I write this post from the Midwest while visiting both sets of families.  Our time has been marked by food, relaxation, movie-watching, and a sense of gratefulness. The push to Thanksgiving Break is over and for the remainder of the school year the breaks will come at regular intervals.

What a fall! From juggling teaching and writing/editing, to hosting family and friends and taking a whirlwind trip to CA, to surviving Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath, life has been full.  How does one remain grateful in the midst of life’s busyness or difficult circumstances? I can go days without pausing to reflect on the many blessings in life.  The struggle to remain thankful and present isn’t a new one.

I do know that if I pause and think about the blessings in my life I can acquire quite a list. Some of my best “thankful” lists have come when walking.  All of my favorite elements combine when walking—beauty, quiet (mostly), and time.  So here’s what is topping my gratitude list on this Thanksgiving Day 2012:

  • Meaningful work—I enjoy both of my jobs, but it has been especially delightful to return to the classroom.
  • Time as a family—I want more, but living with two teenagers and a husband with a busy schedule means we don’t have lots of family time.  I cherish moments (like Thanksgiving Break) when we can spend some extra time together.
  • Practicing hospitality—From hosting family and a dear friend, to hosting Driven (the youth group on campus) at our home post-hurricane, to sharing a meal with a fellow faculty member this fall, I love opening our home even if it doesn’t happen as much as I would like.
  • Breaks from routine—My weekend trip to NYC this fall with my mom felt like the height of luxury. In early November, Brad and I drove to Buffalo to watch Jacob run in the State cross country meet. I’ll be honest—Buffalo doesn’t top my list for romantic getaways, but we had the best time.  I felt utterly spoiled especially after living with no electricity and creature comforts for a week.
  • Safety—Living through my second hurricane and one that was much worse than the first, reminds me not  to take for granted  that our home was spared and so were our lives. Many lost everything in the storm and my inconveniences were minimal.
  • The little blessings—good books, good movies (Make Lincoln a must-see), warm showers, and strong coffee are the simple pleasures in everyday life.

The refrain in a song that I have sung many times, “Count your many blessings, count them one-by-one,” seems appropiate to remember on Thanksgiving Day.  Yes, may we count our blessings one-by-one in this season of gratitude.

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