I am going to say something so cliché right now but what a difference a year can make. My how the world can change and turn out for the better if you have faith rely on those you love, and keep moving forward. One year ago today I spent Thanksgiving by myself. One year ago today I was sleeping on a friends couch. One year ago today I was unemployed. One year ago today my wife told me she did not want to be married anymore. One year ago today the foundation that was my life was completely shook to its very core. And yet here I am 365 days later with so much to be grateful for. The list is truly endless and most likely I am forgetting some people, some experiences, some other truly beautiful things but I cannot help but be grateful today.
And while I have been practicing gratitude on a regular basis, Thanksgiving is such a symbolic day to really take the time and reflect on all that is good in our lives. I truly believe by making an honest effort to find the things that our working in our lives will produce more things in our lives to be grateful for.
Cheryl Richardson one of my favorite authors suggests using a gratitude journal and writing down daily 10-15 things in your life you are grateful for. Here is my list for today in no particular order:
1. I am grateful for Angela, David, Zach, Logan, and Melanie. That family has been my unwavering base of support throughout my life and especially over the course of the last 365 days when I needed them the most. They never judged me when I called and told them where I was at or what I was struggling with. They never told me things I did not want to hear, they simply open their hearts, their homes, and their lives, and stood by me as I went through my struggles. And of course those children can make any day better.
2. I am grateful for Luke and Amanda for the constant late night “conference calls” and how they help would sit back and listen as I cried, yelled, or simply expressed my dismay over my current situation. Those two define what loyalty is all about.
3. I am grateful for Matt and how we have been friends since basically the start of our lives. For a man who went through in my opinion a far worse divorce than I did he would still take the time to open up his heart and his home, put his own feelings in check and help me through such a challenging time I am forever grateful.
4. I am so grateful to my entire family. My mother has been one of my biggest cheerleaders during this last year and my life in general. I have so many wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins, and so forth and one of the best parts of moving back to Minnesota is how I have been able to see my family on such a regular basis. My uncle Carl and Aunt Maria have open their door and their hearts to me so much, even as they go through their own challenges right now they still take the time to make me an amazing breakfast. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family.
5. I am so grateful to my beautiful sister Ally who might possibly be my biggest supporter. Ally is like the enforcer for me who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. She has been a symbol of strength for me when I was not willing to get angry. She helps me express my frustrations in a healthy way. And she knows how to get me to have fun.
6. I am grateful to Meredith for all that her and I went through. It is hard to believe for the last year I thought I would never get over her and especially never see the good in what we went through. But I was willing to do the work truly look at myself and I have found so many gifts in my divorce. I have grown so much from the struggles and am so grateful to her not only for the divorce but also for all the good times we had. I loved her so much and a part of me still does. But I love her enough that I was willing to let her go and move on. We both deserve happiness in our lives and on this day I am grateful for our time we had together and wish her nothing but the best.
7. As Veterans Day just came and went I am so grateful for my time in the military. I am so proud to say that I served. I saw so many amazing places in the world. I am grateful for all of the friends I made. I am grateful for all of the experiences, all that the military taught me. I am grateful that the military taught me that I could face fear head on and live to talk about it. I love that I shared a bed with Matt in Afghanistan, stood side by side with John outside the wire in Iraq, and for Dylan as he let me mess with him so bad when I was hammered in South Korea. The military was a challenging experience but as the years have passed I truly realized how much I have gained from those years.
8. I am grateful to Richard and Shannon. They took me and totally changed their entire lives for a short period of time when I had nowhere else to turn. Looking back staying with Richard and Shannon truly saved my life when I moved out from my home. Richard got me to laugh, have fun, and get up and out when I need it the most. Shannon provided me with an ear and a heart when I would break down and cry. Their beautiful baby provided me with a never-ending source of happiness. And their wonderful dog provided me with a healthy outlet when I didn’t have my own dogs around.
9. I am so very grateful for Spencer and Fitz the most perfect creatures ever. My dogs have been the biggest pillars of strength in my life. They have the most perfect energy, always love me, are always excited to see me, forgive me instantly when I make mistakes, force me to get up and out even when I may not want to, snuggle up to me when I need it and so much more. I am convinced my puppies are Angels God sent to me to look after me. Even when times are great they are still such a strong reminder of the importance to live in the moment.
10. I am grateful for Miss Michelle and the love she has brought into my life. I am grateful that I can truly be myself around her, be vulnerable, be hyper, get drunk, get angry, I can just be me when I am with her and I am grateful that she accepts all of me. I am grateful that she showed me it is ok to open my heart again. I am so grateful for the chemistry we have, the energy we share, it is truly incredible. I am grateful for her children and how much fun we have together.
11. And of course to anyone who takes the time to read my silly little blog, I am grateful for you.
It is such a beautiful feeling that arises in me as I sit here and reflect on all of the good in my life. So many people and things that did not get mentioned in this list. I could write for days about all of the people who have had a positive affect in my life and still not mention everyone. I have been blessed with so many amazing people in my life. Today I am truly thankful for all that I have in my life, all that I had in my life, and all that I will have in my life.