The prompt: Sometimes we get too caught up with life's circumstances. Count the blessings you've had to be grateful for this year.
So. Much. Gratitude.
For my husband especially. For loyal and loving friends who nurture and support and love and call me even when I am being all hermit-y. For my surgeon and his amazing skill in reconstructing my foot. For Jessie, who taught me how to use my energy and all the abundant energy that is in this beautiful earth to help heal my attitude, calm my fears, empower my intentions, manifest my ongoing recovery -- and not just for the foot, either, but in relationships and attitude and belief. Thank you so much. For my therapists who encouraged and pushed a bit, but always with positivity. Did I mention my husband? (love love love)
For having 'enough' of everything we need. For the memories of when times were tougher. For our four-legged furry 'children' who love us and who are always there to comfort, to amuse, to delight in, to appreciate. For time to play and books to read and cute shoes that are comfortable to walk in. For waking up each morning and being able to get out of bed, without pain or difficulty. For the ability to taste and enjoy the bounty from gardens and orchards, and to create and cook meals in a kitchen I designed. For medical tests that come back 'normal.' For my eyes and ears, to be able to read and see and listen. For the deer who visit our yard regularly and bring their still-spotted babies with them, knowing they are safe here. For the finches and hummingbirds and nuthatches and jays and doves and a myriad of LBBs who frequent our bird feeders and splash dusty feathers in shallow water-filled saucers, and give us so much pleasure to see and hear every single day. Oh, and for my husband, the generous, loving, attentive, slightly stubborn love of my life that he is. Did I say that already?
For things that work when you need or want them -- cars, computers, appliances, televisions -- and for people who fix them when they don't. For the values and principles and loving relationships that I grew up with, for parents who read to me and encouraged me to read and to create and to play, and who taught me that the most awful truth is better than the smallest lie. For my brother, my playmate, my friend, the one person still living who remembers the long-ago things I do, and for his wonderful soulmate spouse who adores the quicksand he walks on and still manages to be talented, funny, creative, and very wise herself.
For my children, even with the very difficult lessons you have taught me, primary of which is that there is only one life I can save, and it isn't yours (god knows I tried, though). Thank you for the opportunity to be your mom, your advisor and teacher, and sometimes your friend. Thank you for some amazing insights and memorable events, for great joy and even for almost paralyzing fear. I will always love you dearly, no matter what your journey may be, and I am grateful for the lesson to let go and let God (one I often practice, mind you).
For kindness, especially unexpected kindness, both experienced and witnessed. As I grow older, my daily intention is becoming more and more to be kind -- with words, with actions, with myself, with expectations, with outcomes. In the midst of so much busy-ness and preoccupation with doing and going and getting that I see from most people in stores and restaurants, it is a huge relief to consciously relax my body and put a smile on my face and not be in a hurry to be first or get the most. It surprises clerks and wait staff and receptionists and nurses and aides, and I can see them relax too. Kindness is a huge gift to everyone, but especially to oneself.
Every day I am grateful. Anne Lamott wrote about the three great prayers in her book Help, Thanks, Wow, a book I re-read often. I am convinced that gratitude is the key to living a happy, good life, no matter what your circumstances, for without it, you appreciate nothing.