What I have not spent much of this month doing, this month marked by a day of giving thanks, is being thankful. Taking a minute. Reflecting. Practicing gratitude.
I like that last one: practicing gratitude. Because isn't it just--a practice. And like anything, you might never get perfect but you can always get better, do more. So in lieu of using my Facebook to post a daily gratitude all month, I'm taking a moment here. I've hit pause on my Big Dumb Action Movie I got from Redbox, I've shooed the cat off my lap, and I'll actually take some of my downtime tonight and do something with it, even if it's just for me.
In the order in which they come...
1) I'm grateful for being swept into stories. The friends I spent Thanksgiving with were commenting on how I raced through a 300-page book in a couple days; the truth is, I'm not really a fast reader, but if I get hooked into a story, I'll plow through just about anything.
2) I'm grateful for a mom who's my friend. Some experiences lately have had me reflecting on the rough times she and I went through in high school (as about any single mom & her teenage daughter will have), and I'm grateful she held tight with me, didn't kick me out of the house, didn't kill me... And that fifteen years later, I call just to chat on the walk home from the grocery store.
3) I'm grateful for the grocery store! A simple thing, but something so many are deprived of--either by geography/society or simply by finances. I'm grateful for the ridiculous piles of options and choices, for the bags full of food (be it healthy vegetables or a tub of pudding), and for a debit card that clears.
4) I'm grateful that food tastes good. I mean, really, it's just fuel. We could just be eating basic gruel, and instead we get candied bacon and salted caramel truffles and 78 colors of peppers.
5) I'm grateful for my love of cooking, which I've commented on before. But sometimes, like tonight, I'm grateful that I was just cooking for me. The fish came out a little soggy, the broccoli didn't carmelize like I was hoping... at least the Texas Toast crisped like it should have...?
6) I'm grateful for my cat. Crazy cat lady here, but after all this busy-ness I've been in need of downtime and she has helped, snuggling up and purring and being nice quiet happy company.
7) I'm grateful for my health & wholeness. After my, really, relatively minor fall on Wednesday and the impaired use of my arm since, I've been hit with the reality of how I take my health for granted. Even something as, again, minor, as a broken arm would have put my life into a level of crazytown. Grateful.
8) I'm grateful for heat in my house. Baby, it's cold outside.
9) I'm grateful for this blogging challenge. I'll write more on this tomorrow, but I'm grateful for the challenge set, and the energy and willpower to complete it.
10) I'm grateful for quilts from my mother. On a chillout day of lazing around the house, they are absolutely the best--one on the bed, one on the couch... happiness.
11) I'm grateful for the restoration of sleep. Coming home from this last show just shaking the end of a cold, I arrived home and got two nights of 10+ hours of sleep, and could have used more. But even that was demonstrative of how necessary that stuff is. (To all those who can't get such respites due to young children, insomnia, etc... I honestly don't know how you do it.)
12) I'm grateful for these sweatpants. They are the most comfortable things ever.
13) I'm grateful for the promise of vacation. I'm sad to be missing Christmas with my local family here, but getting increasingly ready to head out and enjoy some vacation and seeing various relatives out in Iowa.
14) I'm grateful for my odd batch of friends, who wouldn't mind my calling them odd because they'd take it as a compliment. I'm grateful that, no matter the mood or situation, I have a passel of people I can call, text, or otherwise contact--whether it's just to share a joke or get together for coffee or have an emotional breakdown with.
15) I'm grateful for snow. I blogged about this yesterday, and I nearly fell three times on the way to the grocery store, but still grateful.
16) I'm grateful for my location. It's hard not to be when your walk home from groceries involves a harbor, a city skyline, and a sunset.
17) I'm grateful for people who are smarter than me. Coming from an intellectual snob, this might surprise you, but it's true. I'm glad someone else is figuring out the big things I can't wrap my brain around, figuring out the equations that make my head hurt, answering the questions I wouldn't have thought to ask.
18) I'm grateful for, on the flip side, not really caring about the stuff I don't know. I'm not sure how else to put it, but I'm just not the sort who lies awake wondering about exactly how the world was put together, or whether China is going to own all our kidneys by next week, or what a quadratic equation is. I trust those other people who care about these things... And I'm grateful that I get to sleep instead.
19) I'm grateful for pudding. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do, and it's just the best.
20) I'm grateful for my job. I blogged about this somewhat the other day, but it still holds true.
21) I'm grateful for my nice, quiet apartment. For quiet neighbors on a quiet street. For peace.
22) I'm grateful for closed doors. Again, some recent thought trails have taken me down a couple "might have been" paths. There are always a few I wonder/growl at, but on the whole, I'm absurdly grateful for what God protected me from, even when I was trying any which way to get to it.
23) I'm grateful for my obsession with fairy tales. Into the Woods and Cinderella are both on the movie theater horizon, and I can barely stand it.
24) I'm grateful for my godchildren. They are the smartest, most adorable, most lovable kiddos on the planet. #unbiased
25) I'm grateful for second chances and restarts and do-overs--the real kind. This movie plays with a Groundhog-Day-esque scenario, which I'm not looking for, but I'm grateful when the opportunities come to try and try again.
26) I'm grateful for YOU, faithful reader! (Hi.)
27) I'm grateful for... seriously, I'm dragging the bottom of the barrel at 27? LAME, Chandra. You are the worst. I'm grateful for people who hear me talk to myself and don't call 1-800-LOONY-BIN.28) I'm grateful for a legacy of strong women and powerful stories. For "I can aim lower boys," and stubborn Bohemies.
29) I'm grateful for the magic of a shower--how I can feel like a completely different person after some hot water and shampoo. What is that about?
30) I'm grateful for the Advent season. Not just a single day of Christmas, but a season of weeks, an attitude and a method of looking forward, of expecting, of experiencing and holding onto a miracle, a gift that could never be responded to other than meekly, with praise and silence and awe and celebration and candlelight and music and joy.