For the past few weeks, several people on Facebook have been writing one item a day for which they are thankful. It's been a wonderful way to stop and think about our lives and express our gratitude. When I was a child, our church used to have services on Thanksgiving. I loved that service, because when we arrived, we were each given an index card, on which we wrote things we were thankful for. The sermon consisted of the pastor reading all the cards...a random collection of thanks. Loved it.
So here, in one collective space, are the items I've been writing on Facebook. I'm including them in the order I wrote them; however, the order is random and not related to my thankfulness!
11/9: Every day until Thanksgiving, think of one thing you are thankful for and post it as your status. If you are up to it, repost this message to invite others to take the challenge, then post what YOU are thankful for today.
Today I am thankful to have a home (Kieran said it would be fun to live in our car, which led into a discussion about the homeless and how unfun it would be to live in a car...)
11/10: Today I am thankful for my Mr. Wonderful. I met him nearly 23 years ago and he asked me to marry him 20 years ago (in September). How did I ever get so lucky? Every day I feel supremely blessed to share my life and family with him!
11/11: Today I am thankful for the safe arrival of my mother-in-law, even though she had to sacrifice our 1.5-liter bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream to the gods of Homeland Security. (She got it on her Heathrow-SFO flight, and she had to go through Security again in SFO--and they wouldn't let her take it on. Guess she looked like a Bailey's bomb terrorist!) Poor Bailey's!!
11/12: Today I am thankful for my 1-pound, 13-oz, tiny miracle baby...who is now 13 and taller than me, and tells me that I am the best mom in the world and he loves me, every single day!
11/13: Today I am thankful for my second miracle baby, who finally appeared after four miscarriages and a very nervous pregnancy...and who is now a creative, sensitive, energetic, and sweet 6-year-old bright spark!
11/14: Today I am thankful for my third miracle boy: who gave me the shock of my life by announcing his existence when I was 41, pre-urologist appointment, after we had tried SO hard to get and stay pregnant before, and we were done with babies. Every day he makes me laugh out loud repeatedly. Our family would never have been complete without him!
11/15: Today I am thankful I live in an industrialized country with the benefit of medical technology. I was born with a cleft lip and palate, and in many developing countries these birth defects are never corrected. Also, if Chris had been born as a 24-weeker even 5 years before he was, he probably would not have survived. Medical technology has helped both of us live normal lives.
11/16: Today I am thankful I was born to AMAZING parents, who not only delighted in me when I was born with 3 birth defects (also a club foot), but also raised me to believe in peace, justice, and a loving God. They taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be and waved me off to Japan at 21, and my sister to China a few weeks later (at 19), and neither of us had left the U.S. before. Man, that must have been hard!!
11/17: Today I am thankful that I can use my English degree every day. I get paid to write, edit, and create things; work with highly talented, nice people (most of them, anyway); and work flexible hours...at a company whose stock just went up 14%...
11/18: Today I'm thankful for wonderful, glorious books...that take us to amazing new worlds and introduce us to fascinating people. I'm in the middle of Grace Hammer by Sara Stockbridge at the moment--and loving it. And thanks to my great English professors at PLU, one of whom is a Facebook friend--Dr. Dennis Martin, as well as Drs. Chuck Bergman, Tom Campbell, Audrey Eyler, etc., who encouraged me as a book lover and a writer...and urged me to major in English!
11/19: Today I am thankful for the opportunity to see the world and open up my mind to new perspectives--although I did not fly on an airplane until I was 20, I have been lucky to visit 34 states and 14 foreign countries! "I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." -- Mary Anne Radmacher
11/20: Today I am thankful for WEEKENDS!!! As much as I love my job, the days off are the best part!!!
11/21: Today I am thankful for my "date" with my sweetheart Kieran. We went to see Harry Potter 6 this morning (for the second time--in a second-run theater), followed by lunch at Burgerville. Fun!!
11/22: Today I am thankful for our wonderful, progressive church community, where Lutherans worship with Catholics; children are celebrated; rituals are deeply spiritual; and all are welcome (regardless of their sexual orientation or other differences). I am thankful that my children can call themselves "Lutheran-Catholics" and that we have a community where Mike as a Catholic and I as a Lutheran can attend together.
11/23: Today I am thankful that my husband is a stay-at-home dad...because I got to the office this morning and realized I forgot the power cord for my laptop...and he is going to bring it into the office for me. (So he wasn't exactly thrilled about it, but hey--I don't blame him! When he arrived he had a smile on his face and a kiss for me.) Thanks, sweetie!! :)
11/24: Today I am thankful that Kieran is doing so well in school and his teacher loves having him in her class. "He is a delight! Such a sweet boy!" His reading is coming along nicely (he started out first grade being quite far behind in reading) and here's the biggest shock of all: it appears that he's a math star! I told Mike that I never thought I'd hear a teacher say that about the child of two English majors!
11/25: Today I am thankful for my amazing sister--one of my dearest friends--who loves me even though she knows me inside and out! She is a strong, inspirational mom, physician, aunt, and woman. I am so looking forward to hanging out with her and her wonderful husband and 3 boys this Thanksgiving weekend. Love you, sis!!
11/26: Today I am thankful for my great extended family; school, church, and NICU parent communities; and this FB community that's allowed me to reconnect with people across the world, in my past and present. And my own lovely family of sweet males, parents, brother, and sister and her own sweet men. And saying prayers for my... aunt who is undergoing chemotherapy this week and will be very much missed at Thanksgiving dinner.
Honestly, I think I could go on and on. My incredible friends far and near--I love you all! Health--both physical and mental!--and good, healthy food; the gift to live in a vibrant community with a thriving library system, theaters, musical opportunities, microbrew pubs, great restaurants, and bookstores (including the amazing Powell's!); and feeling loved, cherished, and secure. I know this must not be taken for granted.