I’m as bad as anyone–and probably worse than most–about not showing daily appreciation for all the goodness in my life. I get distracted and stressed by all those little annoyances that demand my attention–the piles of dirty laundry in the bedroom floor, the stacks of dirty dishes in the sink, the clutter of bills on the kitchen counter–and I forget that those annoyances are also proof of an abundant life. My wardrobe could clothe an entire army of little women, my cupboard could feed an entire army of hungry college kids (and frequently does), and those bills are just reminders that I have available health care, a well insured roof over my head, clean drinking water streaming from my faucets and enough electricity to power televisions, computers and countless other gadgets.
By most of the world’s standards, I am extremely wealthy. And by anyone’s standards, I am extremely blessed.
I have faced some difficult struggles in the past year, some that have damaged my health, some that have threatened my already depleted sanity, and some that have broken my spirit (or at least tried). But as difficult as some of my experiences have been, they have been trivial in comparison to the challenges faced by some of my friends and acquaintances. Their struggles and my own have helped me to realize not only how lucky I am but also how much I have taken for granted.
And so, on this national day set aside for giving thanks, before everyone else rolls out of bed and this day gets crazy hectic, I am pausing for a few moments to express gratitude for just a few of my many blessings. The little things . . . and the big things, too.
I am thankful for Amazon.com, gizmodo.com and all the other online shopping sites that let me experience Black Friday from the comfort of my recliner (and especially the ones that offer free shipping!).
I am thankful for steaming whirlpool baths, Advil gel caps, Icy Hot roll-on, and physical therapists with magic hands.
I am thankful that I’m the only one in this house who likes pumpkin pie–which means I get to have it for dessert tonight and breakfast for every day hereafter until it’s gone. I am also thankful for the dietitian on The Today Show who proclaimed that pumpkin pie is loaded with vitamins and nutrients, thereby preemptively relieving me of any guilt I might have felt for eating the whole pie all by myself.
I am thankful for my two canine protectors who chase, tackle and wrestle each other around the yard for my entertainment–but then stop in their tracks and circle ’round as soon as they sense approaching danger. That danger might be a wayward squirrel or a suspicious-looking salesman in a Buick, but either way, I’m safe.
I am thankful for my car’s GPS system that gets me wherever I need or want to go with nary a wrong turn, and even more importantly, magically gets me back from wherever I’ve been.
I am thankful for the winding country roads that lead to my little country home just over the hill from a beautiful lake.
I am thankful for afternoon walks on warm November days and blazing fires in the firepit on crisp November nights.
I am thankful for finally finding my glasses after looking for them for THREE MONTHS and finding my winter coat after looking for it for a mere three weeks.
I am thankful for cool satin sheets and warm handmade quilts. And I am thankful that I can slide out from under all those covers when my body is ready instead of when an alarm clock tells me that it’s time.
I am thankful for ice-cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade and BLTs on toast (hold the mayo).
I am thankful for the smell of approaching rain and the sight of golden leaves floating on the breeze.
I am thankful that on dreary, blustery days, I have nothing more important to do than curling up under a soft blanket and reading myself to sleep.
I am thankful that fashion experts have decided that bangs are in this year (after 20 years, my hair is finally in style!), that ankle boots are in (I’m ready–I bought mine last year!), and that navy blue is this year’s “in” color (my favorite!). Hippie chick be stylin’!
I am thankful for Salvation Army bell-ringers who brave the cold to collect money for those less fortunate, and I am thankful for all those who so generously donate their time, money, and efforts throughout the year for the benefit of others.
I am thankful for our servicemen and women, past and present, who willingly and bravely fight to guarantee my safety and my freedom.
I am thankful for my humble beginnings–for parents who taught me the importance of education, the value of hard work, the significance of a dollar earned and a dollar saved, and the magnitude of a kind word or gesture. And I am thankful that my own children were taught the same lessons (although they haven’t quite mastered that “dollar saved” one yet).
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to spend 30 years of my life in a career that I loved–and a career that allowed me to retire at a relatively young age while I can still play and enjoy.
I am thankful for the circumstances that have allowed me to do more traveling in the past year than I have in all the previous years combined. I am thankful that I spent last Christmas Day with my family on the beaches of California, that I have stood in quiet awe at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and marveled at the monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C., that I have watched the sun setting over the Grand Canyon and hot air balloons lifting into the morning sky in Albuquerque, that I have ridden on a motorcycle with my husband through the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, and that I have visited the historic streets of Boston with friends. I am one lucky girl.
I am thankful for my friends, those I’ve known forever and those I’ve known only for a short time, those I talk to frequently and those I seldom hear from–but whose presence I still feel in my heart.
I am thankful for my extended family, especially all my “in-laws” who readily accepted me into their realm and have always made me feel welcome and loved.
I am thankful for my three incredibly talented, amazingly handsome, wonderfully kind and delightfully clever sons. And I am thankful for those rare occasions when I can spend time with all three of them at once, listening to their easy camaraderie and raucous laughter (even though their laughter is usually at my expense).
I am thankful for my husband who has seen me at my best and my no-good, terrible, really bad worst–and somehow still loves me anyway. I am thankful that he rubs my aching shoulders until I fall asleep, eats whatever I cook (even when it’s healthy and bland), brags about me to his friends, and after all these years still wants to surprise me and please me. Weird. (But in a good kind of way.)
And I am thankful for my readers, some who have been with me since the beginning and some who have just recently hopped aboard. Your support, encouragement and insightful comments make me happy and fuel my desire to keep writing.
I have so much goodness in my life, so much for which I am grateful, today and every day–but right now it’s time to take the pumpkin pie out of the oven and put the turkey in. Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers, and may you all be blessed with the comfort of a loving family, the warmth of true friendship, the glow of good health, and the joy of a grateful heart. And leftover pie for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual . . .
O how I laugh when I think of my vague, indefinite riches.
No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”
–Henry David Thoreau
One of my greatest blessings–my family.
This portrait was taken last Christmas Day on Venice Beach.
Notice the two adults on the left are completely oblivious to the antics
of the “children” on the right.