“Thankful for the blessing
And the lessons that I’ve learned with you by my side.”
~Kelly Clarkson, “Thankful”
Hanukkah has always been one of my favorite holidays. Flickering flames dancing atop a rainbow of candles in the menorah, spinning dreidels whirling around and sliding to a stop, latkes and pizza and donuts waiting on the table … it is a holiday of togetherness, a holiday of love, a holiday of warmth. A holiday of miracles. It’s a time to remember our ancestors, to think of that oil which lasted for eight days, its dazzling light refusing to go out. Because that oil? It did the impossible, and Hanukkah reminds us that maybe, just maybe, we can do the impossible, too.
Combine the start of Hanukkah – last night at sunset – with Thanksgiving today and you have something uniquely special. What better duo than miracles and gratitude? I know a lot of people wish that Hanukkah didn’t fall out so early this year, and yes, perhaps it does feel a bit strange, but the convergence of both holidays is beautiful, too. It’s such a lovely reminder of what’s most important. I’ll be spending time with my family today for one holiday and then again on Sunday for another, but I actually adore that. What can be better than togetherness? What can be better than appreciation?
Today and always, I am thankful for:
A family who loves me unconditionally and both supports and takes joy in my dreams. Friends near and far, who share their laughter and inspiration, who are the family I choose. Good health, because, truly, that is everything. Loved ones who aren’t here in person any longer, but who will always and forever be here in spirit and heart. The chance to watch dreams turn into reality for people I love. Warm clothes, warm meals, warm homes. A passion for writing that continues to fill me up with every moment, continues to lift me up, and the opportunity to live out that passion every day. The pure happiness of creating stories in my head and finding my characters taking up residence in my heart, these characters who have become my family and whose stories have become part of my own. The journey to get my books published, because even though it is an emotional roller-coaster of epic proportions, it has also been – and, I’m sure, will continue to be – such a learning experience, such a growing experience. A writing community that welcomes and supports, that has introduced me to truly incredible people and friends. Talented and dedicated doctors, police, and firefighters. Terrifically resonating music, television shows, movies, and musicals, all of which provide an escape and a motivation. Beautiful books that invite me into the authors’ worlds and resound with magic so far beyond their pages. Fuzzy socks, warm scarves, soft sweaters, cozy boots. The Jersey shore and Nantucket, which inspired SANDS OF TIME, and Nashville, which will inspire my next manuscript. The ability to travel, to see new places and experience new things. The ability to daydream, to close my eyes and view unseen places, unseen twists of beauty, in my head. The ability to take long walks and breathe in nature’s magnificence. Comforting chicken soup, steaming hot chocolate, and refreshing frozen yogurt. My laptop, writing journals, and the plethora of pens that splash a rainbow across their pages. The “moments like this” with my favorite singers, authors, and soap stars. General Hospital and American Idol, and the amazing people I’ve met because of them. Polar bears, red pandas, puppies, and all animals. Nail polish, plaques with inspirational sayings, picture frames and the cameras that capture the freeze-frames in times that live inside them. Perfectly formed shells, and not-so-perfectly formed shells, because sometimes there is beauty in the broken. Song lyrics and quotes that speak to the soul. The extraordinary and the ordinary that’s extraordinary in its own right. The memories we make and the moments we create. A past of experiences that still fill me with love and a future ripe with limitless possibility.
For hope and faith, serendipity and action, light and life. For, as Remi and Charlotte remind me to do every day, following my whisper.
And, of course, for friends like you, who make my world better just by being in it. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating. Much love. XO.