My birthday was last Saturday, and it always makes me reflect on what I am grateful for.  There was so much that came to mind, but I thought I would have some fun with it and spell it out.

G is for Great Friends.  I was reminded of them on my birthday when my friend Gail called from Colorado.  When many wished me well via Facebook, and several joined me out for a few drinks.  It was reinforced at a recent event where the end of the evening was filled with warm embraces that made me realize how lucky I am to have these people in my life.

R is for Rest.  I bought a new bed, and I have to say, it has made a real difference in my sleep quality.  I am dreaming more so I figure I must be falling deeper asleep.  Sleep is critical for well-being, so if you are not getting enough, or good quality sleep, it may be time for changes.  A new bed, a no pets policy, an extra blanket or a lower thermostat could all make a difference.

A is for an Amazing Family.  In a few weeks I will be visiting my parents, and I realize at this time of the year how much I miss them.  I am grateful for my brother who continues to introduce me to new music.  I am grateful for my in-laws who have always made me feel a part of their family.  And I am grateful for my extended family who I will remember fondly over the Christmas season.

T is for Teachers.  From the actual teachers I have at Cincinnati State to the not so subtle ones that frustrate me, test me and make me angry.  They all serve a valuable function in my personal learning, and for that I am thankful.

I is for In the Woods.  Over the past year I have spent more time in parks and on trails than I have in my entire life, and it has made a difference in my well-being.  The air quality is better among the trees, and watching their transformation from Spring until now shows me just how much I can transform in my life.

T is for Therapy.  Therapy for me has a variety of meanings.  It could be creativity, such as painting.  Or it could be concocting my wellness products with essential oils and dried herbs.  Or it could be taking care of my houseplants.  It all provides a respite for me from the grind of day to day, and is important for me to maintain a life-work balance.

U is for Understanding.  It has been a tumultuous year for many of us, me included.  It has been hard to understand why certain things are happening and what the long-term repercussions will be.  But it has made me up my empathy game, and try to understand the other side’s viewpoint, why individuals may think the way they do, and not generalize traits to an entire group of people.

D is for Dennis.  My companion for almost 20 years, and my husband for 15.  He is the most real, down to earth person I know.  He supports me in all phases of my life, and has never let me down when I needed him.  He is my rock and my best friend.

E is for Everlasting Learning.  I have bounced around many different topics, but I am so grateful for my love of learning.  It could be yoga philosophy, shamanism, tree identification, herb medicine, or psychology–I love it all.  It encompasses many of the other items on this list as well.  Through learning I have made new friends, been introduced to new teachers, had homework in the woods that could actually be therapy, and did a lot of reading to understand.

What could these letters spell out for you?  I encourage you to take some time, especially this time of the year, to reflect on what you are thankful for.  Maybe even write it down and spend some time each day reading and adding to that list.  It can work wonders for your well-being.  I will close with saying how grateful I am for YOU.  Thanks for reading and thanks for your encouraging words.

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