28 things I’m grateful for

It’s been a minute since my last blog, and today, like many of you, I’m using my blog and social media outlets to channel my gratitude. I believe that no matter who we are, what we do, where we are, what we blog about, what we post on Facebook or Twitter, and where our lives have taken us, we should use the channels available to us to express gratitude… Why not right? The more gratitude we share in cyberspace and in person, the better this world may be.

28 things I am grateful for:

1. This probably tops many parents’ lists. I am grateful for a healthy, happy and spirited child because it must be damn hard being the parent to a chronically or terminally ill child.

2. Parenthood. And my parents. They’re still with us, and they continue to demonstrate the rigors and joys of parenthood, despite me and my sister being all ‘grown up’. Parenthood is  a lifelong commitment, but when you have it, it’s a blessing because for many, being a parent is still a dream.

3. Food. Yes an obvious one today. It’s not just about being grateful that I can eat mindfully, not just for nourishment. I am in a position where I can choose food that, as much as possible, is ethical and mindful of our earth’s resources. It’s outrageous that in this day and age of food abundance, we continue to have so many hungry people in our country and our world? Isn’t it an injustice that a limited number of corporations are lining their pockets and governing the food and resources in our world? Food is a right, a necessity, a giver of life… not a privilege, intellectual property, or harbinger of greed and destruction.

3. Trees. They help is breathe. Plant more and protect those with deep roots and aged stature.

4. Children, because they remind us to stop and absorb. They remind us grown ups that we learn from them.

5. A home. Not just a house. A home. A place that offers physical shelter, as well as shelter from all the crazy stirrings life has outside our doors. A home. Because everyday awful things happen and people lose their homes just like that. Because everyday people have nothing to go to to rest their heads and souls. A home is where the heart truly is.

6. Coffee. Because without it I wouldn’t have written this…

7. Red wine. Because without it there wouldn’t be my need for coffee 🙂

8. Marriage. It isn’t always pretty. It isn’t what most of us believe we signed up for. But it is being with another person who loves you and also doesn’t always love you. Sometimes that kind of honesty is hard to find. I am grateful my husband works hard for us, and that for most things, he gets me. Marriage is a construction sight. Everyday it needs work. But if honesty, integrity, respect, and humor are some tools you have, you’ll be ok. You don’t have to stay if it’s too bad, but you shouldn’t have to leave because you’ll find another… Marriage is off limits to our desire for consumerism, where we dispose and replace.

9. Family. Because every member whose blood I share has the absolute and unconditional willingness to just embrace me no matter what. That loving loyalty is unbreakable.

10. Laughter. I am grateful that I can laugh at myself, or just be silly. Comedians should be given Nobel Peace Prizes. Really. The laughter they induce us can be enough to tear down barriers so that just for that moment, we are unified in laughter.

11. Water. Clean drinking water. That comes out a tap. In my own home.

12. My country of origin, South Africa. Because growing up during Apartheid, following the treacherous transition to democracy, witnessing out first democratic elections, and meeting Nelson Mandela in person, all made me aware that no country boasts perfection and that it really can take one man to create an evil system and then one man to bring this to its knees. South Africa is hope. It made me strong, proud, and grounded. It reminds me that I am still very privileged compared to many in our world. Being ungrateful for who I am, where I have come from, and what I have would be a disgrace to my home country.

13. Opinion. Because without it you have no definition of self.

14. Being a mom. Motherhood is not parenthood. It’s a rite of passage that defines a woman. It breaks and makes her. It’s a bond with a child that can never be broken. It’s tears and joy. It’s realizing you screw up even when you do your best. It’s being more than a mom, more than a mother. It’s realizing that you are the first teacher your child has, the first source of infinite love, and that after all your hard work, after all your love, your child truly doesn’t belong to you… they belong to our world. And that dear moms and mothers is our job. To set our children free to flourish.

15. Sugar. I love it. I love sweet treats. No need to give it up. Just don’t drink it!

16. Music. It takes you away, it sets the tone and it bookmarks all those precious memories.

17. Perfume. For the same reasons as music except one difference. You get to wear it.

18. Books. Nothing beats flipping through pages. Or losing yourself in a bookstore. Or admiring each cover as a work of art.

19. Old furniture. It’s made better, it tells a story and it has survived generations. The bonus? It often costs less than new furniture. Have you ever smelled a freshly oiled antique oak piece? Not replicable in new furniture.

20. Education. It infuriates me that so many beautiful young girls and women struggle to access education. It infuriates me that they’re ‘held back’, ‘sold off’ or intimated for trying. To have had access to education so freely is an incredible gift. I thank my parents for honoring my right to education.

21. The bush veld, at dusk or dawn. Anyone who has been in the bush or on ‘safari’ in Africa will understand. The smells, sounds and sights of elusive animals roaming freely is a primal reminder of how incredible this planet was, before we screwed things up.

22. My smell of my son. He’s no longer an infant but he has his smell and I just love it.

23. Hardship. Whether it be mistakes or rocky paths, hardship is good. And how we handle it is a reflection of our character. We need that reflection. It too defines us.

24. Rain storms in the summer. That smell just before the rain hits the hot tar and earth. And knowing that the rain offers life, allows our nature and food to flourish. How incredible our planet is in taking care of us.

25. Friends. They are up there like family.

26. Photos. Snapshots of happiness, joy, laughter, reality, beauty, and stories that need to be told.

27. Being who I am. I’m learning to be more honest with myself. I’m learning to keep learning about myself. It doesn’t matter whether people get me or not. I’m letting my heart guide me, my mind will counsel me. I’m learning to trust these instincts. The bottom line is be a good person, do the best you can, and accept yourself. You’ll never be perfect in your own eyes,  let alone others, so why bother? But there are no excuses to not be better. We can always be better.

28. Reality. Because the reality of all this is I cannot be grateful for strictly 28 things. I am grateful for my life. While I have some control of it, I also have no control of it. That dichotomy of reality is a beautiful thing. I am grateful for it.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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