As November houses the Thanksgiving holiday, many use this month to post daily about things they’re thankful for. I’m not much of a conformist but I don’t like being left out of things either. So I decided to do it all at once. Here are 30 things for which I’m very thankful:
1. I’m thankful for my health. Granted, I have a few (or multiples of 10) pounds I should lose, but overall I’ve got a healthy mind and body. That’s good.
2. I’m thankful for the decisions I’ve made (and circumstances over which I had little-to-no control) that have helped guide my path in life. I often think of how different things would be had I not decided to go to Bethany, or hadn’t graduated a semester early and started my career at Hallmark when I did. Or if I hadn’t left Kansas City for a new challenge in Wichita. Or if I hadn’t endured heartbreak and tough decisions… I couldn’t be happier with where I am.
3. I’m thankful for having grown up in Lindsborg. The opportunities I was given by growing up in such a unique town are too numerous to list. Little Sweden USA will always be “home”. I couldn’t wait for Lillian’s first Hyllningsfest just so I could get her all dolled up in a Swedish costume. It was totally worth it.
4. I’m thankful for music. As a card-holding member of the Bishop family, I was born into musical greatness (not that I’M all that great). I can’t help but swell with pride when I hear my mom or Andy perform. Seriously, they’re amazing. Music has played such a large role in my life. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to know what great music is and what a profound affect it can have on a person.
5. I’m thankful for having my dad around for 28 years and 32 days. So many people live 60+ years before losing a parent and though I wish my dad was still here, I can’t help but be grateful to have had a loving, attentive, silly, supportive, one-of-a-kind dad in my life for as long as I did.
6. I’m thankful for Hallmark cards and for Hallmark Cards (yes, both). Y’all know I’m a super sap. I always have been and I always will be. There’s nothing I love more than a good card or commercial…or just a good cry. In that sense, gaining employment at Hallmark Cards, Inc. was the perfect fit for me right out of college. I met some of my best friends at that company. And to this day I always turn any card I receive over to see if it’s a Hallmark. I can’t help myself.
7. I’m thankful for the Öl Stuga. I said it. Some of my most fond memories come from being in that bar. Whether it was making Shirley Temples behind the bar with Margo in third grade or Big Beer Thursday (and schnapps shot Monday and every Friday and Saturday night) in college or catching up with childhood friends there over the holidays or hanging with Lillian watching her plow through a grilled cheese sandwich…it’s hard not to love a place where everybody knows your name.
8. I’m thankful my siblings have found someone to spend their lives with. They say there is someone for everyone. I believe it. And luckily my brothers and sister have found that special person who compliments them best. So to Jillian, Jamie and Wesleigh (and Kaden), thank you. You complete our family.
9. I’m thankful for having a job. While the unemployment rate is looking better, so many folks are out of work and have been for a long time. I’m thankful that I’ve had gainful employment since before I graduated from college (heck, since I was 16 years old, really). Most recently, I took at job at Fidelity Bank. I celebrated my one year anniversary on October 3. While leaving Heartspring was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made (as was leaving Hallmark), it was the right one. (See #2.) I have no regrets. Bravely Onward.
10. I’m thankful for my friends. They keep me grounded, make me laugh, make me cry, lift me up and stick with me through thick and thin. And there’s been some thick and thin times for the record. Whether we’ve been friends since elementary school, college or met just a few years ago, I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for.
11. I’m thankful for Jimmy John’s. I should buy stock in that place. I eat there a lot. And when they say they’re fast, they aren’t joking. This is not a paid advertisement for Jimmy John’s either. I just really like it.
12. I’m thankful for Gramma Jo. Lillian doesn’t have the luxury of having any biological grandparents living in the same city, but she does have her Gramma Jo. As far as we’re concerned Lillian has three official grandmas (and lots of pseudo grandmas). Jo loves her unconditionally and is always ready and willing to spend time with her Kansas grandbaby. Trav and I often ask ourselves what we would do without Jo. The answer is simple: We have no idea. She’s a life saver. And she’s a great addition to the Grover family.
13. I’m thankful for social media. Thanks to Facebook I’m constantly connected to friends and my favorite brands. Thanks to Twitter I know everything I need to about the latest news and events in my city, state, nation and the world. Thanks to Instragram I can play with all sorts of fun filters. Thank to LinkedIn I can network with smart business folks. The list goes on and on… And let’s be honest, without social media how would I inundate you all with a bajillion photos of my child?
14. I’m thankful for Spanx. To quote my favorite movie… Truvy: “Well, these thighs haven’t gone out of the house without lycra on them sice I was 14.” Clairee: “You were brought up right.” The End.
15. I’m thankful for the St. Louis Cardinals. My childhood, my connection to my dad and my brothers, and my life in general wouldn’t be the same without this ball club. Ever since I can remember, the Cardinals have been a part of my family. Growing up, we didn’t take trips around the country, we took trips to St. Louis to catch as many games as we could. With all the Bishy kids holding hands while crossing “the” bridge, a thermos of Coke and huge bag of peanuts in the shell in hand, we’d cheer on Ozzie, Willie and Vince. I cried during Game 7 of the NLCS this year. I hated to see the season end. But what I love is hearing Lillian say, “Go Cardinals!” And I know her Grandpa Roger was loving it, too.
16. I’m thankful for hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong, as a little sister I wasn’t as fond of them, but as a mom, I’m eternally grateful for friends who have girls and are willing to share their stash of adorable, gently-worn outfits. Lillian is not lacking in the fashion department and Trav and I aren’t going broke buying clothes thanks to generous folks. Special shout out to Carin and Sean. You’re tops.
17. I’m thankful for Vickie Runyan. Having a baby is stressful, but finding someone to entrust your child’s well being to as a daycare provider keeps many soon-to-be parents awake at night. We were no different. But thanks to a recommendation from Lisa Elliott, we found Vickie and can’t imagine life without her. Lillian is smart, respectful and well-behaved. And while Trav and I would like to take full credit for all of this, there’s no denying that we owe a lot of our daughter’s amazingness to Vickie. And just in case you were wondering who the boss is, Lillian will let you know, “Bickie da boss.” Yes, yes she is.
18. I’m thankful for having open-minded, socially conscious parents. My mom grew up in Kansas City, KS and my dad in St. Louis, MO. Early on, I was taught to see people as people, not as skin colors, sexual orientations or disabilities.
19. I’m thankful for povatica. This Croatian sweet bread has been in my family for generations and has been served at Christmas and Easter for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me how to make it when I lived in Kansas City and now my family looks to me for this baked delight every year. It’s soooo good and soooo time-consuming to make. But soooo worth it. Last year Lillian helped me out.
20. I’m thankful that my little brother is back in the Sunflower state. Timmer left for South Dakota in 2000. He finally moved back to the homeland in July. As a bonus he brought with him a beautiful lady and a rambunctious little boy. Lillian loves having Uncle Nimmy, Aunt Wes and her cousin Kaden close by.
21. I’m thankful for the Grovers. They’re a nutty breed, but I love ’em. My in-laws are good-hearted people who like to have a good time. You gotta respect that. My father-in-law is handy and God bless them, they bring Yuengling across state lines. Whoop!
22. I’m thankful for a good bottle of wine. Because at the end of the day, Mama likes her wine.
23. I’m thankful that when I married Trav, I also gained some fabulous friends. He’s got as close-knit a group of friends as I do. And I love them. I only wish New York and Massachusetts weren’t so far away.
24. I’m thankful for my brothers and my sister. Andy was five when Tim was born. That means my parents had four kids ages five and under. My mom was nuts. But I’m glad she was. We were never at a loss for a playmate as kids – not that we always played nice. I credit the boys and my dad for the fact that I don’t throw a baseball like a girl.
25. I’m thankful for Netflix. And DVR. I don’t ever get to watch anything in real time anymore. And with these nuggets of technology I can catch up on shows I missed or never even started watching (if I ever had time).
26. I’m thankful for Heartspring. Bottom line, without that organization I would have never met Travis or countless inspirational kids and their families. And that, my friends, would be tragic.
27. I’m thankful for my mom. Let’s be honest, without her where would I be?
28. I’m thankful for being an emotional basket case. It sounds odd, I realize, but it’s what makes me, well… me. Of course you may not always know what emotion I’m feeling. You see, I cry when I’m happy, when I’m mad, when I’m surprised, sad or frustrated. Unfortunately, at times, I have a tendency to cry for no apparent reason at all. Any more, Trav has resigned himself to saying, “Get it all out.” or “Let me know when you’re done.” He thinks he’s funny.
29. I’m thankful for Sweet Baby Lillian. My days are filled with giggles, hugs, tantrums, toys, dancing, games, books, cartoons, tears and “Iuvyou, Mama”s. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Her sweet smile melts my heart. She’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m so lucky to be her mommy. (While I could go on and on, it’s hard to type through the happy tears.)
30. I’m thankful for my ridiculously handsome husband Travis. Over and over again I’ve told you all that I hit the jackpot. That statement becomes more true every day. He’s compassionate, kind, giving, thoughtful, funny and committed. I’m blown away every day by what he achieves as a teacher, friend, brother, coach, son, brother-in-law, husband and especially, daddy. He loves unconditionally. He cleans toilets, cooks dinner (and breakfast and lunch), he’s handy and handsome. He’s a one in a million.