Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year—family and loved ones gathering together, the blending of old and new traditions, a fantastic assortment of food, and the promise of the festive, kinder time of year that is about to begin. I love it all, from start to finish. Lael is another big fan of Thanksgiving, and this year, she and I worked as a blog team, each offering our own perspective on the thoughts and memories that this holiday brings. Please read Lael’s post, The Holiday Season is Upon Us.

As we head into my favorite week, I also start to think about the months that have recently passed—usually how quickly the year has gone by—and about everything that I have to be thankful for. This was a particularly eventful year—Mike and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with a beautiful Mediterranean cruise, I left a 30+ year career in investments to focus on human interest writing, and we suffered extraordinary sadness, as our beloved sister-in-law lost a valiant fight against cancer. As many of you know, our family faced another blow just a few weeks ago, when our daughter and son-in-law’s cherished family pet crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Family and friends top the list

Despite the sadness, I’m thankful for a lot of things, this year. Family and friends always top the list, and 2019 is no different—you are what gives my life the most meaning. Mike, Lael, Brian, Sammy, Scott, Brett, and Decker (my furry family member:)—you are the best family that anyone could ever hope for. You’re there for anything that life throws at me—you help me take happiness to the next level, and on the flipside, you’re always there for guidance and support. You make me laugh and (sad but true:) you give me fodder for many of my posts. Extended family—we have so much history—and though we don’t stay in touch often enough, we always pick up right where we left off when we are able to connect. We get each other—besides, who else would have us???

Old friends, new friends, “new” old friends, and “framily”—you make my day-to-day life. Whether it’s traveling the world together, trying out new restaurants or visiting our old favorites, going to trivia, getting together at each other’s homes, texting, emailing, Facebooking, or talking on the phone, you lift me higher. Work friends/framily, you have made me a better professional. You taught me about programs and technology, eased my suffering while learning pivot tables, gave me valuable feedback on written pieces, and shared perspectives that made me smarter. You broadened my background and while you did it, you kept me laughing.

Be thankful for every person and every day

The sadder events make me realize how precious the present is. I’m thankful for the beautiful memories of my sister-in-law, for her giving birth to my wonderful niece and nephew (who now have their own precious families), and the happiness that she gave my brother for so many years. And in fact, if I was able to provide any level of comfort to that strong and gracious family, I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the memories and years of fun that Cody, the corgie, gave our family.

I’m thankful for Mike and I being able to take that awesome Mediterranean cruise, earlier this year, and to do it with four of our closest friends.. A special thanks to Don and Marilyn for taking on the role of cruise coordinators—what would we have done without your background and insights?? Btw, there will be posts on each port of that cruise in future weeks.

Finally, I’m thankful for taking the plunge and making the career shift from investments to human interest writing. It took a leap-of-faith to shift focus after so many years in an industry, as well as a challenge to learn how to build a website and to grow this type of business. But having done that has let me look forward to getting up every day, spend more time in my beautiful home, and be true to my goals and desires. Mike—a special shout out to you for believing in and supporting this new endeavor, and Lael and Sherry—a special shout out to you for all your guidance and support, especially for taking the time to review posts and provide pictures.   

Net net, every year has its collection of blessings and lessons, and 2019 has been no different. Sometimes the year brings a series of small, seemingly uneventful things—sometimes the mix is more impactful. For me, 2019 has been the latter.

My review of each year always leads to takeaways, and my takeaways from the past 11 months are these: (1) cherish every person and every day—don’t just give your life lip service—really think about its richness, (2) figure out what makes you authentic and drives your happiness, and (3) become more comfortable in taking the risk that lets you live that way.

May your Thanksgiving holiday be full of blessings.

Until next time,

Copyright 2019 – 2023 Maggie Stenman Communications, LLC