* I am grateful that I will leave my house in an hour or so, head to Trader Joe's, perhaps stop at The Fresh Market, and then go enjoy a sleepover at my dear friend's lovely home on the lake. It has been far too long since I've hunkered down in front of her fireplace nursing a glass of wine or a mug of tea.
* I am grateful that Saturday is my birthday. I know that it is also the anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook, and I will pray for the families of all those people whose lives ended far too soon and too violently. But I am also gonna celebrate my life. I am going to look back at my first 48 years and ponder the next 48.
* I am grateful that my daughter is making lists and checking them twice, filling in forms and choosing classes because early in January she will begin her sleepaway college life. She has worked hard and earned her associate's degree, so it's time to spread her wings and fly out of the cuckoo's nest. It's time for her to establish her own nest on her own terms. I am thrilled for her.
* I am grateful for the upcoming gathering of some girlfriends here at my house. I haven't seen them in far too long. We have stories to share, food to eat, and children to meet. Apparently, one of these beautiful ladies has gotten married and had twins since we last got together. I cannot wait to hear that story and hug her little ones.
* I am grateful for the ways in which all that I have lived, seen, tasted, experienced, and endured in the past have brought me to this moment on this Thursday when I can look forward to all that is yet to come with excitement and joy.
* I am grateful that even the parts that will be challenging and demanding will teach me much and transform me more into the image of God with each passing day.
* I am grateful for the hope of growth and change.
* I am grateful for this day, this hour, this moment.