Sometimes, in all of our thinking of what we do not possess or what we have lost, we are unable to reflect on what we still Have or fortunately found along our way. . .

Sometimes, in all of our thinking of what we do not possess or what we have lost, we are unable to reflect on what we still Have or fortunately found along our way. . .

This day always reminds me to try very hard to appreciate what amazing memories I have of those I’ve long since lost and to feel very blessed, to be very thankful for those I still have and the moments I am fortunate to experience now.

Great Loss does not negate a great future of beautiful people, places and moments, though when we have lived through tragedy, there are hours, days and years it may seem to impossible to believe. . .

I'm actually positive I've faked a lot of happiness for a long, long time (even now, sometimes), but eventually, clouds part (at least for awhile), and you really are desperately grateful. You aren't just faking it. You just are appreciative. You remember that even when it seemed like all was lost, there were bits and pieces you scavenged to either collect or cling to tightly. You admit you have found new things to hold onto in desperation, that you love, and in all of that, you know you must be thankful.

Tomorrow, perhaps more than other days, I am thankful for 3 lovely boys, a husband who will go anywhere and do anything I ask (and I ask a great deal), a mountainside of the creatures I’ve loved since girlhood. . .and for years of being able to save horses in an area where they previously lacked a voice with people of such value. . .

I am thankful for what are now only memories, but they are cherished. I am glad I have them. Everyone doesn't. I had the most beautiful girl as a sister, such as I believe the world could not have known without her here. I've been able to love someone so much and have held her in such high esteem, her loss could hurt me so deeply that I've known a few emotions others will never believe in.

To have grown up with two younger brothers so unique and intelligent, I can easily be swept away in dreaming what life would be like had they lived longer with me. . .

And to have known a Father that touched an entire region in such a way his name is still and will always be spoken with a rare type of reverence that shakes a person to the core. . .regardless of how long he has been gone and no matter that he wore his shirts threadbare and taped his shoes.

To have a mother who never failed to watch a "play" I put on as a child or go the extra mile to entertain me and 12 year old sister still here when there is no reason I couldn't have been robbed of everything. . .including them.

I will always fight to remember to never let the loss of so many amazing lives prevent me from admitting how many new lives I’ve met and love deeply today. It isn't the same, but that is the hand dealt. There are Lives I’d never have known had so much tragedy never existed. I’d never have looked beyond all I had for something epic to fill the deep void left behind.

My walk would have been so different had they stayed, easier and happier, but I recognize that I would be weaker, more selfish and less thankful without the journey I’ve taken to be here today.

So with that, no matter where or what, I imagine you too can find a reason to be appreciative, to be thankful.

I understand. It isn't easy or even possible this year. . .sometimes. Try, though.

Be Thankful in the face of a county that seems torn apart, selfish, ill informed and hate-filled because there are, as I try hard to see all of the time, lovely lives all over the place who want better and are working for better.

(I don't think another photo would ever work on this day, for after it all, my mother is still able to see the good when even I see only bad. . .This was in front of the Emmons building as it burned down)

Be Thankful.

Not because I always am and told you it is a good idea, but because someone who has walked a journey I hope you never do. . .is still trying her best. So I bet you can, as well.