I am thankful I have a husband who loves me and shows that love to me in a hundred ways every single day. I am so grateful that he puts up with my paper/purse/book hoarding, my constant messes, my stupid and annoying ongoing medical issues, and my poor housekeeping skills.
I am thankful that I have a marriage that enriches my life, and that I want to go on forever and forever, never worrying that either one of us would have an affair or do anything to hurt the other one.
I am thankful for four children. I only spent about 17 years with Jasmine, but I loved those years. I loved the jokes we told, the games we played, the time we spent together in the car, ushering, going to and from her jobs. I still read her essays and papers she wrote so long ago and I send her mental hugs every single day and hope life is treating her with great kindness and happiness. I am thankful for Nicole, who is so very far away in body right now, but often right next to me in spirit. I am so, so thankful that she is my best friend in the world and that we can share anything, from life's biggest challenges and pains to its greatest joys and surprises. I am thankful for Caspian, my sweet, tender, hard working son who always takes the time to hug me, and ask me about work (and actually wants an answer!), and I am grateful that he turns to me for help and guidance on issues, even when I am absolutely clueless on the right answers. I am thankful for Coryn, the smartass who makes me laugh, fixes, my computer, shares good books with me, and hangs out with me to watch TV, responding to my side comments with eye rolls.
I am thankful for my career. It makes the most of what I love to do most anyway, and by gosh, it earns enough (most of the time) to pay the bills, go to Goodwill whenever the mood strikes (usually daily), and have enough left over for me to visit Etsy without guilt, and help the kids if/when they ever need it.
I am thankful for living in Oregon. I feel "at home" here, and although, admittedly, holidays are hard since family is so far away, I still want to be here. The scenery, the freedom, the diversity, and the culture make it perfect for us.
I am thankful for my friends. I can count them on one hand, but that is as it should be as they are the ones I know I can call on day or night for help, a friendly ear, a hug, or whatever else I need. You ladies know who you are and I am grateful for having each of you in my life.
I am thankful for my pen friends. Although I know virtually none of them face to face, I have shared my life, thoughts, worries, hopes, and dreams with them on paper for months and years. Going out to the mailbox each day is a treasure. Making mail art, sending tuck ins, writing long letters--it is very gratifying for me (okay, other than the occasional whackadoodle letter writer who makes me wonder what in the world they were thinking . . . ) I do count some of these people as true friends and they certainly enrich my life. (I guess I should do a shout out for the postal system as well then. Even though it is bleeding out money every year, I do all I can to personally support it and keep it alive.)
Life isn't easy. From day to day, it can be very difficult with hard decisions to make, incredible pain to bear, huge challenges to overcome, and terrible losses to endure. Despite it all, I am thankful I am here to confront each one and to cherish the moments in between.