Now here's the rub. I want people to come up with at least 5 things (10 would be better). And really think. Don't just list a bunch of objects or obvious things. Really think about it. Maybe you'll throw on some seemingly tiny things that you take for granted every day. Maybe it's something you haven't thought about in years. Maybe it's something common but I want to hear WHY you're thankful. But just think about it.
OK...let's get to it!
- My health. Might seem like an obvious one I just told you to avoid. But here's how I'm thinking about this one. Yah, I'm generally healthy. But recently, I wasn't able to walk well due to a pulled foot muscle. And I thought, man, if I was missing just one of my feet, ordinary things would be so hard. Like driving. Or being able to jump up, run and grab my toddler out of harm's way. Imagine missing just ONE of your normal body parts. Even a finger would change how you had to do all sorts of daily tasks we don't have to think about. I can see, hear, smell, taste, feel. I have both legs, arms, all of my body parts that haven't already been surgically removed. I can see my boys, hear their laughs, hug them fully. That right there is just tops.
- God loves me and listens to me. Sound dumb? Think about it. And for the sake of this one-sided conversation, pretend you believe that there is an all powerful god. Now think about this...that god cares about ME - about every single one of us. And when I call out to that god, he listens and really cares about what I'm saying. And trust me - I am not a wordsmith. I'm not eloquent. And what I love? I don't have to be. There are some times I just sit there going, "God, I don't even know what to say!" I talk to him like I talk to anyone else. He gets me. Even if I just grunt. I don't know about you, but when the creator of the universe tells you he loves you and listens to you, that blows my mind.
- Prosperity: I was recently told that the biblical definition of prosperity is that you have enough to meet your obligations and still have enough to give away. That's a very different definition than popular culture has given me. So, based on that definition, I'm filthy rich. I have enough to feed, cloth & house my family. Enough to send them to safe schools. Enough to pay my creditors. There's the obligations. But I have enough to have a little fun, too. I can buy a CD, DVD, toy, whatever, here and there. We can go out to eat here and there. That's icing on the cake. And I can give to charities, my church, friends and family. I mean, I don't have a Bentley, a Jaguar or a Hummer. I don't live in the biggest house. I don't have money coming out of my nose. But man, I sure have more than enough.
- Family. This could be a whole other list...a whole other blog! I grew up in a great family (E.s.t.e.s family). The extended family, while distant, was a huge part of my life. And continues to be so. I have 3 amazing newphews from my E.s.t.e.s brothers. In 1978, I got a step-family (Jones family). We went through hell together until we got over ourselves and grew up. From them, I have 6 beautiful nieces and nephews. My birth-mom found me when I was 20 and I know and love her whole family (Ledgerwood family). She brought 3 siblings into my life and I have a gorgeous niece & nephew from them. She also found my birth-dad for me and I am close to a couple of cousins (Fegley family). I also have a sister from him and 2 nieces. Then my own little family - the most patient loyal husband. And the most gorgeous little boys I could ever have imagined having. Hubby's sister is also one of my best friends and she gave us a niece and 2 nephews. If I really got into the details, we'd be here all day.
- I have a job. Yes, I kvetch about it all the time. But I work for a large financial institution that is relatively stable. I have somehow survived in the same job for 20 yrs and have missed countless blanket layoffs in the company. I hate the pressure of my job but the people I work with are cream-of-the-crop. Some of them are friends outside of work. And the job affords us this great house & community, Hubby stays home to raise our kids and also #3 above.
- I love my church. How long has it been since I could honestly and excitedly say THAT? I grew up going to churches. And I enjoyed them all to some degree. But man, I have never been excited to get up and get there. I have never felt such a desire to participate. Honestly, whenever they have an announcement like, "We need help doing [fill in the task]," I'm immediately sitting there figuring out how I can fill the need. Sure, they need an experienced lumberjack...could I somehow take lumberjack lessons in time??? It's really amazing to me. Because, about 3 years ago, you couldn't drag me to church. But I found a group of true God-people. A collection of imperfect people all trying to get to God and figuring it all out together. No one shoving dogma down my throat. No one pretending to have all the answers. No one scowling and pointing a finger if I miss a meeting. It rocks.
- I love chocolate chess pies. And I have to thank Lou Kerby for giving mom the recipe all those years ago and making it a part of my childhood. I grew up thinking it was a Muzzy recipe. But it's from Lou. And I've turned on everyone I knew in the Boston area to these pies. They're all bumming that I live down in Texas now. But I left the recipe in very capable hands and hope there will be pies a-plenty in Boston, even without me. Now, down here, our division is complete and all houses are filled. I've already made 8 chocolate chess pies and have handed out 7 of them (we ate the other one). I'm planning on making about 10 more today. I'll be keeping 3 for tomorrow and handing out the others. Sounds a bit too Donna-Reed-ish to be me, I know. But I moved down here not knowing a soul. Now, one of my neighbors recently commented, "You know EVERYone." Yah. Pies will do that.
- I'm warming up to the mild Texas fall/winter weather. Last year, Hubby and I were rather upset at how warm it was on Thansgiving and that we put our Christmas tree up in 83 degree weather (wearing shorts and sweating). While I miss the classic New England change of seasons, I'm kind of digging the fact that I just ran to CVS this morning in shorts. I didn't have to bundle up in 952 layers just to walk to the car. I miss being able to count on seeing snow every year. But that just gives me an excuse to bring my family back to Boston in the winter.
- I have a pet-free house. Now, this one is a weird one. This past July, we lost our last kitty. Well, he died. And I know where his ashes are so "lost" is a euphemism (I explain this because The Boy just read this one and pointed out my error). Honestly, I can't think of a time when there wasn't some kind of pet in my house or apartment. So I'm sad, missing the companionship and fuzziness of a kitty or two. However...referring to #7 above, I made 4 chocolate chess pies and sat them to cool on the counters. And I walked away! When I returned, there were no overturned pies on the floor, no pies with little kitty paw shaped divets missing, no nibbled crust edges. I mean, I can leave an entire Thanksgiving meal on the table without posting 4 guards. No cat litter to scoop. No hair to pull off of everything. In an odd way, it's a good thing.
- I am so glad I live in America. Yah, we have a lot of people around the world that think we suck. I get that. I get that we actually DO suck at times. But when I can put my kids to bed at night and the biggest thing they have to worry about is where their favorite toy is in their bed? Yah, I'll take that. All those freedoms we have blow my mind. I mean, I can walk or drive down the road without fear of being killed. Oh sure, I might have an accident or something. But in general, the majority of us don't have to worry about dying everytime we leave the house. Yah, I'll take that, too.