In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, I offer you this list. It is not exhaustive, but it is true. I hope that as you read this, my list, you will take a moment to meditate on what you are grateful for.
20 things (because 20 has a nice round notion about it) I am grateful for:
1. My family. More specifically here, the creativity that has been fostered and expected within my family, in all sorts of ways, from my grandmother's painting to my nephew's cooking, from mom's doodles while she was on the phone with her sister to my sister's ceramic pots, from great-ancestor's quilts to my cousin's piano accompanying, we are a creative family. It allows me to play with words, with fabric and with ingredients at will without ever feeling I am wasting time or accomplishing nothing.
2. My friends, who have accepted me, loved me, housed me, fed me, entertained me, listened to me, laughed (with and at) me, introduced me to new ideas or new music or new authors or new people, and just generally (and all the time specifically) made this world a better place for me.
3. My years living abroad in Europe and Africa. I was lucky to have done what I've done.
4. Dr. Marshall M Parks and the miracles of this Wesurgeon's hands that operated on my eyes not once but 3 times, so I'm not wall-eyed and can see out of both eyes.
5. The women of Briggs Baptist Church who chiseled within the foundation of my faith as a child that gender has nothing to do with my service to God and my roll within the church. Just do the job I'm meant to do and be the person I'm meant to be.
6. Nora Roberts for writing romances that made me laugh when I was in high school. They couldn't all be about desperation and maimed men and sardonic eyebrows and rain-slicked anoraks.
7. Words. And whoever first came up with the idea that they should be used to tell a good story, and not just report the best hill for tasty roots or where the saber-toothed tiger was last seen.
8. Re-runs. I love watching M*A*S*H* and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and early seasons of NCIS; these shows are like Macaroni and Cheese, warm and filling.
9. White-Chocolate-and-Raspberry Cheesecake and Key Lime Cheesecake.
10. My job. I may complain about it from time to time, but seriously. I am employed and paying my bills is still a sweet pleasure.
11. Libraries. I rarely go to one these days, but I have borrowed books, been to lectures, watched filmstrips, written, studied, and been amazed. All in libraries. (and now I am wondering why don't I know more librarians? )
12. The Rockville 8. Women who laugh and write and drink and support and read and inspire and create and did I say laugh?
13. Friday Night Videos because I did not have cable or M-TV or HBO as a kid, and I had to rely on FNV to introduce me to the visual feast of Peter Gabriel and The Police and Thomas Dolby and the list goes on.
14. And while we are on the subject of the 80s, I am grateful that I got to see The Who and the Police and the Eurythmics and Talking Heads all before they turned 60 (or 50 or perhaps even 40), and their voices dropped an octave or so.
15. Weekends and that I no longer work three jobs. The sweet pleasure of sleeping in and drinking coffee in my jimjams while sitting in my big chair with my feet propped on my hassock and nothing to do but walk my dog and figure out what I'm having for dinner.
16. The idea of Hero and Heroine. That the world still has a goal, a zeal, a notion to be better, to be more, to become.
17. Dogs. Mine is sweet and funny and cuddly and old and such a beta animal.
18. Parks and open space and woods and forests and gardens and places to go outside that are beautiful and fresh and green. (especially if I only have to do the walking, sitting and enjoying)
19. Pioneers. People who go forward and try and do it first and pursue the unknown, be they women like Amelia Earhart or Beryl Markham, or Hearty Pioneer men and women who hopped on covered wagons and headed west, or my direct ancestors who actually got in the boat so I didn't have to.
20. Retreats. Writing, religious, sewing. I am grateful for the weekends away with like-minded women and men, to pray, talk, write, brainstorm, create with others.