Because it's easier this year, I'm going to break tradition and not simply list at random things that make me grateful.
I am grateful to have work. Not only work, but full-time work. Not only full-time work, but work that uses my skills in words and writing and typing and focus and my love of story and creative things every single day. And not only that, but a job that I am so good at (and have such good bosses at) that I am, for the first time in my life, feeling more affirmed at work than almost anywhere else in my life.
I am grateful that, even so, God does not demand that I trust Him completely; does not forsake me when I question Him, His motives, His power, or His love.
I am grateful for all the moments over the past few years, and especially the past few months, which have enabled me to reject the expectations of others, past and present and future, those put on me and those I perceived and put on myself, and contented me in who I am. I hope to embrace that more and more this coming year.
I am grateful for my family, though they are far away. Grateful, too, for my friends, even (or perhaps in a special way) those who did not know how to deal with my past two years, and yet are still here.
I am grateful for everyone who helped me financially over the past couple of years (you know who you are; I know some of you read this blog). That was a big deal for me, to be able to have that offered even when I could not ask for it.
I am grateful for roommates (hi, Amanda!) who buy me Gatorade and lend me their heating pad when I am sick and cannot really do anything for myself.
I am grateful for my boyfriend Dan; for his support, his unshakable love, and for seeing me in a way that allows me to be entirely myself, and still have boundless room to grow. My love, you make me new.
And I am grateful for my voice, even when I don't use it, even when I can't use it, even when I am bound by the hateful restrictions of the world around me and my own inhibitions. I will be using it more, God willing, but I am grateful to have it back even to this extent.
To live in this beautiful world, with God's gracious and broken children around me, and to create myself--that is more than I could ever want, and it is enough for me. For now. ;)
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.