Thankful November 30th: Life

I have a wonderful life. I love my husband. We have great kids. Most of our family lives close by, and we have good opprotunitues to visit those who don’t. We travel frequently to really cool places. We have our own business and live in the freest country in the world. Life is good.

I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to reflect on what I’m grateful for this November. Hopefully our gratitude isn’t limited to just one month each year.

May this holiday season fill your homes and hearts with love, thankfulness, and peace.

Thankful November 29th: Home

We live in a little bungalow-type house that was built in 1961. It’s small, but comfortable. We are empty-nesters, so we don’t really need a lot of space. My husband bought this house a year before we met. We’ve done some major renovations on the inside, and we love the huge garage that the previous owners added. But in all honesty, as much as I love our little house, to me home is anywhere Russell is.

Thankful November 26th: Love

There are many things that we can live without: extra money, going to movies, a house as big as the Jones. There are some things we can’t live without: food, water, air, and love. Studies have shown that without love, newborn babies stop thriving. There are so many different ways to show love: spouses and partners, friends, family, even complete strangers. The Beatles said all we need is love, and to some extent, they were right.

Thankful November 4th: Russell

When I found my husband, I really hit the jackpot. I was in my early 40s. I had never been married and had reached the point where I was fine with that. Funny how life has other plans for us sometimes. We met doing a play at a local community theater. I was the music director, he was a bass in the chorus with a small speaking part, and when the show was over, I took him home and kept him. That was almost 12 years ago, and I now can’t imagine my life without him. And while he is the first one to admit that he isn’t perfect, he is perfect for me.

Thankful November 3rd: Wonderful Parents

My parents are wonderful. My childhood was somewhat amazing. We didn’t have much money (my dad was an elementary school teacher when I was younger and finally retired from the United States Department of Agriculture; my mom was an office manager), but we always had enough. My mom and grandmother made a lot of our clothes, and friends would ask me where I got many of those clothes. My father was a hard worker. When he quit teaching, he took whatever he could find to support his family before getting a job with the USDA Arial Photography Field Office. I had more than one friend tell me that they wished they had grown up in my family.

But more than just providing for our physical needs, my parents instilled in each of their five children a love for family. When we could afford to travel, we drove across America seeing amazing things, learning crazy travel songs, and playing every travel game you can think of (license plates, alphabet match, I see). My parents also loved each other fiercely. They loved holding hands, sitting next to each other, and sharing a quick kiss no matter who was watching.

When my father was at the end of his life, my mother did everything she could so that he could stay at home and not have to go to assisted living. When it got to be too much for just her, hospice came in the mornings to help, and we took turns helping her at night. Dad didn’t always remember which of his kids was there helping, but he always knew when my mom was near him.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful example of selfless love and devotion.

Trevor Carpenter PhotoChallenge: Black & White Portrait

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It’s been a while since I participated in this challenge, but I really like their challenges and helps. For more, check out the Trevor Carpenter PhotoChallenge: Black & White Portrait.