All Good Things

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Christmas is just around the corner, folks.

And, blessedly, only days later, we’ll celebrate the start of a brand-spanking-new year. Sweet baby Jesus, it’s about time!

I don’t think I’ve ever met a year that hit quite as hard as this one.

I’ll be glad to see the back of it, that’s for sure, and I don’t think I’m alone there. Amiright?

But even so, as hard and painful as 2016 has been—on far too many levels to ever count—I still feel a deep need to take a minute and gratefully acknowledge that somehow, in the midst of all the craziness and turmoil, a little bit of sheer joy and pure awesomeness still managed to find its way to me over the past 12 months. I got my ass kicked, for sure, over and over, but I also saw my fair share of victories, too…

#nomatterhowsmall.

Last January, I started to sporadically record good things that happened to me on tiny slips of paper and save them in a small clay mug I purchased in Hawes, Yorkshire, a dozen years ago. It’s been an interesting exercise. I have to admit, a lot slid under the radar, honestly, as I do have a tendency to start strong on a project, then get all caught up in life and forget about whatever it was I’d originally planned to do. Still, it was fun to go back and take a look at what made me stop and take notice.

It’s easy to see all the brokenness in the world these days.

Harder to find the beauty.

And so, today, in no particular order and for no reason other than to remind myself that I did experience at least a few fairly great moments in the midst of all the madness and chaos, I present to you…

50+1 Things I’m Thankful for This Year (2016):

  1. My new iPhone
  2. Our Christmas tree came down nice and easy… in February
  3. Glennon Doyle Melton (Author, Love Warrior) invited me to be her guest at a huge Momastery event in New York City (unfortunately, my flight was cancelled due to snow, but still!!!)
  4. Aspen Matis (Author, Girl in the Woods) agreed to meet for coffee and great conversation in N.Y.C. (damn that stupid snowstorm, grrrrr)
  5. A gorgeous gibbous moon one winter evening
  6. I took a trip downtown and caught all lights, busses, and transfers—no waiting!
  7. Successful red-tape negotiation and fast-moving lines in government buildings
  8. Eldest son’s reconnection with his long-time best friend
  9. Sexy new boots and warm winter coat
  10. The day my passport and tickets to New York arrived (and my birth certificate with my mom’s handwriting on it…)!
  11. On a bad day, my cousin-sister sent a precious message offering help, if needed
  12. Cast removed from youngest son’s busted finger
  13. Youngest son took his first trip to Florida (and returned home safely)
  14. Elizabeth Gilbert (Author, Big Magic) liked my Tweet!
  15. Found a gentle and kind new dentist
  16. Really good conversation with my mom
  17. Decision to take the summer (and subsequent academic year) off
  18. I turned 40! So did a few of my closest friends
  19. The cardinal and his mate who sat on the wire by my balcony and sang to me
  20. A strong mark on a difficult assignment
  21. One of my besties, my angel, gave birth to her third child: a bouncin’ baby boy!
  22. Unexpected message full of light and love from a poetess friend living in Seoul
  23. After tragic losses, two beloved friends gave birth to healthy Rainbow Babies
  24. A Facebook post from my friend, Jessica: You’re my Favorite Badass. She wrote, “This week, my favorite badass warrior superhero is Arwen Faulkner, who got knocked down again last year but got up again not only still alive, but wiser, more beautiful, and more loving than before (and who knew that was even possible)?”
  25. Windfall! Small bank refund
  26. Cousin-sister ordered us tickets to see Lauryn Hill in Montreal (couldn’t make it in the end, due to logistics, but oh man, what a gift!)
  27. Quit cigarettes!!!
  28. A productive Saturday
  29. Wrote a powerful short story (The Black Forty-Seven)
  30. Apparently I had a REALLY good lasagna and Caesar salad one night… worth mentioning…?
  31. Good conversation with a great friend left me feeling recharged
  32. A delicious heat wave to warm the bones
  33. Chickadees fed from the palm of my hand!
  34. An elderly neighbour from down the street stopped me to say that I’m doing really great, he’s not the only one who can tell—and he’s happy for me. So sweet!
  35. Angela’s suggestion to start a faerie garden that led to a summer full of fun
  36. Found a lucky toonie ($2) on a walk
  37. My kindred’s remission from leukaemia (however brief)
  38. Visit from a Mourning Dove (my dad’s spirit)
  39. A birthday gift trip from my mom
  40. A family member of Bronwen Wallace’s (1945-1989), poet/writer/activist and subject of my first book, sent me a pair of her earrings to wear for inspiration
  41. Cheryl Strayed (Author, Wild) liked my comment about “gobsmacked” on Facebook
  42. Almost got accepted into the Summer Research Internship Program at Carleton (Dean sent an email to congratulate me on my topic and say how close it was)
  43. My freshly painted apartment
  44. Daughter’s toothless grin
  45. A kind gesture from a loved one to help take some of the pressure off
  46. Co-created the #FacesOfPTSD campaign with four other incredible survivors
  47. Singer-songwriter, Jewel, tweeted in support of the #FacesOfPTSD campaign
  48. Received an advance reading copy of LOVE WARRIOR by Glennon Doyle Melton
  49. An early snowfall that sent Trigger Season packing
  50. Nothing like a new housecoat…

AND…

  1. It’s almost over: I survived!

 

Here’s hoping 2017 is full of new beginnings and an abundance of joy.

 

I wish you all good things,

Arwen