Reflections on a special evening of gratitude – My personal list of 25 things I am most thankful for

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

It is both a shame and a blessing that this holiday rolls around but once a year. A blessing as it is a special moment to get together with those that we care so much about to break bread and give thanks for all that has come into our experience. A shame as these thoughts should live in our hearts and minds throughout the entire year. Sure, I know all about the historical significance, and that’s cool, but as most of you know as you get a little further along in life, it tends to take on a little more meaning as each year passes.

I have taken my own steps to make this a daily practice as part of my morning ritual. In fact, if you can believe it, there is an app for that. Serious! Here is the link if you are interested…..

So as this wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday comes to a close, I would like to share my personal top 25 things I am most thankful for. I posted something a little similar to this a couple of years ago, but would like to share it again as I rework it a bit. I am not really sure if I actually have a TOP twenty-five, but I think it will be pretty easy to crank out a few… here goes!

1.  My Mother     For the better part of my life, I can think of no one else who has been more of a guide to my growth as a human being than this woman. She has and continues to be the rock that keeps the family together, as well as being someone who is always there to talk to. There is no one I know of that puts other people first more than her. She has been such a support for me throughout my life…..someone who is always there for me, no matter what. And who more to trust than your Mother for a bookkeeper? I have entrusted her to help me out in the office for over 22 years now and she has done an incredible job. Love ya mom!

2.  My Daughter     The gift of a child is a priceless one. As my personal life has evolved over the past couple of years, my little one has been more of a ray of sunshine for me than she might ever know. I can think of nothing more in my life to give thanks for than her. I cherish every moment I am able to spend with this beautiful, bright, funny, and lovable daughter. She’s also a pretty good photographer 🙂

3.  The mother of my daughter     Although that sounds like a really cold description of someone I care so much about, it sometimes feels a little awkward to give her a title. How about…A very special friend! I really am thankful that our daughter has such a wonderful mom. I am also thankful that we both look forward to maintaining a strong relationship, although not together, to be the best parents we can be. It really is a wonderful place to be at when all the crap has been buried and life is allowed to move on and evolve. I truly am thankful for that 🙂

4.  My Siblings     After a great day like today, I am also reminded of what an incredible family I have. My brother and sister have been such a special part of my life and I cherish the incredible memories we share from our youth and look forward to creating many more memories. I love you guys!

5.   My Career     I have found that when you have a passion in your career, there is no such thing as work. My chosen path has allowed me to be a creative force in a fascinating industryWhen I started HyLite, I had no idea that it would have given me the opportunity to light so many beautiful environments as well as take me to so many incredible places around this country as well as the world. In addition, I have never been good at drawing or painting, so “painting with light” has been a great way to express my creativity. I am thankful that so many wonderful clients have rewarded me with the opportunity.

6.   Those who have allowed me to express myself     When I mention “clients”, I am reminded of something else. Most of the people that entrust me to help create with them are more like friends. I have always appreciated that. Most recently, over the past 4 years, a lot of them have really been there for me in my times of need. It’s nice to have such a support network.

7.  The Team     Speaking of support, how can I forget my crew! Outside of Nancy in the office, there is a great team I rely on to help us create magic. Running a company that experiences most of its events within a few months of the year is of course a challenge. To be able to pull from a dependable group of artists from year to year to help share in the magical experience of creation for these events is something that I continue to express gratitude for. Although this team has evolved and changed a few times over the years, I am always grateful for all that continue to be part of the team as well as those who have moved onto other exciting opportunities. These folks are really the unsung heroes! Thanks!

8.  The opportunity   One more quick thing about work. As every industry is feeling the cutbacks, ours is no different. I could focus on the numbers that are down a bit, but there’s not much I can do about that. I can, however, be thankful for the work we do have. I am sure that there will be a few more bumps in the road, but I look forward to the future.

9.  My passion     My recent explosion of interest in photography and digital imaging has to be mentioned as well. The mere definition of the word means to “write with light”….something I have a little experience in. It has been nice to embrace this new passion…..something other than work to focus on. If nothing else, the intense need to capture images and moments around me has helped me really open my eyes to this fantastic world around me. I’d like to also give thanks to the wonderful inspiration all the people at NAPP have been in my journey of learning new techniques as well as the wonderful support from my ”blog readers, flickr friends, facebook friends, twitter followers, and google plus circle peeps. Of course, I can’t forget my introduction into the world of HDR by Trey Ratcliff!

10.  My wanderlust     What more can I say? When travel becomes a part of your life, it changes you….it should change you. It gets in your blood and helps create the very person that you are. I am so thankful for the incredible places I have been about to see so far in my life. From my earlier backpacking days in Europe every summer for about 5 years, to all of the exotic locations my career has taken me, I will always have these memories. I look forward to many more opportunities, and for that, I am thankful!

And, in no certain order, here are a few more things that have perhaps recently come into my experience as things that I am grateful for….as I continue on a path to be a better me….

11.  My morning ritual of meditation, reading, and juicing

12.  A greater awareness of a cleaner and healthier way to eat

13.  The time I take to excersise, bike ride, and get out in the fresh air

14.  The many who continue to inspire and motivate me in my online circle of friends

15.  A few cool projects I am working on that I hope to release in the coming months and years

16.  The successful real estate investments I have made and continue to work on putting together

17.  Contributions to those less fortunate and in need (one hand up and one hand down…..always!)

18.  The many exciting opportunities that seem to pop up out of nowhere

19.  The many positive people that will continue to come into my life

20.  My recent interest in deep self evaluation and personal growth

21.  All five senses

22.  The roof over my head

23.  The quiet of the morning

24.  The urge to keep learning, exploring, creating, loving, and experiencing.

25.  And most important, my creator!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 🙂

And one more quick thing……

I had posted this a couple of days ago as well as sending a link to this in a company email blast this morning, but on a special day like today, I think it would be a great piece to watch again. Brilliant work indeed. Enjoy 🙂

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