I’ve been horrible about participating in the 30 days of Thanks on Facebook, so I felt compelled to make my list before I head out of town for Thanksgiving. Here’s my 30, in no particular order.
California/Long Beach: When I was younger, I feel like I was always wanting to leave where I was. I always had the feeling that life would be better if only I was living somewhere else. That feeling stopped when I moved to California. There are so many unique and different, amazing people here, and so many things to see. There is no way you could possibly feel like you don’t belong, or get bored with the opportunities all around you. I love it here.
My bass, and the boys at Fitchett Guitar School: I had always wanted to play an instrument but never had the guts to try. When I moved to Cali, there was a little music school called Fitchett Guitar School right up the street from us … I bought a bass and walked in, completely terrified that the boys there would be too cool for school and laugh at me for being such a novice. The truth was anything but. They’ve inspired me to sing, and write, and keep playing years and years later, and I’m so thankful for their good hearts and encouragement.
My clients and company: There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank my ridiculously lucky stars that I have the freedom to work from home with a range of amazing, crazy, creative, funny, adorable clients – or that I get to make a living doing things I love.
Rugby/Rugby girls: I used to be really bad at being friends with girls. Not that I didn’t want to be, I just felt really uncomfortable around them – like I wasn’t girly enough to hang out with them, or like I didn’t fit in with them somehow. When I started playing rugby, I realized what a wide array of girls are out there. Part of that was because of the large number of lesbian women I met while playing. As one of my friends said, the lesbian community allows for a much wider range of what is beautiful than the mainstream does – and I truly felt that with the group of women I played with. It was a major a-ha moment for me to know that just because I didn’t fit in with the mainstream concept of beauty, that didn’t mean I wasn’t beautiful. (Thanks, Autumn
My aunt/uncle: They’re the best godparents ever for Blake Dean and allow him to have a little piece of my mom in his life. My aunt reminds me so much of my mom in terms of humor and values and goodness. I’m glad he can experience that.
My Subaru Forester: It rocks. No, it’s not fancy. But it’s roomy and strong and sturdy and has never once broken down in the entire time I’ve owned it.
New Mexico: My mom died within a month of me moving to NM, which meant that the time I spent there was extremely important in terms of personal healing. The state is so calm and peaceful and beautiful that it would be impossible to do anything but while living there. It also helped me form a deeper connection and love of nature. It was a truly restorative experience living there.
Travel: I would be a completely different person if I hadn’t had the chance to travel so much in my life – especially my early 20s. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit more than 30 countries, and I’m so thankful for every view, every exchange, every language I’ve gotten to hear firsthand, every exhausting bus ride, every awkward hostel shower moment. They all impacted me in amazing ways.
My monsters (I and II): Before I had my monster I was really unbalanced. I worried a lot. And didn’t take a lot of time to enjoy life. When the monster came, all of the pieces suddenly fell into place. I suddenly had so much more clarity about what life is about, and how I want to live it. Of course there’s all the other stuff – how cute and funny and ridiculous he is – but I’m thankful for so much more than that when it comes to Blake Dean and his pending bro or sis.
Our home: Sometimes we get down that we bought our place before the market went south, and our mortgage is probably way more than our house is worth. But then I look around at how colorful and fun and cute it is, and the fact that it’s only a block from the beach, and the fact that Blakey feels completely at home here. I love this place – bad timing or not.
Follistim: Without it I wouldn’t have Blake Dean or Monster II on the way. God bless fertility research.
Safe Warm Loved (and everyone who has donated): I’ve always wanted to do something good in the world and struggled with what exactly that should be. Safe Warm Loved makes me feel whole; I feel like I’ve finally found a special way to give back to the world, and to kids who really need it. Thank you to every single person who has donated to the project – it’s made me a stronger person, and I’m so glad to be part of it.
Good people: I used to believe there were none. Now I feel like I run to them every single day, and it makes such a difference in my life to know they’re out there. Every time someone cuts me off in traffic or yells something rude to me for no reason (which could literally ruin my entire week b/c I’m such a sensitive Pisces), I think of the good people out there, and all is alright.
Prozac: Self explanatory
My sewing machine: Yeah, it’s dorky. But it’s opened up so many creative avenues for me that I can barely believe I ever lived without it.
My brother: I don’t see him nearly enough, but he’s always been a beacon of creativity in my life, especially when it comes to writing and music. It’s inspiring to have that kind of influence in my life.
Facebook: Kind of simple, but without it I would have lost touch with so many beautiful people. I absolutely love seeing what they are all up to, and being able to relate to their daily experiences.
National Parks: I’ve said it before, but God bless all of those people involved in creating the National Parks system in our country. We’ve seen so, so many amazingly beautiful places for hardly any money, and it’s all because of them.
My camera: Judging by the fact that I have more photo albums on Facebook than I have friends, it’s clear that I like to take pictures. I love capturing memories, and I love the fact that I can look at them anytime I want to remember those special moments I captured.
Music: There’s nothing that inspires me like music. Lyrics, especially. Listening to a creative songwriter for one night can fill me with enough inspiration to write for months. I love that music can do that. And that it can take you back to a place in time or an experience you had with someone in an instant. It’s magical.
Vodka: Enough said. Which is why it’s gonna be a loooong six months until Monster II is born
Friends, old and new: If there’s one thing I wish I could change about myself it would be that I’m incredibly introverted and socially awkward. It’s been hard for me to meet friends in the past just due to the fact that I am not instinctually prone to talking to people (or even looking them in the eye) when given the opportunity. That’s why I’m ever so thankful for the friends who have stuck with me for so long, and who get me, even when I never thought anyone would. Also for the new ones who look past my quirky deer-in-the-headlights look when they first talk to me and decide I’m not so weird after all.
Husband: I’m an emotional Pisces, and he’s a solid earthy Taurus. He balances me out in ways that truly save my life. He’s funny, and dorky, and not embarrassed to do stupid things to make me laugh. He understands that I’m sad sometimes. He encourages me to be creative. He likes to hear me sing and play bass, and makes sure Blake tells me he loves me every single day. I can’t imagine much better.
Little things. I’m a simple girl. Little things make me really happy, whether it’s kitty cat Japanese deco tape or purple sparkly feather pens. I love little things.
Unexpected opportunities. Someone once said you should try to do something new every day. I don’t know if I’m that diligent about it, but I do love to push my boundaries and take advantage of new opportunities when I can – whether it’s modeling for my friend’s clothing store or recording a song in my friend’s studio. Those are the things that make life worth living. They’re the things that remind you you’re alive.
Time with my mom. It was too short, but I still appreciate every moment I had with her.
My sister in law. She’s funny and smart and helps me keep in touch with my brother and niece even though they’re far away.
Cowboy boots. Even on my saddest day, once I slip on my red cowboy boots I feel miles better. Just sayin.
Parents Night Out. Seeing that we have no family in California, my husband and I rarely get the chance to go out alone. Thanks to Blake Dean’s day camp, we get a parent’s night out once every month or two and it makes all the difference in restoring our sanity.
Cars, Elmo, Trucks, Airplanes, Milk, and all other things that hold Blake’s attention for more than 10 seconds: Without them, I would go nuts.