My gratitudinal TOP 10

If ever there is a time for counting our blessings, it is on the Thanksgiving long weekend.  We move so fast, especially in the fall, that pausing for gratitude is often struck from our to-do list.  I'm not going to allow that to happen, especially this year.

1. My family 

Heather, Dylan and Ben stood by me as I went through a great period of uncertainty, as my professional life (and our family income) sorted itself out.  Their trust that everything would work out helped me to trust.  Their sage words of wisdom helped guide me in the right direction.  Their love sustained me.

2.  United Way

I am so grateful to go to work each day and be surrounded by people who love what they do and why they do it.  Diane Shannon was like an angel who swooped in at just the right time with an opportunity that perfectly leveraged my accumulated skills, experiences and passions.  I love going to The Redpoll Centre every day and getting to contribute to our community with the many great people who work there.

3.  Painting

I am eternally thankful to Elsie, Dorothy, Norm, Phil, Bruno and so many others who inspired my painting the past four months.  The creative surge was unexpected and surprising.

4.  Heather's health

All of us recognized the importance of Heather's surgery at the beginning of September.  It really went as well as it possibly could have and her recovery has been fantastic.  We are grateful for the skilled hands of the physicians and the care she received at the U of A Hospital.

5.  My father's health

Three years ago, the future of my father's life hung in the balance after a diagnosis of colon cancer and the removal of a sizeable tumour.  It was a heart-wrenching time for all of us.  I remember clearly and distinctly Dad's earnest response to the nurse's instructions the day after his surgery. Intent on getting better, he began exercising almost immediately.  His attitude, combined with the medicine, has allowed him to live with the cancer and enjoy a quality of life that is not much different than he had before the diagnosis.

6.  Acting

It was such a gift to have done Les Mis with both of my sons.  It was an experience that I'll never forget.  Being able to play with Terri Mort (Mme Thenardier) every night was a total delight.  I'm equally grateful to dive into A Christmas Carol with Ben and many others starting next week.  I'm grateful for all the hard-working and talented men and women at Keyano Theatre who make these opportunities possible.  My deepest thanks goes to Heather who supports our theatrical adventures.  Without her encouragement and forbearance, it wouldn't be possible.

7.  Politician recovered

I love describing myself as a "recovered" politician, but it really is the best way to articulate my relationship to the three years I spent on council, the election campaign of one year ago, and the subsequent months of political change in our region.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to have served, but am quite grateful not being in that particular limelight anymore.  For all its ups and downs, I appreciate the lessons learned and the many great people I was able to work with.

8.  Uncle Joe

My Uncle Joe died earlier this year.  I'll be eternally grateful to him, the wisdom and stories he shared, and the flavour he added to all of our lives.

9.  My health

I've been incredibly blessed with good health, and managed to slough off a number of pounds over the summer and get to a very comfortable place with my body.  I'm no longer young, but I feel young.

10.  Abundance

We live an abundant life.  We live in a comfortable home in a community that provides many opportunities and experiences.  I am grateful to be in Wood Buffalo and appreciate all it has given to our family over the last 18 years.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


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