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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feeling My Blessings---80 Things I am Thankful For

It is before 6:00 AM in the morning here in Bothell, WA. This blog, Mr. P.'s blog, is one of the blogs I write. In 2009 I wrote what follows for a post I made in another one of my blogs, "A Few Words." My blog, "A Few Words" evolved out of the talks I used to give on Fridays. The ending is the way I ended class every Friday. I end my blog posts in A Few Words with it. I just decided to leave it in this post the way it was originally written.

This blog is my fishing blog and I originally intended to "just write about fishing" here. I allowed the lines to blur between the two blogs about two months ago. I made the same post in both blogs. It seemed odd to me at first but I liked it in the end. Most people who read one of my blogs don't know the others even exist. A couple people who read "Mr. P.'s blog" and "A Few Words" emailed and Facebook messaged me and commented that they liked that I made the same post both places.

Just like two years ago, today is Thanksgiving. I spent 5 hours composing this list back then. It is good for me to reread my own list; it reminds me of all that I am thankful for. It reminds me to embrace each day with a gratitude attitude.

From November 2009:

Today is Thanksgiving. This is a list of things for which I am thankful. I believe it is important to "count my blessings" but it is more important to "feel my blessings". These items are intentionally not prioritized. They are in random order and range from simple to serious. Some of these items are at the core of me. Some of them are things I am regularly aware of but are still relatively simple. A couple may make you chuckle. Some are things I just thought of while writing. There are some pictures included also. I didn't have a particular number in mind when I started out. I decided to write until I was ready to be finished.

I have posted some pictures but need to get ready to leave for Thanksgiving dinner. I will post more pictures in the next few days. (I posted those pictures.)

I am extremely grateful for all the many blessings in my life. Here are just a few of the many things for which I am very, very, thankful.

1. Clean drinking water--I just turn on the tap and there it is. Its safe and plentiful.

2. The rule of law--We are all protected by laws, a system of law enforcement, and a judicial system that is amazing.

3. Central heating--I program the thermostat and the heat comes on. In 1970 my girlfriend, Candy, and I spent a night on the ground lost in the woods. Had it rained we likely would have died of hypothermia. I sure appreciate that the heat works in our home. I would add that I am also thankful for Candy.

4. A comfortable bed--Its warm, safe, and suitalby firm for our middle age backs.

5. The sound of rain--I like hearing this when I'm falling asleep in my comfortable bed.

6. The World’s Greatest Wife--Katy is the best. Simply the best. Next month we will have been married 32 years. We are friends, lovers, and soulmates. Marrying her was the smartest thing I ever did.

7. Inspiring people and their stories--I enjoy reading and hearing about what other people have done to overcome adversity. I like the stories of famous people and even more so I like the stories of "not so famous" people.

8. Parents who loved me--Frank and Teresa Pankiewicz loved all five of their kids. It is such a gift too easily taken for granted.

9. My Mom who persevered when my Dad died when we were all young--My parents were married in the 40's. They were happily married; they loved and respected each other. They communicated well and problem solved well. My Dad died very suddenly on February 22, 1967. My mother was devastated. She went back to school, got a job and kept the family together. She is my Hero. She will always be my Hero.

10. Our servicemen and women--Are we as a country always right? We're not. Do we use our force and our might correctly all the time? Probably not. And yet, in so many ways we are the protectors of freedom in the world. Regardless of whether I, or anyone for that matter, agrees with where or when our servicemen and women are fighting at any point in time or history, they are nevertheless risking life and limb. I appreciate that. These are some pictures of the Veteran's Memorial we built on the campus in cooperation with Marysville Rotary. The picture in the snow storm is still my favorite.

11. Being an American--Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government there is. Except for all the others that have been tried." We have our problems here but we are still incredible in so many ways. I'm grateful and proud to be an American.

12. That I enjoy writing and even have some of my articles published--I am the Fly Fishing Editor for North American Carp Angler magazine and have a column each issue. It pleases me to write the column and it pleases me that people enjoy reading it.

13. Fishing--Fishing is in my blood. My earliest memory that I can place in time is of myself fishing with my Dad. It still gives me great enjoyment. I enjoy planning, preparing, traveling, stalking, casting, catching, photograhing and releasing. I still love to fish.

14. Fishing gear--I dig the gear. Its like a bunch of toys for a middle age kid.

15. My Alumni--I had the privilege of being a teacher for 36 years. I loved thousands of kids.

16. And them keeping in touch--Over and over it puts a smile on my face to continue to hear from my Alumni. Email, Facebook messages, letters, phone calls, text messages, meals together, its all such a source of joy to me.

17. Good teachers I had as a student--I am thankful for the good teachers I had through the years. In particular I appreciate the ones who cared and went the extra mile.

18. Good teachers I worked with at the high school--I knew and worked with many high quality, caring teachers and I hold them in very high regard.

19. Good administrators I knew--I appreciated the leadership of most of the principals at the high school.

20. Facebook--What a pleasant surprise this has been. I have connected with Alumni who live literally all over the earth as well as people from other parts of my past.

21. My new career--I have been a real estate agent since 1971. Now that I have left the classroom I am working real estate full time and I have embraced my new life. I have really enjoyed helping people get their homes sold and helping them find new homes. I like the many new aspects of the work and the schedule. I also like the new challenges. Building my webpage, HomeProResults.com, and starting a real estate blog has also been enjoyable. Call me when you are ready to buy or sell a home; I'll take care of you.

22. My hopes and dreams--I am thankful that I have have lots of hopes and dreams. I'm thankful that a lot of my dreams have come true and I believe that I will continue to be thankful as more come true.

23. My creative energy--I am thankful that I still have lots of energy to risk, to try new things, and to look at things differently.

24. Good health--Someone said, "Your health is your wealth." I don't know who said it but I am so thankful for my own good health, Katy's good health, and the good health of my kids.

25. Modern medicine--In part we all have that good health because of some aspect of modern medicine. My father--in--law was a family practice doctor for 42 years. He had been a doctor in the Army in World War II treating burn victims. He died in 1988. I remember him telling me, and getting choked up when he did, what it was like to be able to perscribe Penicillin for the first time. He talked about how mothers would bring their kids in with ear aches. He said that it was something they could die from. Perscribing Penicillin would beat the infection and the kids would live. He said very emotionally, "You can't imagine what a miracle that was."

26. Good books--I just finished "Outliers" and am currently reading a murder mystery set in the times of the Roman Empire. Before that I finished the lengthy, expansive, epic novels "Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance". I am thankful that I can read and that books are easily accessible.

27. Friends--I have been incredibly blessed through the years with many good friends. All of us experience through the years people coming in and out of our lives. I am thankful for those friends as well as the ones who have been friends for decades.

28. Warm sunny days--I am thankful for this simple pleasure. Shorts, t-shirts, Tevas--ahhhhh...

29. Barbecued dinners--I don't want to eat barbecued food every night but when the weather is nice I sure enjoy it.

30. My memory--Well, its good, and I am thankful for that. Partly its the way I was built and partly its something I work at.

31. Recorded music--I would much rather listen to music than have the TV on. I enjoy so many different kinds of music.

32. “Unbiased News” media--Okay, I won't go so far as to say that the news media in our country is all unibased. It just isn't. What we do have is the opportunity to see and hear "opposingly biased" news media and I am thankful for that.

33. My memories--I remember that I wrote "my memory" just a bit ago but this isn't the same thing. My good memory remembers the good and the bad. I am grateful for all of it.

34. Cell phones--I am thankful for this modern convenience.

35. Our kids--I can't imagine my life without our kids, Joe, Mike, and Annie. Through it all I love each of you more than life itself.

36. Do I count my new daughter-in-law as one of my kids? Yup, I do. I love you too Kelly.

37. Being persistent--I am persistent about things and I'm thankful for that.

38. Being persistent--I am persistent about things and I'm thankful for that.

39. Being persistent--Well, maybe I'm stubborn, I don't know, but I'm thankful that I'm persistent even though sometimes I maybe should have just let something go.

40. Oh, and a good sense of humor too--I am thankful that I can laugh at myself, my foibles and mistakes, and at the world. It helps me to get through things, enjoy the day, and find the positive in situations.

41. Sex--with my wife of course.

42. Goretex raingear--Modern gear is so dang nice. Goretex jackets and waders, fleece, and frameless packs to name a few are a pleasure to use.

43. The “Y”--I like working out at the "Y" and I am thankful there is one just ten minutes from our home. I also like that there are people there of so many different ages who have different body sizes and fitness levels all doing something to work towards being healthy.

44. Roses--I babied my rose gardens for 20+ years. They are a lot of work but when a bud was blooming it was like listening to music.

45. My extended family on my Mom’s side--My grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins have shared something quite unusual. We have remained close for the 65 years that the first cousin was born. I am immensely thankful for this.

46. That I am usually able to fall asleep quickly--I don't always sleep all the way through the night but I almost always fall asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow. I am thankful.

47. Naps--I can take a twenty minute nap almost anywhere. Its an art I guess but a good nap sure feels good.

48. That I woke up this morning and everything works and nothing hurts--I try to be thankful for that every day.

49. Email--It sure makes communicating easy.

50. That I enjoy the little things--I am thankful that I can take genuine pleasure in small things.

51. Fall colors--This year was particularly striking.

52. Christmas music--Yes! I like all kinds of music but sure enjoy my Christmas music for the next month. I tried listening to Christmas music in July one year but it sounded completely out of place.

53. The challenges in my life--I am grateful for the good times and the bad. Its much easier to say that when I'm not immersed in a period of dark days or just plain lost, but I still am grateful for all the challenges.

54. That I don’t just adapt to change sometimes I make it happen--I am grateful for the changes I have experienced and I thankful that I have actively worked to make change in my life and in the world around me.

55. My fat cat--His name is Rudy. He spends a fair amount of his day sleeping. I appreciate the art of napping but he sleeps more than he is awake. He does a few other things besides sleep. I guess he's doing what cats are supposed to do.

56. My new neighbors--Katy and I moved in August 2008. We sold the home we raised our kids in where we had lived for 25 years. We had a new home built and we love it. We are both thankful that we have good neighbors.

57. Bread--Through the years I made a lot of noise about liking chocolate. I do of course but would never consider chocolate comfort food. Bread is comfort food. Even with a diminished appetite of a middle age guy, I can still eat a lot of bread. I especially like all the artisan breads they have today.

58. Italian Food--Pasta, Ravioli, plus lots of other specialty dishes sure are good.

59. That I am willing to try things that don't look easy or haven't been done before--I like like this about myself and I don't like this about myself. When I'm planning or getting ready to try something challenging, I like it. When things come together and work well I really like this about myself. When something doesn't work the way I want it to or hoped it would, I DO NOT like this about myself! Still, I am thankful I am willing to risk and I'm thankful to all the people who have helped me with so many different kinds of risks through the decades.

60. My faith in God--Its strong. It centers me. It grounds me. Its important.

61. The Internet--How on earth did we find things out before the Internet?! How did we communicate? What an amazing invention.

62. The places that I have hiked and fished. Rivers, lakes, saltwater, the mountains, so many beautiful places--I love to fish and am thankful for all the times I have been able to go. In the pursuit of fish I have seen some beautiful places. Being in, on, and around water, always pleases me.

63. My truck and all the highways and roads that let me travel all over chasing fish--I am thankful that my truck and our country's extensive system of roads makes travel easy.

64. Perscription glasses--I would be unable to drive or do a heck of a lot of other things without perscription glasses. Man am I thankful for my glasses.

65. Perscription sunglasses--These are especially nice when I am fishing on a bright, hot, July day in eastern Washington.

66. The bamboo plant and the shamrock on my office desk--They help keep my attitude right.

67. Caller ID--Its nice.

68. Caller Block--We couldn't transport our old landline with us from Mukilteo to Bothell without paying an additional charge. We chose to get a new number instead. The people who had the number before us apparently owe somebody some money. We were getting three or four calls a week from varous collection agencies looking for these people. Even when I would call them back and suggest that they look at their caller ID or look up our name and number online to see that we were new people, they would continue to call and ask for Melissa. Finally we got a phone that blocks their numbers selectively. Its a simple thing but we like it.

69. Computers--Just like the Internet, how on earth did we function without them. I am thankful for computers and all that can do.

70. That I'm a pretty dang fast typist--My back and my rear end get sore sitting at the computer so I'm thankful that I can type quickly.

71. Wildflowers--Someone said, "When the earth smiles, it smiles in flowers". I love it when the earth smiles.

72. Referrals--I have so much appreciated the people who have referred new real estate customers and clients to me. Thank you.

73. Extension cords and surge protectors--They help make our Christmas village light up and they protect various electronic devices in our home.

74. Soft toilet paper--The older I get the more I appreciate it.

75. Prayer--I pray every day. Several times a day actually. I do it formally and informally. At least once a day, we pray outloud together. I believe strongly in the value and importance of prayer. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to pray.

76. Scenery--Fishing has brought me to some beautiful places and so has hiking. I am thankful for the vastly different places just here in Washington. We have the ocean, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and desert. I am very thankful to have grown up in Washington and to have lived here all my life.

77. Blogging--I am thankful for the opportunity to write and for the people who read what I write.

78. Chocolate--Yum, yum, yum. What else is there to say?...

79. Forgiveness--I am thankful for the times I have offered forgiveness and for the times I have been forgiven.

80. Diversity--There is so much diversity in my neighborhood and in our country. We have our problems in this country and I don't want us to ignore them. We are still truly the beacon of hope on this planet. I appreciate the diversity and again, am awful darn thankful to live here.

It is the weekend. Please be good. Drive your cars carefully. Ride with people who drive carefully. Treat yourself with respect. Spend time with people who treat you with respect. Treat other people with respect. Talk nice to yourself; you deserve it. I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you. Keep yourselves whole physically and emotionally.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Feel your blessings.

1 comment:

  1. I feel my blessings surrounding today. Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. P....and thank you for this post.