My American friends recently celebrated Thanksgiving.  I’m not American, but I think it’s so important that we all take regular stock of our lives and give thanks for the things we’re grateful for.

This is what I’m thankful for today:

FAMILY

As always – I’m most thankful for my family.  I’m thankful that I’m married to my best friend.  I’m thankful that we share the same dreams and values.  I’m thankful for my beautiful, healthy children and the relationship I have with them.  I’m also thankful for my extended family and for my wonderful, salt-of-the-earth friends.

MY TALENTS

I occasionally embark upon a whinge-spree… and complain about how scatter-brained I am… and how I have SO many ideas (TOO many ideas)… and I don’t know how to become more organised and methodical.  I also whinge about how there are so MANY things that I can do (and truly enjoy doing) – and I often don’t know which passions to follow first… what to focus on… where to begin.

But then again, I have met so many people who believe they have NO talents… and they say things like:  “You’re lucky.  You’re talented.  I’m not.  I’m not particularly good at anything… nor am I particularly passionate about anything”.

At times like these, I am sooooo grateful for my various talents and capabilities.  They give me so much joy and personal fulfilment – I really need to stop moaning about them!

INDOOR PLUMBING

I have done a lot of travelling to places where people live in poverty and squalor.  I have visited many homes and communities where things like flushing toilets and indoor plumbing are considered luxuries that only the “wealthy” can afford.  I watch women walk for miles with buckets of water balanced on their heads (which they’ve gathered from the closest river or water source).   I’ve bucket-bathed on a number of occasions… and have made use of various long-drops / hole-in-the-ground / tin-shack / squat / toilets…

Let’s just say:  I am VERY grateful for my flushing toilet!  (I live in a house that has 4 flushing toilets).  I am VERY grateful for my lovely big bath tub (my house has 3 bath tubs – the newest addition is a dream).

I’m grateful for the fact that I can turn on a tap in my home – and clean water comes gushing out.  I have hot water on tap too (without having to gather wood… light a fire… heat it up).

I’m so very grateful for my indoor plumbing and my flushing toilet.

THE NEW CEILING FAN

We’ve had a couple of roasting hot days (over here in South Africa).  I type this while sitting in my bedroom… on my bed… under a newly installed ceiling fan.  Oh, how grateful I am for this ceiling fan!  I sleep peacefully under this fan!  Not only does it cool me down while I sleep, but it fans the mozzies away too!  (and it’s quiet!).

Very grateful for the fan… and also grateful to Nick for installing it!

OUR BED

A few years ago, Nick and I purchased a brand new Sealy Posturepedic Do-Not-Turn mattress.  It is – by far – the BEST bed I have ever owed.  Sooooo comfy!  Our only regret is that we purchased the Queen size instead of the King (especially since the kids join us in bed every morning).

Every night (when I’m at home), I enjoy a comfortable and peaceful sleep on this wonderful bed.

I know that when I travel, I will have to part with this mattress.  I also know that I’ll be sleeping on beds and mattresses (and hammocks)… (and chairs)… (and floors)… of varying comfort levels – but that’s okay.  When that season begins, I’ll give thanks for a different list of things.

But right now, while I still have my Sealy Posturepedic, I’m grateful for every night spent on it!

OUR INDEPENDENCE

I have worked from home / worked for myself – for many, many years.  Most of my life, in fact.  I had a couple of brief stints working for companies and bosses when I was much younger, and it never went down particularly well.  I guess I never liked being told what to do (I still don’t).

I often take this for granted:  the fact that I’ve worked from home for years… that I have the freedom to create my own income and work at my own, chosen pace…. to come and go as I please… to be location-independent.

Nick has also been his own boss for many years.  Apart from a brief stint as a computer programmer for some big corporation – he has spent most of his living generating his own income.

Although we grumble at times (and we do!)… about clients that don’t pay on time… and the process of admin and invoicing… and work-loads that can either be overwhelmingly enormous (or worryingly scarce) depending on the season…  I am SO SO grateful that we have this freedom.

I’m grateful that I don’t work for a boss… that I don’t need to show up at my desk… in some building… at 8pm every week day.  I don’t need to clock-watch.  I don’t need to ask anyone’s permission for “leave”.  If I feel sick (or if I’m just not in the mood to work)… I can stay in bed the whole day without needing to explain my actions to anyone.  I’m enormously grateful that I don’t need to endure rush-hour traffic or spend hours in my car.

I’m grateful that Nick works in the studio downstairs – and we have access to him whenever we want.  And even when he’s bogged down with deadlines and loads of work… he’s still HERE… he’s still HOME…  and we spend a lot of time together (as a family).

I think that… because this has been our way of life for so many years… that Nick and I both tend to take this freedom for granted.  Today, I want to say:  I am SO grateful!

FREEDOM

Another privilege I take for granted.  I live in a country where I’m free.  I’m free to practice the religion of my choice… be with the partner of my choice… speak my mind when I think something is wrong… challenge the local authorities (without worrying about being locked in a prison for doing so).  As a woman, I’m free to walk the streets… wear what I want… and speak my mind.  I can choose whatever career path I choose – nothing is “closed” to me because of my race / gender / sexual orientation / culture / religion / age / whatever….

I can travel freely… I can pursue my dreams… I can raise my kids in the manner I choose… (and school them in the manner I choose).

I am GRATEFUL for these freedoms!

Especially because so MANY people in the world do NOT enjoy these freedoms (women in particular).

I’m grateful that I have the means and the education and the skills to follow my dreams and do what makes me come alive.  I’m grateful that I don’t live in a war-zone.  I’m grateful to have unlimited access to the internet…  to be able to sit under the big, shady tree in my back garden and watch my children play while I Skype with my in-laws (in a different continent).  I’m grateful for good coffee… and moist carrot cake… and good movies (in our home theatre… snuggled on the couch with my husband).  I am grateful for so so so soooo many things.

But most of all – I think I’m grateful for this beautiful, precious gift called Life.

And I thank God for giving me LIFE.

And I pray that I don’t waste mine.