Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! (My month of gratitude)

This year I went back to expressing my gratitude every day on Facebook. Here are the collected gratitude days:

Photo: It's Gratitude Month!

Day 1: I am thankful to be blessed with many incredible friends. Started out my morning with a coffee date--one of my favorite things in life is spending time with my friends. Each of my friends enriches my life in different ways, and my soul is so much richer because of them!1: I am thankful to be blessed with many incredible friends. Started out my morning with a coffee date--one of my favorite things in life is spending time with my friends. Each of my friends enriches me in different ways, and my soul is so much richer because of them.


2: Today I am thankful for resilience, which our kids have inherited from both Mike and me. This morning, everyone in our house was grumpy...we cracked down on some family rules and got lots of moaning and complaining, and we parents were none too rosy either. 
But now several hours later we are all back to our cheery selves. Family dinner together, followed by movie night (two separate movies because of the age difference in our kids). Everyone will go to bed much happier. I'm so grateful that we all spring back quickly!


3: It's All Saints Day, and today at church we remembered all the saints who have touched our lives. I'm thankful for the lives of these people and what they taught me. (This collage is by no means comprehensive!)
Photo: Gratitude Month Day 3: It's All Saints Day, and today at church we remembered all the saints who have touched our lives. I'm thankful for the lives of these people and what they taught me. (This collage is by no means comprehensive!)

4: Today I am thankful for the inspiring cancer survivors in my life and for the advances in medical technology that give people hope and extend their lives. At the same time, I remember all those people who have lost their loved ones to cancerThis morning just moments after hearing about a friend's clear checkup, I learned that a former coworker had lost her husband to cancer.  Life is sacred and often too short--never miss a chance to tell someone you love them!



5: Today I had lunch with two retired colleagues, and as much as it made me wish I were retired (!), it also reminded me that I am really thankful to have a rewarding, challenging job at a great companyBig shout-out to all my nice, respectful, helpful, and talented colleagues...and to the company itself for offering me daily challenges since 1990 and an opportunity to use my degree.


Photo: Gratitude Day #5: Today I had lunch with two retired colleagues, and as much as it made me wish I were retired (!), it also reminded me that I am really thankful to have a rewarding, challenging job at a great company. 

It's not perfect, and sometimes I see changes in company culture that are hard to swallow...but the best thing about my company is the people. Beginning in April 1990, I have found nearly all of the people here to be nice, respectful, helpful, and talented. And I have rarely been bored. And best of all, I am actually using my B.A. in English every day!My company is not perfect, and sometimes I see changes in company culture that are hard to swallow...but the best thing about my company is the people. Beginning in April 1990, I have found nearly all of the people here to be nice, respectful, helpful, and talented. And I have rarely been bored. And best of all, I am actually using my B.A. in English every day!

6: Of course, my gratitude days are being done in no particular order! Today I am thankful for my amazing partner in life, whom I met nearly 27 years ago in Wakayama, Japan. Every day I am grateful for his caring, compassion, sense of humor, intelligence, and love for us. He also understands my need for "girl time" in this testosterone-charged household and holds down the fort so I can get lots of high-quality time with my friends. (So wonderful!!) I can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else!

Photo: Gratitude Day #6: Today I am thankful for my amazing partner in life, who I met nearly 27 years ago in Wakayama, Japan (story here: http://marie-everydaymiracle.blogspot.com/2012/01/under-eastern-sky.html).

Every day I am grateful for his caring, compassion, sense of humor, intelligence, and love for us. He also understands my need for "girl time" in this testosterone-charged household and holds down the fort so I can get lots of high-quality time with my friends. (So wonderful!!) I can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else!
7: Today I'm thankful for my 17-year-old son, Chris, who gave a speech this morning in front of 300+ people at an event for his school. He was born weighing only 1 lb, 6 oz., at 24 weeks gestation--his survival was the first miracle that inspired my blog. He has grown up to be a kind, funny, and talented young man and I'm very proud of him!
8: I'm thankful to live near the Oregon Coast and to have a wonderful beach house to retreat to! And, as always, I'm grateful for precious time with friends.
Photo: Gratitude day #8: I'm thankful to live near the Oregon Coast and to have a wonderful beach house to retreat to!
9: I'm thankful for theater, which plays such a large part in our family's life. This evening we saw a fabulous production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at Jesuit High School. I'm the one person in our family who is not drawn to be on stage, but I do like to be in the audience and behind the scenes. I never imagined I would ever spend so much time watching my kids on stage, but I love it.
10: I am thankful for my sweet son #2, Kieran, born after I had four miscarriages and had given up hope of having another child. This afternoon we watched him perform with his choir class--he's learning how to do four-part harmony. I am so amazed at this wonderfully talented child of mine, who seems to have no fear of performing onstage. I hope he remembers to thank me when he receives his Oscar!!
11: Today I am thankful to be part of an amazing, vibrant spiritual community, Mission of the Atonement. Beyond the gifts of worshipping with others who believe in a God who is not boxed in by gender, rigidity, or dogma, many of my closest friends are from this community...and they provide a supportive village to our children, too. 
Our church band, Consorting with Papists
13: I am thankful for this beautiful "bonus baby" I was blessed with at the age of nearly 42. He is so funny, creative, spirited and he just adores me. (So good for my ego!) I most love hearing him (1) sing opera (seriously!) and (2) speak in an English accent--he does both cockney and posh! I tease Mike that Nicholas is the most gifted with accents in our family.
14: Today I'm thankful that my parents instilled a love of reading and passion for education in me, and that I received a high-quality college education at Pacific Lutheran University. And I'm thankful that I actually use my English degree every day in my job...not every English major can say that. While women in developing countries are fighting for their right to be educated, I know I am very privileged and blessed. It never occurred to me that I couldn't be whatever I wanted to be.
15: I'm grateful for our wide, extended parenting village, full of people who love and cherish our three children. Someday they will realize how lucky and blessed they are! 


16: This morning when I was watching Nicholas belly-laughing at a video he and Kieran had just made, I realized how grateful I am for the laughter in my family. My children (and husband) are so silly, and we laugh a lot. It's good for the soul. This is one of my favorite videos of Nicholas laughing, when he was just 4 years old.

17: I am thankful to live in Portland. Love my city! 
Photo: Gratitude Day #18: Today I am thankful for my kids' teachers, especially in light of a looming strike in Portland Public Schools. They are all so dedicated and talented, and they impress me constantly--I could not do what they do! 

I'm also thankful that I have a flexible-enough job to go in and sing with the first-graders every week. Today when I arrived, the class showed me an illustrated book they'd made together, with the words of my favorite song to sing with them. So sweet!!
18: Today I am thankful for my kids' teachers, especially in light of a looming strike in Portland Public Schools. They are all so dedicated and talented, and they impress me constantly--I could not do what they do! 
I'm also thankful that I have a flexible-enough job to go in and sing with the first-graders every week. Today when I arrived, the class showed me an illustrated book they'd made together, with the words of my favorite song to sing with them. So sweet!!

Photo: Gratitude Day #19: I'm one day late! I am thankful for the opportunity to travel the world, mostly when I was younger! In April I wrote every day about all the places I've traveled outside the US in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Check it out! 
http://www.marie-everydaymiracle.blogspot.com/p/blogging-from-to-z-challenge.html19: I am thankful for the opportunity to travel the world, mostly when I was younger! In April I wrote every day about all the places I've traveled outside the USA in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Check it out! 

20: I'm thankful for our wonderful nuclear families (both mine and my husband's). We are truly blessed to be close to them, even though many of them live far away. This year we will have nearly all of them (except the Aussie contingent) with us after Christmas. I'm also thankful for the relative lack of dysfunction, which seems to abound elsewhere.
Photo: Gratitude Day #20: I'm thankful for our wonderful nuclear families (both mine and my husband's). We are truly blessed to be close to them, even though many of them live far away. This year we will have nearly all of them (except the Aussie contingent) with us after Christmas. I'm also thankful for the relative lack of dysfunction! :)

21: I'm thankful for my #1 addiction, reading, and for my lovely book group, which meets tonight. We laugh a lot, drink wine, eat, and...oh yeah...talk about the book. Always a fun highlight of my month! 

Photo: Gratitude Day #21: I'm thankful for my #1 addiction, reading, and for my lovely book group, which meets tonight. We laugh a lot, drink wine, eat, and...oh yeah...talk about the book. Always a fun highlight of my month!

Photo: Gratitude Day #22: I am thankful for all of our foremothers who fought for women's suffrage and rights; John F. Kennedy, who advocated for democracy; and civil rights activists who paved the way for us to have an African-American president. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYIHPj-3hg022: I am thankful for all of our foremothers who fought for women's suffrage and rights; John F. Kennedy, who advocated for democracy; and civil rights activists who paved the way for us to have an African-American president. 

Photo: Gratitude Day #23: I am thankful today for my own resiliency and upbeat, optimistic personality. I hate to be depressed or down (and it does happen sometimes) and usually try to talk myself out of a bad mood. I realize I'm lucky to not be prone to depression, and I'm grateful to be able to find the silver lining in most situations.23: I am thankful today for my own resiliency and upbeat, optimistic personality. I hate to be depressed or down (and it does happen sometimes) and usually try to talk myself out of a bad mood. I realize I'm lucky to not be prone to depression, and I'm grateful to be able to find the silver lining in most situations.
Photo: Gratitude Day #24: For authors, directors, and producers who create art, theater, and books with strong female characters. I took my two older sons to see "Catching Fire" today, and all three of us loved it. I emphasized to them how rare it is to see a film where the main character was a woman...and who is not a girlfriend or minor character. Katniss Everdeen is a kick-ass, sensitive, flawed, but strong heroine. I am grateful for those people who bring these types of women to life. And I look forward to the day when these strong female characters no longer stand out as unique.24: For authors, directors, and producers who create art, theater, and books with strong female characters. I took my two older sons to see "Catching Fire" today, and all three of us loved it. I emphasized to them how rare it is to see a film where the main character was a woman...and who is not a girlfriend or minor character. Katniss Everdeen is a kick-ass, sensitive, flawed, but strong heroine. I am grateful for those people who bring these types of women to life. And I look forward to the day when these strong female characters no longer stand out as unique.

25: A year ago, I was anxious out about my upcoming combined ear and brain surgery on Dec. 12 and worried about how I would get everything ready for Christmas before then. I'm so grateful that all went well and my cholesteatoma troubles are behind me. Now I will visit my ear surgeon annually to make sure it does not return!

Photo: Gratitude Day #26: Today I am grateful for all the difficulties I've endured in my life...from being born with three birth defects and having multiple surgeries and extensive orthodontia as a child; giving birth to my firstborn 16 weeks early and experiencing what no parent should have to experience, 17 weeks in the NICU, fearing for my baby's life; having four miscarriages and infertility; and my most recent medical issues. And then there's other private traumas and personal mistakes. I truly believe I'm stronger, wiser, and better seasoned for all I have experienced.
26: Today I am grateful for all the difficulties I've endured in my life...from being born with three birth defects and having multiple surgeries and extensive orthodontia as a child; giving birth to my firstborn 16 weeks early and experiencing what no parent should have to experience, 17 weeks in the NICU, fearing for my baby's life; having four miscarriages and infertility; and my most recent medical issues. And then there's other private traumas and personal mistakes. I truly believe I'm stronger, wiser, and better seasoned for all I have experienced.

Photo: Gratitude Day #27: Today I'm grateful for life itself...for the privileges of decent health, a roof over my head, a great job, enough food, positive relationships with my family and friends, and the luxury to navel gaze and "waste" time.
27: Today I'm grateful for life itself...for the privileges of decent health, a roof over my head, a great job, enough food, positive relationships with my family and friends, and the luxury to navel gaze and "waste" time.

28: I'm thankful for a day to see family. Both my brother and sister and loved ones were with us on Thanksgiving, and I got to see cousins who I don't see very often. 

With my siblings and two of my cousins

Family and partners

My long-lost cousin Tim surprised us with a visit!
Boys watching the "School of Rock"
Feeling so much gratitude for the blessings in my life. 

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