Sometimes when life is getting me down and I am drowning in negativity, it helps to just make a list of all that I am grateful for.  So here we go:

1.  I have the most wonderful, supportive, giving family in the world!  I just love them so much, and they love me.  They’ve been with me through thick and thin and have never given up on me!  I don’t know where I’d be without them.  No place good, I’m sure.

2.  I have lots of terrific friends too!  Old and new, near and far, even some I’ve never met face-to-face.  Each is a wonderful and much-needed gift from God.  I have a great diversity of friends, and it goes to show that love is greater than whatever differences we may have.  I don’t think people come into our lives by mere chance.  I’ve been so abundantly blessed with good people… and people who care enough to use tough love when necessary.

3.  I have more-than-adequate shelter, food, drink, clothing, and other material needs.  I’m pretty sure that I live a life of luxury compared to many people in our world… or even down the street.  Just owning a laptop is pretty special.  Not to mention my car, my TV, and all of my many, many books!

4.  I’m a Catholic.  And a Dominican!  Oh my gosh, if you’d told me 5 years ago I’d even be a Catholic, much less a Dominican, I’d have thought you were out of your mind.  But God is powerful, God is good, God is persuasive.  And my heart has always longed after truth, life, love.  So looking back, I’m not too surprised at my conversion.  But it’s still a pretty huge deal… pretty miraculous, really!

5.  I have a terrific parish and a terrific Dominican community that are truly a second home and second family.  When I did decide to rejoin the Church, I was dreading having to “shop around” for a parish where I would feel at home.  But as it turns out, I didn’t have to shop around at all!  I found a beautiful, traditional parish with a good priest and good liturgy and plenty of opportunities to learn, work, and form friendships.

6.  I’ve survived so much.  Maybe not as much as other people, but definitely my share, I think.  I’ve done some stupid and dangerous things and gotten involved with really bad people.  I’ve given grief to people who love me.  I’ve gone through my own particular griefs.  And somehow I’m still here!

7.  I have a job.  And it’s a job I love.  I’m also well-educated, and can expand my education and knowledge as far as I please.  Just reading all the books I’ve got on my shelves would carry me pretty far…

8.  I’m quite healthy and able-bodied (though I can do more to look after my health and fitness to be sure).

9.  I’m an American.  I was born in the greatest country on earth.  She’ll always be the greatest country in my mind, no matter what stupid and/or evil things some of her people and governments may do.  This country is so vast and beautiful, and even though we may forget or take it for granted, she was and is founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

10.  We’ve got this unique, marvelous little blue marble of a planet that is just teeming with life, in such astonishing diversity!  And not only the incredible biology but also geology and geography… mountains, seas, deserts, fuels, precious stones, and all the inanimate features.  The sun and the moon.  Such endless wonders on this little blue marble!  Sometimes I can completely lose myself in looking at a tree (for instance) and marveling at how the Creator came up with such a strange, wonderful idea, something so beneficial in so many ways!

Ahhh… I’m just so thankful for all of these, and much more in addition!  :D

What are you grateful for today?

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