Well, I am sitting in Vail, CO, on the last full day before we return to the heat island where we live. Yesterday, my mom surprised me by coming to Vail to celebrate with me on my birthday! And, well, today is it. Today is my 40th birthday. Entrance into my 5th decade. Better than the alternative, as they say. So, to honor the occasion, I thought I would make a list of 40 things I am thankful for. Here we go - I started to try to prioritize them, but then, it was more of a stream of consciousness list, and we can't blame my consciousness - so it is in no particular order - and I purposely waited to do this the morning of my birthday. If I were to ruminate over it for days, it would probably be a better list, but for today, here is the exercise I laid out for myself. Without further ado:
1 - my family. My immediate family - my wonderful husband and my delightful son, my extended family of brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and my mom and dad. I am every day thankful for this bunch of people who I get to call my family.
2 - my faith. It wavers a lot. It ebbs and flows, but it is nurtured by my church, friends, family and the world around me.
3 - my job(s). I am lucky to have a job where I am valued, where I enjoy (usually) what I do, have amazing colleagues and wonderful experiences.
4 - my home. I feel safe in my home, it is my refuge from the literal or figurative storm, and I am lucky to have it.
5 - stability. Even though things change and sometimes are tough and even unbearable, my life is way more stable than many - I know I will eat, I know I have a place to sleep, I have relative job stability, a car, a support network, and even the ability to enjoy the fruits of my labor from time to time. This is a huge blessing that I try very hard not to take for granted or forget to appreciate.
6 - my furry family members - Echo and Norman - and all those who came before them - they have brought joy to my life, and they are happy companions in this thing called life.
7 - the natural world - I am reminded of the beauty of this planet, especially this week where I work in the mountains. This earth is amazing, and I am thankful for it.
8 - chocolate. Might as well get that one on the list.
9 - Coffee. With cream. Divine. And, it reminds me of both my Nana and my Dad. So it's a habit I won't be rid of.
10 - The fact that I grew up in a place and a family, that despite a divorce in my formative years, showed me support, respect and love and taught me that I could do anything.
11 - My hometown. The Midwest is a magical place of people who don't get too caught up in themselves. A far away land from Big D. And I'm glad I grew up there.
12 - Dallas - my adopted new town - with all it's big hair and false pretenses, it has become my home and treated me well.
13 - Music. Music has shaped my life in immeasurable ways, and without it, life would be so much less.
14 - The arts. I am lucky to be immersed in a culture where they are valued and prevalent. They enrich my life in many ways!
15 - A cool summer morning.
16 - Rain. When I moved to Dallas, this wouldn't have been on the list. But, has my Dallas friends pointed out early on, and now I believe them, rain is wonderful.
17 - Getting to travel and see other cultures and places. It expands my view and for that I am thankful.
18 - My mom's macaroni and cheese
19 - The great card my son gave me today that plays the hampster dance.
20 - The cake I'll receive later today that my son picked out - a princess cake. I love that he thinks his Mommy deserves a princess cake.
21 - Wine. And a good amber ale. On occasion.
22 - Photography as a hobby. I love the creative outlet it gives me.
23 - Swinging on the playground.
24 - Swimming, walking, being physical with this body God gave me.
25 - Health. This one, if I was organized and putting these in order, should be up much, much higher.
26 - Freedom. I share my birthday with my country's Independence Day. I am thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and the country I call home, even if it is exasperating to live through the democratic process at times.
27 - Friends - friends I've known since I was 4 to friends I've just made, I have a wonderful group of saints that I am lucky to call my friends.
28 - A good pedicure.
29 - My own bed. Which I am thankful for separate and above my own home. Nothing quite like your own bed.
30 - Wow, I made it to 30. I know I have many things more to be thankful for - but sister, this is harder than I thought it would be! Fresh summer tomatoes. That's a good one for 30.
31 - And summer corn, squash, zucchini. Vegetables in season.
32 - My hair stylist. She makes me look presentable. And this is a big job.
33 - Lip balm.
34 - Strawberries
35 - Hugs and kisses. What is better than hugs and kisses!
36 - A good cry
37 - Books - a guilty pleasure these days, but something I have always loved. I have learned, been transported to far away lands, cared about characters who were written so well they seemed to be real, and hours lost in a magical place.
38 - Technology that helps melt the miles away between friends and family near and far.
39 - A well fitting bra. Let's get serious here, sister.
40 - The fact that I've made it to 40 with all these blessings in tow. That makes me a very lucky girl indeed. Here's to many, many more Happy Birthdays!
I made it! Happy 4th of July to you and yours!
See you soon.