Photo Credit: Ian Sane via Compfight
Tonight, as I made my first post-Thanksgiving, stuffing-topped turkey sandwich, an idea floated like a magic carpet into my brain. I ran my spontaneous idea by my oh-so-savvy high school freshman, and she gave me two thumbs up and a toothy smile. Right now, as I sit typing out this post with the TV playing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in the background, my idea evolves into this post.
Beginning today, I’m counting down the school days until holiday break by posting one list every day. I hope I can deliver on this self-imposed challenge.
After reading A Long Walk to Water and being reminded of all we have that others don’t, I thought I’d start with 14 Things I Take for Granted. Are you up to the challenge? Could you match me list for list as we count down to winter break? You choose the topics of your lists. Follow my lead if you like, but you have complete freedom to generate any theme you wish. Or, just read along! If you’re posting lists, leave a comment with your URL so I can create a link on my main page. Here’s a hint: Adding a brief explanation for each item on your lists makes it more fun to read. I probably went a little overboard, but here goes.
Fa la la la la la la la la…let’s see who’s up for the Countdown List Challenge…
14 Things I Take for Granted – (in no particular order)
14. Instantaneous answers – Whether I’m in the co-pilot’s seat using the Waze app to avoid traffic congestion or debating details over the dinner table, I can get answers instantly, with just a little finger work on the touchscreen and four bars on the wi-fi.
13. Books – My house has shelves of books in every room, from cookbooks in the kitchen to trail guides in the family room to countless titles lining bookcases and bedside tables. I am never at a loss for reading material–unlike so many others around the world.
12. Medical care – Salva’s seriously ill father walked over 300 miles to the nearest clinic. I have two hospitals within a 10-minute drive, and easy-to-access urgent care centers nearly as popular as strip mall nail salons. If I’m hurting, ibuprofen is at my fingertips. That’s not true for so many.
11. Electricity – It warms my home, powers my technology, cools or freezes my food, washes my clothes, cooks my meals, and entertains me with movies, TV, and music. Power cords snake through my house, gobbling up electricity that’s a plug away.
10. My job – I get paid to do what I love, so I’m incredibly blessed. As I rush from one lesson plan to the next, one set of papers to grade to the next, it’s easy to forget that so many people who desperately want to work can’t find employment. That’s here in Virginia, across the U.S., and around the world. I can’t imagine a better way to earn a living than to teach over 70 students.
9. Neighbors – We watch out for each other, we trade eggs or flour when recipes call for ingredients we lack, we chat across the cul-de-sac, and watch each other’s children grow up and out of the house.
8. My better half, Mike – It’s been nearly 25 years since we tied the knot, but he still makes me coffee every morning, keeps me laughing (at him and myself), and is my backroads partner for life. This guy rocks.
7. Laney and Clancy, our four-legged best buds – Despite the fur that blankets every surface in my house, nothing is better than coming home to their squeals of delight. Whether I’m gone an hour or overnight, they fling themselves at my feet as though I’ve been a missing person for the past five years.
6. Food in my pantry and fridge – I’ve never experienced hunger like Salva or Nya have. If my stomach grumbles, I hush it with a quick snack from the pantry. I’ve never had to worry about how to feed myself or my family. There are so many who hunger, even here in Loudoun County; we need to be grateful for all we have–and generously share our abundance with others.
5. My co-workers – Mrs. Fields, Mrs. Haseltine, Mrs. Devlin, Mrs. O’Brien, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Lacey, and Mrs. Cohen are just a few of the rockstars I’m lucky enough to collaborate with daily. Too many people head into a work environment that’s frustrating or demeaning. Not me…I love coming to work!
4. Kindness – I’m surrounded by kind people. I encounter kindness in the most ordinary of places…the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, an email or text message from a friend, a door held by a stranger, kind words shared by a Wal-Mart checkout clerk. I need to be more grateful for the little things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
3. Education – I have high school and college degrees, but more importantly, my education has never stopped. I’m a lifelong learner and am blessed with the opportunity to take graduate and online courses, read innumerable books, and explore an infinite array of websites. I think of Nya, and other girls around the world, who are denied an education because of their life circumstances. Today, I celebrate all that school has brought into my life–three different careers, a husband I met at college, and a library of knowledge tucked inside my gray matter.
2. Water – You knew this would be here, right? Before A Long Walk to Water, I knew water was precious, but I didn’t understand fully how clean water is the lifeblood of a community. Clean water brings better health, schools, clinics, and allows a village to thrive rather than simply survive.
1. My children – Somewhere between the gray hair and the side-splitting belly aches of laughter, there is perfection in parenthood. I adore my five children. Yes, they turn my life topsy-turvy some days, but then we’re dancing like robots together in the kitchen, reciting Ellen’s classic jokes, or scrambling over rocks at Bears’ Den. I’m thankful for all the little moments we make together.
If I’m going to keep this up, I’ll have to write a little less next time around. 🙂 There you go…my List of 14 Things I Take for Granted. Tomorrow…My List of 13 Words I Can’t Live Without.
See you then- Mrs. Rombach