The Gratitude Alphabet Game for 2011

For Thanksgiving my blogger friend Mitch wrote this post about gratitude and Alphabetized it.  I thought it was a great idea and I thought I should do something fun like that for 2011.  These are the things I’m grateful for in 2011 in alphabetical order.

Adoption.


I’m grateful for the people I have met while working in Adoption this year.  Where they had good or bad experiences, they have shaped my worldview about adoption.  Because of some wonderful people that I’ve met either in person or online, I am more committed than ever to the parents I work with who are considering adoption that they know their rights, they’ve considered all future consequences for their decision whether good or bad, and they know that I am an advocate on their side ready to protect them.  The people I’ve met working in adoption have blessed my life in so many ways.  


Books.


I love books.  I’ve read many good books this year.  Including, Sarah’s Key, Victim: The Other side of Murder, Shattered Silence, The Pact, House Rules, The Baby Thief:  the Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby seller who corrupted Adoption, White House Autumn, Long Live the Queen, Long may she Reign, Half-Broke Horses, Class Action, I still Dream about You, and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.


I’m also grateful to have joined Goodreads.com this year and getting to share good books with my friends.  


Cooking.

With joining Weight Watchers in March, I learned to start cooking better meals with higher nutritional values.  I have enjoyed cooking more and have begun to see it as an adventure instead of a chore.  It goes without saying that I’m really grateful for really good food, and really good people to share it with.

Dads.


I’ve been blessed to have some pretty great Dads in my life.  This year we spent a lot of time missing my dad after he and his wife moved to the mid-west in 2010.  We were fortunate enough to spend time with him in August when he came out for a visit right before the kidlets went back to school.  His grandkids miss him especially.  Whenever we go past a place their Peepaw took them, they mention it.  


My dad-in-law is a truly wonderful father.  The hubs comes from a large family and he was blessed to grow up with a father who spent a lot of time with each one of his kids, teaching them values, and instilling in them a work ethic.  Every thing my dad-in-law does is for his family.  He’s a great example to us.


The hubs is a wonderful Daddy.  I re-fall in love with him every time I see him in tender moments with our children.  He melts my heart.  My kids are blessed to have him as their dad.  

Exercise.


This year I discovered Spin class and that I love cycling.  I never thought I would!  My goal was just to survive my first spin class.  Instead I fell in love and after a couple of weeks, went out and bought clip-in bike shoes and bike shorts.  This year I want to get my own road bike so that I can cycle outside.  I also discovered Zumba this year when my gym started offering it.  I’ve always loved dancing and now I can do it as exercise.  I’m grateful for how exercise as made me feel this year:  strong, confident, happy, healthy, and tired.  

Family.


Of course!  I’m so grateful for the family I came from, the family I married into, and the family the hubs and I have created.  I’m so grateful for close friendships with most of those in my family.  I’m grateful for siblings who remain close even though one of our parents is gone to Heaven and the other to the mid-west.  I’m so grateful for my parents-in-law and for loving me the minute I started dating the hubs.  They know the true meaning of family.  They do so much to help us that I can’t imagine my life without them!  I’m so grateful for the three children the hubs and I have been blessed with.  Never will I take my fertility for granted, because it truly is a miracle that each of these children have been born to us.  They’re so funny, and cute, and smart!  I’m so grateful to be their mother.  Sometimes I think they teach me more about myself, than I will ever teach them.

Good Friends.


I am incredibly grateful for good friends, especially this year.  I’m so grateful for a friend like K, who works-out with me, listens to my problems, IMs with me late into the night.  She and her family brought ice cream to us after the hubs’s surgery.  She is the kind of friend you can always count on.


I’m grateful my NYC bestie is coming for a visit in January. I  don’t get to see her often so it’s always a holiday when I do.


I’m also so incredibly grateful to all of our good friends in our neighborhood that brought us meals, prayed for us, checked in on us, and visited us after the hubs had his surgery.  I was so incredibly humbled by their generosity and love.  I am so grateful for all the good friends we have made in our neighborhood.  It reconfirms to us the rightness of deciding to move here.  

Hair.


Ha ha!  I’ve been growing out my hair this year, trying a million different colors, and I’m so grateful it hasn’t rebelled and all fell out.  I’m also grateful to a great stylist, Courtnee, who is a great colorist and is always giving me flattering hair cuts.  





Internet friends.

Some of the coolest people I  know live in my computer.  Through blogging I’ve met some incredible people I wouldn’t have known otherwise.  I’m especially grateful to find this cool people on Facebook and get to know them as their real selves and not their monikers.  I’ve had to the opportunity to meet some of these incredible people in real life, and they’re just as cool in person as they are on the internet.  I’ve really enjoyed the ways that these incredibly insightful, intelligent, and thoughtful people have helped me expand my thinking, think about things in a different way, and re-evaluate my thoughts and beliefs.

Jobs.


I’m grateful for the hubs’s new job.  Not only was it a HUGE pay increase, the people he works for are all so incredibly nice.  That was the thing that struck me the most when I went to his Holiday party at the first of December.  I’m thankful that his opportunity has allowed him to work from home, which helps me when I need to pick up a sick kid at school, or take a kid to a doctor’s appointment, or just need more help during the day.  It has allowed him to travel to all sorts of place he would have never gone otherwise.  I’m also incredibly thankful for my job and the people I work with.  I work in the most supportive office one could ever imagine.  Where else do your co-workers pray for you and your family in staff meeting when your spouse is undergoing surgery that day?  I’m grateful for the work we do and the friendships we share there.  And I’m especially grateful the hubs and I are actually employed in an economy like this.  

Kids.


I’m so grateful for my sweet kids.  My daughter has such a tender heart and is always looking out for everyone.  My oldest son is so smart and constantly amazes me with his wit.  My youngest son is growing into a little boy, and is out of the baby stage.  He is so cute.  He calls lullabies, “Baby Songs.”  They make my laugh and they make my heart swell on a daily basis.  Now if I can just get them to stop fighting with each other….



Love.


The Beatles sang, “All you need is Love.”  Well, I don’t know if I believe that is true, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment.  I’m so grateful for the Love in my life.  And especially for the Love of my life, the hubs.  He is my greatest champion, my bestest friend, my lover, the one who is always there for me, my soft place to fall.  What would I do without his love?  Love gives you the courage to take on the world.  I’m so grateful that a man of the caliber of the hubs chooses on a daily basis to love me.  How did I get so lucky?  



Musicals.


I love musicals.  I love singing.  This year I’m grateful that I got to see Les Miserables with the hubs, K, and her hubby down at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City.  I love Les Mis.  I love the story, the music, everything about it.  This was my 4th viewing of the stage version.  (And who wasn’t enthralled by the 25th Anniversary of Les Mis on PBS this year???)  I love musical theater.  I’ve been blessed to see Les Mis, Wicked, Legally Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, The Color Purple, and In the Heights (the last three on Broadway in NYC).  This year I’m hoping to see the stage adaptation of Newsies on Broadway and Wicked, again, when it comes back to Salt Lake City this summer.  If I can get tickets for Wicked on my birthday, I will be one happy lady.  


Not moving.

  
With the hubs’s new job came a request of his company to relocate us to the Seattle area.  They gave us a year to sell our house, pack up our things, say goodbye, and find a new house.  We were just starting to wrap our brains around the implications of re-locating when we got word from his boss that a move was not absolutely necessary at this time.  Instantly the sad fog I had been in a for a few months had been lifted.  I don’t mind moving in the future, but it did not feel right at this time.  I’m so grateful we get to stay here for a little longer and enjoy being around our family and friends.  I’m so grateful we don’t have to sell the house we just barely bought 2 years ago.  I’m so grateful we get to enjoy the yard we put in this year!

Opportunities


I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given this year.  The opportunity to meet so many great people.  The opportunity to make new friends.  The opportunity to drop out of another Half marathon after damaging the big toes on both my feet, but still being able to do 3 formal 5Ks this year.  The opportunity to learn from my mistakes.  The opportunity to right my wrongs and grow from them.   The opportunity to just keep living.  The opportunity to be a mother, daughter, wife, sister, and friend.

People.


I’m grateful for all the people in my life.  People who teach me how to be a better person.  People who restore my faith in humanity.  People who teach me how I don’t want to be.  People who are my friends without question.  People who know the real me and love me anyway.  People who accept me, faults and all.  People willing to give me a chance.  People who inspire those around them.  People who work hard to make the world a better place.  People who give to others.  People who are really masquerading as angels on Earth.  People who write the most beautiful, insightful, amazing things.  People who make others think.  People who have a great love for children.  People who always bring out the best in others.  People who want to leave the world a better place when they are gone.  People who make me love people.  

Quiet.


I’m grateful for quiet moments.  I’m grateful for places where things are still, peaceful, and I can rest in the quiet.  I’m grateful for quiet when my life can sometimes seem so loud.  I’m grateful for the moments I had this year, in the quiet, where I felt my Mother’s presence.  It doesn’t happen often, but these quiet moments let me know that she is still here with me.  





Ridiculousness.


I’m grateful for those times when life is just completely, and totally ridiculous.  I’m grateful for those moments when I can laugh at the ridiculous instead of crying.  Like when the hubs is traveling for work, and the kids have many school projects due at once, and I’ve worked 12 hours in a day, and I still have to make dinner.  My first reaction is to cry, but then the utter ridiculousness of the situation gets to me.  I’m grateful for those moments, also, when I realize that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Sisters.


I have many.  I am grateful for my biological sister, who is one of my best friends. She took my children for an entire weekend after the hubs had his surgery.  She is a fun Aunt for them.  She is like a mini-therapist for me and I can always go to her with any problem and she always knows exactly what to say.  She has always been there for me.  I’m so grateful for her friendship and love.


I was also blessed to inherit three little sisters when I married the hubs.  I always wanted a little sister, and I was blessed with three when I got married.  I have literally watched all three grow up.  I’ve been blessed with the addition of more sisters each time one of my brothers-in-law, and brother, get married.  I’m grateful for these incredible women in my life.  For my friendships with them, the love and laughs we share, and our lives we share together.  

Television.


It sounds silly, but I’m grateful for the new television shows I’ve discovered this year.  My favorite have been Being Human and Game of Thrones.  Watching TV is my one way to unwind after the kids go to bed at the end of a long day when reading takes too much brain power.  This year I started watching The Big Bang Theory at the behest of both my siblings and I’m grateful for the laughs it has given me.  Community is my favorite comedy on TV right now, and I’ll be very grateful if the bigwigs at NBC come to their senses and keep it on for another season.  



Undivided Attention.


I’m grateful for all the times this year the hubs and I could give each other our undivided attention.  He has been on many, many business trips this year.  It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder!  While I am grateful for the new opportunities his job has brought us, I am much happier during the times when we could focus on just each other, re-energize our romance, and get the know the new “us” that changes every day.  I’m grateful for those moments when we could give our children our undivided attention in a world that seems to be pulling us in so many different directions.  I love it when I have one-on-one time with my daughter, or sitting down reading a book with one of my sons, or singing a lullaby to them.  



Vacations.


I’m very grateful for the vacations I’ve had this year.  They help me get through the responsibilities for the rest of the year.  The hubs and I have gone up to Seattle twice this year together:  once at the end of July for my birthday, and once right after Thanksgiving for his company’s holiday party.  We also had the opportunity to spend four days at Bear Lake with the hubs’s parents, grandparents, youngest brother, and first cousin.  That was actually very relaxing.  So many beautiful places for us to visit. 

Water.


For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to water.  I’m grateful for the restorative affects of water.  I much prefer having a bottle of water at the gym than a Sports drink.  Water is my favorite drink next to Mountain Dew. I’ve always wanted to live beside water.  I love falling to sleep to the sound of waves coming to shore or a rushing river.  I’m grateful for being able to swim in Bear Lake this year and see the Pugent Sound from the Seattle seafront.  

eXactitude


I know, I know…exactitude doesn’t start with an X.  How many words in the English language do that and make sense?  The dictionary definition of exactitude is:  the quality of being exact, exactness, preciseness, accuracy.  I picked this gratitude for two reasons.  A) I really like exactitudeness in writing (no, that’s not a real word).  I don’t like seeing typos, spelling or grammar mistakes.  They drive me batty.  And it’s important to practice exactitude in my profession when documents can change lives.  B) I really like big words.  My mom used big dictionary words and they just became a normal part of my vocabulary.  The hubs teases me because I even use big words, like placate, when I’m talking in my sleep.

Yoga.


I’m grateful for the peace that Yoga brings me.  The instructor of the Yoga class I go to always seems to know exactly what intention I need for that day.  She always has the neatest things to say at the end when Yoga has turned into a meditation. The Yoga class I attended right before Thanksgiving, the instructor set the intention for the class for Gratitude.  That night she read to us what would become one of my favorite quotes.  “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie.  I feel like when I’m doing Yoga, I’m not only stretching my limbs, but I’m stretching my soul.  Whenever I come out of Yoga class I’m as relaxed as if I just had a massage at the spa.   I’m truly grateful for that.

Zzzz.


As in sleep.  I’m ever so grateful for sleep.  I’ve always been the type of person who needed at least 8 hours of sleep a night.  I’m so amazed by the hubs who can function as a full human being on only 4 hours of sleep. I can’t do that.  I’m grateful for the energy sleeping gives me.  I’m grateful for a comfortable bed to sleep in and a comfortable couch to nap on.  I’m grateful that I live in a safe place where I can get a restful night’s sleep.  

This is my gratitude list for 2011.  I hope you all have a blessed New Year!


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