It has taken more energy than I thought it would to write about 45 things I am grateful for. It wasn’t hard to choose 45 things. I am thankful for so much in my life. What was difficult was expressing why. And that is good. We all need to take a little time to consider why we are grateful.
Here is my second part of 45 Things to be Thankful For:
This may not come as a surprise to anyone, but I really love food. Just ask my wife, my kids, my colleagues…my waistline. I love cooking food, tasting food. I love the way food brings people together.
And I am also very aware of the number of people who face food insecurity every day. I am grateful that I do not have to wonder where my next meal will come from or how I will pay to keep lunches in my kids’ lunch bags next week. Food is, in my opinion, a human right. Children should not be going to bed hungry or worried about whether they will eat tomorrow. Parents should not have to choose between paying the hydro bill and feeding their children.
In London Ontario, where I live, the London Food Bank is helping, on average, 3500 families or about 8500 individuals every single month. There are other food cupboards throughout the city helping hundreds of families each month. With the holidays coming, just dropping a few cans in the collection box at the grocery store doesn’t seem like enough. It’s a start, though. Some other ideas to help end hunger in our region include:
- Donating your time to serve a meal at a hospitality dinner. Many churches and shelters offer meals to people who might not otherwise have one. These are great opportunities to meet people outside of your usual circles, and see that our humanity connects us.
- Consider donating items such as diapers and formula to foodbanks, or feminine hygiene items to organizations like Tampon Tuesday. Remember that some parents are needing to choose between feeding or diapering their babies, or themselves. And no one should have to put off eating to take care of their hygiene needs.
- Share a meal with someone in need. Offer to cook together. Notice that food brings people together and appreciate those with whom we are breaking bread.
Education is a great equalizer. Education can take us to places we never dreamed possible. I am so thankful for the education I received. I am thankful to see my children taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities they have in their own education.
And I am reminded that there are places in the world where I would not have been able to receive the education I did, simply because I am female. There are many in our own country who are weighed down with debt for their education. If we want to make the world more open, more accessible, more tolerant, we must invest in education.
On a personal note, I love working in education. Every single day I see the deep compassion and dedication to improving society that our young people bring each day. I am certain that they are going to change the world for the better – to make our society more just, more equitable. I believe they see solutions to problems in ways I never could.
Not much needs to be said about my gratitude for freedom. I am thankful to live in Canada, where I am free to love who I love, to raise a family, to enjoy my life, to own my home. I am thankful to live in a place where I have the right to vote and to help choose how my country, my province, my city will be governed. I am grateful to have the freedom to believe something different from my neighbor, and to fight for my neighbor’s right to believe differently than I do.
I need to learn how to better serve those who may lack some of the freedom I enjoy. This is an area of growth for me, and I am proud to live in a society that affords me the freedom to make mistakes, to learn and to do better.
I love all kinds of music. Music has the ability to lift up, to draw out emotion, to change a mood. I listen to music when I want to get inspired, when I want to calm down or just to fill the silence.
What songs are on your playlist when you want to feel better?
Kindness matters. Always. No matter what we are feeling, we can choose to be kind. I am thankful that there is kindness in the world and I am continuing my search for acts of kindness each day.
…cuz sometimes it isn’t practical to be naked.
Seriously, I love this time of year because there is nothing more comforting to me than a warm sweater and some cozy socks. Do you have any particular favourite clothing items?
Not when they are happening. I hate to have my world knocked off balance, to have to face yet another hurdle. But I am learning to be thankful for challenges. I think this is one of those things that I don’t have to like in order to appreciate its value. Challenges overcome make us stronger and more resilient. Challenges that knock us on our butts teach us something about how much we are able to do hard things. Always they result in growth. Most of the time, they are also accompanied by cursing and questioning. And that’s ok.
23. Clean Water
Really. It’s the small things sometimes. There are days when it feels like too much is piling up. And on those days, when I find it hard to be thankful, I remember that I have clean water available to me at any time. In fact, my dogs drink cleaner water than many humans on earth do. That says something. I have a very blessed life. I guess I am saying that sometimes the simplest things are most life-giving. So let’s be thankful and not take for granted things like clean water.
Confession – I do not like winter. I am not a fan of cold weather, of snow, of shoveling my driveway, of boots and coats and hats and mitts and scarves etc. I have yet to find something redeeming about winter. Well, maybe there is one thing. When I was a child, I loved to go out to my front yard after it got dark, lie in the snow and look up. When it was snowing, I loved watching the flakes against the dark sky as they fell toward me. I still like that. But I know I don’t take the time to lie out in the snow and watch the falling snow flakes.
How great is it to live in a place where seasons change, life springs forth in spring and leaves change colour in fall. I am going to intentionally look for the beauty of each season. Hopefully I will find more to love about winter.
25. A bed to sleep in
Especially after a long and exhausting day. Or on a Sunday afternoon for a nap.
There is no sound more beautiful than the sound of children laughing. For me, it is the sound of MY children laughing. That sound can instantly take away all the stress I am feeling and bring me back to calm. My kids can laugh about anything. I want to learn from them.
For all the perils of technology, it does allow us to connect to one another. I do love staying in touch with people I might not otherwise be able to. For all its good, though, I think there is a real need to disconnect from technology every once in a while.
I am thankful for the minds that have created some wonderful technologies. I am thankful for the way I am able to use it even when I have no idea how it works.
The ability to be creative is a gift. We express our hearts when we are creative. Our souls NEED to be creative. What we lack in our adult world is the ability to be creative without worrying about whether we are good enough, or if we can make money from our creative ventures, or who might laugh at us if we are not super talented at whatever we create.
How can we foster more creativity in our lives?
29. Ted Talks
Does this even need an explanation? Ted talks and documentaries are my favourite form of entertainment.
30. Friends who check in
Thank you my friends. You know who you are. I appreciate and value your regular check-ins and am more grateful than I can say for the way you continue to check in on me to make sure I am feeling well, or taking care of myself, or drinking enough water or getting enough rest. You all are what is good in the world.