Longer ago than I care to admit, a writing professor challenged my classmates and me to describe what we were thankful for in 200 words or less. While I often held up this professor’s opinion of my skills on a pedestal, she did teach me a lot about who I wanted to be as a writer–despite my insecurities. Some of her teachings were intentional and others not, but I remain thankful to this professor to this day.

Through several nudges, including this small “thankful for” assignment, she joined the ranks of those who helped encourage a life perspective I’m proud to keep pursuing: the one that aspires for joy. And so, in honor of last week’s holiday, I decided to reproduce this assignment. If you have some time and some scrap paper, I urge you to do the same. Fancy words are not required. You won’t find them below. Sometimes simply realizing our blessings on paper can help us ink them more permanently in our minds. Especially during those tough times.

I’m thankful for…

  • Puppies
  • Animal videos on YouTube
  • Snail mail
  • Creating individual personas for our embarrassingly large collection of stuffed critters
  • Mornings I wake before my alarm with the choice to get up or keep snoozing
  • Honest confrontations with my faults that lead to growth
  • Walking in the woods
  • Yoga and physical therapy bringing relief to my tortured neck
  • Music that whispers to my hidden hurts
  • Sharing coffee with a cherished friend who willingly listens to my struggles and shares her own
  • Hugs from my sister whom I don’t see enough but know will always share our beautifully irreplaceable bond
  • Phone calls with my mom, dad, siblings and siblings-in-law–just because
  • Watching my nieces and nephews grow
  • Coworkers who help me keep going when work feels like work
  • Genuine conversations with friends, new and old
  • Our house and my beyond blessed life, never wanting for food, shelter, help or love
  • My beloved husband who braves a daily, invisible fight so that he can walk this life with me–laughing with me in silly moments, holding me in anxious moments, encouraging me in lost moments, existing with me in routine moments, loving me through unlovable moments…
  • Glimpses of Love here on earth

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