Thanksgiving Day is gone for another year. Black Friday too. Today is my quiet time to reflect on the people, places and things that are on my thanks-giving radar.
As I reminisce about this year, I think of all the people I've worked with who have made my job easier and more enjoyable, and have enriched my life with their enthusiasm and willingness to make things happen.
I think of old friends and new - from high school to the last few days. With so many obligations and distractions, it's easy to lose track of all the people who have helped create the person I am today. It never ends. In the past couple of days, I've talked to my best friends, heard from good friends, and met new ones. Life doesn't get any better than that. Each one has brightened my life.
My mother often told me the importance of a friendly smile. I've learned how right she was. I remember times when someone smiled at me at a moment when I needed it.
I think about Branson and the people I've met here over the last 15 years. They are fine people, dedicated to making our community better and creating wonderful memories for our visitors. Several of us share our Panera's "office."
I'm homesick for the Texas Gulf Coast. We'll head there right after Christmas. My Texas friends share my love of nature and God's critters. It's a writer's and photographer's dream world - almost a time in fantasy land.
Kansas City will always be close to my heart. My sons grew up on the Missouri side, my grandsons are now growing up on the Kansas side. Each has its own flavor.
I want to visit Colorado Springs again - my home during high school, college and early marriage. It holds a place in my heart filled with many emotions, from all the confusions of growing up to falling in love. My life then was piano practice, studying, reading and family. Not a lot has changed except I don't practice the piano anymore.
I've spent the last seven years with two groups of people who are truly an inspiration to me: the survivors of the Sunchon Tunnel Massacre and the members of the Sharon Rogers Band. Researching and writing a book is a multi-year project. Interviewing the people involved is a fascinating look into another person's life. It's educational, interesting and most often an intimate process. I wouldn't trade the experience or the people for anything. I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to tell those stories. 2010 is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War and of the massacre. We're planning another reunion of the survivors. We launched The Sharon Rogers Band during Veterans Week. Two band members, a dancer and their pilot came to Branson for the week. They are all charming, interesting and far more energetic than me - and they're all in their 80s.
These are only a few of my life components - the list is long and I'm grateful for that.
Most of all, I thank God for all the opportunities He's offered to me. I know I missed the cue on many of them, but I've grabbed some great ones.
I thank Him for a husband who understands my crazy lifestyle - and shares it all with me. I'm thankful for my sons, daughter-in -law, and three grandsons. I have two brothers whose frequent calls brighten my days - and nieces and nephews who always cheer me on.
Can life get much better than all this? My wish for anyone who reads this is that your list of blessings is as long or longer than mine! God Bless!