Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

This year, on the first day of every month, I have used my Thursday Thirteen to look over the last 30 days and count my blessings.

Since this is the last month of the year, I will look back over the last 11 months and offer up the best of those wonderful happenings. It is good to remember the terrific things, large and small, because it is so easy to forget that life is bountiful and good when things are not going quite as well as one might like.

So here we go! Thirteen things I am thankful for in 2011:

1. First, I am thankful for my wonderful husband. He's had a tough year; it was his first year without his dad. His father's passing left a huge hole in his life, because they worked the farm together and jointly operated a septic tank installation business; they were also best friends. He has had to find a new rhythm to his life and new methods of doing what used to be routine. I am very proud of him for his hard work. He's also a battalion chief with the city fire department, so he's a very busy guy.

2. Family. I went in May to watch my niece at her dance recital; my husband had relatives in during June; my aunt came to my rescue when I was ill this fall; my brother gave me some good advice. It is good to have blood relatives, even the ones you don't particularly like. There is something about those ties.

3. Old friends. My friends have been very supportive of me as I've thrashed about trying to figure out a new career for myself. They have applauded and cajoled, as necessary, in order to help me move forward. I am very grateful for their love and support.

4. Learning. Going back to college is always good for me. I love to learn, and there is nowhere I want to be other than Hollins University. The campus makes me feel welcome and the professors are supportive. The environment there is like manna and I have fed on it for three semesters.

5. My health. This is the year, I think, that I will look back on and say, "that was when I learned," when it comes to health. I have gone on a diet and lost 25 pounds (still need to lose another 70, but it's a good start), but also I have had to come to grips with the fact that I am not, and never will be, the healthiest of people. Issues with asthma, blood pressure, my immune system, and a broken bone in my foot have all let me know that I am aging and need to take better care of myself. When people say that if you don't have your health, you have nothing, they are right.

6. Writing. At the moment, my work is frustrating me in ways I never imagined, but I am so grateful that I can string words together and occasionally make sense. I may never publish a book or another article, because who knows what the future holds, but I have had a good career even if that happens. I am a writer even if I sometimes wonder if I ever will be a writer - that shouldn't even be a question. I've published extensively and won recognition for my work, and that's more than many people can say. I may be moving on to a new chapter, but who's to say it won't include writing? At the moment, I don't know, but I am looking forward to finding out. But I did publish a few articles here and there in the last year, and wrote a couple of good papers for my classes.

7. The ability to read. I cannot imagine being unable to read. I know there are a lot of people in this world who can't, and illiteracy is something that should be fought at every turn. Being able to read opens up worlds; it expands the mind, it offers insight, it is one of the best ways I know to find God, however you wish to define that entity. Where would I be without story and narrative, without the threads that tie the tales together? Some of the best books I read in 2011 were The Way by Kristen Wolf, which I highly recommend; Brava, Valentine, by Adriana Trigiani; People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks; and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Ablom.

8. My high school reunion stirred up a lot of sentiment and memories, all of which I am grateful for even if some were hard to relive. I worked on the reunion committee a little bit and it was nice to get to know folks all over again. I enjoyed seeing old pals and catching up. Many are now Facebook friends and who knows what will come of these renewed relationships.

9. I took time to appreciate nature. Living on a farm, with it all around us, sometimes it's easy to overlook all the cool things that happen in the back yard. We have wild turkey, deer, bear, rabbits, coyotes, skunks, raccoons - all sorts of wildlife - and an abundance of trees, flowers, and grasses. One could spend an entire life examining an acre of the place and never see it all.

10. We are surviving the recession despite the fact that I lost my major client in 2009 and never regained my footing and despite the reality that my husband's other job as a septic tank installer has, well, stalled. While we have had to cut back and make some changes, we are doing better than some folks and I am really grateful that we are managing. I wish I could make it better for others.

11. I'm grateful for little things, like chocolate, Pilot G2 ink pens (extra fine), cheap spiral notebooks, portable heaters, and yellow highlighters. They might not seem like much but they make life a little better.

12. Volunteering. I just finished up a nine-year stint serving on the county library board. I have always volunteered somewhere and I will miss that particular position. In the new year I will be looking for another cause to donate my time to, but for now I am very grateful that I played a small part in helping the county library move forward. During my time there we added on to one library and built another, and these are not small accomplishments for a rural community. It is good to give back and I am grateful I had that opportunity.

13. Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful for you, dear reader, for sharing a small part of your day with me. I hope that 2011 has been and will continue to be a good year for you and that 2012 will bring you much joy and laughter. But if you should find tears and heartache, then I hope you will find the strength and courage you may need in the coming day. Life can be tough but each day is a new promise; so I wish for you all the ability to embrace that hope that each new day brings.

Blessings to you all as we start out on this last month of the year!

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 218th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. Thanks for sharing. We tend to get caught up in things and forget all for which we should be thankful. Hope you had a good holiday.

  2. It's December already!! Good grief, where has the year gone and all of your Thursday Thirteens??

  3. great list hard to believe it's the last month of the year already

    happy tt

  4. Nature is a big one fro me sandy

  5. It's a pleasure to know you through your words:-)

  6. I'm with you on the writing thing. I wish I could make a living at it.

  7. A great list, so full and rich when you put it all down in writing!

  8. A wonderful list, Anita. I can't believe it is December already and I for one hope the rest of this month goes a heck of a lot better than today did (they tried to blow up my apartment building this afternoon).

  9. What a heartfelt and thought provoking list! You'll enjoy looking back on it next year.
    I can't believe the year is coming to a close!


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