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Gratitude – What five (5) things are you most grateful for from 2011?

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This is always my favorite type of post.  There are plenty of things to worry about these days; but, it’s so nice to stop and acknowledge the good things in our world.  The #30DaysofThanks prompt in November was a great exercise, and opened my eyes to so many gifts that I have received.

1)  My family – All year long, through bad times and great times, I have had my family.  We are a weird, dysfunctional bunch; but, they are the people who make me cry, make me laugh and make me glad to be one of them.

2)  My friends – What a wonderful surprise.  This year saw some good times spent with “IRL” friends; and, I also found a whole gang of web friends.  How great is it to be able to drop into your timeline at any time of the day or night, and be welcomed with humor and cheer?  I have found friends in every corner of the globe, and they ROCK!

3)  A good job – I work for some really good people, doing something that I enjoy.  I’m not rich; but, Dave and I are finally at a point in our lives where we are not clinging to the middle class lives by the skin of our teeth.  I joke about my “evil overlords,” but, aside from their disturbingly conservative bent, they are ridiculously good to my family and I.

4)  Stirrings of inspiration – Through the reverb projects, I have been flexing my creative muscle more and more…writing, taking pictures, and drawing.  In addition to keeping me out of the bars at night, it’s become incredibly therapeutic.  Stress levels and blood pressure are down, thanks to regular time spent with a pen and paper or a camera in my hand.  I’m more aware of my surroundings and the attendant emotions.  My friends and family inspire me all of the time.  Here’s a little squiggle I did, in the middle of working on this post…it was from an idea that my friend, Tracy gave me, about an empty little birds nest in the branches of her Christmas tree.

Tracy's Empty Nest

5)  Arizona – It’s corny, but it’s true.  I love living here.  As friends in colder climates are beginning to grumble and groan about the cold and snow, we barely need a jacket.  There are still some plants blooming; and, thanks to a couple of days worth of rain, we should be in for another burst of blossoms within a couple of weeks.  We don’t have hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, mudslides or volcanoes.  It gets hot, but we can deal with it for a couple of months, until it goes back to being “perfect.”  We are treated to glorious sunrises, majestic sunsets, mountains, deserts, forests and prairies, all within a short drive.  If I could have the ocean, too, I wouldn’t want another thing. My family is here, my life is here.

For these things, I’m grateful.

In the month of December, I am participating in reverb11.  It is a chance to look back and reflect upon the year just passed, and to look forward to 2012.  Each day, a prompt is issued, and the reverb11 community interprets the prompt in accordance with their own experience.  Join us, won’t you?