By Heather Mullinix
Thursday, families will come together and give thanks for the many blessings in their lives. Many have been taking advantage of social media to share what they are thankful for throughout the month, giving a little break to the political mumbo-jumbo a few weeks ago and reminding us all that we have many blessings in our lives.
I haven’t been doing the daily giving of thanks on my Facebook wall, but I know there are many things that I am thankful for this year. With Thanksgiving a few days away, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to share those with the readers and make room in my heart for a more thankful spirit just as I will diet a few days to make room in my stomach for more lemon meringue pie prior to the annual family fellowship and meal.
• First, I am thankful for my parents, and not just because I wouldn’t be here without them, but because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their love, guidance and help through the years.
• I’m thankful for my sister. Sure, she once abused me on a daily basis as only an older sister can, but she’s also always had my back in any circumstance. Her support, love and even friendship, are things I cherish.
• I’m thankful for my cousins. This large group of people were my first playmates, my babysitters, my examples, and the people I looked up to or aspired to be.
• I’m thankful for my aunts and uncles. They could often be much more understanding than my parents, and are always a joy to see.
• I’m thankful for my grandparents, and I cherish the time I have had with each of them through the years. Their stories of where I came from help keep me grounded as I head toward where I’m going.
• I’m thankful for those “other” family members — those friends and coworkers that are my family away from my family. Just as those people named above have influenced me and helped me grow into the person I am today, and they have chosen to be a part of my life even though we aren’t “kin.”
• I’m thankful not only to have a job, but to have a job that I truly love. More days than not, I get up and think, “I get to go to work today.” When you consider how many hours of your life are spent at work, it is truly a blessing to enjoy what you do on a daily basis.
• I’m thankful for my dog, even though he likes to chew on my shoes, dig in the carpet and drag me around the neighborhood in the freezing cold. There’s something about coming home to a dog that’s so excited to see you he just can’t hold still.
• I’m thankful for holidays where all those extended family members gather to visit and catch up. From cousins I used to play hide and seek with to my aunts and uncles that were surrogate parents and friends, depending on what the circumstance called for, I don’t see them often enough.
• I’m thankful for paid holidays because, as much as I do love my job, it’s also nice to have a day off here and there.
• I’m thankful for holiday dinners, because Lord knows I can’t cook like that myself.
• I’m thankful for leftovers, piled into food storage containers and sent home with me so I can eat well all weekend long.
• I’m thankful for long winter nights curled up on the couch with a good book to read or watching something good on TV.
• I’m thankful for new hobbies that keep me busy, entertained and feeling productive.
• I’m thankful for college football, even though my team hasn’t fared well this year.
• I’m thankful I finally graduated from the kid table at family events. It took a lot longer than you might think.
• I’m thankful for a warm house to retire to after a long day.
• I’m thankful for Facebook. It’s a great way to keep up with friends and family who have moved away but are kept close in my heart. It’s also a good source of topics to write about.
• I’m thankful for this country. Regardless of your feelings about the election a couple of weeks ago, the good ol’ U.S. of A. is still the greatest nation in the world. I am not only proud to call myself an American, but thankful for freedom that I enjoy on a daily basis.
• I’m thankful for the men and women serving in the armed forces, sacrificing comfort and safety so that we can be safe and secure here at home.
• I’m thankful I no longer work in the retail industry and can avoid the Black Friday madness from both sides of the register.
• I’m thankful for my smartphone, with its camera to record special moments, voice and text to share news with loved ones, and GPS directions to keep me from getting lost when I wander off the beaten path.
• I’m thankful for the Lowe’s circular. I guess it’s a sign of age, or perhaps just home ownership, but I get as excited about that arriving in the mail as I once did about the J.C. Penny Wish Book each Christmas.
• I’m thankful for a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning.
• I’m thankful for slow cookers filled with warm stew ready and waiting when I get home. And Jiffy cornbread mix ready to bake.
• I’m thankful for the little surprises life throws your way.
• I’m thankful for music. It lifts the spirits and can put a smile on your face. If it’s music by Jimmy Buffett, it’s even twice as good.
• I’m thankful for snowmen — both the kind made of actual snow and the cute little snowmen that will be decorating my home by the end of the week.
• I’m thankful for those warm fall days when you can get out and enjoy the beauty of the season without many layers of clothing, feeling the sun warm your face. When one of those days comes along, you just have to get outdoors and seize the opportunity because it may be a while before another one comes along.
• I’m thankful for everyone that reads this column. For many years, I avoided writing a personal column because, really, who cares what I think about things? My opinion is no better than anyone else’s. But, I decided I might be able to bring a little laugh to people on occasion or perhaps bring to light a new point of view. This sort of writing is also very different from the reports of meetings I usually write, and I am thankful for the opportunity to stretch those creative muscles. Many have told me they enjoy my weekly column, or shared something regarding a topic I have written about. For them I am doubly thankful because it’s great to know that people are actually reading what I write.
I hope everyone has a safe, happy Thanksgiving and that as we enter the hectic holiday season, you take a few moments to think about all the things you have to be thankful for in your life. Once you start listing it, you might be surprised at how many blessings you have.
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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published each Tuesday. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.