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It’s that time of year where we all have the momentary discipline to outwardly express gratitude!  Although most of us are likely to be grateful on a daily basis for the things in our life that bring us joy, safety, health, contentment…etc, it’s tradition to speak these things aloud on that single Thursday in November.

Lately, I have wondered why it’s so easy to focus on the negative things in challenging situations.  I don’t understand why it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown  yet frowning seems easier to do and empathize with (maybe because gravity is constantly working in our favor.)

So as a reminder to myself to remember how to “play the game of life,” here is the list of things I am grateful for in 2012!

  1. My family!  Unlike 2011, I like them this year.  (just teasing…the jury is still out on 2012)
  2. The funny stuff my little boys say that cracks me up and gives me blog fodder.
  3. My audience!  Thank you to everyone who stops by “The Donovan Boys” and takes the time to read the rants, laughs, and philosophy that makes up my days.
  4. My sister and her husband and their boundless generosity.
  5. My three brothers and their families that I never get to see as much as I would like.
  6. Mikey’s school, teacher and everyone else who works to make it a good experience and education
  7. Melissa, my neighbor and Mikey’s tutor who is also a first grade teacher.  She has such talent for explaining lessons to my little boy whose brilliant brain processes a little differently, and she does it out of the kindness of her heart.
  8. My parents for all of their support and their love of Mikey and Pierce.
  9. The health of all of my loved ones.
  10. A quiet breakfast at the kitchen table with just Mikey.
  11.  Words With Friends—it keeps me on my verbal toes and engaged with friends I don’t get to see very often.
  12. A lovely new car in 2012!
  13. My good friend, Christina, who thought enough of my abilities and talents to bring me on board when she started Tina Marie Interior Design.  By doing this, she feeds my creative needs, our friendship, and my family!
  14. Grandparents, Auntie Good Times, and Daddy that support my erratic work schedule by watching and loving Pierce and Mikey as needed.
  15. Auntie Donut and her generosity towards my boys!
  16. Aunt Rita (Andrea) and the 20 years of friendship that has survived the years, tears, laughs, books, philosophies, miles, children and everything else to be the kind of friendship that will last lifetimes!  I get to truly be who I am with her without ever worry of judgment—she is the kindest, gentlest, and most forgiving person I know!
  17. My dear friend Julia, who, although she failed me at personal training my body into a size two—I love her all the same!  Haha!  She is darling, HILARIOUS, and kind.  Although we don’t get a ton of time together, she has become one of the most special people in my life.
  18. All of my other friends that I don’t see nearly enough, but have touched my heart and stayed there over the years in spite of the absence of opportunities to see each other.
  19. Randy Bill and his life partner, and the many moments of hilarity.  Please return to your pasture!
  20. Flanders, my neighborly cat that is just like his name sake.  He’s a great pet except for the fact that there isn’t a surface in my garage that doesn’t have his mark on it….grrrrrrr….
  21. My brother in Minnesota finally owns his own slice of paradise on a lake in the great North Woods after 20 years in CA.
  22. For my Sister-in-law who didn’t see this as her future, but went willingly to allow my brother his dream.
  23. My Brother in Georgia and his love affair with his first grand baby!
  24. My brother in Florida who is one of the most interesting people I know.  He and his wife had Greg and I in their home for the first time this year (by our lack of initiative, not theirs—the invitation has always stood open.)  They were wonderful hosts, bringing us to dilapidated old fish camps sliding into the bayou for a beer and to leave our stamp in Sharpie on the termite eaten walls!
  25. Every time the boys use the bathroom and DON’T dribble on the floor.
  26. Every time Pierce actually uses the potty, instead of his poop hammock.
  27. Video games and tablets that parent my children when I’m tired of doing it.
  28. Pierce’s giggle.
  29. My marriage to Greg.  By grace we simply get each other, and aside from the typical cycles of self-preservation as parents, we are wonderful partners.
  30. Winning Powerball Numbers!
  31. All my design clients that have been unbelievably loyal, been patient when needed, and been generous, thank you!

Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this—may you remember god’s graces in your life today, as well, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S. or simply Thursday anywhere else.

Please share what you are grateful for on this beautiful day!