Every day this month I took time to reflect upon my life and note at least one thing for which I was grateful. I shared this moments of gratitude on my Facebook page and enjoyed seeing the same from others. For posterity sake, here is my complete collection of gratitude for November, 2013.
Day 1: I’m grateful that my life has not been easy. My personal health challenges, the loss of loved ones, and the many other tests I’ve endured have made me stronger than I could have ever imagined and insure that I appreciate all the good things in my life.
Day 2: I am grateful for the love and support of my husband who during the first few months of our marriage found himself sitting next to my ICU hospital bed and has stood next to me through the roller coaster ride of the years that followed. I would not be gutsy by nature without him.
Day 3: I am grateful for my pets, past and present. True story – My husband and I were “introduced” by his dog and then she was the ringbearer in our wedding. Later when I was lying in a hospital bed, thoughts of coming home to that dog gave me the strength to recover and heal. Sadly, we lost Kili to a brain tumor and now we are honoring her memory by training our current dog to be a therapy dog and perhaps provide that comfort and motivation for someone else suffering from illness and pain.
Day 4: This one is simple… Today I am grateful that I have enough to eat and I know where my next meal is coming from. Last night we watched the film A Place At The Table and it reminded me that 50 million Americans can’t say that, even though we live in the richest country in the nation where there is plenty of healthy food to go around but our mixed up policies keep it out of the mouths of the young people who need it for their bodies and brains to develop and grow. It is criminal – and it hurts us all! “If another nation were doing this to our children, we’d be at war,” said actor Jeff Bridges, who appears in the film. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend you do. It is currently streaming on Netflix and also available for free to Amazon prime members or for a $3.99 rental.
Day 5: Today is election day in Virginia and I am grateful that I get to participate in the democratic process and have my voice heard. (I’m also grateful that this means the robocalls and negative TV ads are going to stop for a while!)
Day 6: I am grateful that I have the ability to read and write, which continues to unlock a world of knowledge and opportunity for me. I believe so strongly in this that in my day job I work with schools to bring them resources and programs that support development of literacy skills for today’s students. After the basic physical needs are met, the ability to communicate is key to modern man’s survival!
Day 7: I am grateful to live in the beautiful state of Virginia! I’ve been here for a little over 7 years now and am not sure when exactly it started to feel like “home” but now I can’t really imagine living anywhere else. It’s not perfect, of course (what place is?), but the people are warm and welcoming, there is natural beauty all around (especially with the autumn colors), and it suits us.
Day 8: Today I am extra grateful for all the people who do the so called “dirty” jobs of society – nurses and nurse’s aides, garbage collectors, transit workers, custodians, and so on. These are the people who do the physical labor, the unpleasant tasks, the messy work that keeps us safe and healthy and make our modern world possible. Thank you!
Day 9: I am grateful for friends, both near and far, old and new.
Day 10: I’m grateful for the roof over my head. It might not be fancy or particularly large or exactly our “dream home” but it is safe and comfortable and it is ours, and that is much more than a lot of people in the world can say.
Day 11: Especially on Veteran’s Day, but also every day, I am grateful for the men and women of our country who have served both in war and peace time to insure our safety and security.
Day 12: I am grateful that I get to practice and teach yoga. It keeps me grounded and flexible, both physically and mentally.
Day 13: I’m grateful for ginger tea! I had an upset tummy today and it made me feel so much better!
Day 14: On my morning walk with the dog today I was particularly grateful for my down coat, warm hat, and thermal gloves… It’s cold out there, but I’m not going to complain because I have so much to be grateful for.
Day 15: I am grateful for the sunshine! It is shining brightly here in northern Virginia today and making the lingering autumn leaves absolutely sparkle.
Day 16: I’m grateful for my education, including my degrees from the University of Wisconsin. I’m always proud to be a Badger!
Day 17: I am grateful that when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep I have a purring cat and my friends in the computer to keep me company!
Day 18: I’m grateful that I have nourishing, healthy food to eat and grateful that my mother taught me the skills to make it delicious (and that her mother taught her, and her mother’s mother taught her, and her mother’s mother’s mother taught her… etc.!).
Day 19: I am grateful for good books, especially the ones you want to read over and over.
Day 20: I am grateful for the internet, specifically for Facebook, as it allows me to connect with and learn from people from all over the world who are dealing with similar issues as me.
Day 21: I’m grateful for my local farmers and the hard work they do that makes it possible for us to eat pasture-raised meat and eggs and pesticide-free fruits and veggies.
Day 22: Judy Blume! I got to hear her speak last night and it reminded me of how her books affected me so deeply. They opened a love of reading and helped me know I wasn’t alone.
Day 23: I am grateful for the teachers who taught me to read and write, to think critically and creatively, and to be focused and disciplined. Without these skills I would not have accomplished anything.
Day 24: Home sweet home! I’m grateful to be in one place again for a few days, in my own home, where I get to eat and cook the food I know is good for me!
Day 25: I’m grateful for down coats, insulated mittens, and thick socks! Its COLD here today!
Day 26: I’m grateful for my weekly organic produce delivery from Washington’s Green Grocer! This week’s box includes red cabbage, colored carrots, green beans, and more… Yummmmm!
Day 27 (Part 1): Every morning, I wake up and I think “What should I have for breakfast?” And then I make and eat that breakfast, and I am grateful. For almost a year my disease and surgical complications were so severe that I got all my nourishment from TPN (total parenteral nutrition)… No food by mouth at all.
Day 27 (part 2): Every day around 10 or 11 AM, I start getting hungry and think about lunch. I’m grateful for that hunger. When I was on TPN I didn’t get hungry, which made not being able to eat a lot easier, but the when I was weaning off TPN and supposed to start getting my nourishment from food again, my appetite took a long time to restart. I didn’t get hungry, I didn’t want to eat, food wasn’t appealing, but I forced it down anyway. That was almost worse than not being able to eat at all…
Day 28: On this Thanksgiving Day, I am especially grateful for the bounty of food I have and for the love of my family and friends. What are you grateful for today?
Day 29: I’m grateful for my refrigerator full of Thanksgiving day leftovers! Some things taste even better the second time around, don’t you think?
Day 30: I am grateful for this daily exercise of gratitude. It has opened my eyes, shifted my perspective, and made me a wiser person with wealth not measured in numbers. I am grateful for the gift of life and the awareness I have of its beauty and the promise of the future.