This month of November is a great time of year to remember our many blessings and to be thankful for all that is this life. I was thinking about all the stuff that surrounds us, and how easy it is to take it for granted, but also how easy it is to be thankful for all the stuff, the things we have accumulated, especially when it works well. But then I thought, how often am I grateful for the things, the stuff that makes my life easier, when it actually works well? Usually, I realize how grateful I should have been when it breaks. So today, I thought I would list off some of the things I am, or should be more grateful for, or things that I have realized lately I am grateful for but forget to be thankful for. So, in no particular order, here are a few things this week I have been grateful for:

I am grateful for a dishwasher. Mine is currently broken. When it works great, I don’t really even notice it. When it works great, the kids do most of the work, so I never really have to worry about it. But it hasn’t worked for about 3 months now. Don’t worry, it’s on the list of repairs, but there are other things more pressing at the moment. At the moment I have to wash dishes by hand, mostly by myself as everyone else is gone during the day. The kids help at night. I am grateful for kids who help me wash the dishes. It makes it a more enjoyable experience. We talk, we listen to music, we debate, it’s fun, and at the moment, I am grateful for the time with my teenagers. Broken or not, the dishwasher is a great thing!

I am grateful for my oven. This too is not working correctly. It works most of the time for short bakes, but the longer ones have to be watched and the oven relit periodically. But at this point I am just grateful that for the most part it works alright. I have a crockpot as well as a wood cookstove that I can use, and I am grateful for the backups. At the same time, I am grateful that it is cold outside if I have to use the wood cookstove as it is really hot cooking with the cookstove. I am grateful we have wood for that cookstove as well so we can use it as a backup option.

I am grateful for the beetle killed spruce trees we were able to harvest for our firewood. Sometimes they are a pain to work with getting delimbed and stacked, and unstacked and hauled to the boiler, but they burn well, they don’t produce creosote, and they keep our house warm all winter long. Burning these also decreases our fire danger, so that’s an added benefit in the summer.

I am grateful for cars that run, and for a husband who can fix them when they quit running. We currently have one vehicle in his shop getting fixed, but we have the others that work well. Breaking down in Alaska in the winter can be extremely dangerous simply because of the temperatures. Something that would have simply caused an inconvenience in the summer becomes life threatening in the winter, so I am grateful I can count on the cars running and help close by if something does breaks down.

I am grateful for my kids. The more I look around at the world, the more I believe I was truly blessed with some really awesome kids. They are thoughtful, kind, look beyond themselves, obedient, helpful, respectful, and so much more. They are teenagers and young adults, and aren’t perfect, but they are pretty close in my opinion, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. They are truly what brings joy and happiness into my life.

I am grateful for my husband. He is a great provider for our family, and always lets me be me and do my thing. He teaches the kids about hard work and expects a lot from them, but they always strive to rise and have become better because of his example. He can fix just about anything and keeps our family, our home, our cars, and everything running and in good condition.

I am grateful for good books and those who write them. I don’t read too many fiction books, but I do enjoy reading about gardening, cooking, sewing, and painting. I am grateful that I can learn so many things just by reading books and then applying that knowledge to my situation. I have learned so many new things, as well as better ways to do things I already knew how to do but got another perspective on.

I am grateful for my daughter’s dog. I love dogs, but we haven’t had one for quite a while because the last 2 died of cancer and it was really hard. When she got this puppy however, I remembered how much I love dogs. She has been such a bright spot in our family, and everyone is smitten by her. She is so smart and learns something new almost every day. She has such a great temperament. I wasn’t sure if we were ready for a new dog, but I knew my daughter was ready and would do a great job raising one. Luna has been such a huge blessing to our family.

I am grateful for so many things, these are just a few. I may write several posts like this this month just because I think it’s important to be grateful in all things, even when things aren’t necessarily going the way we wanted them to. Maybe I’ll write about some of those experiences this month as well. I hope you have opportunity to be thankful this month, and that it will become a habit of looking for the good and being thankful all year long.