We had a friendly reminder prior to the holiday last week – it’s good to start some family traditions on Thanksgiving Day. We took the advice to heart.

We played football with others in the neighborhood in the morning, hiked with the dogs in the afternoon and took a moment before dinner to share the things we’re grateful to have in our lives. (Not to mention, I made prime rib instead of turkey – hope that tradition lasts, too!).

I’ve actually given it some more thought since Thursday, and thought I’d share:

Spouses – I’ll be the first to admit that marriage isn’t a constant state of bliss like I once thought it would be. I do my fair share of complaining about dirty clothes on the floor, dog poop left in the yard, and trash that needs taking out – just to name a few. But sometimes a silly song in a kid’s movie provides a subtlety that’s worthwhile for grown-ups to hear.

“Life’s a happy song when there’s someone by your side to sing along…
I’ve got everything that I need right in front of me
Nothing’s stopping me, nothing I can’t be
with you right here next to me.”*

Children – I’m not sure who hypothesized that children don’t make us happy. Nothing brightens my days more than Luke quizzing me with math problems, the books he writes on a weekly basis, the way he races me up the stairs at bath-time (it’s the only thing that motivates him), his beautiful face when he falls asleep. The list goes on and on. There’s not a day in the world that I don’t remind myself how lucky I am to have such a wonderful child.

Good health – Our health is certainly something we take for granted, that is until something goes wrong. This past week, when two friends were diagnosed with tumors, I was reminded yet again of the blessing of good health. Back aches, farsightedness and new wrinkles are a walk in the park comparatively speaking. On those days when I dread a speed workout or long run, I remind myself of how fortunate I am to be able to run at all!

Home sweet home – Though I still wish for hardwood floors and a renovated bathroom, I am so fortunate to have a nice home in a great area of town. A roof over our heads and heat to keep us warm are not things everyone can boast about, especially as unemployment, foreclosures and homeless numbers continue to rise.

Dogs – Furry people bring so much joy to the world! I can’t imagine a “home sweet home” without licks and jumps and barks and constant hugs. Our little 13-year old Boedi is as healthy as can be, despite her deafness, and dear Walden is my running companion, office buddy and love hound – all wrapped into one. (Not to mention, he cheers for the Heels right along with me!).

Walden Barnes

Friends – Friends have supported me along life’s journey, across the country and throughout the years. I was reminded, this past weekend when I reunited with my college roommates in Vegas, of how true friendships never die, even as we grow older and walk down different paths. Good friends accept us for who we are, support us without question and understand what makes us tick. They also laugh at us, make fun of our quirks and remind us of past events we might prefer to forget! Old friends and new – a glue that holds our lives together.

Boise – There’s a reason why Boise gets voted among the best places to live by publications like Kiplinger, National Geographic, CNN Money and others. It’s a great place! There have been times in the last couple of years where we have considered moving to a city that offers more professional opportunities. But fortunately, things have worked out so we can stay in the community we have grown to love dearly.

*Lyrics from The Muppets, “Life’s A Happy Song.”

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