Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro issued a “Gratitude Challenge” this year, in which she encouraged all of us to celebrate Thanksgiving by listing 100 things we are grateful for. I have decided to join her, but while it’s Thanksgiving in the US, it’s actually Friday here, so the first ten on my list will be my weekly Joy Pockets. What follows are the first 90, stream of consciousness things that come to my mind. There is so much to be grateful for! Thanks to Amanda and Monica for the inspiration!
1. My husband, who is always there to lend support or help when I need a little extra.
2. The beautiful place that we live, and friends who are giving me an excuse to enjoy it even more than usual in this season (not that I need an excuse!).
3. Annabelle’s incredible ability to make friends and keep them close, with or without my help – even at 20 months.
4. Lovely neighbors. I was greeted at the door with a package of piping hot, fresh vegan tamales on Thanksgiving morning. What a treat to help me push through the cooking and cleaning the morning called for!
5. Yoga. Even if we only enjoy it in small doses these days.
6. Pie. Delicious, delicious pie.
7. I know I list Skype often, but Skype. For keeping us connected across the miles. I miss my people around this time!
8. The perfect things that Annabelle says, without even appearing to realize how perfect they are (more on that later).
9. Our home, and the way it works just right even though it’s not “ours,” mostly because it’s filled with the beautiful people I call my family.
10. The library.
11. Warm baths.
13. A kitchen that gives me room to do what I love to do, most days.
14. Fresh, home grown cilantro.
16. Coconut milk and its many applications.
17. The arrival of packages.
18. The internet.
20. Ocean breezes.
21. The smell of a new book.
22. The wonderful blogs that grace my screen each day.
23. The many hi-tech ways we now have to capture a simple memory.
25. My sisters, and knowing I can pick up the phone and call any old time I need an ear.
26. Ants, who frequently invade my home, reminding me that I can clean all day and night, but some things will continue to be as they are.
27. The way Annabelle perfectly balances her daddy and me, and challenges us to do and be in new ways all the time.
28. Air travel.
29. Seeing the potential for real change in my home country, or at least a good many people who are hungry for it.
30. All of the sweet new babies who have been born to my family in the past year, and the promise of meeting them one day soon.
31. Playgrounds, and the joy on Annabelle’s face when we arrive at one.
32. The ability to eat a healthy, balanced vegan diet.
33. The availability of information on most any subject.
34. Motherhood and all its lessons.
36. Art in general, really.
37. The strange way that social networking keeps me connected, but not attached to old parts of myself.
38. Restaurants, and the ability to enjoy them.
40. The kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity of the people in my life.
42. Time for myself, and the people who support me so that I can take it.
43. Working legs and the beautiful things I can see when I use them.
44. Wood, and its many practical uses.
45. Laughter, and the people in my life who bring it on.
46. Board games.
47. Annabelle’s willingness to ride in the car these days.
50. The fact that my life is uncomplicated enough that I’m able to relax and enjoy things like libraries, board games, NPR, and Pandora.
51. Modern conveniences: my dishwasher, washing machine, computer, car.
52. The knowledge that we can get by nicely without those modern conveniences.
55. Cousins, uncles, nieces, and other distant relatives, too.
56. The ability to change my mind.
57. The way inspiration tends to strike at just the right time.
60. Quiet and stillness.
61. The incredible, magestic night sky.
62. Sunrises and sunsets.
63. Dictionaries, and reference books in general.
64. This moment.
65. The gentle rhythm of life.
66. Working mammary glands and the good health of the child who benefits from them.
67. A general sense of safety.
68. The way our life here demands living in the now in a way that I have never known.
72. Spices, and the availability of the same.
73. Art supplies, and the enthusiastic way that Annabelle uses them.
74. The ability to say, “no.”
75. The ability to say, “yes.”
77. The way our life has turned out to be so perfectly different from what I had pictured.
78. The ability to stay home with my daughter without worry.
82. Encouragement and the many forms it takes.
83. Letting go.
84. Holding on.
86. Freedom from religion, and freedom of religion. It’s beautiful to have space for dissenting opinions.
88. Maria Montessori.
90. Wise friends.
91. Health food stores.
92. Baskets and other organizational apparatus.
93. Essential oils.
95. The kindness of strangers.
97. The way beauty pops up all over the place.
98. Birth stories, like this one. Congratulations, Dionna!
99. Sitting quietly with a cup of coffee instead of shopping on “Black Friday.”
100. Reminders to stop, reflect, and be grateful. I feel so, so good now. Thanks, Amanda!