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I find myself grateful so often these days. Not just because of the holidays. It started long before that. I have always had a sense of all the things the average person hurries by on a daily basis without appreciation, but lately is more than noticing those things, it is feeling blessed to see them, touch them, smell them, whatever. More than once in the last two and a half months I have found myself in the car driving and suddenly just smiling for no concrete reason. Smiling because I see something, think of something, or maybe because of some inner peace I've recently embraced.

Such little things today. I am grateful to live in Waterville again. I mean, there's not much to do on a Friday night, for sure, and it's not awake to the wee hours of the morning, but it's a great place to live. Not all, but I'd say most, of the city is still populated by people who maintain their homes and decorate tastefully for Christmas and it's pretty to drive through most parts. It's up and coming, it speaks progress in a way most people can't see anymore. I was thankful for snow today, every pain-in-the-ass flake of it. It's beautiful. It's a huge part of making Christmas beautiful, it's something I wouldn't know how to live without. I was laying on the couch today looking out the window above my head and the sky by then had turned it's steel gray color and it was amazing just to watch the path of the clouds through the frame of the window. More appreciation. And it's all funny, because I'm not in a particularly wonderful mood today. This is just the way I've learned to see the world and it makes me so happy.

The silly part of it today is that I when I was driving through town today I actually said "thank you" out loud. I suppose that's only silly because of my lack of belief in "God". I guess if you are someone who has that faith it's completely normal to talk to Him out loud. But I just was so full of this feeling today I wanted someone or no one to know I was thankful and I just felt like I had to say it. I didn't really spend time thinking of WHO to thank or WHY it's all here or HOW it was done. That just seems irrelevant in a way. The point is that all of these gifts and all of this beauty are here and WHOMEVER has done it I am full of appreciation for it's presence.

I have said time and again that I respect religions of all varieties and that I interested and admire faith. I think the way I see it right now is that your FAITH is what directs you. It is not a being godlike or otherwise that "tells" you what to do and be it is the belief that you have in it. I don't know if that makes sense in words the way it does in my head. Almost that the act of believing is more important than the object of that action. I am happy for those that have that other dimension to their life. It's admirable.

The way I tend to think is that all we have is the here and now. We cannot possess the future in our hands, not even in our minds come to think - not for certain. We can hang onto the past with our hearts and our minds more than any other creature, but it is not something you can touch and experience or own. Right now, at this moment I can hear my mother breathing on the couch next to me and I can reach out and feel her hand if I want to. I will remember it, but I won't live this EXACT moment again. There will be others and they will be just as wonderful, but it's not the past. So we have NOW. And I love NOW. I don't spend time worrying about how it came to be that all of our combined actions today put us in this moment or that someone somewhere was guiding or influencing our choices and opportunities. I know that right now I feel safe and happy and I love the nearness of my mother and the warmth of this blanket on my legs. And it's these tiny moments, infinitesimal miracles really, when I feel like one of the richest, most fortunate persons on the planet. In fact I know.

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