Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. —Melody Beattie

Last year, my husband and I decided to start a thankful box. Each Sunday, we separately wrote, on a small slip of paper, something we were grateful for in the week that passed. We were as equally thrilled when we wrote the same thing as when one of us highlighted something the other didn’t recognize. Our plan was to go through the notes tonight in celebration of all that was good in 2017. Too many of the grateful statements are still fresh in our minds. We’ve decided to wait for our anniversary in March so that memories that might be fading can be illuminated.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the negative and let all of the good slide by unnoticed. And there’s a lot of amazing things that happen each and every single day if only you look for them. The bonus of consciously seeking out those moments is that it is synergetic. The more you do it, the more you find. To be grateful, one must be aware.

My life is full in every way. I am blessed, I am humbled, and I am grateful. We both remain healthy. We continue to enjoy each other’s company after almost 33 years together. Our fur-kids are turning eleven. They are happy and in good shape, and they bring smiles and laughter to us every day. We are surrounded by good friends, old and new. Around the globe, friends reach out to us and connect and fill our hearts.

We both enrich our lives with things that make our minds and our hearts sing. My husband pursues languages, piano, and vocal music. He is learning not to rely on our wonderful friend and contractor and figure out things around the house himself, comforted in the knowledge that our new friends on either side are there at a moment’s notice to advise or help. He is pleasantly surprised by his own competence.

I was lucky enough to tap into my theatrical side and perform a number with my husband in December. It is the first time I have stood in front of an audience since 2014. It was like coming home. This year two friends urged me to get a Fitbit and it has propelled me into a habit of daily walking. I am addicted to getting outside and moving. I have surprised everyone, including myself, with a passion and determination for gardening. The hours cultivating, planting, and nurturing have proven to be incredibly soul filling. As well, amazingly, I am now a twice-published author. Can life get any sweeter?

So much to be grateful for. I think even in the bleakest of times if you can look for those moments, no matter how small, you will find a little light break through the darkness. That is my New Year’s wish for all of you. Many moments of gratitude. So many that you can’t close the box and the goodness overflows.

As for me, I look forward to reading 104 statements of gratitude in 2018.

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