I always love this time of year. Really, the days between October 31st and February 15th are what I live for. When the weather gets colder and the sky looks sharper I start feeling different inside. Memories of childhood at my grandparents’ farm, falling in love with my husband when we started dating, playing the leaves with our children were all made during the fall and winter and I cherish them.
This flood of memories causes me to keenly feel gratitude during this time. I change my mantra from things I can do and make it things I’m grateful for.
I really feel that this helps me stave off the winter blues that can come from the shorter, darker days and the colder weather. I may not get out of the house as frequently but wrapped in a cozy quilt sewn by my Grandmother I feel connected to everything and everyone around me. Even though my grandparents died many years ago, I can feel them close to me and I am thankful.
It is perfect, then, that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, my mind is already running through what I am thankful for. There are a lot of ways to tap into gratitude and I’m sure that your social media accounts are full of gratitude challenges. Share something your grateful for each day for 30 days, take a pic of something you are thankful for and share until Thanksgiving, and on and on.
I love seeing these posts, I like the little peeks into my friends’ personal spaces and private thoughts because gratitude is personal it’s intimate. Of course, there are things that everyone is grateful for, or most people anyway. Things like a good job, warm home, family, friends and I still enjoy seeing those responses, but I love the things that are individual to that person.
For example, a woman I know only in passing and on Facebook shared that she is intensely grateful for a pair of socks that she was loaned at a conference years ago and now are her favorite lounging around and staying warm pair. I don’t know why her socks struck me, but I think it’s because she shared something that was unique to her.
This year I have so many things to be grateful for and I want to share some of them with you, both as a kind of chronicle of the year I’ve had and also as an example of things to look at in your life to try and find a little more gratitude.
I have lost almost 80 pounds since starting to follow the Keto diet. I started in earnest on March 17th of this year and I’m still going strong. It’s the first change to my lifestyle that I have stuck with for this amount of time.
Thanks to Keto I weigh less, I am no longer diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic, my cholesterol is normal, my blood pressure is normal, and I feel great. I have so much more energy than anytime in my adult life. At 38 I feel younger than I did at 25.
My family moved from Kansas to New Mexico this year, also in March, as my husband took a new job. It was a huge change and of course there are so many people I miss but this is a beautiful land. Life seems to move at a slower pace here, the outdoor beauty is matched by the people who live here. We have met so many lovely people who always have time to chat. Rather it’s a clerk at a store or the person who lives next door, everyone treats everyone else like a neighbor.
This one is thanks to my husband’s new job. I have some chronic health concerns that haven’t been properly managed as our insurance didn’t cover most of what I needed. We also have an autistic son who has services and medications that would be thousands of dollars a month without our insurance. We are truly lucky to be able to access the care that we need and know that in an emergency we will be ok.
I am most definitely a dog person, and it’s a good thing because we have 3 active ones who make sure our lives are full of love and joy. Our oldest is 8 and is a little rat terrier named Lucy. She is a burrower and always demands to be under a blanket with someone. She sleeps with my husband and I each night, covered up and cuddled close.
Kita is 6 and is an Akita-Shepherd. She is beautiful but also the sweetest most gentle dog I’ve ever met. She is protective of each of us, but my son gets particular attention. If he has a lot of anxiety or has a meltdown, she is right there encouraging him to hold her and calm himself. Even if he’s very loud she still does her self-appointed job of helping him through it.
Finally, we have 3-year-old Pepper. She is a very large fluffy white Great Pyrenees. She thinks that she runs the pack and takes it on herself to manage each of us. She also happens to think that she is a lap dog and will haul all 100 pounds up on our laps or lay on us if we are in bed. She’s very cuddly and loving and is our fierce protector.
These three furry babies make everything easier to deal with, no matter what stresses pop up I feel more able to handle it while in their calming presence.
While there are definitely things that I hate about social media, I love that I can keep in touch easily with my family back in Kansas. My nieces are now teenagers and I get to really see into their lives thanks to Instagram and Snapchat. We get to play games and send silly pictures and I feel close to them even though I’m far away.
My mom and my sister and I send snaps every day of each of our lives, it’s like a little look into our realities and I cherish it.
I love that I can see everyone’s kids and pets and dinners on Facebook. It is a wonderful way to stay close to people you love but can’t see in person as often as you’d like. It’s also a great way to find support and friendship in such a busy time.
I am a member of some Facebook groups, one in particular, that provides such a meaningful source of support, love and accountability for me. I feel closer to the women in that group than to almost anyone else in my life.
What are you grateful for? Let us know on social media, send us a tweet or comment on Facebook. We would love to hear from you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and please know that I am grateful for you!!