Saturday, November 15, 2014
I've spent the past week thinking about some of the many things that make me feel thankful, in advance of the gratitude holiday… So, I made a small list.
1. I am so very thankful for my family. This has been a whirlwind year for all of us. We've watched Andrew grow, and learn. We've watched my mom recover and return to her routine. We've watched my dad finally retire at age 85, in order to take care of my mom. During the past year, I was able to spend some quality time with both of my sisters, and that has been pretty wonderful. Both of them have church jobs where they are entrusted with helping women and families. They spend countless hours working to make the lives of others better.
2. I am thankful to have a job. I made a big career change this year. An opportunity to relocate came out of the blue, after a brief job hunt. The work is very challenging, but it is a good kind of challenge. I go home each day feeling like students have learned, and that I've been able to focus on the needs of kids, instead of on "the care and feeding of the bureaucracy", to quote Star Teachers of Students in Poverty, one of my favorite books.
3. I'm grateful for friends. Throughout all of the crazy ups and downs of the year, my friends have remained constant. They support and nourish my creativity. Twenty-six years and counting with Grant and Susie.
4. I am thankful for my pets. I lost my curmudgeon of a cat this past summer. Lulu was 15 years old, and was bitter to the very end. I loved her for being such a tough character. So glad to still have Betty after all of these years. Mabel is a moody waif that keeps us all guessing.
5. I am thankful for the many life experiences that happened last year. I was able to travel a bit, first to see San Simeon and then to Washington D.C. Both trips were fantastic. And, they helped provide much needed relief for the rigor that was last spring's work life.
6. I am grateful for the ability to still be a maker and ceramic artist. It brings me great joy to explore my ideas and designs. Someone once referred to what I do as a "hobby". I think it's actually more of a lifestyle. It's a luxury to be able to spend time completing projects and solving artistic problems. I had a great time at this year's Open Studios, realizing how far I've come, in being able to show my work with less self-consciousness.
7. I am grateful for my senses and for the ability to be able to see, hear, and to have the use of my arms and legs. This year, in particular, I have been given the gift of being able to witness the challenges that others face, and it has made me understand how much I take for granted.
8. I am thankful for regaining my desire to read. Last year was not a good year for reading. And, I'm now in recovery.
9. I am grateful for wonderful nieces and nephews who bring joy into my life. It's always a treat to have a visit or a chat with them. Watching the arcs of their lives, from babyhood to full fledged adulthood has been wonderful. They are some of the most interesting people that I know, and I'm not exaggerating. So happy to have Chris out of Yemen. I've thankfully been able to give up my daily BBC News scanning of the Middle East.
10. Finally, I'm thankful for all of the connectedness that colleagues in both my teaching world, and my ceramic world bring. I attended a lecture a few weeks ago, and saw so many creative friends. It was a room full of like-minded purpose. This area has such a great art community. And, I'm thankful to have even more teaching colleagues to influence and inspire me.