Thanks be

I’ve been reading a lot about happiness lately, and one theme that emerges is that stopping to take stock of what you are thankful for makes you happier. It makes sense — when you take the good things in your life for granted, you stop noticing them and their impact on your life. My own life is rich with blessing, and I try to stop regularly and notice it, appreciate it, and rejoice in my good fortune. So, without further ado, here are some of the things I’m grateful for in this season of reflection:

*My husband Adam, who is just getting better (and even better-looking — so unfair!) with age. He thinks of me with generosity and love. He’s funny and patient. He is active and engaged, and is always glad to be home with us. He is the love of my life, my solid partner in life’s serious challenges, and my goofy partner is life’s less-serious moments.
*My sons, who bring me not only joy and delight but a new vision into the world. I think perhaps the greatest reason to have children is to see the world anew and delightful through unjaded eyes. Grey is full of fun, affection, and terrible knock-knock jokes. He catches my breath with his perception of the life we share. Thane is my happy little curly-haired bopper. He wanders through life at knee-height talking to himself and shaking a toy. When he sees me, he comes running and lays his head against my shoulder in a gesture of trust and joy.
*The older I get, the more I realize that one family that doesn’t drive you nuts and whose company you enjoy is a blessing. TWO families (my own family and the one I married into) that do that is lightening in a bottle. I try never to take either one for granted.
*Some days it is hard to see and remember the grace of God. Happily, it remains present whether we engage with the almighty or not.
*I am profoundly aware that the things I take for granted are not givens — a home to live in, food to eat, a car to drive, my health. Even things like clean water and medical care are unavailable to far too many. I’m also so grateful for all those who are working to bring these most basic things to all God’s children, such as Path International.

Thus for the big serious underpinnings of my life. Now for the smaller things I’m grateful for.
*Coffee. Without coffee, my life would be a sadder, sleepier place. Mmmmm coffeee…..
*This blog. I really enjoy writing, but I would never do it so regularly if it weren’t for the feedback loop of having readers. On a weekday, I average between 50 – 100 readers. I suspect I personally know many of you, but I’m grateful you give me the opportunity to engage with you. (And hey, lurkers, feel free to comment! I don’t bite!)
*The view out the back windows of our house. It fills me with joy Every. Single. Time.
*A church where I feel needed and loved, whose halls I have come to walk as familiarly as my own home.
*Incredibly generous friends who invite us and our two small, destructive children to Thanksgiving dinner. (And who it’s just been so much fun to get to know better this year!)
*NPR “vacation” weeks, when there’s 50% less doom, gloom, destruction and health-care overhauls, and significantly more stories about ants wearing stilts.
*Christmas. I love Christmas. I love it more every year.
*Those Carl Sagan remixes: They make me tear up.

There are, I’m sure, a bajillion more blessings in my life. But those are some.

What about you? What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving eve?

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

3 thoughts on “Thanks be”

  1. Brenda, I love your blogs. I’m going to share this one with my choir tonight, if that’s ok. And I’m thankful my path crossed with you and your family in our former lives. I’m thankful I can remember your smile, your bubbly enthusiasm, and your dedication to your instrument, even as an eighth grader/highschooler. Those are just the things I saw about you. And I’m thankful, too, for your family, that nurtured and encouraged you, and cheerfully volunteered to help others. And, I’m thankful I can still see that smile on the internet, and relive the “good old days.” (I never knew you were terrified doing the opening solo of Capriccio Italien. I remember that you aced it!) You really do “light up the lives” of many people, than and now.


    1. Dee, of course! I’m always glad to have my writing shared.

      You stood at a very important crossing point in my life. I easily could never have gotten to orchestra, and what a horrible shame THAT would’ve been! Your daughter was incredibly kind to shepherd around a “little kid” with patience and grace. I actually was NOT terrified of the solo in Capriccio Italien at the time. I am terrified of it in retrospect. I wondered if YOU guys were terrified, having such a critical role in such green lips — glad to hear that I didn’t take a year off your life!

      Every child is the work of a community. I’m also very grateful for the parents I have. If I could duplicate their parenting for my own kids, I would. (I suspect I’m more of a worrier than they ever were.) But your hand played a large role, too. (Do you remember the time our Knowledge bowl team crashed your class because Hwy 12 was closed for rockslides and flooding? Good times…. Chad Hopkins and I ended up spending the next three days with Dick Conley — how many people get so taken care of by their school administrators as we did?)

      I’ve heard you can never pay back the people who helped you as a child. The best you can do is pay it forward. I have excellent examples to follow.

      Thank you.


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