Thankful for, thankful to

Today I’m thankful for …
Family. We added two grandchildren to our clan this year. Both births had some extra drama, which makes us especially grateful for Mia and Lukas, who join Averie and Ella as four of the world’s most loved grandchildren. It’s a great joy for Grace and me to watch each of our adult children grow, mature, and thrive – in their families, their work, and their personal growth. I’ve also been blessed to have my parents close by and in good health for octogenarians, and Grace and I have a great set of siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts, uncles, and more. This has been a great year for Grace and me … she thrived in her real estate work here in SW Florida, and I enjoyed one of the best years of life so far. We both look forward to next year, when I’ll travel a bit less and enjoy being home a bit more.
Health. After a couple rough years (related to two tick-borne diseases I contracted in 2010), I’ve felt great this year. I can’t count how many times I’ve slid my 16′ kayak into my Prius (funny to see) and gotten out on the water … hanging out with dolphins and manatees (and alligators), fishing, birding, getting exercise. Just the other day, Grace and I walked 6 or 7 miles along the beach … grateful for mobility and health.
Friends. I am blessed to have friends around the world, many of whom I saw in North Carolina in August, in Thailand in October, and in DC in November (at Wild Goose Festival, the Mesa Gathering, and the Cana Initiative). I have five friends with cancer right now, all about my age … and so I feel the gift of friendship in a special way this Thanksgiving.
Work. I love my work. Yes, travel loses its luster after a while, and layovers at ATL or CLT or DFW can get a bit wearing, but in my travels I get to meet amazing people who care about things that truly matter. And I love to write – even after 14 books – and I’m so grateful for my agent (Kathryn Helmers) and my publishers (Wendy Grisham and Katherine Venn) and all the people I get to work with.
Mission. Many of us reach a point in life where we think, “I am already extravagantly blessed.” At that point, we stop seeking more and more of life’s good things for ourselves, and instead, we direct our energies more and more toward the well-being of others. We give, we advocate, we work for justice and peace, we seek to spread opportunity, and we discover that (amazing!) Jesus was right when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Readers. I began my life as a full-time writer almost eight years ago at the age of fifty. I feel that I have been blessed with the most interesting, loyal, thoughtful, and energetic readers in the world – of my books and my blog, not to mention my Facebook page and Twitter feed. I’m thankful to you, and thankful for you.
Some years ago, I posted this simple song … it expresses how I feel this year as much as any in my life.