Every year around this time, my news feed is full of people expressing things they are thankful for each day. Each year, I vow that I will do the same throughout the month of November, and each year I fail miserably at it.
This year was no different.
I started out strong, but by the tenth day, I was starting to be a little more lax about it, managing to only post something every other day. I would double post to make up for the days I had missed, constantly reminding myself to do better. By the 18th I gave up and stopped double posting, just doing it crossed my mind. As you can imagine, I gave up entirely by the 23rd. I didn’t even post one on Thanksgiving.
It’s not that I don’t have a multitude of things to be thankful for, or that those things go unappreciated in my day to day life. In fact, I make it a point to find at least one thing to express gratitude for each and every day as part of my self-care regimen. It is important to acknowledge the blessings in our lives to avoid burning ourselves out as we strive to sort out the more trying aspects of existence.
The truth of the matter is that I’m just too lazy and forgetful to keep up with any sort of 30 day challenge. I’m also not very good at keeping up with social media in any capacity, which is definitely a hindrance when you choose to work in a field that is highly reliant on making your presence known.
I suspect that some of it has to do with my anxiety issues, but there is also the fact that I have a tendency to over load myself with more projects and goals than I can feasibly handle at one time. Adding one more task to the list each day just isn’t reasonable when you’re already struggling to keep up with everything else.
That said, I love the idea of sharing your blessings with the world through social media each day. It’s wonderfully refreshing to see so many positive posts breaking up the endless stream of negativity that I have seen lately.
In the spirit of the season, I would like to share the 30 things I am thankful for in one easy to digest post.
- I am extremely grateful that I found someone as weird as I am to share my life with. Through the last 10 years, my husband and I have endured just about every obstacle a couple can face and have always come out stronger for it. He’s one of a handful of people I can really be myself with, and that in itself is something to be thankful for!
- My beautiful daughter, and the love and laughter she has brought into my life. I really didn’t know just how good life could be until my little girl was born. I also didn’t have a clue of what I was capable of or just how strong I really am. She’s taught me so much in so few years!
- My mother, who is so much more than just a mom. She truly is one of my very best friends. I am beyond grateful for all she has taught me and all she has allowed me to learn for myself, for her encouragement and support, and for the grand tradition of “friend ears” that has facilitated open and honest communication on subjects that would otherwise be difficult to discuss. To say I don’t know what I’d do without her is an understatement!
- My grandmother, who was more like a second mother and friend to me. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, and this time of year is especially hard as I find myself wishing for just one more holiday together. I am extremely thankful that I got to know such a wonderful person and for all the memories I have.
- All the people who have supported me on this journey as I work to build my career, even when I’m not quite sure of myself. If it wasn’t for the love and encouragement provided by my nearest and dearest, I never would have had the courage to finally release a novel and chase my dreams.
- My closest friends, who have become part of my family. I have been blessed with a handful of people who I cannot imagine not having in my life, who uplift me, and who I can just be myself around. I am incredibly lucky to have these strong bonds.
- My large network of family. It’s amazing how many people make a difference in our lives. Knowing there’s so many who care about our family is a blessing indeed.
- My wonderful fur babies: Kuma, our big beast of a dog, and Jude, our mostly reclusive cat. These two always bring a smile to my face and make life much more pleasant.
- I’m thankful for music. Whether I’m listening to it or making it myself, nothing else in the world does as good a job of turning around a bad mood, or enhancing a good one. Over the years it has been a constant source of comfort and has shaped me in indescribable ways.
- Books. How awesome is it that we can open up a novel and be transported into another universe? Being able to step into a reality different than our own is a wonderful escape, and there is always a lesson to be learned from even the silliest stories.
- Wine. Because seriously, some days you just need a drink. Or 3.
- I am extremely thankful that no matter how tight things get, we have a roof over our heads, our bills are paid, and there’s always food on the table. There have been times when things were a lot more uncertain than they are now, and I know there are others for whom these things are a daily struggle. We are incredibly lucky to be where we are.
- My cell phone. Even though we no longer have phone service, the device itself is still a wonderful thing to have. I can connect with friends through various apps, play games, take pictures and video, and so much more. Not so long ago the idea of being able to do all of that with one item wasn’t fathomable. How cool is it that we’ve seen technology advance so much?
- Lazy days. These may be the days I love the most. Just lying around the house in my PJs with my family and taking the time to enjoy simply being is one of my favorite things in the world.
- Mindy at MRB Photography. I met her when she did my best friend’s wedding and knew instantly that she was who I wanted to do my own. She did such an amazing job capturing our special day, and we got along so well, that I recently contacted her to do some head shots for me and take some shots for the cover of the next book. I am very thankful that our paths crossed!
- Delicious food. I don’t want to come off as braggy, but I’m a pretty good cook, which I credit to both of my grandmothers. I love to cook (so long as I’m not rushed and no one steps into the kitchen while I’m working!) and I love to feed others. I am very thankful to be in a place where no one leaves my home hungry.
- A car that runs. Seriously, we have had our share of junk cars and have gone long stretches without a vehicle at all. Having a reliable set of wheels is amazing!
- Online grocery shopping and delivery. I often blame my dislike of shopping for groceries on the hassle of taking my unpredictable 4 year old with me, but the truth of the matter is I just don’t like to put on pants and deal with people. I much prefer waking up and putting in my order while I’m still in my jammies! Plus, I save a ton of money by sticking to the list and not blindly grabbing snack foods off the shelves!
- The internet, without which none of this would be possible. There are so many new opportunities for artists of all types nowadays, and it is truly a blessing for those of us who wish to share our work. It is also wonderful to be able to learn new things so easily and to be able to stay in touch with people you otherwise might not have.
- My early morning quiet time. I get up at 5:15 every morning. After I make my husband’s coffee and send him off to work, I have three to four hours to myself before my daughter wakes up. Being able to begin my day at a slower pace and have time to read, write, and recharge before resuming the usual rush is a life saver!
- People who put up with my singing. This should probably be higher on the list, because I’m sure it gets annoying. I’m generally always singing, whether it’s an on the fly ditty about why I’m walking to the kitchen, or singing along with whatever happens to be on. This is true regardless of where I am. 90% of the time, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s just a reflex at this point. Props to all those who can handle it!
- Babies. Are they not the best? They inspire so much hope and wonder and best of all they’re cute and snugly! I’m especially grateful for the times I get to watch my adorable niece and I hope one day she has awesome memories and stories to tell of her Aunt Brandyn.
- My siblings. Do you know how awesome my mom is? She’s so awesome that she gave me one brother when I was two and needed a built-in friend, and then another when I was 20 and needed a practice baby. I have such a unique bond with each of my brothers that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I also was blessed with step-siblings when my father remarried and was lucky to form strong bonds with them as well, especially my step-sister.
- New friends. It’s amazing when you find others who are on your wavelength, and even more amazing when they become part of your circle of kinship.
- Happy childhood memories. Although there were definitely some rough patches in my life, I have far more many happy memories than bad ones and I am beyond thankful for that, as I know many cannot say the same.
- Mistakes I have made over the course of my life. There are many things I could have done differently, but I have learned a valuable lesson from every misstep and bad decision. I am thankful to have the ability to use that knowledge to improve my life.
- My crockpot. Because some days you just can’t be chained to the stove.
- My health. Although I have faced some fairly serious health issues in the past, I am mostly healthy. I am able to take care of my self and everything works more or less as expected, and I think that is something many of us take for granted.
- My bed. Am I the only one who freaking loves sleep? It’s the best. Not only that, but just chilling out and watching TV in comfort or reading a book (or writing a book, for that matter) with my mountain of pillow behind me is just heavenly.
- All of you, the people who follow my blog, my social media accounts, and read my books. You are all amazing and I am so lucky to have such great people in my corner. Thank you so much for your continued support!