Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Thanksgiving is always a time of reflection and giving thanks for those many blessings in my life. It was definitely a very different and lonely Thanksgiving. This was the very first time in 32 years of marriage with Dan that we spent it completely alone. I’m usually the one who cooks the big dinner, it’s something I’ve always loved doing! Now that I live in Virginia, I invite all my family members to share. Because of COVID-19, this year everyone decided to play it safe and celebrate in their own households. Even my Mom didn’t come, which made me sad, as I hate that she was alone. I hope our future Thanksgivings can be spent together with family and friends.
This week, I am choosing to write a blog on gratitude for several reasons. First, it is the topic of the week for my writing group Blogophilia, but most importantly, to recognize that I have many reasons to be grateful for in my life. Yes – even in one of the most horribly challenging and frustrating years ever! So without further adieu, here is my Top Ten Gratitude List for 2020:
1. My husband – Dan is number one on my list for obvious reasons! He’s the yin to my yang, patient, generous, kind, loving and understanding. (I could go on.) He puts up with my quirks and anxieties, showers me with love and attention. He makes me feel like a queen, is a good father to our kids, and we always have a wonderful time together in our adventures. You give meaning to Plato’s quote: “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” I’m incredibly grateful to have him as my love and life partner.
2. My children – Vince and Katie, you are the lights of my life! I cannot express how deep my unconditional love is for you both. It has been an honor and a blessing to be your mother. You have brought me the greatest joys and wonderful memories. I have loved seeing you grow through the years, and I am so proud that you have both blossomed into beautiful, loving adults (and parents). Katie, thank you for my sweet granddaughter, adorable sweet Posie Mae who arrived in January!!! This was the absolute BEST THING EVER in 2020, and we found out today the wonderful news that baby # 2 is A BOY!!! WOO HOO!!! He is who is due in June 2021!! Vince, I am happily looking forward to your wedding with Natalie next year and future grandbabies!
3. Family – Thank you, Mom, for birthing me and supporting me through all the years with kindness and unconditional love! Dad and you gave me a wonderful life, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I was blessed to be born in a huge family, with 2 sisters and 2 brothers, and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins! My childhood memories are golden, and I hold them close in my heart always.
4. Cats – I’m a crazy cat lady, incredibly grateful for the cats that have owned my heart. First and foremost, my beloved Tommy who died from lymphoma this year…this was the WORST THING about 2020, and it literally broke my heart. Rudy lifted us up during this difficult time, and now we have added playful Bobby Moonlight as his baby brother. They met for the first time yesterday, and it was the smoothest cat introduction ever! They became fast friends, played and chased around the house without even a snarl or hiss! It lifted my heart to hear their galloping up and down the hallway all day long. And last but not least, Jordan who left us two years ago… my pretty princess over the rainbow bridge who started my obsession with cats.
5. Health – I’ve been blessed to have good health, and I hit that scary milestone of 60 this year! It’s not so bad, and I am extremely grateful to have made it this far without any major illnesses such as high blood pressure, and heart disease, which runs in my family. I attribute my good health thus far to a lifetime of dedication to exercise. Well, you could say obsession…. I love running, high impact aerobics, kickboxing, and yoga!
6. Music – I’m grateful for music, as it brings me great pleasure and gets me through the tough times. I always have music on when I’m awake. It makes working a lot less like work, allows me to pour out my emotions, dance when nobody’s watching, and inspires my writing, as well! I like just about all kinds of music (except country – sorry not sorry)… from classical to classic rock to pop to electronic to hip hop. One of my hobbies is music collecting – I have a cache of over 300 vinyl albums, 400 or more CDs and a mp3 library of almost 15,000 songs. I’m a (very) amateur guitar player and took piano lessons as a child. For me, music evokes memories and emotions, and touches my soul. Thank you for always being there, music.
7. Wine – Yes, I know this is one is a real shocker!! Wine, thank you for helping me get through 2020! Seriously though, I have always been a red wine connoisseur. It is good for your heart, you know! I love a good, bold red. I belong to 4 wineries, one in Napa and three locally. We have been fortunate to visit the Napa area twice and hope to return, as it was one of the most beautiful and enjoyable trips ever. One of the things Dan and I enjoy doing is hitting a local winery or two on the weekend, sipping some Cabernet, gazing at the beautiful vineyard views and listening to music. COVID-19 has impacted that experience this year with social distancing and strict protocols, so we cut down on our winery visits this year. I’m hoping 2021 is better.
8. Cheese – Yep. I love cheese! (And it’s a writing prompt.) I love all kinds of cheese, thanks to one of my first jobs – working retail at a Hickory Farms store. I got to sample cheeses from all over the world: Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Gruyere, goats milk cheese, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Parmigiano, Roquefort, Swiss, you name it! My absolute favorites have always been sharp cheddars like New York and Vermont, Colby, and Muenster cheeses. I should probably cut down on it, but it goes so well with my red wine!
9. Nature – I love all animals (well….except rats, most snakes and insects like roaches and spiders). I marvel at the wildlife in Virginia – we have deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, groudhogs, chipmunks and all kinds of birds that visit our yard frequently. I am a lover of trees, sunsets, clouds, stars, changing skies, the 4 seasons, the moon, flowers, and bees (excepts wasps). My love for nature is expressed through my photography, also one of my hobbies.
10. Poetry – I’ve been writing poetry since I was 5 years old. It is my passion, and allows me to express myself in words. If I’m feeling anxious or experiencing emotions such as grief, anger, joy – I can channel it and use it creatively while relieving any negative stress. I love experimenting in poetry formats such as sonnets (my fav), etherees, pantoums, villanelles, and haiku. Even with my busy life and career, I make it a point to write one poem per week. I published my first book of poetry in 2011 called “Shadows of My Father,” a tribute to my Dad after he passed away. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to publish Book #2, if life ever slows down.
So there you have it! There are lot of other things that did not make the list that I’m still extremely grateful for: my home, my job, my car, technology, Virginia, Florida, toilet paper (haha, so 2020). Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, with hopes of a better year in 2021!
Colleen Keller Breuning © 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 38.13 Topic: Gratitude
Hard Bonus (2 points): Incorporate a quote from a Greek philosopher (Plato – “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”)
Easy Bonus (1 Point): Include three types of cheeses (either types or names of cheeses will be accepted) – I listed quite a few!
2. Bicycle Race
4. Falling Leaves
8. Change of Seasons
9. Happy Dance
10. Basket full of happy
Topic: Christopher Pic: Christine