Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner (note to self: make sure you bought the right ingredients for green bean casserole…) this is a short list of things I am thankful for. ‘Cause why not?

  1. My husband. It is hard to believe that we have been married for less than a year. It feels like I have always woken up next to him, fallen asleep to his breathing, and eaten dinner with him. I am so thankful for his tireless efforts to provide for us. He is very handy to have around when something breaks in the house or in the cars. He listens to my ramblings about books, life, and the weird Instagram post I saw yesterday. My hope is that I will always be thankful for him.
  2. My sisters. When all of us get together, laughter ensues. I am silly around them, a part of myself almost no one sees. We make stupid jokes and laugh so hard we fall off of chairs. We talk about hard things together mutually challenging and encouraging each other. We squabble, duh. But I love that we apologize quickly and forgive quickly. My sisters are my first friends, and I hope we are friends till we are old and laughing in the same nursing home.
  3. My brothers. These boys are some of the kindest young men I know. They are tender towards children, you will never see them shove a child out of the way to get to their game. Their kindness towards the elderly and helpfulness toward the people around them takes my breath away. Keep on keeping on boys, I can’t wait to see the men you will become.
  4. My momma. She is my first best friend, my confidante, my first book club, and my teacher. She is the smartest woman I know. But you wouldn’t know it at first glance, because she does not parade her knowledge out in front of a crowd. She is humble, listening to others opinions before giving her own. People go to her for advice and with their questions. I will always go to her about the books I have read and the things I am thinking about, and I hope I always will.
  5. My dad. He is my first protector. He works hard to ensure all of his children are safe and cared for. We laugh at his frequent tears, but his strength lies in the emotions he carries. He doesn’t believe a man has to be unemotional, he believes that men can have emotions and still be strong. Emotions don’t make a man weak, they make a man sympathetic to their wife, children, and friends.
  6. My home. I don’t just mean the house I live in. I mean the place I live. Nestled in between mountains and hugged by a river. I grew up in this place, and I am still overwhelmed by it. There is a majestic beauty in the changeable weather. There are secrets to be found among the hills and canyons whispering a siren call to the travelers and explorers. This is a place for the adventurous and the dreamers. The people who created this place, who settled is and built the roads, dreamed it up first. A desert is not a place to build a town, but they did it anyway. No matter where I go, I am always drawn back to this place. This is where I belong.
  7. Stories. The stories we tell, the ones we read and listen to and see. Not just the ones that pull us into their pages and transport us to another world. But also the ones we see playing out before our eyes. Blessings and tragedies in the lives around us, so real we forget how fairytale like they are. Would anyone believe a story of a woman who couldn’t have children, then ended up having two sets of twins and more besides? It happened. There are unbelievably true stories happening all around us every day. The stories I read in books are wonderful and beautiful because they copy the stories of real people doing real things. I hope to someday write stories that echo the ones around me and reflect the beauty of this world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shaina Merrick