Yesterday was my fiftieth birthday. I am now a half-century old. For years, I’ve been saying I wanted to start a blog. This year, I am making it happen. I have no idea what I’m doing. This site will probably look funny and will probably change a lot as I learn how to do this. I am stepping into the great unknown of web technology with very little knowledge. I am scared I will click something and make a giant mess. (Luckily, I know some pretty good people who can help me if I make a complete mess of things.) My word for 2016 is BLOOM. One way I’ve chosen to live my word is to be scared and do this anyway. So here goes.
I wanted my first post to be yesterday. On my actual birthday. It didn’t happen. It’s here today instead. I am so grateful for:
1. My relationship with God. Every day, I try to learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to see a bit more of the incomprehensible vastness of my Father’s love and experience the mysterious depths of Spirit. It is both comforting and empowering to know that I am never alone. Learning to lean into Him is a daily exercise in trust and surrender.
2. My parents. Literally wouldn’t be here without them. They have taught me so much about living a life of love; about forgiveness, grace, perseverance, and commitment; about the importance of solitude and of gathering, of the power of hugs and laughter.
3. My sisters. There is something indescribable about having friends that you have literally known all their lives, that have shared blood and a shared history. It’s feeling incredibly accepted, loved and at home whenever you are with them.
4. My brother. Again, something wonderful about knowing him from the time he came home from the hospital – watching him grow into a mischievous toddler then a grade schooler who was always running. Realizing that as an adult, he’s still mischievous and still running. I love having inside jokes, sharing an appreciation for good dogs and craft beer. I adore his big bear hugs.
5. My husband. Met at 17, still together at 50. We’ve been through a lot together, he and I. He’s taught me so much about speaking only when you have something to say, using what we have, and the power of “no”. He’s strong, wise, resourceful, witty. He’s a great dad. And when he plays guitar and sings, no one remains untouched. Praying for another 30 years.
6. Our son, Jake. Our firstborn, miracle baby. I didn’t think I’d ever get pregnant. And then I did. (It’s a pretty amazing story that I’ll tell sometime.) He’s quiet, thoughtful, smart, insightful, a good listener and friend. He’s funny, a bit goofy, a young philosopher at heart. Even if he wasn’t my kid, I’d still want to know him.
7. Our second son, Mason. Curious, creative, full of movement and energy. I love the way his mind works. Watching him grasp ideas so quickly always amazes me. He’s quirky, loves to make messes and explore and brings a vital spark to our little family. Again, even if he wasn’t my kid, I’d want to be his friend.
8. Our pets, past and present. Nothing beats a smiling dog face or a warm, purring cat. Life wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying, challenging or fun without them.
9. My home. It’s not big. It’s antique, needs work, and is mostly messy (kind of like me!), but it’s ours. We have four walls and a roof that shelter us and welcome us when we’ve been away. It’s the place my kids will remember when someone asks where they grew up.
10. My town. Kind of like a little Mayberry tucked between two big cities. We have parades, community events, churches that work together, and a “town square” with a Christmas tree in the center. We have a grocery store, library, schools, post office, historic mill, parks with miles of trails and a river all within walking distance. Pretty amazing.
11. My country. It’s the USA. Enough said.
12. Friends. Couldn’t get by without them. Well…maybe I could, but life would not be nearly as rich – wide, deep and full – if I did not have people to share it with.
13. Mentors. So grateful for those farther along on the path who are willing to reach back and draw me forward.
14. My body. It’s round, curvy, lumpy, scarred and starting to droop, but I love it. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say that. There are days when I still look in the mirror and am not happy with what I see, but it’s what I have. It’s all I have for this time on earth and really, it’s pretty amazing. I am done with trying to be thin. I want to be healthy, fit, vibrant as long as I can and am taking steps to care for this gift.
15. My senses. I am a very sensual person. I love taking moments to truly experiencing the wonder of the world through sensation: really looking, hearing closely, feeling textures, breathing deeply, trying new tastes. Focusing on these things always brings me into the present moment.
16. The ability to choose my path. So many women don’t get to choose. So grateful I can and in so many areas of life.
17. Clean water. Such a basic need. I often forget how many people can’t just turn on a faucet.
18. Access to healthy food. Again, such a basic need. I am so blessed that my family has never been truly hungry.
19. Technology. Sometimes I complain about how much technology, the internet, electronic devices, etc seem to be taking over our lives, but I mostly I am grateful for it’s conveniences.
20. Electricity. Such a wonder to be able to flick a switch and have light.
21. Wonder and awe. I hope and pray I never lose this. It’s what makes life worth living.
22. Optimism, openness and trust. Again, I hope and pray I never lsoe these things. Maybe it makes me gullible. Maybe it makes me a fool. I don’t care.
23. Good, strong coffee. With cream and sugar. Especially mochas. With lots of whipped cream.
24. Summer. All you just thought about with that one word? Yes. That.
25. Creativity. I am learning so much about what it means to create. To bring something new into being. It’s not all big things, you guys. Sometimes, the tiniest new movement is enough.
26. Beauty. I crave it. I look for it everywhere. I mostly find it.
27. Winter. Hibernation. Brilliant blue skies. Snow.
28. Flowers. My word this year is “BLOOM”. I intend to have fresh flowers on my table all year long. They make me happy.
29. My therapist. Being with her for an hour every few weeks brings me back to myself.
30. Spring. Melting, opening, greening, growth, flowers.
31. Hiking boots. When I wear them, I feel like I can do anything. Being on a trail, in the woods feels like church sometimes.
32. Books, and the people who write them. What more is there to say?
33. Art. Painting, stamping, cutting, gluing and generally making a mess is such fun. And experiencing what others have made fills my soul.
34. My art studio. So grateful to have an entire room in my home to make those messes in.
35. Fall. My favorite season. Leaves, luscious color, fires, hot chocolate, sweaters, harvest.
36. Music. Speaks to parts of me that nothing else can reach. Can change a mood, bring back forgotten memories, say things that words never could.
38. Quilts. I love the intricacy and the deceptively simple beauty of these useful works of art. I love the colors, the patterns, the stories.
39. Clean sheets. Flannel in winter, cotton in summer. I love hanging them on the line to dry in the sun and wrapping myself in that goodness at night.
40. Candles. Scented ones. Especially the wood wick kind.
41. Weekends. Something magical and free about the weekends.
42. Learning from my mistakes. Sometimes it takes a few tries.
43. Safety and security. I know there is danger. I try not to dwell on it. I mostly believe in the goodness of people. Perhaps I’m naïve, but whatever.
44. Sunrises and sunsets. I will never get enough of these. Each one different. Each one a marvel. (Unless it’s cloudy, then, well….)
45. Mountains. The east-coast ones. I love the timeworn, rounded ancient-ness of them. The curves and hollows, the purple-blue ridges fading into the horizon, the streams, waterfalls, mountain laurel. My soul exhales when I am there. Feels like home.
46. Water. I know I already mentioned access to clean drinking water – but this is different. I am grateful for water that surrounds me – for rivers, lakes, streams, oceans. For a planet that ebbs and flows, for the feeling of weightlessness when I swim, for fish and dolphins and whales, turtles and frogs, pools and waterfalls.
47. Challenges, pain, tears. Sometimes the most difficult struggles produce the most growth. Hard to remember in the midst.
48. Beer. Never thought I would say that. I didn’t much like it when all I knew was Miller Lite and Budweiser. Husband joining a beer club introduced me to craft beer. Now I am a “beer snob”. I love a good malty brew. I love trying new ones. I love breweries and beer tastings. I love that my husband likes the hoppy ones and will drink the ones I don’t like.
49. Literacy. I can’t imagine not being able to read and write. Okay, I actually CAN imagine it and I cringe when I do. Such freedom, opening, opportunity comes with being able to communicate in writing.
50. Forgiveness. Second chances. Third chances. Saying, “I’m sorry” and hearing, “I forgive you” one more time. “To be forgiven is to be loved.” – Brene Brown
Wait! I can’t believe I forgot CHOCOLATE! Dark chocolate. With stuff in it. Swoon.
I actually could keep going. The list in my journal is even longer. There really is so very much to be grateful for in this “one wild and precious life” isn’t there?
Thoughts? I’d love to hear something you are grateful for right now. Thanks for stopping by!