As 2010 comes to a close, I find that I am focused on all the crap things that happened this year.  Not just to me, but to my family and friends too.  I can say without a doubt that this year has been one of the tough ones.  I am not sad to see it go.  In fact, the best part of my day was knowing it was the last time that I would awake to this year. Tomorrow is a brand new start.  No mistakes and all filled with hope and anticipation.  

At the Mauldin Thanksgiving we go around the table and say what we are thankful for… its one of my favorite traditions.  This year, I said that I was happy that 2010 was almost over.  Every single person at the table nodded and agreed. 

But then my friend Sherri (you can imagine why I like her so much) said something today that got me to thinking.  She said “I am not going to curse 2010.  Despite the life changes, forks in the road and the obstacles I faced this year, I am still a great person.  Now, tube top or bikini top tonight?”

So, today, I am going to count the blessings I have received this year, embrace the learnings and send all the questions and disappointments out to the cosmic void.  So that I can, without a doubt, start 2011 with a clean slate.

In 2010 I have been blessed with:

Kids. The smiles, laughter and unconditional love of two-three olds.  Georgia and Jackson always pulled me out of my slumps with joyful smiles when they saw me.  

Twin Souls.  This year I found a new friend that is my twin soul.  You know when you meet someone and they quite simply have the exact same kind of crazy as you… I met that friend this year and I cannot wait to continue the years of friendship

Understanding.  The knowledge that sometimes you try something like a job, and it just doesn’t fit right.  So you just try on something else… or pull out the old worn soft jeans of your past and put those back on… but no matter what.  It’s not the job that defines you. 

Laughter.  Through the change and ups and downs of this year – one thing has remained constant, my ability to laugh.  Especially at myself.  I hope I never ever lose this gift.

Coffee Table Dances.  One night of self-pity and tears is decidedly marked by friends ignoring the fact that I wouldn’t answer the phone, showing up at my door with food and booze.  Then finding the perfect rap song to be my new anthem and dancing on the coffee table with me.  Lana and Lindy… you’ll never really know how you lifted me back up that day.

Hope.  I have waded through frustration and doubt with doctors to find one that could help.  One that gave me hope that perhaps most of these challenges can be put behind me.

Humility.  This year, the Texas Longhorns reminded me what its like to take something for granted.  They reminded me that sometimes growth only comes from dramatic change and dramatic disappointment. 

Shelter.  For that past few months I have stayed with my sister and brother-in-law while I settled back into Dallas. Besides the gift of rent free living, I have been so blessed to get to spend this time with them.  Its been fun to see them as a married couple and sweet to see someone who loves my sister so much.  

Chances.  There have been ups and downs and circles this year, but there has been an abundance of opportunity too.  I hope I haven’t squandered those.  I don’t want to ever take them for granted, the openings for growth and change.  Some chances I have taken and some I have run from.  But for better or worse, I’ve recognized them.

Experience. This year I let myself experience new things.  I tried things that scared me before.  I went a 1000 miles away with strangers to build something.  I slept in a bunk bed for days.  But I still did in Sherry style… with silliness, laughter, sarcasm, and great dance music. I swung from treetops, swung a hammer and slung stucco.  All in all, it was a good experience.

 I know there are million other little things that I have been blessed with throughout the year and for the last few hours of 2010 I want to focus on those… if for no other reason, than I want to start the year filled with hope.

Happy New Year, my adoring public, do something for me today…Count your Blessings.