Sunday, January 12, 2014

34 Thankful Things


Another year begins! [Note to readers: this list was written on my birthday – almost 2 months ago; it’s just taken me awhile to post this list. A friend of mine started this tradition on her mom’s 50th birthday – and it’s a good exercise to count our blessings on our birthdays.]

As I celebrate the start of my 34th year of life, let’s count out 34 things that I have been so grateful for this year:

1) Dan

2) Marriage to Dan – thankful for the calling to be husband and wife

3) My parents

4) My in-laws (in-love) Smile

5) My brother

6) My siblings-in-love, and my nephews and niece

7) God’s abundant and gracious goodness

8) My faith – being Catholic and the lesson of “both/and”

9) St. Thomas More/Newman Center

10) Ministry opportunities

11) My job

12) Dan’s job

13) My preceptors – past, present, and future

14) Anne Marie

15) Michaela

16) Dan’s students (judging team kids)

17) God’s provision of our house

18) Jerry – our neighbor, knowledgeable about everything, second-dad

19) Rosary Runs

20) God’s faithfulness to never give up on me

21) Sister Elizabeth

22) Father Don

23) Barb, Steve, and Joe

24) Quiet afternoons in the sunshine

25) My co-workers – that my co-workers are my friends

26) Pool parties

27) Lisa, Jina and Lindsay

28) Amy, Jason and the Z-boys

29) Larry & PJ

30) My aunts, uncles and cousins

31) My foundation of faith: Jesus, ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and the tree I’m grafted into and their faith

32) Good conversations with students!

33) Inquiry & Jerry Meyer

34) Dan and our life in Tucson – our Tucson friends, his co-workers, and our growing community


As you see, this year definitely has a Tucson bend to it. One of the recurring themes from Inquiry (a session that I help lead for people with questions about Catholicism) that Jerry, our leader, continually mentions is that in many areas, Catholicism is “both/and” – not either/or, and usually not black or white. This approach to “both/and” has really helped me embrace life here in Tucson in the past year.

I don’t know that it’s in any secret that I didn’t love it here. We moved 2,000 miles from most of my family (so thankful to have an aunt, here!) and friends…into a foreign land. Sure, it’s still the USA – but spend 3-4 weeks here and you’ll know this is not Iowa, or the Midwest, anymore, Toto. Everything is different. A year after we’d lived here, I travelled back to the Minneapolis/River Falls, WI area for a conference in late June. About 20 miles outside of the Minneapolis airport, I was bawling hysterically. I had gotten used to the landscape of Arizona – the brown mountains, the expanse of light brown dirt/scrubby trees. Suddenly, my senses were affronted with the green and I remembered just how far from home I was.

This year, I have embraced the “both/and” of life. I realize that January can be both 68 and –8. I realize that fall can be pumpkin patches/apple orchards…and quiet rejoicing for temps in the upper 80s instead of the upper 90s while the season SLOWLY and SUBTLELY enters. …and, really, I realize that “home” can be both Iowa, Michigan, and Arizona. Being happy in one place does not mean that I have rejected the other.

So, these are my lessons learned from year 33/year 2013. Here’s to seeing what 2014 will bring!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Larry and I like being #29 - what a great age for our arrested development!