am thankful for my extended family… my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. There are a lot to mention but they know who they are. For my Uncle, his wife and my cousin who so graciously offered to take me in when I didn’t have much other option and who have made me a part of their little family, giving me the little sister I never had (or wanted… ha just kidding Sammy!). For my Uncle who showed me the world… who has brought me to so many exciting places and taught me about what is out there beyond my four walls. Not just because of his willingness to spend financially (although that is much appreciated), but his wanting to take the time to spend with me… to get to know who I was as a child, a teenager and now as an adult.
5 - I am thankful for those in my family that are no longer walking this earth… those that are watching down on me from Heaven, who I can often feel in the quiet of night when I’m thinking of them, regretting things never done or said with them, or just wishing I Had known them better. I am thankful for the afterlife and that someday I will see them again. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with them while they were here… that despite a bleak diagnosis, that my Grandma Janice fought tirelessly for much longer than expected. She taught me how to be tough, how to be fierce, and to not just lie down and take whatever bad things life hands to me, but to tough it out and fight… because anything worth having is worth fighting for. For my Grandma Mary, who taught me bravery… leaving everything she knew in her country - her family, friends, her entire life- to move to the States with the man she loved. For my Grandpa Larry, who met her and fell in love and made the journey along with her… he taught me that you should never just let yourself be walked over… to stand up for what you believe in and to always speak your mind. I miss them all, and the others I’ve also lost… but to know they are all no longer in pain and happy in Heaven with each other somehow offers a bit of comfort, so I am also thankful for that.
6- I am thankful for love, and getting to experience it… it’s unexplainable and amazing and heart wrenching at the same time. I am thankful for knowing what it’s like to care for someone so much that you want only what is best for them, whether that is you or not… knowing what it’s like to live without a heart because it resides with someone else. And for the many examples of love I have had in my life…. for my parents who have been happily married for 30 years, and both sets of my grandparents who I watched stand by each other through thick and thin, through fights, feuds and sickness. They showed me that in this age of getting rid of something when it breaks, it is better to fix it… to work together for the common purpose of fixing something that is good, rather than just giving up and moving on.
7 - I am thankful for my friends… the ones that have known me and been by my side for years, along with the ones who are more recent but still just as amazing. With all that I’ve been through, I know I haven’t been an easy person to deal with, whether it’s late night texts, or crying over a glass of wine, but they have seen me through it all without a single complaint. My friends are such an amazing support system that I know I couldn’t have made it through the past years without. We have made such amazing memories together as well, that I will always cherish fondly. I look forward to many many more years of friendship and seeing what else life has in store for us all (hopefully all good!!!).
8 - I am thankful for my special person… my secret friend… the one who lets me be quirky and nerdy and almost never makes fun of me for it :) Who brightens my day and can make everything better with just a text or a phone call. Who has been so concerned with my own well-being and my happiness that he often overlooks his own. THe 007 to my CRS, he has shown me that while you only live once (or twice depending on who you ask), that the best things in life happen when you least expect them and are worth waiting for. He has shown me that things are never easy, especially the things you want most, but it’s better to hang in and wait for the reward.
9 - I am thankful for those who serve our country… whether it be in the Armed Forces, law enforcement, the medical field… those who give of themselves and are willing to sacrifice their lives for our safety and freedoms. And for the families who by extension also offer up that sacrifice. For Dain, who laid his life down for his friends, family, and people who never even got the chance to know him, to keep us all safe and to do what he needed to do. Life is certainly more empty without him, however I cannot help but be incredibly grateful for him.
10 - I am thankful for our little trivia team… the team of misfits that don’t often win without our “ringer”, but who show me what it’s like to have fun… to live carefree and just to laugh. There are so many times when the last thing I want to do is go out and play trivia, but then I get there and just laugh, which is really the best medicine. So although we are a bunch of losers (our own little Breakfast Club with the Ring Leader, Ginger, Messenger, Muscle, Yankee Fan, and yet to be nicknamed), I am so thankful for this group of friends and their humor!
11 - I am thankful for my job… that my new department was willing to take me into the group to prevent me from leaving… that they took me out of such a horrible work situation and gave me such a great alternative. I am thankful for my coworkers… who can be grumpy at times (can’t we all) but who genuinely care about each other, as shown by the constant advice (often not solicited) about health, relationships, and even which TV shows and movies to watch (and avoid). I feel like the group of us make up our own little dysfunctional family and wouldn’t have it any other way!!!
12 - I am thankful for crafting… that at some point, my aunts, great-great aunts, great-grandmothers and grandmothers taught me the love of creating things… of putting talents to use and making beautiful creations. BEcause not only does it feel great to put your energy into creating, but it is such a stress reliever and allows my brain to be calm and still.
Well, that’s it for now… purely because my hands are tired from typing… but this was definitely the perfect way to start my day - really put me in a fantastic mood. I may have to do this more often!