Recently, my oldest daughter remarked, “Mom, I feel like this last part of 2016 is going by so quickly!” Truer words have never been spoken, as I sit here on one of my favorite holidays, trying to figure out how it arrived so quickly. I still feel like Halloween has yet to come, yet, it is long gone.
Maybe, the unseasonably warm temperatures that began this month are to blame for my lack of holiday preparation. Maybe, it was getting caught up in the daily grind of work or the chaotic joy of being a parent. Whatever the reason, ready or not, here we are. Happy Thanksgiving!
This day may have snuck up on me, but the feelings of gratitude did not. Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of everything, everyone, and every place that has a place card at the daily table of life that we sit at to nourish our bodies, souls, and spirits. We can find reasons to give thanks throughout every day, not just today, even on those days that we label as bad. We have the power to find the good, and when we do, life is all the sweeter and better.
When 2016 began, one of my resolutions that I made, and actually kept, was to keep a daily gratitude journal. I have had similar journals over the years, but it had been awhile since I had committed to the daily practice of writing five things that made me say an internal or external Thank you. What lured me out of my self-imposed gratitude journal hiatus were the things in my life that were weighing heavily on my mind and heart and that I mostly certainly did not give thanks for at all. Being diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend entering the final stage of her own breast cancer battle. Another friend whose lymphoma returned. A world that was becoming more violent here and abroad. I had declared 2015 to be the worst year of my life, so, I was determined to not let 2016 claim that title. Cue the gratitude journal.
So, each day, I write in a small journal, emblazoned with the words Follow Your Heart on the cover. Some days, I have an abundance of things to list. Other days, I stare at that blank page and struggle to write something. Anything. But, eventually, I do. As I flip through it, I see people and things that usually are found in a journal such as this. Friends. Children. Family. Job. Then, there are the perhaps not so usual things.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I will share a glimpse of some of the things that have left me feeling grateful throughout this month. This is a list of one thing from each of these first 24 days of November that made it into my gratitude journal, beginning with the first day.
I am grateful for . . .
- A record high temperature of 85 degrees. To be able to have my windows open and feel the warmth of the sunshine, combined with a cool breeze, on my skin is an unexpected treat.
- An energizing morning run. The fact that I can get up and run unencumbered by any physical limitations and in a safe place is awesome.
- My youngest daughter’s unexpected day off from school. While I was sorry that there was an issue with a burst water pipe at her school, I was thrilled to have her home with me. Even though I still had to work, to be able to enjoy a hot bowl of soup with her for lunch on a rainy day and to see her throughout the day was really nice.
- The support and humor of my special crew at work. Working at home can be isolating, but my seven colleagues, who work and live in Kentucky, make me feel part of a team by sharing their knowledge, offering kindness and compassion, and engaging in some very funny banter every single day.
- A good night’s sleep. I always have functioned on 4-5 hours of sleep each night, and I have prided myself on that fact. Until I went through radiation. Ever since then, I have come to appreciate, and need, the restorative powers of a good night’s sleep.
- The return of University of Kentucky men’s basketball. I grew up a UK fan, and now, my daughters are members of Big Blue Nation, too. I love how excited they get during the games and that we can share this together. Go Cats!!!
- Getting things organized at home. I tend to be very neat and organized overall, so, when things start to not reflect this normal state, I don’t like it. What I do like and appreciate is the time and energy to get things back in place, literally and figuratively, as it leaves me feeling accomplished and centered.
- The right to vote. I tend to shy away from discussing politics, especially during this vitriolic election season, I have never missed voting in an election, since I registered to do so at the age of eighteen. I am thankful to be able to cast my vote privately, safely, and easily.
- My headache subsiding. Living in the Ohio Valley means that allergy season is year round, so, to whomever developed Sudafed, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the top of my head!
- The kittens. We began the summer by welcoming two kittens, a brother and sister, into our home. Admittedly, I was skeptical, at first, but that skepticism gave way to gratitude the first day they arrived. The very act of watching them play, explore, and discover can put a smile on my face, even on the most challenging of days. Cuteness overload!
- Our veterans. It is overwhelming to think of the sacrifices the veterans of this country have made for all of us, and it is easy to take their service for granted and overlook it altogether. On their special day, I am so thankful for their bravery, courage, and selflessness.
- My chats with my person. There’s something to be said for the fact that on a daily basis I can laugh hysterically and share anything and everything with someone who is wired differently than I am, yet still gets me. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
- Fresh fruit. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh blueberries and raspberries, and I am grateful to have access to healthy food. Delicious!
- A relaxing evening. Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.
- My home. Today, I reveled in the comfort and sense of security and peace that I feel when I am at home.
- Being able to do the new and challenging moves at Pilates. I only recently was introduced to Pilates, and I am so grateful to my friend/instructor who has helped me to grow stronger and master new moves. This yoga dropout has found her place!
- My running shoes being on sale. I am all about saving some money, and this was the best kind of sticker shock possible at the cash register.
- A raise. I did not pursue a career in social work for the money, but I greatly appreciate having my hard work acknowledged with a raise in my yearly salary.
- Not having to wake up to an alarm. It is rare that I don’t have to hit the ground running, so, when one of those days of not having to be somewhere first thing in the morning, happens, I embrace it gratefully.
- Roller skating with friends. It has been a long time since I laced up a pair of roller skates and took a spin around the rink, but what better occasion to come out of retirement than a friend’s birthday party. That seriously was the most fun I have had in a long time. It was unadulterated bliss!
- Being able to take a sick day from work. I didn’t like waking up feeling under the weather, but I was grateful to spend the day under the covers recuperating from whatever germ warfare was launched overnight.
- Mammograms. Had it not been for last year’s mammogram, I would have remained unaware that I had breast cancer and not received the proper treatment. While I was anxious undergoing today’s mammogram, I am thankful that it is part of my ongoing quest to get out of this stupid club.
- Clean, hot water. Every time I shower, I give thanks. It begins my day with a much-needed refreshing boost of energy and/or ends my day on a relaxing note.
- Thanksgiving. Yes, I am thankful for Thanksgiving! I love a holiday that focuses on gratitude, family, friends, and food.
As this month winds down, I know that the love and gratitude that I have felt each day will continue. From my home and heart to yours, thank you!
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day