If I had to describe this year in one word, I would title it: Connection. This year, I lost one of the greatest influences in my life in physical form. And also realized the power of the unbreakable bond of authentic connection in many profound ways. I have connected/ reconnected with myself on deep levels. My friends and family have shown up for me in ways I could never fully describe in words. It can only truly be felt within a soul experience. I have a beautiful tribe of women in my life. Some near, most of them far. Each their own person, on their own journey. Empowered, beautiful, intelligent, diverse, compassionate, determined, faithful, witty, sensitive, confident, kind, caring, loving, funny, and real. I am grateful for each one of them. This year, in particular, I have seen how life’s ups and downs transcend race, background, and social status. We all have difficult times. We all have triumphs. We are all are trying to keep a million things together all at once. I’m thankful that I have a support system that knows no distance.
I have had my hand held through compassionate words by friends who live 3000 miles away during the loss of my grandmother, and it felt as if they were sitting right next to me. I have sat in a car pouring my heart out and was given understanding, not judgment. I have answered my phone hearing tears, disappointment, and pain on the other end, and listened with my whole heart. I have had sincere, heartfelt text and email exchanges that in essence translate to: keep going, you are on the right path. I have received calls that said: I have found love and others where love was lost. I have celebrated job promotion and supported job change. I have been challenged and I have been corrected because they want what’s best for me. I have exchanged frustration over social injustice. I have had loving eyes look into my eyes and confirm my purpose. I have been loved unconditionally. I have laughed so hard at an IG reel or meme that was shared with me. I have been supported in my creative endeavors. I have supported new business ventures. I was introduced to oat milk (if you know, you know : )) this year after making major diet changes. And these are just a few examples. I have women in my life who share with me and allow me to share with them. They push me, motivate me, inspire me, laugh with me, protect me and help me along the way.
I asked the women (and a couple of little ladies) who have truly impacted my life for the better in specific ways this year, “What are you grateful for this year?”
Their responses are below:
- I’m grateful for my children, recent opportunities that have been presented to me, I’m grateful for friends and family for uplifting, inspiring, and always being there when I need them most. I’m grateful for the growth that I’ve experienced. But more importantly, I’m grateful to have the relationship I have with God…
- I’m thankful for good health, family & friends, getting back to semi-normalcy in this pandemic, having a job that I enjoy and can help people.
- I’m grateful that my 97 old grandma is still healthy and thankfully covid hasn’t gotten to her yet.
- Besides my family…I am grateful for my choices- the good and those that provided hard lessons. I am grateful for the opportunity to make my own choices as a woman, to do what my heart desires, and having options to choose from.
- I am thankful for the love and support of family and friends. Those who have encouraged and supported me challenged me and provided guidance in the most thoughtful and loving way.
- I am thankful to God because he has blessed me and my family to appreciate the smallest things; that most people take for granted. I am breathing which means I can walk in God’s miracles each day.
- I’m grateful for my family and friends. I’m grateful for my home and food. My Bunny and Bear. I’m grateful for traveling to see my family and friends. I’m grateful for my parents.
- I am grateful for decent health, the unconditional love from my family, the hard work and tenacity of my son.
- Grateful for finally realizing that I and my kids actually do deserve HAPPINESS. Grateful for all the milestones my autistic son has accomplished. Grateful for learning how to protect my peace and finally knowing my true worth.
- For all the people that I love.
- This year I’m grateful for the support from my family and friends, for my job, being able to still work remotely and spend time with Savannah to see her grow. Most importantly thankful that myself, family and friends are all healthy and not battling any major health complications.
- I’m grateful God has blessed my family, friends, and myself with health.
- I’m blessed God continues to give me the ability and strength to see things and people differently. He’s given me peace in situations that cause me strife and anxiety. He’s given me the wisdom to identify underlying problems and the courage to know when to remove myself peacefully. (Not sure if that makes sense but it’s hard to describe) it’s like he’s covered me.
- I am grateful for being able to pay for my son’s college room and board without needing to take out loans yet. I am grateful for all the opportunities God continues to grant me. I was able to choose the job I wanted and it was truly a blessing. I am thankful for my intuition that I am able to hear more clearly every day.
- Grateful for life! Such hard times lately the simple things are what I appreciate most. Family and friends and spending time with them mean more to me now than it ever has.
- What I’m thankful for: I am completely thankful for just being healthy and being alive…I know that may sound cheesy, but with the number of losses in our world today, it’s truly a blessing and privilege from God, to be alive and well. I am grateful for having a mother that is still here on earth to be my sounding board, comforter, and amazing light in my life.
- Something I’m grateful for every year is my family. I’m extremely grateful this year for their health. To me, family is the most important part of life. I thank God that I have my parents to enjoy my kids. I lost both grandparents just before I had my boys and always wished they had met them. But I’m grateful that they still have a very full family to enjoy. And it keeps getting bigger. I thank God every day for the life he has given me and the life I am able to provide for my boys. I honestly couldn’t ask for more even with the ups and downs.
- Grateful for: God’s favor over my life. Family and friends. Healing and peace in my soul.
- I’m grateful for the privilege of comfort through the transition. A hot shower/bath, comfortable cozy clothing, my tea mug that keeps my tea hot all day because I never get to drink it in one sitting, cozy slippers that keep my feet warm. I’ll say it’s the small things that brought me comfort in a new place and while trying to settle my family.
- Easy! Gainful and productive employment throughout the pandemic, Family, and Health.
- I’m grateful for so much: my relationships with my family and friends. Health. Stability. My career, being able to help others during their most vulnerable times. Even the most challenging times – helped me grow with perspective. Travel. Our guinea pig pets!
- I am thankful for my family & friends, not losing any of them through the pandemic, and that we all stayed afloat i.e., jobs, homes, health, etc. I am also thankful for being in my right mind. I have seen so many people have mental breakdowns this year and with my job being so stressful I am beyond grateful for being in my right mind. God is so good!
- Waking up every day. Making it to 40, especially with the odds against you with the pandemic. And having my Family/the Village through it all.
- This time of year, we are extra grateful. I’m thankful and grateful for all the people in my life that love and care about me to help me get through a very difficult time in my life. I’m grateful to God who is restoring me.
- I am grateful for clarity & motivation to impart change in my life & in the lives of others.
- I’m grateful for my children, grandchildren, for family. I’m grateful to have had my Mom for so long. She was my best friend. We had so much in common from cooking to sewing and more. As we go through her belongings, I’m so grateful to find so many little things that have sparked many special memories like shopping for fabric, her humor, and her faith in God. She got ME and for that, I’m so grateful! She is with me still and I’m grateful!
- I’m thankful for regaining my self-worth/esteem and sense of purpose.
- I am grateful for clarity and chances(mercy): 1. The clearing of bad energy and falsehoods, the “click” that made the puzzle suddenly make sense, the understanding and witnessing of truths and growth and resolution, clearly seeing through a mostly stagnant fog of negativity, gaslighting, and doubts/fears. 2. I’m grateful for the good fight; embracing adversity and enacting the ability/inalienable right to forgive (self and others) and change, the prerogative to keep going and trying, or to reinvent and switch gears altogether; celebrating human seasons, the growth, the lessons in the losses and pains and gains, the scary beauty in our own personal evolutions; taking full advantage of the possibility of living so many lives within our one God-given lifetime.
- I am grateful for my health and my family and my job and God for blessing me over and over.
- I pondered this for a while: I’m immensely grateful for the beautiful bonds I’ve developed with my family and best friends this year.
- I’m grateful to have spent time with my Mom over the last few years before she passed away.
- First of all, is my faith which sustains me every day, and then my friends and relatives… I pray for everyone every day…. thankfulness for native people, and I believe should with all people, begins with humbleness…
- I am grateful for my hard life lessons. Particularly, when I learned that there is a difference between what is right, and what is right for me.
- I could give you the usual responses: I am thankful for my family, my health, for waking up, etc., etc. (that’s what I usually say because it’s quick and easy ); but this time I decided to really think about it. I am thankful for emotional growth and honesty. While I am still thankful for those “usual” things, the second half of this year has caused my life to ebb and flow in ways that I never could have imagined. And those ebbs and flows are what have forced me to grow emotionally. And so I do wake up thankful but at any point in my day, on any given day, I may find it extremely difficult to remember why I am thankful. The loss I feel is so profound and the grief seems everlasting. Even still I am thankful and grateful for my emotional growth, emotional health, and emotional intelligence because I am not the same person that I was a year ago. I am so much more and it may not look like it but I am in a better place and have accomplished more for myself and my girls in a short amount of time, and for that I am thankful.
- I’m grateful for my children–whose love and spirit give me the strength and will to get up every day when all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and stay in bed and cry. I’m grateful for the tribe of family and friends who have shown up for me and provided light on days when all I can see is darkness. I’m grateful to complete strangers whose acts of kindness however small remind me that there are good people out there. I’m grateful for sunshine because it reminds me that there will always be a new day.
I am blessed beyond measure to have women in my life who see all of me and love me because of it. And I hold the same space for them. If you wonder why I don’t allow room for the fake, it’s because I know what it feels like to be loved for real. This year has shown me a lot. This is a Thanksgiving blog post. It’s about gratefulness. It’s about connection. It’s about upliftment. It’s about light. It’s about being thankful for all of my family and friends, highlighting the women who support me in ways that sustain me. It’s about being grateful that my daughter has brilliant women in her life. It’s about all of my blessings that God so generously pours into my life. It’s about blessing others. It’s about the abundant love in my life, and not taking a single moment for granted.
I pray that you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with the ones you love and reflect upon what you are grateful for this year.
P.S. Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me Mom & Dad, so grateful that God gave me you two.
Tiffany Reneé is a writer, poet and activist based in New York. She is a free spirit who loves to truly connect with others. She believes that life gives us opportunities to learn and grow daily if we are open to see the beauty in the expansion. Family time, deep conversation, wine, cooking, music, laughter and travel are a few of her favorite things. She’s a soulful dreamer from the Midwest who has always been drawn to the city lights and the possibilities that exist in choosing “more” of what allows you to live a life that you love.