Hpim2055_4 Well, to both of my faithful readers, I apologize for my long absence.  I have all kinds of excuses about why I haven’t written lately, but I won’t bore you with them.  Suffice it to say, I have been busy with lots of the stuff that make my life wonderful.  Even though tomorrow will mark one week since the official celebration of Thanksgiving, I am still deeply aware of the gratitude I feel for the richness of my many blessings.  While I try to always dwell in that place of gratitude, it is awfully nice that we have this holiday each year to remind us to take those moments to express our gratitude to the Source of our blessings.

My greatest blessings in life are the people with whom my life is connected.  I am sure that most of you would say the same thing.  I had the privilege to spend a good deal of last week with some of the most precious people in my life.  Over the week of Thanksgiving, I was able to spend time with most of the family with whom I grew up.  On Thanksgiving Day and again on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my family of four spent time with my mom and step-dad, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family.  As most of them come from out of town, we had different combinations of them stay at our house throughout the week.  There were 15 of us in all and it was loud (my parents had no quiet children!), and crazy and wonderful!  My 9 and 11 year old are the “big” kids in the family, so our mix included a 1 year old, a 2 year old, two 4 year olds and a 6 year old.  I wish I could describe to you what I love about each of these little people in minute detail, but only their grandmother would keep reading!  They are each precious little individuals with their own personalities, likes and dislikes, quirks and idiosynchrocies.  Because they all live far away from me, I don’t get to see them nearly often enough.  As I watched them all this weekend, I tried to picture what they will be like 10 years from now when they will range in age from 11 to almost 22.  What will they be into then?  Will they still enjoy each other like they do now?  What kind of world will we all be living in?  I am intensely grateful for each of these little people in my life and I am grateful for the precious time we had together this past week.

I am also grateful for their parents.  My sister and brother would be two of my favorite people in the world, even if I wasn’t related to them.  Noone makes me laugh like they do.  They are both smart, and kind, and incredibly good parents.  I admire and respect them both more and more with each passing year.  They also have incredibly good taste in spouses!  My sister-in-law is one of the smartest, most interesting people I know.  She has an incredible sense of humor and I respect her opinion on most any topic because she is a deep thinker and is always interested in learning more.  She is a wonderful mommy to my nephews (2 and 4, think she’s tired?)  I also love that she takes such good care of my baby brother.  My sister’s husband may be the kindest man I have ever met and a wonderful dad of three.  He has that uncanny ability to be dropped into any situation and make everyone around him feel comfortable.  He is smart and funny, has a fabulous laugh, is a very helpful houseguest (he is in charge of the trash when he is here!!) and he REALLY loves my obnoxious dog….all things that endear him to me!  And again, I love that he takes such good care of my baby sister.   I am SO grateful for my siblings and their spouses and I am blessed to have spent this time with them this week.

Lastly, my parents.  My mom married my second dad when I was 18 years old.  While I love my first dad very much, I am so grateful that I get the blessing of my second dad in my life.  He has a huge, generous heart and his love has brought healing to hurting places for each member of my family.   He is a very silly and wonderful Papa to all the kids.   I admire, love and respect him very much.  My mom is the glue that holds the whole big, crazy mix together.  Her love is at the very center of all the other love that radiates outward from this bunch and into the world.  She is the picture of unconditional love, caring and acceptance that my siblings and I use as our model for the parents we try to be.  If we are each doing any good at all in the world today, it is because she gave us a deep-seated sense that someone loves us and believes in us no matter what.  She is now giving this blessing to another generation both through her example to her children and through being a wonderful Grammy to her grandkids.  I am eternally grateful for my parents.

There are many, many other people for whom I am grateful in my life including my dad, my husband’s family and many dear friends.  My gratitude for these 3 people that I live with everyday is something I probably can’t express fully in words and, for now, I won’t even try.  Here in this place where I share my heart, it seemed appropriate this Thanksgiving to express my gratitude to God for these particular 11 people whom I count among my greatest blessings.  I am so grateful to have shared Thanksgiving with all of them last week and I will always treasure the memories we made and the laughter we shared.

Philippians 1:3  I love you guys!