A severely incomplete list of things I am grateful for in the last week alone (it’s almost too much to bear):

  1. Eating Pie for breakfast with friends on Thanksgiving morning. 22 pies. One with bacon on top. Unapologetically, abundantly sweet.
  2. The humbling nature of writing. The other day I read a piece I had written five years ago. It was so bad I curled up on my kitchen floor and cried a little bit. I am assuming a similar scene may happen five years from now with what I am currently writing. I’m thankful for Dan, my main man, for knowing just how to deal with such theatrics– a combination of affection, reassurance and not taking me too seriously. We were laughing at how bad it was in no time.
  3. The kids in my life. Dan and I want kids of our own, but we don’t have them yet. I swear this triggers my uterus to give off some strange sort of fragrance that only adorable children can pick up on. I mean, what’s better than a kid running full speed across the room, past other people, to jump into your arms? They let me borrow them for a bit and show me unabashedly what grace looks like. William, Henry (x 2), Nadia, Britta, Greta, Carley, Zachary, Nora, Jack, Noah, Finley, Clare, Alice, Martin, Grady, Dezi, Eva…I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
  4. Mittens inside. When I edit, usually my mouse hand is frigid cold by about 1:00. Monday I started wearing a single fingerless mitten at my writing desk. Gold.
  5. Milestones. So I’m at Republic Calhoun last week celebrating the release of Keeping the Faith in Education. My friends and family were there. Local writers and their friends and family were there. We’re all eating really yummy flatbread pizza and drinking Saga like I didn’t have to work the next morning (which I did). This is crazy to me. Yes, writing and editing is ridiculously isolating sometimes. Or as Mindy Kaling says, “writing, at its heart, is a solitary pursuit, designed to make people depressoids, drug addicts, misanthropes and antisocial weirdos (see every successful writer ever except Judy Blume).” So these release parties are really cool. When else do we throw people parties for the work they do? Everyone should get a good job at being good at your job work party every few years. If you want me to throw you one let me know.
  6. I’m trying really hard to be grateful for the squirrel who lives in the alley trash can that jumps out at me every time I open the top to throw garbage in. So scary. I’m focusing on two points to build gratitude for the little bugger. 1) It’s not a rat. 2) It’s helping me cut back on my waste production.
  7. My four siblings are the coolest people in the entire universe. Like I choose to hang out with them as much as possible. So holidays are fantastic.
  8. But really, how cool is muscle memory? I went to Gustavus for an alumni gymnastics meet thinking I was altogether way too old to be seen in a leotard or go upside down ever again. After the meet, however, a few ladies from “my era” started playing around. The second I put wristbands on, my body– at the cellular level– went aflutter. I instantly felt like I could conquer the world like a total badass that I wasn’t anymore. For the first time in a decade, I did giants (strapped to the bar to be safe). Still got (a little bit of) it!
  9. Yoga.
  10. Students turned friends. Last week I went to St. Olaf College to promote the Urban Servant Corps. A match made in heaven, really. I just yelled, “Hey seniors, who wants to move to the mountains for a year?” That got ’em close, and I followed up with, “and live with amazing people and do fulfilling work while getting your bills paid?” As if that wasn’t enough, all day, former students came by the table in the commons to say hi and check in. I felt like I was in an episode of This is Your Life. Six of these lovely human beings ate lunch at the table with me. We laughed so hard, being all nostalgic and they told me how cool they were becoming as adults.

Life is so good.