Last week I was on vacation at a friend's mountain home in California. Not only did I adore her and her family, but I also fell in love with her home on 15 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountains. During one trip down the mountain into town, I found myself thinking of my little box house in the middle of town and coveting her beautiful surroundings. I'm usually very appreciative of the distinct beauty of my own Minnesota landscape, but the view there was really breathtaking and for a few minutes my place in the heartland seemed a little paltry.

When I realized what I was doing, I mentally shook myself back to my senses and did a little internal thanks-giving for the incredible life we have. While I don't have a view down a mountain, I have a home I never dreamed of with some pretty breathtaking views of its own. There is nothing like waking up after an unexpected ice storm in the fall to find every late rose, marigold and blade of grass encased in its own tiny ice sculpture. The sun hits it all and it's as if the world is made of spun glass. Or the way ice-covered snow in the fields reflects the color of the sunset.... or the deep blue skies over the rich green and blue of our thousands of lakes in the spring and summer. Daryl and I point out the beauty as we drive a lot of days, and both of us have wondered how many people don't even notice in their rush home.

I know so many people who covet. It's so inane, and such a waste of your own happiness. Someone is always going to have a nicer house, more money, a more romantic Valentines Day gift. Even the Queen of England doesn't have the best figure and probably doesn't have as good of friends as I do. Love what you have, and if what you have is truly wretched then find a way out. In my experience, if you surround yourself with good people the rest is easy.

I read last week that every year half of us will lose a close friend or family member to death. I lost my mother last Easter and many of my friends have been rocked by deaths in their own families. Truly, there is nothing like a loss of that magnitude to make you cherish what you have. I have heard so many people in mourning who have said they wish they had appreciated what they had when their loved ones were around. It sounds morbid, but I occasionally think of losing my husband to snap me out of caring whether he's wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row and wanting to bean him with canned goods over it. I think about how many parents are watching their children struggle with terminal illnesses and it makes me ache for them and grab my children and hug them tight. If that were ever my child I know I'd be down on my knees saying I don't care about anything, just make my child well again and we'll be so happy. So why not appreciate it now, without the wake-up call?

So this week's assignment is to make a list of 100 things you're thankful for. Count your blessings. And don't even think of saying you don't have a hundred! Be thankful you're not allergic to chocolate, that your mother taught you how to cook, that you have cool toes, for friends and family and all the little things that make you happy. If anybody special is one of your blessings, make sure you tell them!

And if you care about my list, I'll put the first one hundred below. :)

That my children are healthy, that I don't have to be afraid in my own home, that Daryl is such a wonderful daddy, my eyesight to see how beautiful the world is, great hair, my friend Trevi, that I made peace with my mother and made her happy before she died, our wonderful house, being able to breastfeed my babies, being able to have my babies after 12 miscarriages, that Daryl can still walk even though it's painful, my poetry, knowing how to laugh at life, my wonderful mommy list online, my experience as a battered women's advocate and being able to help so many women and children, my garden, the fantastically huge stack of gardening and children's magazines my friend Sue gave me, my friend Sue, my friend Teresa, not having to rely on public assistance or worry about having enough food to eat, the internet, fun hipbones, my mind, that Victoria is such an incredible child, neat in-laws, Barb, a high pain tolerance, so many experiences in my life (even the bad ones), great food, Val, that my husband has such a beautiful soul and is someone I'm proud of, that we don't have to worry much about crime in our little town, Mypoints and free gift certificates, being able to afford to stay home with my girls, our fantastic trip to California and my friendship with Claire that made it possible, that my mother always let me know she loved me, the Northern Lights, my husband's fantastic fun friends, that I don't have allergies, thrift stores, love songs Daryl has written me, that spring is coming! ECFE and my mommy friends there, knowing how to flirt, that I live in a country where I am free to disagree with my government without fear, my life, that delphiniums grow well in zone 4, walks with my daughters, state parks, that Daryl taught me the joy of simple things like rock hunting, being able to walk, my beautiful sweet Annalee, feminism, my education (even the stuff that didn't seem relevant), Teresa's neck rubs, that we have two vehicles that mostly work and are not bad to look at either, the stories my mother told me of my father so I can feel a little bit that I knew him, my college poetry mentor nikky finney, being able to travel, Jackie, Thanksgiving dinners, my own strength, roses, my femme sisters online, my wiggle, being tiny, ice cream, peanut butter cups, Tom Petty, Meat Loaf (the singer and the food), that my girls will grow up in a world that is starting to treat women the way they should, the way Anna looks when she sleeps, the lake where the stars live, Daryl's goofiness with the kids, the Windom hospital and how comforting the nurses always are, our cat Josie, our big bed, that my friends sponge painted the nursery as a baby present and it's not only beautiful but reminds me of true friendship, that I'm a great cook, sunsets, big old loveable dogs, free radio, that my mother taught me to write well, Kim and her fantastic massages, mountain dew, that my girls have health insurance, that life worked out after all, goodness, the number of people who are making a difference and helping, baths, my debit card so I can buy goodies online, watching Daryl do bead crafts with Victoria, cheap airline tickets, pecan pie with ice cream, clean air, that new Super Walmart (hey, we're out in the sticks and it's barely a half hour drive now!), great kids books, great teachers who care, my washer and dryer, Survivor (I admit it, I watch!), cable TV, free libraries, walking along the lake with my family, so many wonderful friends..... Oh, and the ladies cabin every August, and my herb garden, and Fairy Tale Town, and agates, and the joy my girls find in such tiny things...... But that's 108.....

And you. Sappy or not, I get a real kick out of these articles. :) Thanks for reading!

To the Article Index

All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
Don't take it - that would be rude.