November 4th, 2011

Panda hug!

Journal of gratitude entry #6: my friends

I've been writing about one thing that I've been grateful for the past five days, and today is day six. I am grateful for my friends.

It may come as a surprise to you, but growing up, I was a weird kid. I know it didn't help that I had Coke bottle glasses that made me look like some type of insect, but apart from that, I was just different. I had a really hard time making any type of connection with the kids at school.

Once I got to high school, however, everything changed. I found myself with more friends than I knew what to do with. I think growing up with limited friend resources made me really treasure every positive connection that I made. It is still very much inside me to reach out and include everyone that I can.

The friends I have now are super awesome. My bestie Cecilia lives at my house with my family, and she is like family now, because we are so close. She is beautiful and wonderful and considerate and not afraid to call me out if I need to improve or repent. She makes me a better person, and I love her tremendously. She also believes in me and always wants me to be around. I love her so much!

The other friends I have that live around here are mostly from church, but they are also amazing and awesome. Given my somewhat limited mobility circumstances, I know I'm not the super easiest person to have around/want to include in activities or gatherings, but I never feel left out or unwanted. In fact, last week, we went to a haunted house that was a barn, and it wasn't super accessible for a wheelchair, but I had awesome people putting down the portable ramp for me, and helping me see what I could. (Thanks to Doug, Greg and Amy.)

It's rather beautiful to feel loved and accepted, and living where I do now, with so many people who serve, support and befriend me touches me more than I can adequately express. In fact, as I write this, I can't refrain from shedding tears of gratitude thinking of the many ways in which my life has been made better.

In Girl Scouts, we learned the song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other is gold." I have plenty of old friends that I also love so much. It's been great to find them again via Facebook and communicate. Living away from where I grew up, I don't see them very often, but I've seen some of them as they've come to California to visit the attractions here, and it is always awesome to catch up. I'm more than happy to host anyone who would want to come and see me.

I also have awesome Internet friends, a good portion of which I have met through our mutual fixation on Roswell. At that time in my life when I was literally stuck home all the time (my van had been totaled in an accident), I was extremely in need of some diversions, and I got all that and more from our association. I've met many of them at conventions for Roswell, Farscape or comic con, and I value them and our friendships. It's nice to have some (virtual) support and encouragement, and I have received so much from them.

I know I've already talked about how grateful I am for my family -- my parents, my extended family, my siblings and my nephew/nieces -- but I'm also overwhelmingly grateful that all in my family are also among my friends. I love hanging out with them, just being with them, and talking with and loving them.

Whenever I'm in a bad mood, I always think about the things I am grateful for to shake me out of it. I am so blessed that it's almost ridiculous. A good portion of my gratitude is those who have touched my life, and if you are reading this right now, you are among them! I know I can't adequately repay the kindnesses that have been heaped upon me, but please know that I am grateful for you every day of my life.

Here I am with some of my family, whom I consider my friends.

Here I am with Cecilia, and her mom and sisters at Disneyland.

More friends.

Here I am dressed up as Dumbledore with more of my friends.

Here are some of my awesome church friends dressed up in their Halloween costumes.