Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thankful List

Happy Thanksgiving! Today was a sad and happy day for me. Sad because it was another Thanksgiving come and gone where I didn’t get to call my mom (though I talked to her on occasion as though she was with us and spent some time thinking about her as I stared at her picture), and happy because it was a good day with my children.

For the first time ever, Jesse watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, and he got soooo excited over all the balloons and floats. He even danced around when people sang. Jen thought the parade was pretty cool, too.

For every Thanksgiving, I make two pumpkin pies. The kids got REALLY excited when they learned I was making pumpkin pie. There was a lot of ‘are the pies ready yet?” and "can we eat the pie now?" practically ALL day until it was time to eat! Drove me crazy but I had to chuckle over the whole thing.

We had a magnificent Thanksgiving Day feast. There was so much food! Not too long ago, I joked to Jennifer that the last three months of the year are “food months” because of Halloween candy in October, Thanksgiving turkey in November and Christmas cookies, ham dinner and cake in December! But, really, I know why we eat such a large meal on Thanksgiving. It was just like the Pilgrims celebrating a bountiful harvest and sharing some of their food with their native American friends who taught them how to grow the food in the first place! It is a time of celebrating bounty and a big feast represents this!

Earlier this year, Jennifer and I were saddened to learn of the passing of popular children’s author, Barbara Park. When Jen was little, she was such a HUGE fan of the Junie B. Jones books. According to her, Junie B. Jones was a Very Real little girl! She pestered me to buy all the Junie B. Jones books and even Junie B. Jones accessories. So of course we were sad to learn that the creator of Junie B. Jones died earlier this year. In her honor, we read the very last Junie B. Jones book: Junie B., First Grader, Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and other Thankful Stuff). I have never read this book but I read it today. Oh, wow, I just laughed so much and adored this book! Junie B. Jones is awesome! And she will forever live in our hearts. I am so glad I read this book. It’s funny and sweet at the same time. (And as a parent, I could relate to these kids’ outtakes because my own kids talk like that and do those things!)

I’ve been going over what I’m thankful for today in my head and of course we all shared what we’re thankful for. The Junie B. Jones book inspired me to create my own Thankful List, just like the kids in the book did. So here are the things I am thankful for.

Thankful List

1. My children
2. My family
3. My friends
4. My neighbors
5. My dog
6. Having a home to live in
7. Having warm clothes to wear
8. A garage to park my car in so I don’t have to scrape ice off the windshields on winter mornings anymore!
9. My gift of writing
10. Publishers I have worked with who are still around and keep me around, too.
11. Having a doctor who knows my family history and makes me take a hundred tests or always looks out for the SMALLEST THING even though it drives me crazy but I appreciate her for it
12. The Internet – and for the peeps on the Internet I have the privilege of knowing and networking with!
13. Freedom in our country – well, for the most part.
14. BOOKS!
15. Being able to read, let alone see.
16. The kindness of strangers, as well as kindness from anyone, really.
17. Being married to someone who has made me not regret taking a second chance and who does not oppress me, boss me around, criticize me, abuse me in any way, does not get drunk and hits the kids, does not do drugs, works hard to support the family and basically puts up with me even though I can be a real bitch sometimes. (I am not an easy person to live with.)
18. All of our vets and the soldiers still at war and in the military fighting for our country.
19. Teachers, doctors, nurses and counselors who really make an effort to help others and make a difference.
20. Living in a country where it is more acceptable to have a different religion and lifestyles or even no religion and no lifestyles than the way it used to be a long time ago.

I know that’s only 20 things, but there were 20 things on the list in the book and so I decided to stop there. But there is so much more I am thankful for. So, so much more. And despite bad things in life, I still make it a point to count my blessings and be happy with the GOOD things. The good things are the things worth paying attention to. The good things are what make me smile and think, hey, you know what? Life ain’t that bad.

A lot of people spend the month of November saying what they are thankful for. I think we should make this a habit all year round.

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