1. Fran Stekoll says

    I am grateful for GOD ,my eyes, ears, mouth, heart, family, love, sunrise, sunset,
    friends, birds chirping, pets in my lap, travels I’ve had with Matt, Senior Outreach clients and groups I’ve led. It’s been a blessings to have lived long
    enough to see my 10 grandchildren growing up into fine adult human beings.
    I am grateful for my creative abilities to be able to write, sing, and counsel.
    Now as I become Matts care provider as he comes home today from his second stroke, I am grateful that I have a degree in Gerontology and Social Services so that I can professionally take better care of his needs. I am blessed with my health and energy to carry out this new role in life.

  2. says

    I am grateful that Eli is home safe and that he is happy and thriving. I am grateful that he found a school that is such a good fit for him both intellectually and socially. He’s learning and growing and having so much fun. I’m grateful to have my family under one roof again, even briefly. I’m grateful for friends and community. I’m grateful to have the resources to have access to health care when so many people don’t. I’m grateful to my students for always teaching me so much. I’m grateful to my active brain for always spinning out a new interesting idea. I’m grateful that my brain is still capable of learning as I take up Spanish as a brand new language student. I’m grateful my voice can sing. I’m grateful for my teachers. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful that my mother made the move out to Santa Cruz and that I get to see her so often. I’m grateful that a new grandchild is coming into our lives and that our family continues to grow. I’m grateful to all of you who post on this blog and share your lives, your words and your stories. I’m grateful for our writing community–on and off line.

    • Debbie O says

      Laura –
      I am also very grateful for this writing community. I did not even realize how hungry I have been for this kind of connection until I sampled this blog. Now I wait each week for the writing prompt – and make sure I find time to write my response so I can post it and then read the wonderful contributions of everyone else! It is often the highlight of my day! Thank you for making it possible.

      • Ilana says

        Hungry, yes. Debbie does have a way with words. I have been starving; for a safe place to share my words, a safe place to share my pain. A place to learn and benefit from your wisdom, all of you, not just Laura. “Ilana” is not my real name but you who will never learn my name know me better than the people who see me everyday. I have never known such freedom. Thank you, Laura for building this writing community that means so much to us.

  3. Jan Whitney says

    thank you for my health and life, which was in question 40 years ago;
    thank you for guidance through complicated and painful awakenings that necessitated separation and the breakage of marital and immediate family ties.
    thank you for giving me the courage to forge ahead and create a life long career path with all my uncertainties, doubts and fearful pushes i received from new persons appearing on my path unexpectedly when i was close to quitting.
    thank you again for helping me guide a turbulent teenage son through his rough life waters into manhood and the creation of his own career and family.
    thank you for the blessing of a little girl and the pure spirit and love she expresses to me, her grandmother.
    now, as i stand in the doorway of the last third of my life, i am grateful for all the deep and rich experiences of the past 30 years of consciousness expanding work with death and dying; grief; and crisis counseling.
    this doorway has new unknowns and uncharted twists and turns totally unfamiliar to me. thank you again for the presence of a guide who seems to hold my hand as i express new fears of the years ahead and how to begin the navigation through them with grace and peacefulness.

  4. Laura Braaten says

    I’m grateful for
    a warm home on a wintry day,
    the faint memory of spring’s first primrose,
    delight in my daughter’s innocent face,
    hard won mending of fractured family,
    the clarity that flows from weaving words.

  5. Rebecca Hudson says

    The first and foremost thing I am grateful for isn’t a thing; He’s a person, God. I am grateful for Him and his Son. If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t be here, I was in the process of dying during birth and I believe He gave me His strength to survive. I know that He is always there, watching over me, loving me, forgiving me for all wrongdoing and sins I’ve done, and I know that He will never leave me. My heart lives for Him and Him only. I am grateful to have people in my life who care and love me. Jordan Newman, he’s there when I need someone to talk to. He’s the only one who understands me, what I go through and what I’ve been through. He accepts me, he accepts my personality, my attitude, my looks, my flaws, and he accepts and loves me for who I am, just like our Father and Son. Brian Anderson, he’s been there for me since sixth grade and he’s good at giving advice because he knows things about life that no one else does. Diante Wilkes, he’s been there since eighth grade, even though we had our ups and downs, he’s still there for me and I’m glad we’re still friends. Shakuar Longstreet, he gives me giant bear hugs and doesn’t let go when I cry and he’s always there to listen and give advice. Tyshawn Irving, he held me when I cried one day, he’s adorable, sweet, and caring. Scotty King, he didn’t judge me when someone else did, he looked pass the things I did in my past and saw me for who I really am. Vatsana Boutsisophone, we’re always there for each other, to talk about each other’s problems and solve them. We’ve known each other for four years and we’ve never gotten into a fight, that’s why we have a strong friendship. Chastity Davis, we known each other since we were kids and know that she will always be there. Justin Davidson, when we use to talk on the phone, he would preach about God, about the wrongdoing of me. Nathaniel Mastin, we’ve known each other since fifth grade always been there for each other. Dustin Moncrief, I love his big, warm hugs and I know he’ll always be there if I need someone to talk to. Justin Lancaster, he’s like a brother to me and I’m pretty sure I’m like a sister to him, I know I can come to him for anything. James Downing, even though he can be a jerk sometimes, I know he’s caring. Ronnie Martin, for being there since fourth grade and I know he will always be there for me. Ambria Chavez, she’s a good friend and she’s always there. My mother, Regina Hudson, she’s been there since day one and that’s all that matters. My little sister, Heather Hudson, even though we argue a lot and it feels like she strongly dislike me sometimes and that she doesn’t care, I still love her no matter what. My grandmother, Ruby Alice Hudson, even if she’s with the Father and Son in the heavens above, I still feel her with me. I never take off the ring she gave me or the rings on my necklace that belonged to her. I always sleep next to the Bible that belonged to her. I wake up to see her beautiful face in a picture frame every morning. I am grateful for all my other family, Lonnie Watson, Jean Watson, Jetta Watson, Lexi Adkins, Jamie Watson, Shane Watson, Tammy Browning, April Dial, Eric Dial, and their children, Tammy Watson, Gary Watson, Josh Harkey, Ashley Watson and her beautiful baby girl, Ryleigh Hayden. I am grateful for my teachers and my past teachers, for teaching me and helping me learn. I am grateful for Dawson McAllister and his Hope-Line; he’s great at what he does by changing lives from bad to good. I am grateful for food, clothing, sleep, church, my health, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, animals, nature, music, soccer, and it goes on and on. I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for the music I listen to, I mostly listen to Christian rock, the Christian rock bands I’ve discovered over the past year are The Afters, Kutless, Anthem Lights, Mikeschair,, Starfield, Skillet, Tenth North Avenue, and Sanctus Real. I am grateful for those bands. I am grateful for our heroes who fight for us to keep our freedom. I am grateful my many talents, writing, playing the piano, drawing, doing whatever involves my hands. Writing is the key to my inspiration and expressing me. I am grateful for poetry; it makes me feel better when I express my feelings in a rhyme. I am grateful for learning the piano quickly, it just sounds so relaxing and it calms me down when I’m upset. I am grateful for the World Poetry Movement, for entering their contest and getting the poem I entered published along with other young poets in the book “Stars in Our Hearts: Ambition,” and for winning a certificate of Publication for it. I am grateful that Laura Davis is doing great things that she had the thought of creating this website so that people won’t be scared to post their thoughts and express how they feel on her related topics. I am grateful for myself, that I take action in what I do, that I got one of my creative poems published in a book, that I post my writing on here, I’ll be more grateful if I get discovered by posting my work on here. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for always being happy, putting a bright smile on my face and for laughing, which is really the cure for emotional pain. I am grateful for my faith, my hope, my freedom, my heart, my spirit, my life.

  6. Dianne says

    I am grateful for my hair and my health. I’m grateful I have the desire to change and evolve – to seek out new experiences and to embrace my journey instead of resisting the inevitable. I am thankful I have such a loving family and a wonderful, incredibly handsome son.

  7. Beverly Boyd says

    Those of us who came of age in the fifties and sixties remember Dick Clark and American Bandstand well. Others may know him from the New Years Eve TV broadcast which he will host this year for the fortieth time at 82!
    USA Weekend printed a profile this Sunday and I want to quote him.

    “The most important resolution I ever made and kept was to count my blessings every day and not let life’s disappointments get me down.”

    That’s what I am doing this year…counting my blessings!
    I am grateful that I was able to talk to my sister in Lexington, Kentucky today. After almost two years of complaining of pain and fatigue and two or three misdiagnoses, two months ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. By that time it was fourth stage! The severity was a shock to us all! Radiation was started as soon as possible and apparently was successful in doing what it was supposed to do, though it made her very sick. Yesterday she had her second round of chemo therapy and is having what is probably a brief few days of feeling good. We talked and laughed, even about some of the really serious things that are happening to her now.

    I’m not ready to let my little sister go. The little sister who took her first steps holding my hands, whose hair I curled and made little dresses for, whose piano recitals I attended with pride and whose cut sayings I cherished. I feel so blessed that after a number of years of strain between us we have had a healed relationship and enjoy our sisterhood. Because years ago I was able to express my feelings and love to her, she says it began her own healing and part of that was the relationships she has had with our parents and siblings. I am grateful for the words I found that day to express those feelings to her.

    I am also grateful for my large extended family, who in spite of physical distance care enough to stay connected and gather as family and celebrate each other.

    I am grateful for my basic good health and for medical science that gave me a new knee so I can be active and healthy. After five eye surgeries I have my vision. I might have had only peripheral vision, but I don’t even need glasses to read anymore!

    I am grateful that my ex husband and I have a friendship today and can be together with our grandchildren on days like Christmas. And I’m grateful that we don’t go home together after the party!

    And I am grateful for my friends old and new and all of you who post on this blog that I eagerly read each week!

    I’m sure that counting our blessings will help us all have a good year in 2012!

    • Beverly Boyd says

      Darn it! I hate it when I read what went online and there’s a typo I can’t correct. Hopefully you figured out it was my sister’s “cute” not “cut” sayings I cherished!

    • Debbie O says

      Beverly – my sister-in-law is traveling a similar path as your sister with recently diagnosed stage IV lung cancer. She has finished her chemo and radiation and is feeling much better. I hope for similar good news for you.

  8. Andrea says

    As Thanksgiving approached I started noticing many people posting, “I am grateful for…” messages on Facebook. There was a local church that had a sign outside that said, “What are You Grateful For?” I’ve always considered myself an optimist – a believer that, when things are bad, a good night’s sleep is all it will take to make tomorrow brighter. And yet, despite the local propaganda and my typical attitude, I find myself pushing the constant question away. I’ve spent months avoiding the question, but the Universe, with its usual persistence, has broached it once again.

    With a bit of contemplation, I realize that I’ve been avoiding the question because it no longer has a rote answer. The answer has become difficult, requiring committed consideration. It isn’t difficult because I don’t know the answer, it is difficult because my awareness of what I’m truly grateful for comes on the heels of its possible loss. It is difficult because I suspect my future happiness will require an adjustment in the things that make me grateful.

    I need to ease into this so will start with the still-easy answers. I am most grateful for my two sons. As they grow and mature, I am getting a glimpse at the men they will become. I’m proud to be their mom.

    I am grateful for my job. My employers are generous, flexible, and committed to caring for their employees in a manner not often seen these days. They are paying for me to return to college and I am very grateful for both the education and the distraction from my past in focusing on my future. My job also provides me with financial security that gives me confidence to make important decisions for both myself and my children. This is a luxury some woman don’t have and it limits their life choices to what they need, not what they want.

    I am grateful for my family; for my brother who lets me cry on his shoulder and is an ally that can only be found in a sibling and for my mom, who knows that sometimes getting through the day requires help with one’s laundry, a good meal, a glass of wine, and help shuffling the kids around. I’m grateful for my sister and my Dad. Although distance separates us, they seem to know when to pick up the phone or drop me a line that reminds me of all the people in the world that are rooting for me.

    I am grateful for my friends, both old and new. Those that have known me always and those that feel like they have known me always. Both my family and friends give me acceptance which has suddenly become a treasured commodity. I’m having a hard time accepting myself and have possibly lost the acceptance of my husband, who has been my unwitting mirror for many years.

    I am grateful for my health, my intelligence, and my creativity and my focus in the New Year is to take much better care of all three. They are truly gifts and it feels sinful to waste them.

    Lastly, the hard part, I am grateful for having been married for 18 years and together for 21 years, with my husband. I am uncertain about our future together, but I am grateful for the life we have shared so far. Even if our future does not hold an “us” I wouldn’t change our time together. I would do it again in a heart-beat. Obviously I would change those things that brought us to this fork in the road, but perhaps even this is meant to be. Perhaps one day in the future, I will look back and be grateful for the lessons that I learned, the changes that were wrought and the path the changes lead me down. I am grateful for the chance to find out.

      • Andrea says

        You are welcome Laura. Thank you for finally getting me to sit down and address this much-avoided question. I feel like it has been chasing me for several months.

        • Ilana says

          Oh my gosh, Andrea. This is so beautiful, so bitter sweet. Thank you for your courage your wisdom, and for the lessons you teach.

    • Debbie O says

      Andrea –
      I want to share a native american proverb
      “The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears”
      Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt comment.

  9. Ilana says

    There are so many things I am grateful for. I am grateful for my children who remind me daily that they are healthy and loved. They are an opportunity to give so many things I wish I had been given as a child. I am grateful for my husband who will always love me no matter what earth shattering crisis befalls me next. I am grateful for the warm home that I love, enough to eat and feed my family, schools for my children, friends and love itself. I am grateful for all I have to give, my strength to support others, a listening ear, a few extra dollars for the food pantry and breast cancer research. Even my blood and my hair, both of which I have joyfully donated in the last few weeks.

    There are a million more things I am grateful for but I want to take this opportunity to honor something in specific. This is my inner strength. It took me a long time to recognize this strength. Most of my life I saw it as a burden. It was the inability to give up. I despised this strength as I lay in a hospital bed writhing in agony. All I wanted to do was close my eyes forever but something pushed me to fight for my life instead. Again, through that awful recovery when the emotional pain exceeded the physical so much more than I could ever have predicted. There was no way out, there was no choice because something in me would not let me follow through on my plans to end my life. Later I finally began to face the festering wounds that more than ten years of incest had left on my soul. (“I was 5 years old, a baby and he destroyed me.”) I wanted nothing more than to finish what he had started, to show the world what my brother did to me. But even as I held the blade above my skin, this inner strength did not allow me to cut.

    Oh yes. I hated this disability, this barrier that trapped me on the “Carriage to Hell.” I am forced to continue reading Laura’s (and Ellen Bass’s) “Courage to Heal”. I am forced to seek out and find support in my sister survivors. I am going to have to finish this journey. As painful as it is, I am completely incapable of giving up on my recovery. Then last week it hit me. This thing that I hate so much, it is the guarantee that my children will have the best mother I can give them. It is the safety net that got me through all those years of abuse. As my parents disbelieved me, blamed me, as my own self hatred grew, this inner strength kept me alive.

    It is now my constant companion and my biggest weapon as I fight for my freedom. I look at that blade I held above my arm and smile. That door is closed. There is no point in picking up the knife. There is no point in counting out the pills. I will never be able to hurt myself. In my darkest hours, through nightmares, through panic attacks, through self hatred so dark and deep it feels like a bottomless pit, my inner strength speaks to me. It whispers, “Because of me you will survive this night and tomorrow is another day. Because of me, there is hope for the future.”

    • Debbie O says

      Ilana –
      I am sending you a “high five” right now! Yahoo!
      I honor the message of your inner voice, your stubborn resistance and continual choice toward being alive and for your impressive bravery in sharing this part of your story.

      • Andrea says

        It hurt me to read your writing. It hurts to know that I have likely taken for granted so many blessings my life has given me in it’s ease and love. I wish for you the ability to take your blessings for granted.

        • Ilana says

          Debbie and Andrea- Thank you both so much. As I said before, this is the most honest I have dared to be. It was frightening but definitely the right decision. I have gained strength from your comments and your valuing my writing enough to comment. Again, thank you.

  10. Ilana says

    Thank you. This is the most honest I have dared to be, in a public arena, perhaps even with myself. It made for a rough night. But then, as you’ve taught me, that is a part of healing.

    • Debbie O says

      Interesting concept – having the right to take some things for granted. I will reflect on that. I feel uncomfortable with the comment about being a step ahead. It all feels like a circle or spiral where we move at different speeds and meet each other along the way. My perspective today will shift.

      My mind is full of other people’s wisdom this New Years Day – so I will share one more quote to start the new year. It was my father’s favorite: “Don’t walk behind me because I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me because I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

      Offered with affection and respect! Happy New Year!!

      • Ilana says

        Good point. And your quote could not be more appropriate. I’ve always loved that one but in this case it has even more meaning. Happy New Year to all.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ilana, I can’t find words for what you’ve written here. The power of what you’ve described, and been through, rings loud and clear. Please count me among you survivor community. I’ve also been blessed with that cement-encrusted inner strength. Please be healthy, happy and at peace.

      • Ilana says

        Thank you, Terry. I am touched and honored at your response. And thank you for your description, “cement-encrusted inner strength” it seems to acknowledge that this can still sometimes feel like a burden.

  11. Debbie O says

    This prompt has been rattling around in my head all week. While it seems so straightforward, I could not decide where to begin.

    At the macro level? Expressing gratitude that I was born with certain advantages at this time of the human race? I am grateful to have been born into a white, middle-class family living in the United States. That means I did not start life on empty like so many. I am appreciative to not have any physical impairments; my eyes see, my ears hear, my nose smells, my tongue can taste and my fingers can sense the delicate difference between a patch of grass and the silky fur of my faithful four-legged friend. And while I am not as fast or as strong or have the endurance of my youth, with time and determination I can accomplish most of what I set out to do. And for all of the above, I am very grateful. Though, if I am honest, I completely take them all for granted.

    When I began to shift my focus on blessings at the more micro level, those areas of grace closer to my life history – I noticed the most peculiar feelings. Nestled right up to every prayer of thanks was at least a moment of sorrow, pain or regret. How interesting!

    When I offer up thanks for:

    Warmth of the sunshine on my shoulders, there is the chill of dark, grey days full of snow
    Kindness of those in my universe, there is the shadow of pain caused by cruelties of the past
    Blessing of opportunities before me, there is the remembrance of the prison of fears
    Pleasure of being in places of natural beauty, there are endless hours trapped in a room without even a window
    Space to reconnect with my soul, there is the black hole of shame and insecurity
    A beginning sense of community, there is the emptiness of no connection

    Is it possible the depth and breadth of our capacity for gratitude is tied to the losses and pain we have known? Our ability to feel blessings and blessed tied to the paths we have walked to get to the place of thankfulness?

    For me, this seems to ring true. And I have never considered it from this perspective until writing in response to this prompt. It really reframes so many experiences.

    What a gift, for which I am grateful!

  12. Terry Gibson says

    Thank you for allowing me good housing, warmth, ample food, healthcare and relatively good health.

    Thank you for my eyes and having the ability to see without them. My ears and not needing them to hear.

    I am so grateful for the gift of insight, intuition, compassion, resilience, patience and the strength to trust and be trusted.

    Thank you for laughter, quiet, music, workouts that make me pour sweat, the good company of friends, and for the helping professions, which enabled me to save my life.

    Thank you for the encouragement and love of my spouse, intimacy, spirituality, sex, sharing and striving for a better life as a team.

    I am so grateful for a good strong mind, having an infinite curiosity and fascination about the world, the ability to learn, appreciate subtlety, satire and embrace the grey areas in life.

    Thank you for babies (who always make me smile), for having rediscovered how to communicate with them and other people, to write, enjoy books, and people who share my fascination with words.

    Thank you for the chances I have had to travel, see animals like elephants, horses, sloths, and koala bears and for embracing other cultures with respect and appreciation.

    I am so grateful for the raw beauty of nature and that so much of the best in life requires no currency.

  13. says

    Dear All,

    It was so wonderful to get back from a weekend away in Denver (my sister-in-law’s wedding) to see such an intimate dialogue happening on this site. It’s just want I had hoped for and I’m glad that connections like this are beginning and growing.

  14. says

    I don’t know what to say. Right now I feel grateful, but I can’t say why..
    I just know that I can’t understand everything and that I’m not supposed to
    I just know that the pain I feel in my stomach right now is the same pain I felt years ago when I tried to escape to the hospital for protection
    I just don’t know what I’m going to do–all I know is this: it’s finally time
    it’s finally time to face the forbidden
    it’s finally time to face what I have been avoiding
    and it’s finally time to acknowledge myself
    I’ve been avoiding acknowledging myself probably my whole life but i have to stop that now
    I am here and I’m not going away anytime soon
    so y’all better deal with it
    I’ve been very hurt by some people who deserve no mention but (as Nietzche might say..) they did not kill me
    I will not go away and they did not kill me
    I Am Still Here… (and I’m grateful for it… even if they are Not).

    • Debbie O says

      I am also glad that you are here and “not going away anytime soon.” Glad that you continue to share your journey.

  15. perspicacityscw says

    grateful for power and for powerlessness.

    grateful for alone moments to reinvent my wheel.

    grateful for deep sharing with a loved one and for watching each others backs. for finally being bestowed with love on a daily, practical level– conditionally, but in a “good” way :)

    grateful about honesty, laughter, individuality, motherhood, grand motherhood, the creek, the dog park (not to mention the dog), the ocean, the visit back home. whew, long overdue.

    grateful for the old friends and connections that i had forgotten as too painful, from the world i left behind and the labels it bestowed upon me…good labels, that got lost somehow with the “disability” and a different “corporate culture”.

    grateful for opening a door to love, that was closed it seems just too many times. patching betrayals, closing in on abandonment, deepening securities, finally trusting.

    grateful for purpose. not always easy. but knowing since an early age, that i was here for important reasons and that HP was always there for me.

    grateful that i added loving, to the quest for learning and serving– now the “three” reasons i am here in a body and to make a difference. the later in life limitations of this body, knowing in retrospect, were needed to redirect me to where i needed to be to continue to fulfill this purpose.

    grateful for finally asserting i had rights to breathe, to move, to say what “i” believed, to certain inalienable boundaries and to my personal pace. to stop being a victim just because of physical limitations. to accept and let go, the anger/frustration of those who do not like what i have had to say. oddly, many in the same or similar boats.

    grateful for neighbors.

    grateful for all the wildlife and the pets, including those who have departed.

    grateful to slowly but surely see my children “make it”, despite horrendous odds. to often realize that i must continue to let go, let G_d.

    grateful for the students from iraq and their lessons and their courage to continue to survive and to the lessons of post trauma that my own child was able to share with them.

    grateful for never ending hope, slowly acquiring wisdom, being feisty, being nurturing, being emotionally and spiritually strong.

    well, that’s off the cuff…. but to add: grateful to continue the writing i started many, many years ago.

  16. perspicacityscw says

    yes debbie and to add, “underlying” hope–because it is not to say that it is always easy at the time.

    sorry laura i missed tonite. but, grateful to learn how to “pace myself”.

  17. Bobbie Anne says

    Thanks for what you wrote about being grateful! How wonderful that you finnally asserted that you had a right to breathe. To move and say what you believed. How inspiring to read what you wrote and the part about being a victim because of physical limitations, and to accept and let go.

    Thanks for writing that it is your “personal pace”. I had an accident and the doctor wasn’t sure if I’d walk again. I’m walking just fine. However, I noticed how fast things were moving in general. God Bless those that think they move so rapidly. I too have a personal pace! It is just right for me. I get a lot done. I don’t have to rush. I liked what you said.

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