Gratitude is a topic that seems to be top of mind right now. Perhaps it is because of the difficult economic times (drink!). Perhaps shifts in the economy and people’s lifestyles have made everyone pause for a moment of reflection. Perhaps it is a true cultural shift as never in my life do I remember getting so many invitations to workshops and seminars to teach me how to practice “extreme gratitude.” I don’t know what extreme gratitude is, but the first thing that comes to mind is being grateful that the parachute opens after jumping out of a plane as you watch the earth getting larger and larger and the ground closer and closer.

Perhaps metaphorically, that last sentence seems more real to many of us than it has in the past. I think that is the case for me. Einstein said that in life we can either accept everything as being a miracle, or nothing as a miracle. I am admittedly in the first camp. I am grateful and amazed by everything. However, I also am pretty bad at taking the time to say “thank you” when it is appropriate, and then as time passes it just seems more awkward to do so. My friend Elaine took The Art of Awkward for her blog name, but I assure you it is an art that I practice daily.

Since I know not everyone will read to the end, let me just say that I don’t know where my journey in life is leading, but I sincerely thank you all for walking it with me.

First and foremost I am immensely and eternally grateful for my family.

To my wife Alaina and my daughter Hannah, thank you for everything you do and everything you are. I am so blessed to have you in my life. You are compassionate, fun, understanding and caring people, and I know you both make me a better person. I know the last few years have not exactly been storybook, but I also know that good things are coming.

I am grateful to my Dad for his extremely generous financial support, kindness, love, wisdom and direction – even when your concern comes out as anger. Years ago, you said that a parent’s job is never done and that you never stop being a parent, but at the same time a parent has to know when to be a friend. Dad, you are a great father, a great parent and a great friend. You walk that line well.

I am thankful for my mom for her unending support and love. She is one of those people who seems to be here to help people.

I am blessed with the most amazing sister in the world. She is my friend, my savior, my partner in crime, hiking buddy, camping buddy, ski buddy, travel companion, amazing aunt to Hannah and all around amazing person. Everyone needs a sister like Becca. Everyone needs a friend like Becca. If you are reading this and don’t have a Becca in your life, I strongly encourage you to go out and find one. She makes everything in life better.

I am thankful to my Grandma Fran (who I recently wrote about on Pangaea). Everyone also needs someone like her. She just turned 90 and has a level of perspective on life that is always needed and us youngins don’t have. I am thankful for my Grandma Millie. She may be the only person in the world who always believed in me, even when I couldn’t believe in myself. I am eternally grateful.

To my dogs, thank your for your unending and unconditional love. You are awesome. I can’t imagine my life without Mackenzie. While you have been with me for 12 years now, somehow you have always been there.

To my brother- and sister-in-law, thank you for accepting me into your family as a brother and a friend. I truly enjoy all the time I get to spend with you and I know Hannah worships you both. It has been an honor to be your friend, to help and watch you grow, and to be there when you need me.

To Jim and Ruth, you have been an immense help to me and Alaina, and wonderful grandparents to Hannah. In just a couple of months, your Secrets of a Soulful Marriage series has made my marriage stronger and happier, and I know many other people can say the same.

To my friend and partner Nathan, having you in my life has been magical and transformational. You have been a great friend and teacher and have enabled me to do things I never imagined. Thank you and Tracy for your friendship and support. You are amazing, amazing people who enrich my life and I thank you both for that. I look forward to many trips and travels together.

To Denise, you are a great light in my life even when your’s seems a little dark. Thank you.

To Sydney and Don, you are wonderful teachers, friends and mentors. Thank you.

To Lisa and Jane, you are the queens of “Yes you can” and two of my favorite cheerleaders. Every time I see you, every time I have ever seen you, you have greeted me with an enthusiastic smile. Thank you.

To Graham and Connie, thank you for showing me that travel is an important value in life and for always being there.

To Josh, thank you for the reminder that everyone’s journey is different and for trusting me and gifting me with your friendship.

Mitch, Stacey, Rich, Esther, Sarah, and the rest of the Hillel crew, thank you.

To everyone from my past who has used Facebook to reach out to me and be part of my present and future, thank you. To everyone from my past who has used Facebook to show me why you should not be a part of my future, thank you.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone that I did not thank. I didn’t forget to thank you, I just wanted to keep this post a manageable length. I think of you often and I am thankful for your contributions to my life. You make this world, and my world, a better place to live. From the bottom of my heart and the depth of my soul, I thank you. All of you.

With love,

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