Let’s play a game

Let’s play a game this morning. Grab paper and pencil and write the numbers 1 through 10. Then, without over-thinking, write down the first 10 that things that come to mind when you finish this sentence: “I am grateful for…”

I surprised myself this morning when my #1 wasn’t my usual #1. It all started with a post shared by a friend’s son-in-law, who serves in the National Guard. Before our neighbor’s crow announced the dawn of a new day, I “liked” a picture (shown below) originally shared by Military Luggage Company posted on Facebook.

With my surprise #1 saved for the end, here are my top 10:

I am grateful for:

2. My family: Day in and day out, these are the people that keep me grounded. They remind me to focus on what really matters when my perspective gets skewed. They make me feel loved and give me a reason to be a better person. They bless me beyond measure.

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My favorite wall in the house.

3. My friends: My mother once told me that if I counted my friends on more than one hand, I was wealthy. I am an abundantly rich woman! From my ya-ya’s, Kathy and Amy, to my new-found writing/blogging buddies, my cup over-flows with laughter and wisdom shared by the people I am blessed to call friends.

4. This view: Before we ever bought our home, I knew I wanted a home that faced east so I could start my day with a sunrise through the front windows and end my day with a sunset out the back. A view of the Rocky Mountains is icing on the cake.

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Though a bit obscured by the trees that have matured over the last decade, I still love this view of the snowcapped mountains.

5. My health: A few years back, I struggled to walk on my own; a neurological illness had left me dependent on a cane, wheelchair, and my family and friends. Simple, mundane tasks became daily mountains to climb and my future seemed uncertain. Today, I am grateful my old wheelchair and cane gather dust and, though it was rough, I am grateful for the gifts that emerged from that part of my journey.

6. Our animals: We’ve shared our home with everything from an Egyptian Uromastyx to rabbits, (pet) rats, and guinea pigs. As a homeschool family, we had enough time to love and care for all of our little rescues (all but a few of our 18 animals over the years were rescued.) Today, we have only our old man Sammy Beagle, 3 cats, a newt, and Keebler, the Guide Dog for the Blind puppy we are raising. Daily, these animals teach me about patience, unconditional love, and living in the moment.

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No, I didn’t just have the TV remote in my mouth.

7. A warm house: As I often do, I ventured out barefooted this morning. Though I knew it was cold, my feet immediately felt the painful bite of the frozen ground. The chill pulsed through my body and I rushed the dog to finish up. As soon as we stepped inside, I stood on the heater vent, using the warm air thaw my feet. Then, I said a prayer for the men, women, and children that have no warm retreat.

8. Hope: Every phone call home, my father would ask, “Hey, what’s new and exciting?” There were many days I felt like a putz when I replied, “Nothing.” Then, one day we talked about his question, and he told me he asks it, in large part, because of the importance to always have something to look forward to, even if it is seemingly routine. A cup of coffee with a friend, a big trip, or a quiet afternoon reading a new book are all things that can become something to look forward to and, in turn, create hope.

9. Laughter: They say “laughter is the best medicine.” It is and so much more. Laughter bonds and soothes and heals. It can turn a bad day around and make a good day better. It’s that simple, and it’s that important in my life.

And now, as promised, my #1 gratitude today is:

1. My freedom: Every day, I enjoy the freedom to leave my home unescorted, worship as I choose, and disagree publically with my government, but, far too often, I  take this for granted. Freedom isn’t free; it comes from the sacrifices made by the men, women, and their families that protect and serve our country (including our first responders here at home), and this is what I am most grateful for today.

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Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

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