24 November 2011

Twenty-Four Days of Thanks

I posted a Facebook status every day this month, leading up to today, mentioning something I am thankful for.  I'll have an original essay for you soon, but for now I'm just going to recap my twenty-four days of thanks.

November 1: This idea from my sister-in-law: every day in November leading up to Thanksgiving, post something you are thankful for. The first one is easy: my three spectacular children. Sarah, Becky, and Bobby. They rock.

November 2: Today I am thankful for my brother. Happy birthday, John. I love you.

November 3:   I am thankful for my beautiful niece Grace, who turns 16 today. Make a wish, Gracie.

November 4:  Today I am thankful for my three extraordinary sisters: Patty and Amy (by birth) and Kathy (by marriage). They are always there for me, rushing to my support and defense whether I deserve it or not. On this gray November day, I raise my coffee cup to the amazing Arlin women.

November 5:  I am thankful today for life and good health. These are things we take for granted until they are gone - and, as I have seen with friends and family, they can vanish in an instant. My family and I are blessed to be alive and healthy on this beautiful November day, and for that I am truly and sincerely thankful.

November 6:  Today I am thankful for the people of my little Episcopal church in New Jersey. Friends and family past, present, and future. Their influence runs through my life and my being like a thread through a tapestry.

November 7:  Six years ago, my little dog Sparky was abandoned in a hurricane in Louisiana by his first owners. I am thankful that he made his way north and is now my best friend and constant companion. I am thankful too for the people who risked their lives to rescue him.

November 8:  Mere women, my great-grandmothers were unable to vote. Today, I am thankful for the right to do so, for the women who fought for that right, and for the men who supported them. Happy election day!

November 9:  I am thankful for the women of my high school class. They are an extraordinary group accomplished in a wide range of fields - doctors, writers, designers, artists, business leaders. They have taught me much, and my thirty-year association with them is one of the greatest gifts of my life.

November 10:  I am thankful for my husband. I can't fit 28 years into a status update, so I'll just say that many many years ago, finding a convenient streetlight, he stepped out of the shade...and I'm very very thankful that he did.  [The reference is to Dire Straits' song "Romeo and Juliet."]

November 11:  Today, of course, like all of you, I am thankful for those who serve in our armed forces. I am also thankful for the friendship of one Joe L., my husband's college roommate, my dear friend, and godfather of my son. Happy birthday, Uncle Joe; good health and much love in the coming year.

November 12:  Well, today I'm thankful for AAA.  [I had taken my daughter and her friend on a little college-visiting trip north.  At the University of Vermont, we allowed the young men at our hotel, enthusiastic UVM students, to valet-park our car for us. They unfortunately left the headlights on all night.]

November 13:  Thankful for my pretty little house, freshly painted (finally), warm and welcoming after a long weekend away.

November 14:  I'm thankful that I live in an era of technology that enables me to work anywhere I want - and my music and my coffee can come with me.

November 15:  I am thankful for my father. Educator, activist, retired Army chaplain, devoted husband of my mom, father of four, and grandpa of ten. Currently serving an Episcopal congregation in New York. A man of faith, intellect, and conscience. I admire him greatly and am thankful for him every day.

November 16:  I am thankful for my mother. She is responsible for my stubbornness, my work ethic, my devotion to my family, my obsession with grammar and etiquette, and my teeny tiny feminist streak. In the end, we are the sum of the women who went before us. How lucky I am to have followed her.

November 17:  Today, I am thankful for my nieces and nephews: David, Grace, Robin, Maggie, Zac, Stephanie, and Steven. They are the next generation, and they make me incredibly proud. Because of them I have confidence that, when I am gone, our family, and even the world, will be in good hands.

November 18:  I am thankful for my education. I was privileged to attend great schools and to study under some first-rate teachers. One of the things I learned was how much fun it is to learn. That's a gift that will stay with me all my life.

November 19:  Today I am thankful for my friend Annika, who writes to me in German, so I'm the only one in the house who can read what she says.  [I had gotten a sweet note from Annika consoling me for my recent loss.  She enclosed some craft supplies to be used in making Christmas ornaments.  I'll show you the results later.]

November 20:  I direct a little children's bell choir at my little church. I am thankful for that opportunity and for the kids who participate. I love their furrowed brows as they concentrate, waiting for their turn to ring, and their expressions of triumph when they get it right. Making music, and teaching someone young to make music with me, is one of life's greatest joys.

November 21:  Thankful to have reconnected with old friends, from my childhood and teenage years, who would otherwise be lost to me. There is no friend like an old friend. You know who you are. Thank you for being part of my life again.

November 22:  There are 100 million people in the United States who don't know where their next meal is coming from. That's nearly one in three, a shamefully high number. I am thankful that I am not one of those people and that I have frequent opportunities to do something to help them.

November 23:  Today I give thanks for my local friends and neighbors. Next door, around the corner, across the street, across town - you have taught me what community means. Thank you.

November 24:  ‎"I'm grateful for anything that reminds me of what's possible in this life. Books can do that. Films can do that. Music can do that. School can do that. It's so easy to allow one day to simply follow into the next, but every once in a while we encounter something that shows us that anything is possible, that dramatic change is possible, that something new can be made, that laughter can be shared." - Jonathan Safran Foer

Blessed feast to all. Thank you for being my readers.  I am thrilled whenever I get a comment, a link, or an encouraging note from anyone.  You have no idea how much your readership, support, and feedback mean to me.


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