I am grateful. I am grateful for so many things it would be hard to list them all. I could start today by saying I’m grateful for a beautiful view in my backyard, the smell of pinion wood burning in the chiminea, my 2 dogs, and a hot cup of coffee as I write. Those are the simple things, but yet I am happy I have them and am therefore grateful.

Of course, we all are grateful for family, friends, our homes, having a job, food to eat, etc. But have you ever thought deeper than that?

Have you ever looked back on a situation in your life and thought while it was super tough to go through, I am grateful I am where I am today because of it? Don’t get me wrong, it was painful to go through. But because of those circumstances, I am where I am. For me, it was my parents’ divorce. Had my parents not divorced, my mom would have never moved us to Oklahoma. Had we not moved to Oklahoma, I would not have met my husband. Had I not met him, I would not have 3 beautiful and amazing children. Had I not had my children, I would have not met some of my very best friends. Had I not met my best friends, I would not have been part of their families. See how it works. Sometimes, we have to be grateful for the hard things in life because it leads us to better things. Things that we can be even more grateful for.

We all start out working crappy jobs. It teaches us how to work and what kind of job we want in the long run. I waited tables, babysat, cleaned houses, and answered phones. I am grateful I had those jobs to pay the bills at the time and lead me to where I work today. I have been working at the same office for more than 20 years. While I know I work really hard at that job, I am grateful for an employer who recognizes hard work and has provided me many opportunities for me and my family. I am grateful for extra time off at the holidays. I am grateful for the concerts I’ve been to, the meals eaten together, and the trips I’ve been sent on. I am so grateful for my office family. Again, I know I work hard, but because I have been recognized for that, I have been able to provide a beautiful home and so many “wants” for my family — all because of one person. I am so grateful for him.

I am grateful for the couples I waited on while working at a restaurant in high school. They became friends that showed up when I was up for homecoming queen and to my graduation.

I am grateful for the babysitting job that allowed me to make extra money through high school and college. More importantly, I am grateful for the mom of those children who taught me strength, purpose, independence, beauty, grace, and kindness.

I am grateful for a father-in-law who stepped up and was like a father to me when he didn’t have to be. He was a man who car shopped with me so I would not be taken advantage of. He taught me (and everyone he knew) how to make people feel loved and important.

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. I strive to show gratitude to those that have influenced my life. I in turn hope my actions will help someone, and they in turn will be grateful and learn gratitude.

I challenge you to be grateful for something or someone that changed your life.

XOXO, Jane Anne

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