Recently I discovered a website, 1,000 Awesome Things, where the author lists an awesome thing each day as he counts down to number 1. It got me thinking about the things that I find awesome in my life. While the list is very long, I decided to list my top 10, in no particular order.

1. Family. There was a time in my life that I found my family annoying. Ok, maybe that was yesterday but as I get older I realize I have it pretty good in the family department. I didn’t choose them and they didn’t choose me, but somehow we all ended up together. Through the years I’ve learned sarcasm from my mother, music from my dad, more sarcasm from my sister, how to write thank-you notes from one grandmother and how to cuss from the other. My grandfathers have given me love and wisdom along the way. I’ve learned that a sit-down dinner is as important as a casual lunch at the kitchen counter. Most of all, I’ve learned that they love me and are proud of me despite my most glaring flaws. Awsome!

2. My sister. One of our classic family stories is about the time my sister got lost in the mall. I was 5 or 6 so she must have been 18 months-2 years old then. Old enough to walk away from us. At that time, I wasn’t a huge fan of her but I understood how serious the situation was based on how the adults were acting. At one point I cried, “I really did love her,” to my mom. She was found safely in Musicland and was returned to us. The moment, and my reaction, has never been forgotten. It wasn’t until much later that I started viewing my sister as a friend rather than a rival. I spent many so many years harboring feelings of jealousy towards her for various reasons that I failed to see she had her own feelings of jealousy towards me. Now I see her as a great friend, terrific mother and the one person who truly knows me but loves me anyway. Sure, I’m still jealous of her petite size and ability to eat almost anything without gaining weight, but I still love her. Awesome!

3. Really, really good friends. I have been fortunate to be one of those people who can easily make friends. Problem is that I attend to attract the crazy ones, so it’s really nice when the great ones come along. I have a handful of truly great friends in my life – the kind of people I could call at 3 a.m. to bail me out of jail. Now, that’s never happened, but it’s nice to know they’re out there. These true friends are the women I’ve lost touch with a time or two during our relationship, but managed to pick up right where we left off just like it never happened. Friends who truly know you and love you anyway? Awesome!

4. Listening to yourself. You know that little voice inside your head that talks to you? Ever ignore it and regret it? I did, actually still do sometimes, but at one point in my life I decided to listen. I quit listening to everyone around me and started trusting my own voice and instincts. Know what? I’m actually right more times that I’m wrong. Awesome!

5. Saying no. Let’s face it, we all want to make others happy and that sometimes means saying yes to things we’d rather say no to. At one point in my career I thought I needed to be on committees and attend meetings until I realized that I absolutely hated them. When I started designing and making jewelry I thought I needed to donate to everyone’s cause. Then I realized it was ok to say no. Nobody hated me and my life didn’t fall apart. Naturally, I do say yes when it’s important, but not to everything. Awesome!

6. Working on a project with my husband. I guess I should add the word “successfully” here, but there’s nothing more satisfying than working together for a common cause. A few weeks ago our garage door opener died. Steve thought about just fixing parts but we decided the entire thing should be replaced. Together we assembled and installed the whole thing. And we didn’t fight! After 16 years of marriage we’ve learned a thing or two about reading the other person. When he was getting frustrated, I left. When we needed to talk out the instructions, we did. Now we have a new garage door opener. Awesome!

7. Finding lost money. It’s rare that I don’t know where every last dollar is, but occasionally I find a bill tucked away that I had forgotten about. Finding money? Awesome!

8. Saturday mornings. Every week day, Steve and I get up and go, go, go so when Saturday comes around we don’t want to be disturbed. My favorite part about Saturday is sleeping in, knowing I don’t have to bound out of bed to get to the gym. I can lie in bed, look at the sky and get up when I feel like it. Once I do, I can have a nice cup of coffee while I read the paper and we discuss the day. Awesome!

9. Laughing so hard you cry. Nothing feels better. Nothing. Awesome.

10. Losing weight without trying. Ok, this is a real woman thing to love, I think, but it’s such a great feeling! At the change of every season (mainly in the spring) I hold my breath a little when I start pulling out my seasonal clothes. Will they fit? Did I enjoy the holidays too much? Why did I eat all that birthday cake? Then I go to slip on my white pants or jeans and realize they fit (or better yet, are loose). Awesome!

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