I love Mike Sneed's "grateful" column in the Sun-Times every year around Thanksgiving. I love reading about what people are thankful for. It's always inspiring and enlightening to read joyful thoughts. I decided, for this Thanksgiving, that I needed to remind myself what has been important to me, too. It doesn't have to be earth shattering things, but rather it's the little moments that make a life full. I remember in one of Sneed's columns, she wrote about being thankful for her backyard birds who she loved listening to over a cup of coffee. These lists serve much like Oprah's Gratitude Journals. Sometimes you lose track of what's truly important in life, be they big or small things, but by writing them down they're brought back to the forefront of your mind.
Besides the obvious, good health for my loved ones, I also have some beautiful moments that I have been grateful for. In no particular order, here they are. For a birthday one year, Chuck wrote out letters on legal sheets spelling out "happy birthday" that went all the way from upstairs into our kitchen. I still have the yellow sheets. I'm grateful for the beautiful park (Washington Park) that's across the street from our new building.
I'm grateful to have two crazy Chihuahuas that make us laugh (and sometimes cry) every day. I'm grateful to have a mother-in-law who's 93 years young and to have a loving stepson, Charley. I'm grateful to have been raised in a small town and I'm thankful for the Baptist Church in East Carondelet, Illinois, that welcomed me with open arms when I was young and needed direction. I'm thankful to have been raised by Mary and Jim Johnson who taught me what it was like to be discriminated against and rise above it with grace and dignity.
I'm grateful to have seen the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York. We've been a few times and it's more exciting every time I see it and always put you in the mood for the holidays. And speaking of the holidays, I'm grateful for WLIT's (93.9 FM) ALL-Christmas music programming.
I'm also grateful for surviving our move after 22 years in one place. It was hell getting here but it's heaven now. Living in Chicago is a blessing, too, since I think it's the most gorgeous place in the country with the nicest people. I'm grateful for the music of Cole Porter, Karen Akers, anything French, Diana Krall and, of course, Sinatra. I'm grateful to have the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch on television while I anticipate the day with family. I'm grateful for the friends I have and the ones I've yet to meet. I'm grateful to have been blessed with high energy. My mom and dad were always the last ones to leave a party so I guess it's no surprise. I could go on and on, of course, but this is enough for now.
And last but not least, I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to write a blog for Chicago Now (that I hope you enjoy) and I'm thankful to have a voice in the Chicago Tribune every Sunday to spotlight worthy charities. :-)
I hope this inspires you to make your own lists. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble! Gobble!