When you start counting your blessings, and realize there are so, so many things to be thankful for…

I was working on my list when I realized…ain’t nobody got time to read all this mess.

So, I split it up. Part 1 is pretty long as it is, but I hope you’ll get through to the end and celebrate some of the small moments of light that made life shine for me this past year.

This is Part 2 of my effort in honoring the good in the everyday.

Because it’s easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving.
More challenging on all the other days of the year.

The past year has been difficult, but beautiful.

Lots of big moments that are easy to think over and be thankful for – and many small moments that shouldn’t be forgotten, because they too illuminate my life with goodness.

So, here’s the wrap up.
Again, no particular order.

Just the SHINY moments that have made putting one foot in front of the other worth it…

It was the fact that I had someone to tell, if I wanted to. Maybe some words are better left unsaid. Maybe I just need to get over it. But that’s not the point. I was sad and I knew – well, I hoped – I could share that reality. And it was accepted. Not celebrated. Just accepted. Acknowledged. I felt seen. And that’s really all I wanted. I didn’t want to be fixed. Just heard. I needed a witness to this moment and how it made me feel. There was no pushing for more information; no harassment. Just a “I’m here when you’re ready to talk about it.” And that right there – that’s powerful stuff.

I left the jewelry store lighter. At peace. One dream gone. One memory intact and honored. One burden set free. Trading the past for cash to invest in my present, in my future. I was sad, but only sort of…I’m not sure how to explain it. Resigned might be a better word, but I fear that it offers the wrong connotation. It was practice. A practice in letting go. Releasing items that meant something before, but mean less now. Untying strings that were holding me down. There’s only so much you can grow, if there are things hindering you from doing so…

He was gone. Finally. Like gum in my hair, it required all my effort to pull free. Why? Why is this so, so hard? He had left the property, and I walked around the house crying, shedding tears in each room. Absorbing the lack of presence, and understanding that this is how it should have been the whole time – I should have been strong enough to face my fear of this space on my own without needing a crutch. A crutch who was really a leech in disguise. So much time wasted. And for what? What did I have to show for this? Is there anything that can be redeemed? I would learn, day-by-day, that yes…reclamation was possible.

Hell yea, I want to fly a drone! What I didn’t realize when I signed up for the pre-con excursion was that I would connect with other women who too felt like a conference for dads offered experiences that were unlike those found at cons for moms or those with a female-focus. Like…flying drones. Sharing stories; sharing smiles – this is how my light-filled adventure would continue to unfold. It meant the world to me to be there as an individual, a blogger investing in her continued education, instead of a Brand representative. And being accepted – warmly – by the community as such, meant the world.

He draws to decompress. He creates all of these diagrams of the human body systems from memory. We’re so proud of his work that we decided to hang them up. And, we think – by the time he graduates – this room may end up being wallpapered in his designs. In fact, his work is so detailed we actually had to cover up some of it when we realized the high-schoolers were using them to cheat on their tests.

It was a process. Leaving my corporate job. I didn’t want to make the decision flippantly; I didn’t want to give up my pay or my benefits without researching what possibilities may exist. The conversation extended over 4 months with my manager. I applied and interviewed for other jobs…always realizing that my best option was going back on my own. A scary thought, that. Sure, I’ve done it before; but I wouldn’t say that I did it well. I was scared. Flat out. But, it needed to be done. For peace. For growth. For a chance to realign with what was most important for my present and future. And while there was a sense of relief on my last day, there was also a sense of leaving a lot of goodness behind.

To grow and connect in my local community, I attended a women’s luncheon early in the year. It was an organization that I had always wanted to explore. And I can look back through the last several years, and see touch points where it might have been possible. But, then wasn’t the right time; and now, is. I celebrate this circle of timing as, now, I have the opportunity to work on their digital content.

This man of duty and honor and growth tells me, “You make me want to write,” and I am humbled. The fact that any words I can piece together would have an impact such as that on someone so adept at weaving his own words; the fact that that I can inspire others towards their role in the creation process. It’s a mission that’s full of honor and responsibility and delight. It’s the kind of thing that makes my heart shine; that makes me want to keep writing, keep crafting, keep peeling back the layers to expose the rawnesty of my soul.

I stand in front of them sharing my story. Doing my best to keep my language clean. This is not the time or space for an F-BOMB. Oh, no. That would not do. I honor the responsibility to share ideas with local 8th graders about how they can start thinking about leveraging social media for good. I remember 8th grade being such a pivotal year in the raising of my awareness. I remember how seriously I taught the 8th graders in my care for that one year, knowing that it might be a pivotal year for them as well. And so, now, when I have the opportunity to tell them what I know, what I’ve experienced, what I try to keep learning – I hope that I’m doing the best I can – in the 35 to 40 minutes I have with these young minds – to honor that raising of their awareness…to what is possible beyond the walls of their classrooms.

I love that sign so much! Wait. What? I can take it?! I won?? And that’s one of the prize options?! Of course, it is.

We were notified that the kid had won an award – and that it would be great if we could attend the ceremony to support him as he received it. What award? We didn’t know until his name was called out: “Courage in the Face of Challenges.” Yep. Fitting. Truly, it’s the theme of our family’s timeline. May we always be courageous as we continue to expand and grow.

“You have found her. Now go and get her. Remember to let her into your…” The process of finding; of pursuing; of opening your heart. Sounds pretty straight forward. But that last part, when trust has been damaged, is so, so hard. And yet, if you can’t open your heart, what is the point?

I couldn’t claim making it all the way to the top, but it was the most up-top I could claim, and in that, I was satisfied. The rest of the way was covered in snow and ice…well, more snow and ice…and closed to the public. Even so, I felt on top of the world. What a view. What an experience. Who’s life am I living?! Oh, yea. Mine. Because I asked. I opened my mouth and just asked a simple question…and here I am – on top of the world. And boy, it’s cold! And as lovely as the whole experience was, I was even more thankful to get back in the Sorento and put my hands on the heated steering wheel.

THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE. The fact that my son is building an awareness for a community that speaks to him. And that this community is filled with good hearts. People tuned to light and positive impact. And willing to take pictures with plush toys.

Stop stressing about the things you can’t handle right now. Stop waiting. Put up the art. Make it your home now. I listened to their encouragement, wondering if I should actually listen. But I was tired of feeling out of place in my own space. I rummaged in the garage, a dark abyss of boxed-up past waiting for me to do battle with it, and found my art. Pieces that I’ve created along the way. Pieces that I’ve collected that speak life and passion to my soul. Pieces that highlight the hearts that have impacted my heart towards good. And finally, Plethora Pointe started to feel more like home…

Too long again.
So much to be thankful for —

Thank you for sticking with me as I reflect.

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