The Christmas decorations are down, the family visits and vacation are finished and we’re going full throttle into 2012!  I was reflecting back this morning on 2011 and how thankful I am and how blessed we are!

So here’s just a short list of my thankful, blessed reflections….

…Two absolutely wonderful sons and daughter-in-laws that we so love and adore!  We’re thankful that despite the distance between us, we continue to remain a very tight knit family.  We all lead our own individual lives as couples, but when we come together as a family, whether it’s all 6 of us or 4 at a time, we’re able to pick up where we left off from our last visit.  It’s because we stay in such close contact in between our visits that we’re able to do this!  We laugh, we cry, we joke, we talk, we just sit and enjoy each other.

…Two sets of in-laws that our sons have that just absolutely love and adore our sons and that we love to spend time with.  We so appreciate the bond between our sons and their in-laws.

…Our beautiful and precious granddaughter, Harper.  In just 9 short months she has managed to capture our hearts and wrap them around her tiny little fingers.  She is a blessing to our entire family and it is such a joy to see her grow and move onto her next new thing.  Being long distance grandparents is a challenge but we’re kept up to day with weekly pictures.  Thank goodness for today’s technology and text messaging!  We love that she plays to the camera because we are all such photography nuts and constantly snapping pictures of her.  I’m only afraid she might not recognize her grandpa without a camera up to his eye!

…My dad’s new lady friend, Maureen.  I can’t imagine the loneliness that my dad has felt since my mom passed away a year ago tomorrow.  I’m unable to fathom what it must feel like  that after being married to someone for 65 years they are no longer there.  Maureen has brought life, joy, a spark to his voice and companionship back to my dad.  She is such a delight to talk with on the phone and we can’t wait to meet her.

…My two brothers and their families.  So many times families tend to drift apart when they live a distance from each other.  I think sometimes I chat with my brothers more now than when we were living in the same household!  Chalk it up to growing up!  We just adore our nieces and nephews and thanks to Facebook and e-mail we’re able to keep up with what’s going on in their lives!  As it is with our sons and daughter-in-laws, when we all get together it’s as if we saw each other yesterday.  I’m especially thankful for my sister-in-law, Sandy and niece, Shavonne, who always orchestrate our family get togethers when we’re in town visiting.  You guys are the best!

…Our church family here in Orange Grove who we just love and have really made us feel like we’ve lived here forever!  I love their interest in us and our family, they don’t get bored by my pictures of Harper and talking about our family (at least they’re polite enough not to appear bored).  They are all a treasure to us!  I’m especially thankful that they extended a call to us in this warm climate of South Texas.  After two weeks in the cold of MN and CT we are so appreciative of the warmth of the sunny south-even if it is only 50 degrees it beats snow and 12 degrees.

…Our friends both old and new!  We’re so lucky to have so many long time friends (and some family members) that either live here or winter in Texas along with our new friends that we’ve gotten to know in various ways.  It’s been a very long time since we’ve had close friends and family nearby and we count our blessings each and every day.

…Most of all and on the top of the list I’m thankful for my husband!  I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for him.  He keeps me grounded, tolerates my quirkiness and being the queen of worry warts (thanks kids for tolerating the same!).  He listens to me, talks with me, walks beside me walks  in front when I need leading and behind me too.  We are so different in many ways, but so much like two peas in a pod in many other ways.   He’s an awesome dad and dad-in-law and now a pretty rockin’ grandpa!  I am blessed beyond belief for all that he has given me and our family.

So as we head into this year I’m looking forward to adding more thankful, blessed reflections to my list!  Thanks for letting me share this with you!