Annual Gratitude Exercise 2007

When my son was little, we did everything holiday-ish that I could find to do - from visiting Santa at every kid-related event in town to driving for hours looking at neighborhood lights. One tradition was the viewing of the million-lights display that the owners of a huge car dealership in Powder Springs put up every year. We would sit and sit in the miles long traffic just to drive through their cul-de-sac for what couldn’t have been more than 45 seconds.

My son has returned to Powder Springs, to his father’s family celebrations, for about four years now. I imagine he always will and for the same reason I feel a pull to Memphis: the early years.

My mother expected perfection in so many things, and the holidays were no exception. After she died, each year became more and more of a disappointment. I was never able to recreate the memories, but, while Austin was small, I enjoyed every minute of the lights, the colors, the music, the mall decorations, the wrapping of the presents, the putting up of the tree, and even the trips as an adult to what were just scraps of home.

Now that he’s pretty much baked, I still love this time of year, just for different reasons.

I have two traditions now. An annual gratitude exercise (I keep a daily gratitude journal, but this is more general) and a goal setting worksheet. Both make me think about the past year and the possibilities of a new year.

My homemade goal setting spreadsheet (derived from Dan Miller’s 48 Days workbook) is over in my Freelancing Journal.

My 2007 tribute to my tiny corner of the Universe is here:

  • In 2007, I lost two more friends, not to death, but to the death of the friendships. The intentional loss of family a few years back will probably remain raw for years to come. But, I have connected more with the friends I still have and found that this tiny, eclectic group has something that I am most grateful for: positive, happy, supportive, kind, spiritual, intellectual, and independent lives to share.
  • Discovering an online community of bloggers, writers, readers, artists
  • Every book I read, even the bad ones
  • Clients
  • The times in which I live
  • TCM, NPR and PBS
  • People who give of themselves, while I temporarily can’t seem to
  • An uncanny birthday connection with a kindred spirit
  • Doing what I know is the right thing
  • Teachers like Dave Ramsey, Lou Dobbs, Joyce Meyer....
  • The comfort of an old lap dog
  • Health, medicines and the income to contribute to both
  • Impeccable timing during stressful times
  • A good friend with a good accountant
  • Reflecting on the last 17 years with the love of my life
  • College acceptance letters
  • Rare moments of teen emotion and excitement (A’s in Biology)
  • Finding local political homes
  • Associations with passionate people
  • God’s Law of Attraction
  • An Allstate Customer Service rep
  • Colored walls
  • Surprises
  • Unwavering dreams
  • Austin’s ability to do handyman things
  • Being needed for another year
  • And to the Universe’s biggest gift to me this year: The lovingly and delicately timed releases of responsibility, which have allowed me to maintain a smidge of grace and dignity through each loss.