Thirty Days of Thankful: 2014

As I’ve done in Novembers of the past, I wanted to highlight thirty reasons I am thankful. It’s so easy to go through each day dwelling on the negative; in fact, it seems negativity spreads much more quickly than positivity. But if we each take just a moment to thank someone, or to make their day brighter, we could improve our world.

  1. I am thankful, foremost, for the comfort I have in my life: a roof over my head and plenty of food on my table. Without this, much of life pales.
  2. Similarly, to paraphrase narrator Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, there is nothing as distinct as the difference between the sick and the healthy. Having seen those who are sick and unsure of their future, I can appreciate every day I am able to work and sleep and eat and live without the burden of illness.
  3. I would be remiss without thanking my parents for raising me to embrace creativity and hard work—without which I would not have established this blog, or my writing career, or any of my other endeavors.
  4. And to my sister, I am thankful for the companionship and advice, and the fact that we support each other no matter how long it’s been since we last talked, or how many miles separate us.
  5. This month, several friends and I celebrate birthdays, which reminds me of the importance of friendship.
  6. It’s so easy to complain about one’s job, but I want to take the time to appreciate what I have: a steady job, a decent salary, decent benefits, and a profession that gives me the opportunity to improve the world and shape the future.
  7. For my most recent novel, I researched the economics and logistics of firefighting. I am thankful for those who volunteer—as many firefighters do—to save the lives of perfect strangers. It is a testament to humanity that we still sacrifice for one another.
  8. As petty as this sounds compared to some of the more serious items on this list, I am thankful for the ease of access to television and movies that whet my imagination: Back to the Future, Doctor Who, The Dark Crystal, The Lord of the Rings just to name a few.
  9. Similarly, I am thankful for all the good books I’ve read. I grew up on Tolkien, Gary Paulsen, and Bradbury, and before that, picture books tempted my imagination: A Sweetheart for Valentine and Going Barefoot, to name a few.
  10. November weather can have split personalities. I am thankful for the glimpses of warm weather we are afforded during the colder, darker months of the year. They are symbols of hope that will lead us through even the darkest cold.
  11. I thank my grandfathers, my great uncle, my husband, and all those who have sacrificed life, limb, and comfort in order to serve a larger good.
  12. As much as I complain about my Chevy, it just reached 100,000 miles—it was my first new car—and it usually gets me where I need to be.
  13. I have a very large snow blower sitting in my garage. Last year, I had to shovel by hand, and my thumb felt sprained until May. This year, I am glad that we have a machine to help us.
  14. I am grateful to the Spot Writers, my online writing group, for the constant support each week and month. The Internet is a powerful, frightening, wonderful tool. I can’t count how many times I have interacted with, comforted, or found comfort in people I have never met in person but who have touched my life nonetheless.
  15. As I look back at pictures from holidays gone by, I am grateful for the time I had with my grandmothers, and my relatives who I’ve met in dreams. They’ve left a life-long impression on me.
  16. My birthday is this month, and as we all know, once you turn 21, there are not really many milestones we look forward to: it all feels like “getting older.” As my dad reminded me, growing older is better than the alternative. And he is right. I am thankful for my health and my life—every day.
  17. I am thankful that I live in a country that recognizes my rights—to property, life, speech… although not perfect, it is the place on Earth I would most want to live.
  18. I am thankful for my house and property. Though the wind coming off the mountains has caused repeated roof damage, there is not a morning I’m not thankful for the beautiful mountain view.
  19. My mind. I am thankful that I have control of my mind and can use it to mold ideas into projects. Not everyone has the privilege of controlling their own mind, and I am grateful each day that I have mine.
  20. I may be slightly biased, but I am grateful for the teachers I have had over the years that left their impressions on me. They touched me more than they can ever know.
  21. I am grateful for every reader who has taken the time to buy or read my books and to leave reviews. I write for them.
  22. Though America is not a perfect place, I am thankful in some ways for the things we complain about; the complaints we lodge are a testament to the fact that we in America have so much that we can find small things to complain about. While I hope everyone who complains realizes how much he has, I do appreciate the privilege of being able to complain.
  23. I am thankful that I am able to, and have been able, to travel. Although I prefer to stay at home where I am comfortable, I am grateful that I can travel at least once each year to see new things and gain new perspectives.
  24. The Round Hill Writers. I am grateful for the support of my in-person writing group; we are there to support each other even during the darkest times of the challenging profession we’ve chosen.
  25. The technology of writing amazes me. It allows someone like Chaucer to reach through the centuries and touch a reader he has never met and possibly couldn’t even imagine.
  26. Critical thinking. Although it doesn’t exist to the extent I wish it did, I am grateful that throughout the centuries, there have been those who use critical thinking to go “against the grain” and make society better, even at their own peril.
  27. There is nothing like strong sunshine melting snow, or warming an aching limb, or kissing the flowers and trees.
  28. Since August, my husband and I have been on a weight loss plan and have lost collectively over 50 pounds. I am glad that we have the time, resources, and dedication to be picky about what we eat and exercise. There were years during which an ACL injury prevented me from running, and now that I am back in shape, I feel great again.
  29. I am thankful for my dogs, Leia and Yoda, who can lift my spirit no matter how bad my day.
  30. Finally, I am thankful to my publishers, Dancing With Bear, Barking Rain Press, and Crowded Quarantine Publications, for taking the chance on my writing and helping me see my dream of publication fulfilled.