23 November, 2007

Giving Thanks

I'm a day late, but I was having such a great day yesterday that I didn't want to get on the computer for any amount of time and miss the family and food greatness that is Thanksgiving. The holidays really hit home for me just how lucky I am. It makes me realize that I am a jerk for ever feeling sorry for myself or my "plight in life" or my "eternal singleness." Give me a break! I am so blessed. I have an amazing, loving family and amazing, loving friends. I have nothing to ever be sad about. So, here's my Top 5 things I am thankful for.

1. I have a huge, sometimes crazy, Southern family, and we all get along. We actually love each other, have fun together and look forward to the crazy, hectic holidays together. I hear so many stories of how hard the holidays are for families - split families, divorced families, families that don't get along. But yesterday we all hugged, sat around stuffing ourselves, catching up, drinking red wine and talking about how old we feel because the kids are getting so big. We watched the little ones stand on the stairs and sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and then cheered and clapped like it was the most amazing accomplishment ever. We felt babies move in bellies and laughed at the old ones drinking Crown Royal. It was four hours of happiness and warmth and comfort. I would give any of them a kidney or a liver, if they needed it, and I really think they would do the same for me.

2. I have three girlfriends from high school. We were all pretty inseparable then. We went to college, one in Tennessee, one in Missouri, and myself and another stayed close to home. We grew apart, did our own things, one even lived in China for three years. We weren't always great at keeping in touch, but when we did, it was like nothing changed. You can't break that kind of bond, one that is made out of sheer will to believe in our friendship and make it work. Now we have all made our way back home, and we made a commitment to have dinner together once a month. It is incredible. I love that day out of the month. Yesterday morning, one of these girls ran a marathon. Myself and another of us decided to surprise her about halfway through. We caught up with her at the 17 mile mark and stood on the side of the road with signs, cheering her on. She had just run 17 miles, but the look on her face was pure joy and surprise that we would do that for her. I am so grateful for those girls.

3. I am thankful for the years that go by. Every year, I feel like I get closer and closer to myself, to being the me I want to be, and being that me around everyone I meet. I used to feel like I had to change who I was according to who I was around, that I had to be cooler or funnier or better. The older I get, the less I feel that way, and I am so glad.

4. I am thankful that I have found a church that I can finally, finally, feel comfortable in. It is a place that is welcoming, open, and friendly, and I want to go. I want to be there, and work there, and I want to do better in life so the people there will be proud of me. It is truly genuine, and I thank God every day for creating that environment.

5. My job is amazing. I genuinely like it. I work for a group of people who believe in doing the right thing, treating the employees and customers the right way and putting family and faith first. They listen to me, help me in a career path, and help me grow. Being that it is my first job out of college, I am extremely lucky to be where I am. I am not in a cube farm, churning out work for a 1/2% raise a year, I am not working for a hellish boss who only wants me to make more coffee and I am not working at a giant corporation where my voice can't be heard. The place I work and the people I work for are quite the opposite of all of that. I am lucky!

So there you have it, that is my life's Big Five. I have a smile today, and when I start to feel bad for myself again, I will read this post and kick my own ass for being silly.

(Editor's Note - I am also thankful for Downy Lavender & Vanilla laundry detergent and dryer sheets. That stuff smells like heaven and there is nothing better than getting in clean sheets that smell that yummy. Seriously, it is expensive, but oh so worth it.)