I am thankful that I will spend this weekend at the beach.
Writing. Sitting. Thinking. Praying. Formulating a plan to write a book.
I am thankful for all the encouragement and support I've received in this regard - to write my story in book form.
I am thankful for the opportunity to get away and formally begin this process.
I am thankful for all that I will learn from Maureen Ryan Griffin this weekend.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for the day set aside for all of us to talk about what we are thankful for.
I am thankful for the bountiful food we get to enjoy and share.
I am thankful for pumpkin pie, for stuffing, for salad, for warm bread, for sparkling apple cider, for football - notice: I am NOT thankful for turkey. I am sure there are some people who are, but I am not one of those people.
I am thankful for the increased awareness of those who don't have enough.
I am thankful for all the organizations, churches, individuals, and groups that provide food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless.
I am thankful for every opportunity to give food and time and support and a listening ear and a warm hug to my co-travelers on this journey I'm on.
I am thankful that Christmas will soon be here.
I am grateful for Christmas cookies and monkey bread and peppermint flavored espresso drinks.
I am grateful for the Christmas decorations hung on street lights and building facades.
I am grateful for the little white lights we will put up in our windows.
I am grateful for the tree we will pull down out of the attic and decorate in our living room.
I am grateful for the time I will spend with family and friends during the month of December.
I am grateful for Christmas carols, especially "O Come All Ye Faithful."
I am grateful for the 11 pm Christmas Eve service at church, for the candles we light while we sing "Silent Night," and for the briskness of the air as we leave the church just after midnight.
I am thankful for the year that will soon begin.
Another year older. Another year... older.
A year in which I will be ordained as an elder at church.
A year in which my husband and I will both turn 50.
A year in which we will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary.
A year in which both of our children will head off to college - and our nest will be empty.
A year in which I will celebrate life and love and travel and joy and faith. Every single day.
A year in which I will write a book about this life journey I'm on.
(Gulp! Am I really putting this goal out in public?)
In the meantime, I am thankful for this day - I spent time with a young mom on a kanswer journey of her own, making her a green juice, sharing Crazy Sexy Kanswer with her, tutored an eleventh grader in Spanish, picked up goodies at Trader Joe's for my weekend adventure, and celebrated my son's official commitment to playing tennis in college.
I am thankful for yesterday - I had a long conversation with one dear friend on the phone, laughed and shared stories with another dear in her family room while her two-year-old watched Thomas the Tank Engine, and loosened up my tight hips while doing yoga.
I am thankful to and for the folks at the senior center where I'm giving a series of devotional talks this month on miracles. I am thankful for their questions, even the tough ones. I am grateful for how often they ask how I'm doing and how my daughter is doing. I've known these folks for more than six years, and they have been faithful in their concern and prayers on my behalf and on behalf of my family.
I am thankful for a positive report after my recent visit with my oncologist - instead of having to go back in four months, I can wait six months for my next visit.
I am thankful for NPR.
For the magazines a neighbor has been giving me lately - they have several subscriptions that have been sent to them for free. I get to read them and then use them for collages and in my journal.
For robes and slippers on these chilly nights.
For toothpicks and dental floss.
For three upcoming visits from family members who live far away.
For haircuts and hair color and hair brushes.
For wrong word choices and belly laughter - I recently heard someone use the word "erotic" to describe a business he is planning to open when he meant "exotic."
For neighbors who stop and talk - this morning I tried on a jacket one neighbor bought for someone she knows, someone who is my height. She wanted to be sure the jacket would fit her friend. Earlier in the week, two neighbors went to the gym together and then went for a walk after that. This evening, two neighbors (from two different houses) were introducing their new dogs to each other. One had recently buried his Yorkie, and now he has another one. The other already had a dog - now she and her family have two.
For simple pleasures, great friends, and for life itself.
For novels, memoirs, and poetry.
I am thankful for the poem Jena wrote recently - Some Alternatives to Keeping Up.
Especially these lines -
yourself in the gifts of this time
once again to the next thing
and the next
how holy it is that you're even alive
I am grateful for the holiness of this moment,
this gift of being alive.
Thanks be to God.