As November, the month of giving thanks, comes to a close, I thought that I would follow suit of others and share what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for my husband; for the love, happiness, laughter, confidence, and security he brings me every day. I am thankful for having a healthy marriage built upon principles of openness and trust.
I am thankful for my parents, who, though no longer a unit, functioned as one long enough to provide me with a healthy, supportive, and loving home. I am thankful for my father, for teaching me the values of patience, kindness, and acceptance. I am thankful for his pure work ethic and, though it seemed doubtful, how it transferred over to me. I am thankful for his love of music and for bringing it into my life. I am thankful for my mother, for her unconditional love and constant support. I am thankful to her for providing me with the creativity that I so often use as an outlet.
I am thankful for my sister Annie, for the peace and gentle kindness that she brings into the lives of others. I am thankful for the example she sets in life, marriage, and motherhood. Oh, and for her wonderful baby making skills too. I am thankful for my brother-in-law Frank, for his devotion to to his wife and children and his ready friendship to our family, especially my father. I am thankful for my beautiful nieces and nephew who amaze me every day with their intelligence and humor. I am thankful for their open arms and love every time we meet.
I am thankful for my sister Lizzie. I am thankful for her kindness, her selflessness, her beauty, her perseverance through pain, her always-ready-to-help attitude. I am thankful that she has set such a wonderful example to live by, for I have followed it so closely. I am thankful for Kevin, my brother-in-law to be, and his good heart. I am thankful for his joy and eagerness to please and for his wonderful treatment of my sister.
I am thankful for my in-laws, who took me in as their own the very first day that we met. I am thankful to call them family. I am also thankful that I found a second family who enjoys eating as much as I do. I am thankful for my husband's brothers, who, begrudgingly at first or not, have accepted me as a sister. I am thankful for my third sister Jacque, who provides a non-judgmental ear for listening to all of my woes. I am thankful that we have become so close.
I am thankful for my extended family, stretched across states and oceans and countries. I am thankful to have a family so large, to have that many more people who understand one another only as family members can.
I am thankful for my life-long friend Allie, who brings laughter wherever she goes. I am thankful for our loving and always honest friendship.
I am thankful for the close friendships I developed in middle and high school—Amelia, Kali, Lauren, Allie, Kristina, Kami, Megan—and our instant reconnection when we come together after sometimes years of being apart. Your friendship has delivered me from rough spots time and time again. You all shaped me so much into what I am today and still inspire me as time goes on.
I am thankful for my cousin Shannon, for our familial bond that fostered our friendship. I am thankful for her honest view on life and her honest way of sharing it. I am thankful that she dragged me to Michigan State for college.
I am thankful for the friendships that I developed while at Michigan State University. I am thankful for Sara, for her smile and good looks, as we wouldn’t have picked her as a friend without the two J. I am thankful for her constant friendship. I am thankful for her strength and class and ability to meet all challenges that come her way. I am thankful for Allison and her family, for the generosity and the laughter that they share. I am thankful for their role as a second and third family to my husband and myself. I am thankful for Abby, who is also another child of Allison’s extended family. I am thankful for her sweetness. I am thankful for Emma and her pure kindness. It is rare and refreshing to meet a girl without a mean bone in her body. Especially when that body is so beautiful, inside and out. I am thankful for her presence in my life. I am thankful for Nicki and her strength that I have so often leaned upon. I am thankful that, even though separated by hundreds of miles, these friendships still persist.
I am thankful for the boys who had no choice but to let me into their inner circle when I started dating Garrett. I am thankful for being submerged in this world of boy, a world that I had never experienced so thoroughly before. I am thankful for all that I learned.
I am thankful for the Clarks and Kristine. I am thankful for Teagan’s instant friendship after I entered her world with Garrett’s family, a world that existed long before I came.
I am thankful for Evan, a friend with whom I never share a dull moment.
I am thankful for my uncles Bubby and Kurt, who bring happiness, fun, and positive energy wherever they go.
I am thankful for my Arizona family. It’s nice to have made such wonderful friends in a place so far away from everyone else. I am thankful for Susie, who always says yes to everything and always has a positive attitude. I’ve never had a friend like that before. I am thankful for Emily and her mean skills in the kitchen. I am thankful for John and Scott, whose friendships came so easily. I am thankful for Remy, another female friend who doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. I am thankful for our get-togethers, our board game nights, our close friendships.
I am thankful for Thomas, a friend that Garrett and I wish we had with us at all times. I am thankful for his love, laughter, and tolerance of my mother :).
I am thankful for Mollie, whom often times feels more like a sibling or a child than a dog. I am thankful for her floppy ears and sloppy tongue that hang over my face every time I cry, and for experiencing the unconditional love of a pet.
I am thankful for my coworkers and volunteers. I am thankful for the many recipes shared amongst us and the funny stories that can only result from working with animals. I am thankful for having a reliable team of volunteers; I have never known such a hardworking group.
I am thankful for my good health. I am thankful to have a roof over my head, a kitchen to cook in, bed to sleep in, clothes to dress in, water to bathe in. I am thankful that I have never experienced true, devastating hunger (although I'm sure my belly would refute this at times). I am thankful that, though I have struggled emotionally, I have not known utter the utter destruction and fear that so many others go through every day. I am thankful to be living in a safe environment. I am thankful to be living in a place where the sun is always shining. I am thankful to be employed in a field that I love. I am thankful to be working with animals and so happy to have horses back in my life. I am thankful for all that I am learning, from humans and animals alike. I am thankful to have days filled with laughter. I am thankful to be emotionally sound (most of the time) and appreciative of my life.
I am thankful for life.
I have been blessed with good fortune time and time again in more ways than I can name. I am thankful for all of this. But mostly, I am thankful for all of you.