So Much to be Thankful For...writer's style

As I celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I'm reminded of the things I'm grateful for. There are truly so many blessings in my life that they seem to sometimes bombard me.

I'm not rich; I don't have a fancy house; my family has health issues; we have disagreements and sometimes don't treat each other the way we should; we can be behind on bills; I often, in times of frustration, wish that I had more.

But, in many ways, I am so, so blessed. I have more than I ever really deserve.

When I count the things I'm thankful for, the list can go on and on. I can't fit the items on my two hands; in fact, I could fill a book with the blessings.

I'm thankful for simple running car, a favorite cup of coffee, a new episode of a favorite television show, my collection of books, the purr of my cat, a meal with my family.

I'm thankful for the big things and friendships and children and grandchildren and family and faith and grace.

(During my daughters' growing-up years a favorite Thanksgiving tradition was recording the various things we were faithful for on strips of paper throughout the month and then reading them to one another on Thanksgiving morning. The lists were like the ones I just mentioned. Simple--oftentimes funny--things like a cute Hollywood actor or a championship season from our Crimson Tide. And much bigger things--things that made me realize how wise my girls were even at young ages--like education and a home and Jesus.)

When I think of my life as a writer, I'm reminded of very writing-oriented things that I'm grateful for. These things are vital to me; they fill my life with meaning and joy.

As I consider my blessings on Thanksgiving I would be remiss if I didn't think about the things that make my writing journey so rich.

I'm grateful for...

~ A writing community.

It's so much better when you can go through life with a tribe of people who simply "get" you. This is important in all parts of our lives, but especially so with the creative ventures we follow. I'm so thankful for the community of friends I've made through my writing activities (and specifically through the SCWC); what a blessing it is to be able to text a friend about a writing concern, or to share news of a publication coming soon. My writing community is here for me in ways that other people in my life just can't be.

~ A supportive family.

Closely related to this, though, are the people in my life who don't necessarily count themselves as writers but who nonetheless support my writing dreams. I was raised by writers (my father was an author and journalism professor and my mother was an English teacher and freelance writer), so I sort of strangely assumed that everyone understood what it meant to live with a writer. Writers, in fact, often find that their own families don't understand them to the degree that they wish they would; they may not understand the struggles of getting published or what it means to be struck by inspiration in the middle of the night. I'm especially grateful for my non-writing husband for his support over the years; how blessed I am to have him in my corner (and to put up with my crazy novel ideas).

~ An inquisitive mind.

How sad it must be to have no desire to learn new things or to try new skills or to gain new wisdom. One of my favorite things about being a writer is that it's a lifelong learning process; I write many times to simply learn. I may be researching a new-to-me topic for an article; I may interview someone for a profile (and get to learn from them); in creating a fictional character I may escape into the life of someone so very different from me. I'm thankful for how writing continues to help me grow.

~ An agile memory.

Writing doesn't just help me learn new things, but is also creates an opportunity for me to remember moments from my past. Writing, in that way, is sort of like a time machine; I can use it to travel into my memories and relive and reflect on moments that made me who I am. What a blessing it is to still have the capability to remember and remember well. (My father is currently working on a memoir and, at age 74, he can can still remember moments from his very young childhood. It inspires me to share my own recollections.)

~ A desire to wake up everyday and keep going.

"Once you have nothing to live for it's hard to live." I'm not sure if anyone has ever "officially" said those exact works, but if not I'm claiming it right now as a Cheryl Wray quote. Because it's something I so strongly believe in. A desire to wake up on each new morning and do something, try something, go somewhere, read something, meet someone new...that's what keeps life interesting. As a writer, this desire is evident in manifold ways. How often have you awakened yourself in the middle of the night with an idea for new story (or created a fully-formed paragraph in your head) and you couldn't go to sleep because you had to work on it right then and there? That's evidence of this desire and I'm so thankful for it.

~ A purpose through God.

God gives each of us gifts, talents, and desires. We are each gifted with capabilities unique to us. And those things can work together to meet the purpose that our Creator has designed us for. As writers of faith, we believe that part of our purpose is to share something with others through our words. It may be to entertain or inspire; it may to be inform or educate; it may be to reach more people with God's love. How grateful we are to feel this push from God and to know that we're doing something that we've been equipped to do.

We are instructed in 1 Chronicles 16:34 to give thanks to God because "he is good and his love endures forever" and in James 1:17 we are reminded that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Let us live each day--on Thanksgiving and all the tomorrows after--with those words in mind, knowing that because of God's enduring love we are bestowed with blessings too numerous to count. As writers, let's be especially grateful for those gifts that lead us to share those blessings with others through our words.

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