1.) My husband. He's super reliable and responsible, which I find endlessly attractive. Spontaneity and romance fade after a while...but knowing someone is there always, is priceless.
2.) My kids. Oh, how I adore these four spirits. They are truly the best of me. And while my family didn't turn out the size I'd always expected, and my heart aches for the kids I didn't get to have, I have four more than many, and for that I am grateful.
3.) My faith. Without it, I wouldn't be me. And the world wouldn't be as amazing as it is. I am very grateful for that testimony.
4.) My job(s). First off, I work with incredible people at the day job every day. People who spend six to seven hours a day not just dealing with, but genuinely loving the kinds of kids most either feel annoyed by, or generally just ignore. They show love to the kids who need it and deserve it the most, and I find that extremely inspiring. Second, my other job--the night job--is the very job I've wanted to do my whole life. When I was a kid, I dreamt of being an author, and I really am one. That's wicked cool. I mean WICKED COOL.
5.) My husband's job. This is the money maker, folks. Without his job, we have no house, we have no cars, we have no clothes, and we have no food. The fact that we are lucky that he has such steadfast employment, and many more opportunities coming our way in 2015, is not lost on me at all.
6.) My mom. This old broad is half crazy and half brilliant, and I can't imagine my life without her. There are days when I just need to hear my mom's voice, and then everything is okay. Not because she bestows pure excellence on me all of the time. Oh, no, no, no. Most of the time what she says is sort of nuts, and pretty hilarious. But there are also times when she simply says for me to calm down and take a deep breath, and she's the only one that can say that to me without my getting royally ticked. She's my mom. What can I say?
7.) My brothers. They're as different as night and day, and tick me off like no one else can. But I would also drag a body into the woods with a shovel, no questions asked, for them. They're my big brothers. They're the only two men, besides my husband and the leaders of my church, that I truly respect.
8.) Books. Oh, dear heaven.....what would the world be like without books? I can't even imagine. It's a world I wouldn't want to live in.
9.) Dogs. Oh, my gosh. I love our dog. He's big, ridiculously poufy and hairy, and about as smart as a box of Jello. But good gracious! What is it about having a dog in the family that makes life feel right? I love Bear, the big dumb idiot. (And yes, that's what I call him. He doesn't mind. So long as I let him lick himself.)
10.) Cheese. Need I say more?
11.) Individuality. When I was a kid, I would get punished in school, because I thought to creatively, and was always lost in my own thoughts and always daydreaming, etc. They wanted me to be more academic. To focus and conform, and despite all my best efforts, I simply couldn't. They thought I was poorly behaved. They thought I had ADD. They thought I was dyslexic. They thought I was just plain stupid. The truth was...I was unorthodox. I was different. I was peculiar. I was lost in a thousand different worlds in my head, and could barely make the time to come to earth once in a while. Somehow, by the grace of God, I managed to make this personality flaw into a career, and now, at 38, I feel beyond blessed for my certain peculiarities. They make me who I am, and they make me a dang good writer. So there, teachers.....think twice before you tell a kid they're dumb.
12.) Forgiveness. I do stupid stuff. I say stupid stuff. I act stupidly. And sadly, these three things happen on a daily rotation. Without forgiveness--from my Higher Power, and from my fellow man--I would be lost. LOST, I tell you.
13.) Liyah. Literally not a day goes by that I don't think about her, and long for her. I wish I could say the last year and a half have changed that, but it hasn't. I imagine she'll be the last thing I think about before I die. She is simply a part of me, and that's all there is to it. I wish things had turned out differently. But I am grateful that I got to be her mother for as long as I did.
There is so much more to be grateful for. Music, sound, color, scents....so much we take for granted. The important part is to focus on the things you have to be grateful for, instead of the things you wish you had. I have to remind myself of this on a daily...no, hourly...basis.
What are YOU grateful for this Thanksgiving season?