More gratitude

Took a while to get this up:

Nov. 15 – I am grateful for my education. I loved school and enjoyed (mostly) what I learned. That education gave me the ability to choose a career that was satisfying. But even more, it gave me the ability to think through issues and make my own decisions. It gave me strength to handle challenges. I think education is about much more than finding a well-paying job. It is about living a well-rounded life.

Nov. 16 – I am grateful for weekends, time to slow down and relax without worrying. When you’re retired, you can treat every day like a weekend. But I don’t – I work during the week and rest on the weekend although I spend half of them in Brevard rather than Greer.

Nov. 17 – I am grateful for chocolate. This is one of those days when chocolate is what I need to enhance my mood.

Nov. 18 – I’m grateful for extra space in my house. For the past year, I have been trying to get rid of “stuff” (which unfortunately includes some books). Sunday I cleaned out my linen closet and am donating half of the towels and sheets to Goodwill. I hope somebody will get good use from them. I somehow had many more than I would ever use. Thankfully, I can tell the difference in my space (not as crowded).

Oops, where has the day gone? Nov. 19 – I am grateful for a new deck, new screened-in porch, a railing on the front steps and a renovated bathroom. Just one more step – black plastic under the deck and porch to keep the weeds down. Everything is gorgeous – and I’m so glad it’s done.

Nov. 20 – I am grateful for a good hairdresser – one who listens to me and then cuts my hair to make it work. Vanessa, you’re the best. (Do a good job today!)

Nov. 21 – I’m grateful for times that I can sleep a little later than usual without feeling guilt. That’s one of the things retirement has done for me – as well as allowed me to choice the projects I work on, have time to renovate my house, keep up with family and friends and all the other little things that often get lost in workday living. What retirement has really done is give me choices.

Nov. 22 – I’m grateful for memories, the sad as well as the good ones. This is a time to remember Pres. John F. Kennedy, the first president I had any interest in. He and his family were my heroes. But I also am thankful for good memories – family trips, memories of growing up and all the little pieces that make up a life.

Nov. 23 – I am grateful for my mother’s friends who continue to care about her. A former doctor came by to check on her medications and how she’s doing since she’s ready to come to South Carolina for a week. She’ll be with me during Thanksgiving. What a blessing that is.

Nov. 24 – I am grateful I live in this great nation, even when it ignores its founding principles. But I still have more choices than in many countries and many others pray to join us here. I am grateful for those that protect us on the national, state and local level.

Nov. 25 – I’m grateful for writing. It soothes me, encourages me, challenges me. It helps me relax and it winds me up at times. It makes me use my mind and my imagination. Writing is my life.

Nov. 26 – I am grateful for warm food on this cold, rainy, icy morning. And I’m thankful that food is plentiful and readily available – I wish that were true of everyone. I’m also grateful to have someone to share that breakfast with this week.

Nov. 27 – I am grateful for the scurrying around and cooking you do for guests. That means I’m thankful for the guests, thankful to be able to prepare and thankful to have all of us together. Let Thanksgiving arrive.

Nov. 28 – Thanksgiving day – I am grateful for my life and for all those people and objects that make it richer and more varied. Thanks to all of you, no matter where you are.

Nov. 29 – I’m grateful that the big day is over, that we had good food and good conversation, that left-overs fill my refrigerator and that today I’m resting (not shopping). It’s good to have a holiday that centers around family and friends rather than presents. But I pray for those without families or friends, those with abusive families, those who can’t be with their families and those who don’t share the plenty for whatever reason.

Nov. 30 – The last day of my grateful project. I am grateful for the air we breathe and the sun that warms us, the winds that cool us and the flowers, the vines and the trees. I have seen the world in the maple tree in front of my house. The natural world brings me a sense of tranquility and peace not often found in the man-made world. This project could go on forever as I am blessed in so many ways.

List of blessings

I try to express gratitude all year long, but November is the month I really try to go out of my way in thanks people and remembering my blessings. I have many – family, friends, adequate money, books and much more.

I began a Gratitude List this year (I often do this):

Thankful List 2013

I barely made it on the first day of November: I am grateful for my mother, who despite her pain is in good health. She’ll be with me for Thanksgiving.

Nov. 2 – I am grateful for friends who support me and are willing to tell me if I’m doing something crazy.

Nov. 3 – I am grateful that I still can enjoy food while trying to lose weight. And I’ve been successful, with 33 pounds gone since January.

Nov. 4 – I am grateful for continuing to find freelance work to keep me busy enough but not too busy. And I thankful for the time to do my own personal writing.

Nov. 5 – I am grateful for a “walking buddy.” She got me walking – after I talked about it for three months – and together we keep each other honest.

Nov. 6 – I am grateful for the little things of life – chocolate kisses, a smile from a friend or from someone I don’t know, a friendly clerk in a store, a word of encouragement, angel food cake and cooler temperatures.

Nov. 7 – I am grateful for photography. It lets me – or makes me – see the world in a different way. I think I’m probably a better person because of that.

Nov. 8 – I am grateful for sunny days like today – and rainy days sometimes, too. I love fall and look forward to its coming. And I am grateful that I live in a region that has distinct seasons.

Nov. 9 – I am grateful for my brother and the memories we have and our visits, which don’t come often enough. He taught me a lot of things, including how to love somebody even if you’re mad at them. He also challenged me – I learned to ride a bike so someone 2 1/2 years younger wouldn’t learn first and I learned to swim because he could. Chip, I love you and your family.

Nov. 10 – The day is almost over, but my gratitude is not. I am grateful for the freedoms we have in this country – the freedom to worship or not to worship, the freedom to speak or to say nothing, the freedom to move around the country or remained rooted in the place of our birth, the freedom to change jobs, to create jobs, to retire without starving. I know that not everyone in this country can claim these freedoms as easily as I do, but the freedoms are there (with maybe a little help from our friends).

Nov. 11 – I am grateful for our military personnel who sacrifice much to protect their country. That includes past and present, my father, uncles, aunt, brother, cousins, nephews, and those I have never met. Thanks for your service.

Nov. 12 – I am grateful for my nieces, two very different, very lovely and very accomplished young ladies. And I love Shannon and Amanda to pieces and they give me a scholar and an artist. How lucky can I get? I also am grateful that my mother’s second marriage brought me two additional nephews plus their two daughters and one son.

Nov. 13 – As I get ready to walk this morning, I am grateful for the ability to walk despite the cold. I also am grateful to have the cold-weather clothing to make the walk possible. I realize I am lucky because I have both the necessities of life and many of the desires of life, and I give thanks.

Nov. 14 – I am grateful for books – books to entertain me, books to teach me, books to comfort me, books for any reason and no reason.

My thankful list

Today is damp and gray. But who cares? I have the memories of another wonderful Thanksgiving to keep me warm.

My mother continues to do relatively well and every year is another that I’m thankful to have her. We joined friends for Thanksgiving dinner, but I plan to cook Christmas dinner for her. It seems strange – not quite right – to eat in the College Walk dining room on special holidays.

The season has made me list the things I’m thankful, big and little. They include:

My mother, who is still sharp although she has some trouble walking.

My family as a whole. They support me and give me a lift when I need ne.

Friends – they are around even when family is not available.

The church, which makes me welcome and whole.

A computer that now works.

The completion of my house renovation/redecoration project.

The ability to write – and get paid a little for it.

\My health, which continues to be good. I am having a little pain from arthritis, but it’s not bad.

The holiday season, which makes me glad to be alive – even when I’m most tried and frazzled.

The near arrival of retirement and Social Security. I’ll probably continue to freelance, but I’ll be in the retirement generation.