Each year, I get to November and take some time to reflect on the good things we have to be thankful for. I am counting blessings especially this year that my sister has come out on the other side of her Breast Cancer diagnosis, my father is doing well through his treatment for prostate cancer, and that we have good news and treatment progress happening for a family member diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Our kids are healthy, thriving in all of their various activities, we have jobs that we enjoy and friends and family to live our lives with who all make life a true joy.
Counting blessings is something that we all should do more often – certainly more than once a year in this month of Thanksgiving. Sometimes, all of us get bogged down in the daily struggles of life and kids and jobs. We get stuck in the rut of the day to day, and we forget all of the things we have to be thankful for.
Friends near and far that we seldom see or talk to, but we keep up with on Social Media. I am so thankful that I was able to catch up in person with so many friends this year – including dinner and a hockey game last week! We need to do better about making time for friends, carving out little memories and really catching up.
I often say that happiness is a choice. Taking time regularly for counting blessings helps us stay happy. This year (as they all are) has been a whirlwind of kids’ sports, travel, sports travel, work trips, and juggling all the things. We are so blessed to be able to have flexible schedules to do all of those things with our kids, and to have family support around us – people that we trust implicitly – to leave our kids with when we have work meetings or travel. And friends who can help the grandparents with all of the mom’s taxi adventures that are part of our daily parenting fun.
We have an amazing parents’ group for our son’s sports teams, and had the best team dinners in places like Colby, Kansas and North Platte, Nebraska this year. Our youngest started travel volleyball this fall, and also has a great group of friends to share the new adventure with. And, our oldest has spread her wings, survived her first summer internship, and is making plans for new adventures in 2024.
I’m thankful for our Epic Spring Break Road Trip. Getting our kids to new places and in new ways…and truly glad that we all survived 6 days in the car and 2,200 miles together. Having Big Kids opens up new opportunities to do things we would not have done when they were little – including more road trips.
Parenting is truly the greatest Adventure we can have – from trips to the ER to the craziness of hitting multiple activities every day – and our kids can push our buttons more than anyone else. They also bring the greatest joy, each and every day. This year, as I am counting blessings, I am living in the moment in this time of Active Parenting that we are in. I know that before long, I’ll have two more teenagers to challenge everything I say – and my patience will be tried, all the time. I am so very thankful that they are busy, living life and doing all the things in a community that gives us tremendous opportunities for our kids to be kids.
We have exciting travel plans for next year that give us things to look forward to – from Florida to Omaha to (maybe) Spain. I love setting Travel Goals for Kids – getting them to new places and creating memories that will hopefully take them around the world throughout their lives.
And we have hope that everyone we know who is suffering from illness will be healed, that our friends around the world will stay safe, and that the good in the world will overcome evil. That might sound like a rose-colored glasses outlook on life. I do have hope, and I believe good will always win. Common sense will prevail. Even if it takes awhile to get there.
As we head into the holiday season, I will be counting blessings each day and trying to stay optimistic that the good people of the world will continue to care for one another – we all can make change in our own little slice of the world, each day, by showing that we care for someone else. Give someone a smile or a hug, take someone else coffee or buy them lunch. Make someone else’s day brighter – you will both be better for it.
My word/phrase of the year for 2023 was Carpe Diem. I wanted to seize the day and live life in the moment. I am thankful for setting that goal, and for keeping up with the spirit of that throughout the year. Life is meant to be lived, and we have so much to live for. Count your blessings, live your life, and choose happiness!