100 Things I'm Thankful For
Join Me in Looking At The Bright Side Of Life
In an online forum, writer Claudette Mitchell started a discussion titled, "What are you thankful for?" She wrote:
Although I knew how important it was to be thankful, I learned only a few years ago the significance of it. I had learned on a Dani Johnson call to write out 100 things that you are thankful for. At first I thought I couldn't find two (especially when you are in a dark season of life). But I challenged myself and, when I came to 100 things, I realized I could keep going! I learned a great lesson that day, and it was the beginning of changing my life, too.
So if you're feeling gloomy, discouraged or hopeless, I challenge you to start writing out 100 things you're thankful for and look at that list everyday for a while. It will change your life.
I immediately responded to Claudette's "challenge" with the first thing -- person -- I'm thankful for on my list below. Soon, I too was adding to my list and immediately feeling better. I'd recently run into some meanies online, but making a list of 100 things I'm thankful for really put that other stuff in perspective.
And even if no one ever reads this list but me, I'll have it to revisit whenever I'm a little blue. If anyone does stop by, I do hope my list might help them get started with their own.
So, in no particular order (except the first few!), here goes my list....
I'm Thankful For....
The Special People (And Pet!) In My Life
1. My husband: He's my best friend and my #1 fan. From him I get unconditional love and acceptance, and he always makes me feel like I'm special and liked. I'm the luckiest girl in the world for having found my soulmate.
2. My parents: I'm thankful to be the daughter of two very loving, supportive people. My father is gone now but never forgotten and always loved. I know how much he adored me and how much my mom does, too. My parents enabled me to experience many things, regardless of how much they sometimes worried. They gave me everything they possibly could ... and even some things they probably couldn't.
3. My friends: If I named them all individually, from wonderful acquaintances to tried and true friends, I'd have the rest of my list of 100 things to be thankful for right there. I don't have a large number of close friends, but I do know there are a lot of good people, near and far, who I can count on, who care about me, and who want only the best for me. I truly value my friends and will never have "enough" or too many.
4. My beloved dog, Miss Sassafrass Tea (Sassy, for short): Always there to greet me and even hug me when I come through the door, Sassy gives me so much love. I know she won't be with us forever, but I cherish the time we've spent together and the time we still have. There's nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.
Why is being thankful such a great thing? From "The Benefits of Positive Thinking"
- Being Thankful
Find out how being thankful can improve your life instantly and share your gratitude.
I'm Thankful For....
What I've Been Able To Do And Accomplish
5. Fulfilling my dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail: In 2000, I hiked for 178 days from Georgia to Maine, thanks in large part to my husband's support. I had the time of my life and will cherish the memories forever.
6. Going to college: I was able to leave high school a year early and go to Simon's Rock College, then to the University of New Hampshire for the next three years. Thankfully, I was able to graduate without any student debt. I've said at times that, if I had it to do over again, I might not go to college (I'd take NOLS courses and writing workshops instead), but, on the other hand, I'm still thankful I was able to go and that I learned a lot while there, and not all of it in the classroom.
7. Traveling to foreign countries: Thanks to my parents, I was able to visit France and Switzerland during high school, accompany them on a number of cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and through the Panama Canal, and spend a summer in Israel.
8. Finishing a marathon: In April, 2008, I ran the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee, beating my target time of 5 hours by 15 minutes. I'm thankful I was able to finish the race and accomplish that goal.
9. Living on a farm: Actually, my husband and I lived on two, one a small, organic, working farm in Connecticut, the other a "gentleman's farm" in Pennsylvania as property caretakers. They were both wonderful learning experiences, and I'm thankful I was able to live that lifestyle for about seven years. (That's my husband, up to his ears in corn.)
10. Living in many places: So far, the places I've called home have been in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania and now in Flagstaff, Arizona. It's been great, experiencing various parts of the country for more than just the length of a vacation, all different and special in their own ways.
11. Being on a Search & Rescue team: It's one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. I love being able to help people while having adventure and learning lots of new skills at the same time. SAR makes me feel useful and part of something special.
Read and Share Thankful (and Thank You) Quotes
- Thankful Quotes and Thank You Quotes at Great-Inspirational-Quotes.com
Here's a beautiful series of thankful quotes and thank you quotes that point out the many things in your life that you can feel thankful and grateful for.
12. Getting a novel published: It's so neat to see the story I wrote in print and to know that many of those who've read it have really liked it. That makes me happy.
13. Standing on the tops of mountains: I'm not a mountaineer, and I don't aspire to be one, but it's so cool to stand on a summit and see the world around me from places one can only get to on foot, with a lot of huffing and puffing and sweat along the way.
14. Meeting one of my favorite singers: Not to mention becoming friends with someone in Trace Adkins' band. My husband and I have been invited to attend his concerts (free!) any time we want. And we love seeing our friend up on stage and after the shows. What a special treat! We're always looking forward to the next time.
15. Working at (and in) Grand Canyon: I went on a river trip through the Canyon as a passenger, then wanted to work as a guide myself. And I got what I wanted, more than once. I was able to spend a winter working on the North Rim--a very special time in a special place--and later was employed as a guide for National Geographic Expeditions on the South Rim.
16. Seeing Broadway shows in New York City: My dad took me to see Cats, twice, and other shows too. We'd take the train from Kingston, R.I. into Manhattan, have dinner, see a show, then ride the train home. I loved those trips and am grateful for the memories of those times we spent together.
I'm Thankful For....
Things I Like About Me
17. Being a nice person: I'm hardly perfect, but it's good to know in my heart that I'm a kind person. I'd never intentionally hurt anyone. I don't believe in being mean. I hate to see anyone cry and love to see people smile. I may be a bit shy sometimes and not the best at socializing, but I genuinely appreciate and care about people.
18. Being a decent writer: At least, when I really try. I'm thankful I can express myself and my imagination that way. I may not be the best writer, and there's always plenty of room for improvement, but I do know I have some talent to build on.
19. Accomplishing goals: To one degree or another, I tend to follow through on things. I thrive on having goals to strive for and am thankful about the fact I've been able to achieve some of them. I like that I have "stick-to-itiveness."
20. Knowing when to quit: I like knowing that I'm able to walk away from things that don't make me happy or aren't satisfying. Sometimes it takes a while to come to terms with "quitting," but I'm glad I've had the guts to do it when it has really mattered.
21. Being able to laugh when the going gets tough: One thing I found out about me on the Appalachian Trail is that I can find the funnies even when I'm soaked and cold and my ankles are rubbed raw. I like that I can often smile my way through difficulties and find the bright side.
I'm Thankful For....
A Lot Of Good Luck & Blessings
22. Getting to live at Lowell Observatory: In November, 2008, my husband and I had the good fortune of being granted an open home--one of only seven on Mars Hill--at the place where he works. It's wonderful having the Coconino National Forest as our back (and front!) yard. From here, we can walk just a few hundred feet and look through the historic Clark telescope at all sorts of celestial bodies. We can walk to downtown Flagstaff too, or out our door with backpacks on.
23. Being debt-free: I'm thankful I don't owe anyone money for anything, and that feels good.
24. Being financially secure: We're not rich (whatever that is, monetarily speaking), but we're comfortable and have what we need and then some.
25. Being able to work for myself: Thanks to my husband's secure job and the way we've set things up, in part by being frugal, I was able to leave a job that not only didn't make me happy but often made me very unhappy. Now, I can pursue things of my own choosing and have much more time to enjoy what I love doing, like writing for one thing.
26. Good health: Knock on wood. This should probably be way at the top of the list, but I'm really not writing this in any particular order. So far, though, at age 40, I've never had any major--or really any--health issues. One can never know for sure what will happen in that regard, but I'm thankful that I've been blessed with good health.
I'm Thankful For....
Lots of things that make me smile...
27. Being an American: Taking nothing away from any other country, I'm just being thankful for my own. It may not be perfect--what place is?--but I love it nonetheless.
28. The seasons: I love them all. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. There are so many wonderful, special things about each, no matter where I live or spend the time.
29. Sushi: Yum! Too bad it's so expensive, but at least we can afford to indulge now and then. Steve and I shove a piece of sushi or maki roll in our faces, then smile with our mouths full of rice and raw fish.
30. Sunshine: Doesn't it feel good? I know, too much isn't such a good thing, but, ooh, just to soak it up for a while, either outside or in a sunny window, is one of my favorite things.
31. The old man in Jerusalem who gave me the wooden candlesticks: I don't know why I thought of that just now, but it popped into my head, so I typed it. I was 16 at the time. I'd seen the old man earlier in the trip at the Wailing Wall. On my last full day in Israel, back at the Wall, he reappeared and gave me the candlesticks. Why? I don't know.
Images for Being Thankful
- Being Thankful
Images and image quotes, like this one....
32. Tents: I love sleeping in them, like a little cocoon. Not to mention that I love camping, period. It's fun to try out a new tent, as well as crawling into an old, well-used one. (That's me on the A.T., on a really cold morning in Georgia.)
33. The sound of the rain on the roof: Is there any better sound to fall asleep to? That doesn't happen a whole lot here in Flagstaff, but what a treat when it does.
34. Fleece: My favorite thing to pull over, up and on. Fleece tops, fleece jackets, fleece pants, fleece PJ's and sometimes fleece socks. Oh, and fleece blankets, sheets and pillow cases too!
35. Down booties: Nothin' better when you have tile floors! They keep us from turning the thermostat up another few degrees on those chilly winter mornings.
36. : I enjoy reading about things I'd probably never do or want to do, and some I do want to do. I'm so glad one of our local bookstores has a whole "true adventure" section just for me. (And they often give us trade credit for our used books to exchange for something else.)
37. Jazzercise: I get lazy sometimes, but once I'm there, I always enjoy myself and the company. Jazzercise is a positive, happy place, and I've met some good friends there. Also, it's fun to pretend I'm dancing in a show. (Just don't tell anybody I do that!)
38. Hot showers: Need I explain? They're especially satisfying after a good workout, like Jazzercise or a long hike. Heck, they're great anytime.
39. Outdoor stores: My favorite places to shop. For clothing, too. I'm like a kid in a candy shop when I get a gift certificate for hiking gear.
And I'm Thankful For.... - ALL sorts of other things...
40. Lakes: Big lakes, small lakes, mountain lakes, lakes in the desert, shallow lakes, deep lakes. Did I mention that I love lakes?
41. Rivers: And streams and creeks and brooks. I love watching and hearing them go by.
42. The ocean: I was fortunate to grow up very close to it. I love the smell of it. I love to eat what comes out of it. I love to walk along it, wade in it, sometimes swim in and boat on it. Or just sit and stare at it. I especially love the moonlight on the water.
43. Seeing wildlife--elk, deer, jackrabbits, squirrels, foxes and more--out my front and back windows: I mentioned earlier that we have the Coconino National Forest on all sides, and lots of critters, big and small, come with it.
44. Public lands: National parks, National Forests, State Parks, BLM land, Wilderness areas, etc. I don't mind paying to visit and use them, either. I'm just glad they're there.
45. Outdoors clubs: What a great way to meet people who also love to hike, camp, paddle, ski, etc. I've met wonderful people in the Flagstaff Outdoors Club and others I've belonged to over the years in different areas.
46. Facebook: I really never thought this would be on any list of things to be thankful for (and the site really frustrates me sometimes), but I truly am glad I joined. I've reconnected with old friends--some of whom are better friends now than ever before--and seen it bring together what is now a very happy couple.
47. Hiking trails: If I see one on a map or hear about one, I want to hike it. Two miles or two thousand miles, I just love walking trails.
48. People who spay and neuter their pets: Breeding has its place, for sure, but in general, I'm glad when people are responsible and prevent unwanted, unloved cats and dogs from entering the world.
I'm Also Thankful For....
49. Search & Rescue K-9 handlers: It's a huge commitment, and I really admire what these people and their pooches do. I've had the pleasure of working with several handlers and their search dogs, and I'm thankful for their service and dedication.
50. People who go into public service: Most certainly don't get rich by doing so, and they often have to deal with harsh criticism. I'm just glad there are those who are willing.
51. Sanitation workers: I mean, can you imagine if no one did those jobs? In fact, this goes for anyone who does any job I wouldn't or couldn't do, because I know I benefit, directly or indirectly in some way. So doctors and nurses, police officers and accountants are included, too, along with many, many others.
52. Entertainers: I've been to so many shows--concerts, plays, Broadway and off-Broadway shows, comedy shows, circuses, ice skating shows, symphonies, movies. I even enjoy some television shows now and again. I appreciate the people who make me sing, dance, laugh, and sometimes even cry.
53. Invitations: Even though I sometimes can't accept (and, yes, sometimes don't want to), it sure is nice to be invited. To what? Well, to just about anything, I guess. And I'm thankful for them all.
54. Country music: This Rhode Island native is a real fan. To me, it's feel-good music (even if the story's sad), and I've usually found other country music fans and the singers and bands I've met to be very nice people.
55. Teachers: Not an easy job for not enough pay. I'm especially thankful for some of the great ones I've had ... even though I can't remember all their names.
56. Digital cameras: Sure beats having to spend all that money to develop film. And I can delete and retake pictures where I look yucky.
57. All the people who've bought--or at least appreciated--my husband's art: It makes him happy, so it makes me happy. He really loves creating it and sharing it. (Like this bench here.)
58. Free festivals and events: Flagstaff has many. Like Art in the Park, Dancing on the Square, parades, First Friday art walks, Open Studios, etc. I enjoy just wandering around, people-watching, and watching people have fun.
59. Volunteers: No matter what they do. Speaking as one myself, volunteers do receive as well as give, even if it's just the satisfaction of helping, but I sure am thankful that so many people volunteer in so many different ways.
60. HubPages: Might as well stick it in here! I've found this to be a wonderful community, not to mention a pretty easy way to create pages--aka hubs--about anything and everything that piques my interest. Not to mention potentially make some extra spending money at the same time.
61. Our crock pot: Sounds silly maybe, but, boy, does it come in handy. Throw a bunch of foodstuffs in there, turn it on, go to bed or to work or for a hike, get up or come home, and oila! Breakfast, lunch and/or dinner's ready!
62. My husband's huevos rancheros: One of my favorite home-cooked meals. Especially because he does most of the cooking! (And cleans up, too!)
63. Certain companies for believing in my business plan: Like Osprey and Petzl, for instance. They agreed to work with me directly on my gear-selling endeavor, giving me a better deal on their products than I would have gotten through a distributor. Even if it doesn't really pan out in the long run, I'm thankful for their support.
64. Backpacks: I love being able to carry everything I really need right on my back. I like having a good assortment of packs for all sorts of trips and treks.
65. Maps: I like looking at them and using them. I'm usually thinking about or planning to go somewhere if I'm looking at one, and I'm probably doing something fun if I'm using one. They sure do make it easier for me to figure out where I want to go, where I am, and where I'm heading. Our map drawer is about ready to spill over to another one.
66. Getting second place in the Arizona Literary Contest: I forgot this one under my accomplishments, but I'm proud that my essay, "A Man Called Screamer" got a prize in a contest open to entrants nationwide.
67. Birds: Their sounds make me happy and so does watching them fly and flit about. I don't know the names of most, but I sure do appreciate them, especially some of the more common birds, like ravens for one. I also am thankful to see California Condors once again soaring over Grand Canyon.
I'm Thankful For....
68. The moon and stars: Not to mention living in an International Dark Sky City here in Flagstaff.
69. The kindness of strangers: I love it when someone I don't know smiles at me or says or does something nice, just because.
70. Surviving a flash flood: Kind of strange this one is so far down the list, I guess. But, again, this is mostly in no particular order after my husband, friends and family (and dog!). Seriously, though, Steve and I were awakened one night while living in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona, to find that our little casita was filling with water. I'm so thankful that we made it to the hill with our pets, including Sassy and our old cat, Mindi. This happened in 2003.
71. Aquariums: I'll probably never try scuba diving, and even snorkeling sometimes makes me nervous, but I do love seeing the fish and other creatures that live below the surface of the water. I don't go often, but I do enjoy aquariums when I get the chance. I used to enjoy the one in Mystic, Connecticut, not far from my home state of Rhode Island.
72. Having grown lots of veggies and sold some at a farmers market: I'm so glad I had that experience and will probably have a garden again someday, most likely just for our own use. But it sure is fun to think back on those days on the farm, when we took our produce to market. It was also fun coming up with ways to make our booth pretty and inviting. (Although, that photo was taken before we figured that stuff out.)
73. The Bunko girls: It's a silly game, and I'm not a regular in the group anymore (I just sub now and then, because I'm often busy on the monthly game night), but it's the fun and socializing I go for. I'm thankful they invited me to join them. I always laugh a lot when I go.
74. Having been whistled at: I don't know how to put it, really, but I'm glad there was a time when I turned a few heads or at least inspired a few looks now and then.
75. My first boyfriend: His name was Seth, and he was (and I'm sure still is) a really nice guy. We met soon after I arrived at Simon's Rock College. I was sixteen. I have only fond memories of him and was happy to "cross paths" online a couple of years ago to find he's happy and doing well.
76. Paddling in the Boundary Waters: The first time was rather unplanned but so wonderful. My hiking partner and I spontaneously decided to do one leg of our trip--five days--in a canoe. How beautiful! My next trip to the BWCA, in August, 2009, was with my husband, which was really special.
77. Memories: It's fun to reminisce. I like reading my Appalachian Trail journal and my diary from my summer in Israel, and looking through photos and slides, which remind me of so many details. It's also fun to chat about "old times" with others who were there, too.
78. Things to look forward to: I have adventures, big and small, on my list, both planned and yet to be, to be excited about.
79. My curly hair: Sometimes it doesn't cooperate, but I really do like it.
80. My husband's mustache: Because it makes me laugh and I can call him "fuzzy face."
81. The hard times: Because they've made me stronger and wiser, and the good times even better.
82. Art: It doesn't matter if I personally like a piece of art or not. I'm just thankful that people create it. And when I do like it, it sure is nice to look at. Actually, art is worth looking at even if I don't like it.
83. All the wonderful animals I've known: Besides my own special pets, I've had the pleasure of caring for and enjoying many others. I'll never forget Puppy, Morgan, Fatcat, Jonesy, Monique, Bucky & Lucy, Cindi, Mindi, Thunder and so on. Dogs, cats, goats, horses and ponies, parakeets and parrots, even a cool gerbil named Bananas.
84. Great works of fiction: I really appreciate a good book that transports me to another world, even if the story takes place in the place I happen to be. Two of my favorite modern fiction-writers are Anne Tyler and Diana Gabaldon.
85. Those who read what I write: I really appreciate the time anyone takes to read what I've written, be it a novel, a short story, a blog post, a trail journal entry, you name it. I hope they find the time well spent somehow, too.
86. All those who've ever served our country: And other countries too. It's an admiral and brave thing to do. Our men and women in uniform, past and present, have, do and will give so much for us all. So do their families.
And I'm Thankful For....
87. Fresh snow: It's fun to wake up to blue skies after a blizzard, strap on my snowshoes, and walk on the white, frozen water. I love seeing all the critter prints and hearing nothing but the breeze, the birds and the sound of my own breathing. It's also great to do that with Steve or another buddy.
88. Rainy days: I love knowing the world around me is getting watered. Rainy days are also a great excuse to curl up with a blanket and a good book.
89. The little things: Like the time I put my hand on a moss-covered rock and a tiny frog popped up between my thumb and index finger, sticking his head out of his little moss-covered trap door. Or the time I saw a slug taking a ride on a caterpillar's back. I love noticing stuff like that! And I'm also thankful for the so-called "little things" people do for one another--the small gestures--like when my friend on the Appalachian Trail boiled extra water so he could offer me some, too.
90. Friends I've yet to make: I look forward to meeting them! Hmm, I wonder who they'll be.
91. Wildflowers: I can't name more than about three or four, but I sure do think they're pretty.
92. The "This Made Me Smile Today" forum thread: It makes me happy just reading about what other people are happy about. (That forum no longer exists, so I can't point you to that discussion.)
93. Dusk and dawn: They don't last long, but I love it when I'm aware of those times, especially when camping. Dusk and dawn have their own special sounds and light changes.
94. Good campfire chats: Something about sitting around a crackling fire, talking and laughing with friends. I've had some good times while staring into the flames.
95. Having a good memory: I'm quite good at keeping track of things and remembering certain kinds of details. Or at least I'm good at writing things down so I don't forget. Most of the time, anyway.
96. That Mom is making friends: My father died in January, 2007, after 60 years of marriage. He was always the social one, finding it easier to make friends. I'm thankful that my mom finally worked up the courage to take the van to the senior center on her own, where she goes for lunch most weekdays, and has made some new friends there.
97. Being sensitive: Some folks may say I'm too sensitive at times, but in a way I'm glad, because that means I'm sensitive to other people's feelings, also. I'd rather be too sensitive than not sensitive enough.
99. Being me
100. Claudette Mitchell, for inspiring me to make this list! That was fun and felt good, too.
Keep going, though? Hm, maybe.
Oh! #101: I'm glad I was able to come up with 100 things. :)
And As If That Weren't Enough, I Kept Going....
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury