The end of this year is coming to a close. Thank Heavens! That was my first thought. It’s been quite a year of shock, grief and loss, and a few nice surprises thrown in to soften the rest. But as I sat to write my blog for this final month of 2016, some other thoughts came to mind. Thankful thoughts I will call them. So bear with me as I meander through them.
Thanksgiving comes once a year and we often save all of our thanks giving to that one day… often around the turkey in the center of our dinner table. But giving of thanks comes more often than that… or it should. Most of us are guilty of not giving enough thanks when we should. As I look back over what I am thankful for in 2016, I came across a few things… and people.
I am thankful that I have a family who loves me, warts and all. I have a daughter who stands up for those who cannot. She fights the good fight every day of her life. My son also has a deep heart and a soul to match for others in this world. He may not be as vocal as his sister and mother, but he is steadfast in loyalty to those he protects with fierceness. He is a good man… no mother could ask for more. I have a husband who might not be as wealthy as others, but who has never shirked from hard work since he was a child. That hard work day in and day out earned him a failing heart. But along came some miracle workers disguised as doctors and nurses this year and we have him with us for some time still to come. And yes, he is still working long, hard hours but that is who he is and his way of protecting this family. If there was ever someone who comes close to being George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life”, then that would be my husband… a huge and giving heart and wealthy, not in money, but because of the people whose lives he has touched and the unbounded love and optimism he gives to all.
I am thankful for a handful of dear, life-long friends who have seen and heard it all and still manage to bring laughter and love to my life. It is true that you may not see someone for quite a while between visits and over long distances, yet your hearts stay as connected as if they were in the next room. That is so true of my dearest compadres. And for those friends who have entered my life only recently, you know who you are, too. You have shown caring in thoughtful ways both big and small. I cherish our lunches, our day trips to search out new adventures and back roads, and sharing hopes and sad times, too. You help to smooth the sharp curves that life’s road throws in our pathway.
I am thankful that I have a job that is both maddening and wonderful… often all at the same time. I get to stay young at heart because of the wonderful young people who cross my path…first as timid freshmen far from home and then I get the privilege of watching them walk out the door in four years as adults with their eyes trained on the stars ahead. The best times are those when they come back for a hug and shared laughter, often with their own spouses and new babies in arms. I am reminded that the cycle of life and hope for us all is still in our grasp and will continue.
I am thankful I was born to a family that wanted me. I knew great love and still feel it around me when times are darkest. The strength I was given as a child has served me as an adult and a parent of my own now-grown children. I was also given the ability to stand on my own feet, reach for my own dreams, accept defeat and learn from it, know the greatest joy and wealth comes not from dollars but from finding like souls to share the earth with and still be able to expect the best is yet to come.
And I am most thankful I was born a Texan and an American. I love Texas with a fierceness that often surprises folks who meet me (such as New York editors!) and that love is only second to that of being an American. This country had too much blood shed for her over centuries to protect us and give us a way of life and freedom that few others have…. but all envy. And when it is under attack from forces outside and now, inside, its boundaries, then I will stand up and use my voice to fight for her. When she is threatened, we all are. And when those who are weaker than I are threatened also, then it is my duty as an American to stand beside them. I don’t shirk from that duty whether the opposition is friend, family, or stranger.
This year saw my writing and publishing of books continue to grow and that is something I will never take for granted. To be able to write a book that brings a smile to someone’s heart that I have never met is an awesome thrill and an inspiring responsibility. I hope the stories I have still to put on the page will continue to make others’ journeys just a bit easier if only for an hour or so… that is my greatest thanks.
The best is still to come….happy holidays and a peaceful 2017 for all,