Being thankful for the blessings God gives me

Thanksgiving Day. A day of parades, football, turkey and pumpkin pie. A day where many of us stop our normal busy and hectic lives to spend time with family and friends. Not that every day shouldn’t be a day where we are thankful for what and who we have in our lives, but today is just one of those special moments where we really should take the time and dwell on the blessings we have.

I truly do tear up when I really stop and think about what God has brought me through, sometimes holding my hand and sometimes carrying me through the hell that we can encounter on this earth.

Over the years I have had extreme highs and killer lows.  Through it all God has been faithful and given the strength and the people to help me through even when I didn’t know I needed it.

I dare you to try this sometime – just sit down and write out a list of those things in your life you just couldn’t live without.  List those people that make your life better.  List the experiences you want to relive again.  Those are the blessings God gives you.

First off, I can’t even write a list of blessings if I don’t start with my parents.  They brought me in to this world and have been a constant source of encouragement, support and love through some of the most trying times I have ever gone through.

And tying for first place with my parents are the two not so little kids. Now adults, or close to it, they have enriched my life now for 19 and 13.5 years.  My daughter and my son have kept me alive in some of my darkest moments and brightened my day even more on my good days.  Their love knows no bounds and have adapted to a new world they were thrown into with strength.

My best friend Tara comes in a very close second and is truly part of my family. We can’t choose the family we are born with but we can choose those in our lives we want to be part of our family. Tara has become the sister I always wanted growing up but never had.  Her wit makes me laugh and her hugs and love continue to be a God given blessing everyday.  She has sheltered me and encouraged me like no one else.  God’s timing when He brought her into my life was perfect. I look forward to wreaking havoc with her when we are old ladies (which will be a SEVERAL decades from now).

This year, there are two women that I am very thankful for. Two women that at this time last year I hadn’t even met.  By producing the Chicago Listen to Your Mother show and choosing my essay as one of the stories, I may never have had the opportunity to to share part of my life in such a dramatic way.  Standing on stage and reading my essay to a live audience was a once in a lifetime adventure that I will carry with me.  Melisa Wells and Tracey Becker opened not only the opportunity to share, but also to connect with men and women across the country in such a deep and meaningful way. The whole experience continues each day as many of the friendships I developed through LTYM have only become stronger.

As there are WAY too many to name, I am thankful to ALL the other people God has brought in to my life.  To all my friendships developed decades ago in childhood and the newest people to join my friend list, for you I give thanks.

Never in a million years would I have thought that God would have brought me to this point, would have given me the opportunities and experiences that have changed my life.  I never would have thought that these same experiences could ever be an inspiration to others – and that leaves me humbled.

So much has happened and I know there are things coming in the future that he is preparing me for.  When I really stop and think and really dwell on the blessings God has bestowed, I am moved to tears.  To think that in my darkest hours, I could ever forget all of this.

Today I write this to say thank you to those who have changed my life and to myself as a reminder not to dwell on the darkness of my life, but to see the gifts God himself has given.

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