So, I get back from a walk with the dog and am sitting on the couch on the laptop writing on Facebook about how awesome it was to see a deer and how scared I was about the big black dog off his leash, when my husband comes in from his man cave. He says, “I love you, thank you for all you do.” I said, “Am I dying?”

He said he posted something on his wall about happiness, and I should watch it. I watched a video created by Soul Pancake, a really great maker of You Tube videos. They’re the ones who do the Kid President videos, which are awesome. This video showed an experiment, and talked about how the more thankful you are, the happier you are. It had a few people write about someone who had made the biggest impact on their lives. After they were finished, the people were surprised to find out that they now were going to have to CALL the person they’d written about and read to them what they had written. One man could not, because he was an older man and the person he’d written about was a teacher of his, who would not possibly be alive any longer. The funny one for me was the lady whose letter subject, a friend, lived in England, and when she called she apologized because it was 4 a.m.

The video said that those who were able to express their gratitude had their happiness increase profoundly. And, it has been proven, according to the video, that people who are having difficulties in their lives, who are the most unhappy, can benefit extremely by expressing gratitude to someone.

SO, even though I try to express gratitude on a regular basis, it can’t hurt to do it more. The problem I had when trying to think of someone who had influenced me the most is that it is hard to choose. My thoughts went immediately to Amber. She is the one who changed me the most, who was my closest friend in many ways, my heart and my soul.

But, there are other people who’ve made a huge impact on my life — many others. My thoughts immediately went to my husband, whose sweetness, humor, positive outlook, creativity and gentleness renew me every day. I can be having the worst day ever, and then he walks in the room and I feel better. Being with him is the best thing in the world. He is fun, considerate, loving and cheerful. I adore him and am so thankful we met in that algebra class so long ago.

Then, my sister Sherri popped into my head, because every time I talk with her on the phone, my world lights up. Being with her is something I love so very much. She is a ray of sunshine in the form of a person. We can talk forever and never get tired. I trust her completely, and she trusts me. We are nothing alike on the surface, even though we physically resemble each other (except she is in better shape). She is a whiz with interior decorating and gardening. She is also an artist, with art right now on display as part of an art jury prize competition in Grand Rapids, where she lives. She is full of energy, so bright and bubbly, so effervescent, and very kind and loving. I am kind and loving, I hope, but, my idea of decorating is throwing a blanket on top of the sofa so nobody will see the crumbs. I have to be nagged to remember to water my house plants. And, I don’t have much energy it seems. Just hearing her talk about what she’s done all day is enough to make me want a nap. I am a writer, she is a painter. I like science fiction and fantasy, she likes romantic comedy. Yet, our spirits are much alike, in that we think about the world, care about what is happening, and believe that God is in control and can spur us to make the world better. I talk to her, and it’s like I have just been infused with lightning. It’s a great feeling.

Then, there is my sister Sandy. She is much quieter, a thinker, and a wise, wise woman. I admire her. The way she has raised her kids to be such kind, wonderful, polite, but free, fun-loving, good-natured, adorable people, amazes me. When I need someone to be there for me, well, it is my Super Sisters I know I can count on. Sandy has a way of knowing what someone needs and trying to provide that. After Amber died, she took me to her home for awhile, and she just cared for me. She let me use her whirlpool bath because we just had a shower due to Amber’s needs, she watched old, classy movies with me, and let me revel in playing Rock Band with her kids. She is a doer, not afraid to put herself out there to help someone. I adore her.

My mom, wow – talk about a lady. She is so precious to me. Her love, in the hard times, has been healing for me. She showed me, by example, what it means to reach out to people. She was a tireless helper for elderly and infirm people all my life. She was a first grade teacher to kids who didn’t have the advantages, economically, that a lot of kids have. She loved those kids, and she invited us to love them too. She invited them to our home, out in the country, to pick pumpkins from our garden in the fall, to eat popsicles in the summer, and to get out in nature, where they could find some joy for awhile. She taught us to care about other people, and I will always be thankful for that.

My in-laws are just like second parents to me. My mother in law is the sweetest woman. Her cooking is out of this world. She makes you feel welcome, comfortable and loved whenever you are with her. And, my father in law is someone I completely admire. I am sometimes jealous of my husband, that he had a dad like Glen Blackburn, because I think Glen is a great dad.

I have had great teachers too. My favorite high school teachers were Mr. Cheek, who saw that Jolly and I needed to not be separated in algebra, even though we talked a bit too much (and he told me that he kept us together because he knew something wonderful was happening there), and Mrs. Strugar, my creative writing teacher. She really encouraged my writing and understood when my papers looked more like road maps than homework assignments, with arrows and words crossed out.

I’ve been so blessed by so many people that I think if I tried to write about all of them, my fingers would fall off and my blog post would be humongous. I think I might just be the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A. Oh wait, that’s a country song, isn’t it? 😉 Oh well, move over Donna Fargo.

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