Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Tis the season in the U.S. of A. when we take a day to honor the turkey, gather with our families and, in most cases, spend most of the day eating and watching football. In my family, we also try to take a moment to offer up our thanks for all the blessings we've received in the past year, so I thought I'd share the Top 10 things I'm thankful for as 2011 comes to a close.

1. My children. They are teenagers, so they often drive me crazy, but I wouldn't trade them for any other crazy teenagers, unless, of course, the circus came a'calling and offered the right price. Seriously, I'm abundantly grateful for their good health, good (and often inappropriate) humor, relatively good grades and positive outlook on life. They are a joy to live with and a constant source of amusement with a healthy dose of consternation thrown in to keep things real. I repeat: they are teenagers, so they can't help it. And even though the teenage years are rife with challenges, I much prefer them to the baby years. I genuinely like my kids and the people they are becoming.

2. My husband. Yes, I call him The Turnip for a variety of well-earned reasons, but he showed his true stripes this year, handling my health crisis with equal parts humor and determination to get us all through it. I appreciate that he's always where he says he's going to be and never gives me a reason to wonder what he's up to. He's true blue all the way, and I am lucky to have him. (Just don't tell him I said any of that or he will be unlivable.)

3. My dad. At 77, he is going strong, enjoying good health and keeping me entertained. He is one of my best "girlfriends," and I'm very thankful to have him here to laugh at me as I navigate the teenage years with my kids. I'm also thankful for his lovely boat, which is one of my summer happy places. He enjoys every minute he spends with my kids, and they appreciate the time they have with their only remaining grandparent. He is very much their "third" parent. I'm also grateful that he will be over later to take care of getting the turkey ready. Since the process gives me the dry heaves, I am appreciative of his assistance (which is largely self-serving because he is VERY fond of turkey).

4. My health. You all know I had some health challenges this year that led to surgery, which fixed the problem once and for all. I'm feeling a thousand times better than I have in a LONG time, and I'm grateful it wasn't something more serious. It was treatable and fixable, and the entire ordeal made me thankful for the good health we often take for granted.

5. My dog. My dear sweet Brandy brings me joy every single day as my steadfast work-at-home companion. Whether we are chasing her down to retrieve a pair of socks or trying to coax her off the beach by pretending we're going to leave without her, there is never a dull moment with the Brandana around. I'm grateful that this year she realized we like to READ the newspaper, so it's better if she doesn't shred it for us every day. She sleeps right smack between us every night, and we wouldn't have it any other way. I also love how much joy she brings my dad, who is her biggest fan. Tomorrow they will carve the turkey "together." My favorite Brandy moment of 2011 was when my boss and his wife were here for dinner and he made the mistake of lowering his hand when he was holding a potato chip. GONE. "That," he said with typical good humor, "was unexpected." We still giggle about that months later!

6. My extended family. My brother, my niece, my nephew, my aunts, uncles and the gaggle of cousins who are more like siblings than cousins, I'm grateful for every one of you. We recently celebrated my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary and had most of the large family in attendance. Many of them will be at my house tomorrow night, since we still spend holidays together even in our late 30s and 40s. I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. My friends. Whether you are near or far, whether I've met you in person or online, you know who you are and you know what you mean to me. I found out how many friends I have when I was sick, and each of you means the world to me.

8. My readers. I am one extremely lucky author to have such a loyal, dedicated group of readers. I've had an incredible year with my books, and I'm thankful to everyone who bought one or more of my books. The lovely reviews, emails and postings make me smile, and I treasure every one of them. As long as you all keep reading, I will keep writing!

9. My characters. Sam, Nick, Mac, Maddie, Joe, Janey, Luke, Sydney, Jack, Andi: thank you all for appearing in my imagination, becoming real people to me and real people to my readers. I don't know where this stuff comes from, but I'm not asking any questions. I'd appreciate it if the characters and stories could keep on coming so I can keep on doing what I most love to do. In 2012, we'll be hearing from Grant, Evan, Adam, Tiffany, and of course, more from Sam, Nick and the gang!

10. The Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the brilliant people who invented these life-changing devices and to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple and all the retailers who've made it possible for authors to take their stories direct to readers. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities I've been afforded this year, and look forward to growing my business further in 2012 when I will become a full-time writer.

Bonus: Oreos. Need I explain?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Now tell me what you are most thankful for this year!


Dru said...

Happy Thanksgiving Marie!

Marie Force said...

Same to you, Dru!

Amanda Gehman said...

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to you as well :) I am so thankful to be a stay at home mom. I do daycare and love the chance that I get to be at home and raise my own kids. I am thankful to my wonderful husband that works 2 jobs to keep me home. I am thankful to have such a wonderful family and great friends. Thankful to have such a wonderful church that my family just loves. And I am also very thankful to have found you Marie... even after a long and hard day with these daycare kids I can sit back and relax with one of your books that always makes me smile, laugh and feel so much better. Happy Thanksgiving Marie!

j. barrett said...

that i can see finally after many surgeries this year, for the first time ever :}

Kara C said...

Interesting that Oreos weren't higher on your list. :-)

I have so much to be thankful for, but right now I am so thankful for all the kiddos in my life, both my own two stinkers, and the kids I get to see every day at school.
Although I'm always thankful for my kids relative health, I feel it more strongly right now as I see others around me struggling with the health issues of their own kids.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving, Marie!

Marie Force said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Amanda! Thanks for being a loyal reader and for sharing your gratitude.

J. Barrett, my goodness! You've gained your vision for the first time in your life? What an amazing thing. I'd love to hear your story sometime.

Kara, we are all thankful for teachers like you who give so much to our kids. Thank you thank you! Hugs to you and your family!

Mary G said...

Happy Thanksgiving to my American neighbors.

I'm thankful that I decided to email you about loving LOS and getting to know you & meet you.

Mary G said...

And my family, friends, books & all the great people I've met through them and getting paid to have fun with books.

oklanannie said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Marie! Hope you and your family have a very blessed holiday weekend.

There are so many things I'm thankful for this year. Most of all, my beautiful sweet daughter who has grown into one heck of a woman, wife and mother. She makes my heart swell with pride. And I'm thankful for a son-in-law who loves his wife and children and even his mother-in-law! He always seems happy to see me and include me in his life as well. That's a biggie. And then there are my adorable grandchildren Kyan and Karoline. They light up my life with sunshine everyday.

I'm thankful for friends far and near who bless my life daily. And I'm very thankful that 2011 brought lots and lots of good books to read.

krisgils33 said...

Happy Thanksgiving,
I'm thankful for my husband and daughter who keep me laughing. My friends, especially my dance family who are always there to lend a helping hand. I'm thankful that I have such an amazing job, one that I enjoy, comes with a really great boss, and has let me travel to some very faraway and interesting places. And of course, I am so very thankful for books and the authors who write them!!!

Judy F said...

Happy Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for the wonderful doctors, nurses,aides who are taking care of my mom. Puts my mind at ease.

I am thankful for wonderful friends I have met in person and online.

Marie Force said...

Thank you to everyone who weighed in with their gratitude. I am thankful for each of you!

Wedding Themes said...

I think no one left to Giving Thanks :)