It's thanksgiving day. Yeah I like my house, my garden, my general location, etc. But here's what I am most thankful for in my life. My closest friends. I have been blessed with quite a few over the years. Here's a small tribute to some of those who have touched my life most deeply. There are others not in this list who have certainly affected me as well and I don't mean to insult or ignore all of them, but these are the folks have had the biggest impact on who I am as a person now. Some I am still close to, some of us have headed down different paths in life, and some are now gone.
First, my best friend Seth, above and below. He just moved to a cabin in Georgia for the winter to write a book and I am already missing him deeply. He's been my closest friend for years now and we've spent countless hours together hiking, fishing, climbing, reading, talking, etc. He challenged me and helped me grow in many areas. He's been there for my darkest moments and stuck with me when he didn't understand why I was struggling. He's cared for me when I most needed it and at great cost to himself. I would probably not be here with out him.
My parents, Daniel and Susan. They taught me to work hard and many of the skills I am most thankful to know now. Everything from how to read, to cook, garden, can, keep a house, think for myself, and much more. They are not perfect, but I am very thankful for much of the way I was brought up.
My siblings. Athalie, who I fought with for the first two decades of our lives, and then finally became good friends. I admire the wife and mother she has become and her generosity to many who are less fortunate than herself.
My sister Hadasha. She's grown up to be a competent hard working wife and mom as well. Bucking some long established norms in the community we all grew up in for what she thinks is right. Working hard to care for her family and take good care of herself as well.
The oldest of my brothers, Zack. He's also worked hard to make his own way and is quite talented with anything mechanical. He is settled into a comfortable house with my lovely sister in law. He's probably the most like me, personality wise, of all my siblings and I always thought he might end up moving to WY as well.
Mike, my second "little" brother. Who has clearly grown up to be bigger than me. He too is very skilled with his hands and at anything that has to do with a motor. He and our other younger siblings also taught me a lot about taking care of children as I helped care for all of them when they were little.
Jerusha, is an amazing young woman who's so much more skilled and independent than most in her generation. Working hard and taking care of one's self without running up debts and doing lots of dumb things does not seem to be part of life for most 17 year olds these days and I admire her.
Even my baby brother Jeremy is growing up rapidly. He's working hard, helping manage a small business for his bosses, working on a farm, and finishing school.
Jess, the friend I spent much of my teen years with. She's always been there to listen to me, bounce ideas off of, and a partner in sometimes silly or crazy adventures together. She's an amazingly intuitive person who always seems to know just when someone needs a note, small gift, or just to know they are being thought about.
Ruth, who I've know since we were little girls. We've always been able to be go about our lives and pick back up right where we left off when we'd last talked. She has a strength, assurance, and independence I've always admired.
Daniel. We spent hours on the phone for years trying to talk through all kinds of issues, usually ending with "I don't know" as a conclusion. I've always valued his friendship and am so happy for him and his adorable wife who have just made the move to come west as well, now living in CO.
Beth. My friend and room mate for years up until I moved into Fy Nyth. She can run a house, crush a marathon, care for a baby, hike a mountain in Korea, bake amazing cheesecakes, and too many more things to list. She's a great listener and I've learned to value her judgement. I couldn't have possibly had a better room mate for years.
Kenny. A former couchsurfer who became like my little brother after he moved to this area for a while. He was the best snowboarded I've ever known personally and had the biggest heart for others of almost anybody I've known. I'm sure I will always miss him and often wish I could talk to him again. Skiing these mountains has never been the same since his passing. RIP Kenny.
My friend Danny. Now married to Jess. I spent a lot of my teen years hanging out with him as well. He's always had a heart for kids and got me started on some of the paths that have led me to where I am in life now. He's become an amazing husband to another one of my good friends and that makes me very happy.
Julie and I spent hours curled up on the couch eating candy and talking till the wee hours of the morning thanks to our shared night owl tendencies. Otherwise our time was spent hiking, dancing, skiing, backpacking, or on random things like ice skating on frozen lakes. She's a strong and caring mother to her boys and self sufficient woman.
My friend Clay who doesn't much like publicity or recognition. He's the one who found my house it's sweet location and helps me with every project around here that requires big equipment. Like tilling up a garden, putting in a new propane heater, plowing snow, and way too many other things to list. He's the kind of observant guy who just sees something that could be done and takes care of it without anyone asking him to. While working together over the last year he's become quite a good friend. And he has been there for me in a lot of my ups and downs too. Anytime I find myself overwhelmed with any kind of project, he just steps in and says "I've got the technology to fix that," and does.
My former boss, Dot. She was like a second mother to me when I started working for her right out of high school. She always knew how to just listen and not push "fixes" on people. She taught me a lot about plants, flower arranging, greenhouses, and attention to detail. I'll always be thankful that I was able to work for her for a few years.
My closest friend for several years, Heather. She taught me a lot about photography as she learned herself. We spent hours shooting photos, cleaning offices, trying to figure out how do deal with families and friends, and adventuring to random destinations. She's now a talented photographer, artist, and great mother to her four little ones.
My cousin Jacob. My hero and big brother figure growing up since I only had little brothers of my own. I spent a lot of my childhood with him as my only friend and always adored him. I always tried so hard to keep up with whatever he was doing but never quite could. He's now married to Heather and a dad to those four little ones.
Some of "my" kids that I spent a lot of time with in the past. Jay and Niah were probably the first little ones to really ignite my desire to adopt. Something I may still be able to do some day. They must both be about 12 now. And though I have totally lost contact with them, they'll always hold a special place in my heart.
Phethia was like a daughter to me for years. She touched my heart in so many ways I couldn't describe and was always such a sweet and deep thinking girl. We still stay in touch occasionally and she's grown into a beautiful young woman.
Che' was my high spirited girl. She always had a ton of energy and would pursue anything she wanted to do full steam ahead. I always enjoyed and was challenged by the time we spent together. She's also now turned into a young woman though I'll always think of her a one of my girls.
Jakera was always laid back, great at caring for younger kids, and fun to spend time with. She's now in collage and grown into quite a young lady. I'm proud of all the work she's put into pursuing her dreams.
Joy. One of my first close friends. A girl full of energy, spirit, and life. I'll always regret that we didn't remain better friends and that her life ended so young. I was 16 when she became the first close friend I lost to death. That probably left an even bigger impact on my life than our friendship to be honest. RIP Joy.
A small paragraph about each can not convey how much each of these people have impacted my life past or present, but these people are what I am most thankful for today. I hope all of you are equally blessed this Thanksgiving day and able to enjoy it with some good friends of your own!