When I think of all the things that I have been blessed with in my life, it makes it hard to imagine how I could ever feel like I need or want more. But I always do...I suppose it is human nature to always feel a need for more, and whether right or wrong it is there, always lurking beneath the surface of our thoughts or sometimes right out in the open. But at this time of year, there is hopefully more opportunity to think over our lives and be thankful and grateful for the many blessings we all can count. No matter how much or how little we have, there is always something to be thankful for, and these are some of mine.
10 - Facebook and MySpace: now you might think this a silly one or something unnecessary to life...and perhaps it is unnecessary. But, through these two websites I have been able to reconnect with, keep in touch with, and have fun with a variety of friends and family. Yes, some of it is silly - like Kidnap, Food Fling, Mafia Wars, or bulletin surveys. But the ability to support, encourage, and pray for these people is available at a moment's notice and for that I am thankful.
9 - Blogs: I love blogs...I love writing a blog...I love reading blogs...I love that blogs exist and are so prevalent. Though in some ways reading someone's blog can seem a bit like stalking them - reading about their personal life and they may never know you were there. But it is also a wonderful opportunity to know how to pray for others. It is a wonderful way to share memories, commemorate vacations, see pictures, share recipes, and even host book clubs. I love spending time each week visiting the long list of blogs I check on to see who has written or posted something new. The ability to leave a comment for them, or to read a comment they've left for me makes me smile and feel more connected to all of them.
8 - Vacations & Fun events: In the past year I have been blessed to be able to see Bon Jovi in concert, visit my godson & his family in Texas, go to Las Vegas for my birthday with Josh, Kelly & David, see WICKED in Los Angeles, spend time in a timeshare in Palm Springs, visit Las Vegas again this time with my best friend to see Bette Midler in concert, and see "The Glory of Christmas" at the Crystal Cathedral. I have also been able to visit Disneyland many times thanks to the blessing of having an annual pass, gone to San Diego to cheer for Angela in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, help plan and host a Bunco for the Cure fundraiser, along with many other fun and exciting events and daytrips.
7 - Books: If you know anything about me, then you should know that I LOVE books. I am constantly reading something and while I do have favorite genres and authors, I like to read a wide variety of books. Through my job at the library I am able to request even more books through interlibrary loan, in addition to purchasing books and borrowing books from others. I love talking about books and enjoy the opportunity to share my book love with friends like Melissa & Amanda. I love the website http://www.goodreads.com/ which allows me to list the books I've read, I am reading and that I want to read. I love being in an online bookclub with my sister and Aunt Annette. I love to always have a book available to read...and I am grateful that long ago when I was in kindergarten my teacher Mrs. Overholt took the time to teach me to read. Without her patience and encouragement I would not know how to read...without my parents love of reading to us and around us I would not have discovered my own desire to read...without my dad taking my sister & I to the public library every two weeks to check out our limit of 20 new books I would not have discovered my voracious appetite for reading...without my job at the library I would not have found a way to live as much as possible around books...and without my husband's love of books I would not have found someone who is just as happy as I am to sit in silence with our own books.
6 - Working at the Library: I never knew that I would work in a library. As a child I never dreamed of this job...I thought I'd be an artist, or a set decorator, or an oceanographer. Throughout college I thought I would be an artist, an English major or a teacher...but then I discovered that I did not want to teach and I got a job as a student worker in the library. I fell in love with it - who knew you could work with one of your favorite things all day long, in a quiet environment, with usually low levels of stress, and with such wonderful people. I was happy to be there...but then I graduated and was lost. But thankfully three short months later, the library assistant position became available and my old boss told me the job was essentially mine for the taking and so it began on August 16, 2001. Working here has been the best possible job for me. I am so grateful for the kind coworkers who genuinely care for one another, for the faculty and students that I am able to develop friendships with, for the work that I do that is not only interesting but also fulfilling. I know that this is where God wants me to be, and I can daily see how He is able to use me in this job. I love working with the student workers and talking to them, critiquing papers for them, inviting them into my home for homecooked meals, and just watching them grow. I am always sad to see them graduate, but that is part of life in a college...and there are always new ones to take their places. I love the quiet, I love the books, and I love the ability to work in a quiet, Christian environment.
5 - Grocery Stores: As I get older I find that I am more willing to try new things to eat and to discover that some things that I never used to like are now some of my favorite foods. I love walking into grocery stores and seeing all the possibilites. I love the stacks of fresh vegetables and fruits - deciding to try new things has revealed a few new favorites like parsnips, fennel, red peppers, and leeks. I love the dairy products - trying new cheeses like Camembert, or richer butters from Ireland or France, and of course focusing on old favorites like cheddar and 1%milk. I love the baking goods, the cereals, the meat department and bakery. I love trying new recipes and and just being able to go into a grocery store and stock up on yummy foods to eat and enjoy. I also am grateful for the opportunity to be able to share some of the food in a variety of ways - by donating to the food pantry at church, by inviting friends and family over for meals, and baking Christmas goodies to share with co-workers and students.
4 - Financial Security: We are not rich by most definitions, but we are also not poor either. I am thankful that we have the security to know our bills will be paid each month, that we can eat well, that we can do fun things and that we can give gifts to those celebrating birthdays, milestones, or holidays. Though sometimes money is tight, we are never unable to live and really, to live well. I am thankful that God provides for us enough that we can talk about vacations to Walt Disney World, or the possibility of buying a house, or of having a baby. I am grateful that we have enough so that we can donate to charity or help support people in missions or just lend some money when needed. Though we might complain sometimes, I know that we have much to be thankful for financially and I am grateful that God provides for us.
3 - Friendship: I am so overabundantly blessed with friendships. Some specific friendships I've loved this year include - taco Tuesdays with Robin, Melissa & Yolanda; once-a-month dinners with Amanda; monthly movie nights with Angela, Kelly & Mandy; vacation to Texas to see John & Melissa and the boys in April; lunches with Angela & Michael at the cafeteria; dinner & movie nights with Amber; anniversary dinners with Joseph & Sunset; dinners with Melissa, Alicia & Jessie; dinners with Yukai, Rob & Marisa, The Alexanders, the Zupkofka's; Disneyland with Kevin; Las Vegas & Bette Midler with Angela; looking forward to dinners with Anna & Jason; and so many others.
2 - Family: I am so grateful for the blessing of my family. My husband Josh is such a perfect fit for me. Though we can be very different and look at things in very different ways, we support and love each other. He takes such good care of me and gives me more compliments and assurances of his love than I could ever need or ask for. He is a daily blessing and I am grateful to have married him. My parents have been such an encouragement all my life - they are so kind, loving, Christ-like, friendly and supportive. My sister who is also one of my best friends - "a sister who was a friend and with whom I could compare myself, the better to understand both my singularity and our commonality." (Ahab's Wife). David who is the best brother-in-law anyone could ask for and always fun at family gatherings. My niece and nephew Katelyn & Jonathan who are the lights of my life - every opportunity to spend time with them is cherished and I am daily amazed to see them growing and learning new things. My Aunty Diana who is not only my aunt but also like a mother & friend to me. She is so supportive, encouraging and loving and I am grateful every day that we are as close as we have become...though I miss her and wish that we could spend more time together I know that we are in each other's hearts and thoughts daily. My other aunts and uncles who are each special in their own way - I love the many ways that we can stay in touch and share our love with each other. My grandparents who I always love to see and are such a blessing. All my cousins - related by blood or by love...they are each so special to me. God has blessed me tremedously with a huge loving family and I am so thankful for their presence in my life.
1 - God: Simply put I am grateful that God sent his only son to die on a cross for me, and for everyone else who will believe this to be true and accept him into their hearts and lives. I am grateful that God made such variety in his world - all the colors of the flowers, the types of trees, the amazing animals and so much more. I am thankful for his many blessing in my life and for always letting me know that he is there - protecting, guiding and blessing my life. Thank you God!