Even if life is getting me down, there’s no excuse for negativity.  So, in times like these, I like to do “gratitude posts” where I consider all of the many blessings I have been given!  Not necessarily an exhaustive list (that would take forever!), but just whatever is at hand or on my mind at the time.

So tonight, here we go:

1)  Cooler weather!  OK, so “cooler” has it’s own definition here in Dallas.  But our high and low temperatures have plummeted about 20 degrees!  For example, tomorrow’s forecasted high is 89° F.  That may not seem “cool,” but for the last couple of months, our low temperatures were usually in the 80s.  It’s supposed to get down to 61° tonight–which is downright chilly.  I don’t think I’ll need my air conditioning on.

2)  Having men in my life who have cherished me.  Especially my dad and my fiancé, Patrick.  It sucks that they are both deceased.  But I know that somehow, they are still watching me and loving me.  This is really important because to some degree, my identity and self-worth as a girl and as a woman have been defined by how the men around me regard me.  Since losing Dad and Patrick, I’ve often found myself feeling totally lost and totally clueless about myself and my self-worth.  But I try to remind myself that they still cherish me.  And that good men who can cherish me do exist!  Now, if only I could meet one who is in the market for a wife…

3)  Free education.  One of the most incredible employee benefits offered by the university where I work is that I can take classes there for free!  F-R-E-E!  I only have to pay for my own books and supplies.  I’ve only taken a few classes so far (not ready to plunge into a degree program right now).  I have thoroughly enjoyed them, and enjoyed being involved in formal education again.

4)  Being able to write and listen.  I sometimes put myself down because I am not very good at talking.  I’m just not.  I’m generally a horrible conversationalist because I find it challenging to put my thoughts into words in a quick, spontaneous manner.  If I am called upon to speak in a meeting or something, even if it is something brief and simple, I must have written notes, and I must rehearse it… and rehearse it… and rehearse it.  If I don’t have at least a few days to prepare, I’m a nervous wreck and get tongue-tied.  But I have other gifts, gifts that seem relatively rare: writing and listening.  It’s amazing what you can hear when you’re not talking–and that’s most of the time for me.  And writing–writing is its own special process.  People may assume that if you can write well, you can speak well, and vice versa.  That may be true for some people, but I think they involve very different thought processes.  And my mind is much better wired for writing.  I can write quickly and spontaneously in a way that I can almost never speak.  And I am really proud of that.

5)  I have a job.  So many people in this country do not.  If I am ever tempted to feel bored or plaintive about my job, I have only to think briefly about the alternative: trying to find a job.  That straightens me up forthwith.  And I offer prayers for those who are out there trying to find work.