Dear Friends, Family and Fans!

Well, it’s that time again…  crazy crowds in Market Basket when I try to get all those special ingredients for the secret family recipes for stuffing and pie and that bean casserole… “Hey! Could you leave at least a little room to get by with my cart, PLEASE?!!” – And then there’s the time with the extended family at the dinner table. OK. We better not bring up the election or you know who is gonna blow their top and Ms. Somebody may break down in tears. And, well, better not talk too much about church, ’cause then they’ll say I was preaching… and then there’s the health problems and the dietary issues and the drama because he hates what she did a dacade ago and never apologized for… WHY DO WE BOTHER????

Because God.

What?

Because God called us to be thankful. To give thanks in all circumstances. With prayer and thanksgiving to present our requests before God. (Phillippians 2:4-8)

Actually, it’s not really too hard for me to be thankful, because I am incredibly blessed- and I’ll bet you are, too if you take a minute to think about it.

So here is a list of some of the things and people I am thankful for this year. I challenge you to make your own list!

1. My family in general
2. My husband Ralph
3. My son Caleb
4. My daughter Hannah
5. My mother Polly
6. My Step father Charlie
7. My Dad Paul
8. My step mother Diane
9. My brother Chris
10. His wife Susan
11. My nephew Matthew
12. My nephew Mark
13. My brother Gary
14. His wife Lisa
15. My mother in law Gisela
16. My sister in law Ingrid
17. Her husband Keith
18. My sister in law Renate
19. My first cousins: Alan & Soledad
20. Ken
21. Laura & Dave
22. Phil & Linda
23. Tina
24. Jenny & Greg
25. Priscilla & Dave
26. Wendy & Robert
27. Doug & Lisa
28. Laura & Les
29. Aunt Judy
30. Uncle Dave
31. Aunt Jane
32. Aunt Betty
33. All my cousins’ kids (which could have made this list much longer!)
34. And all the incredible times I’ve had with my family immediate and extended over the years!
35. My work in general!
36. Music
37. That I get to teach music for most of my living!
38. That I get to perform and play shows of all kinds!
39. That I get to record CD’s with my husband and my brothers!!
40. That I get to express myself by writing songs!
41. That I get to praise God in church with my voice and guitar! I love our praise team, too!
42. That my kids love to sing with me!
43. That I get to be a mentor to my students!
44. That My students are improving and encouraged!
45. That I can move hearts with my music and bring hope and comfort!
46. That my husband is a musician, too!
47. That he has engineering skills!
48. That he works at Berklee so I can take classes there for free!
49. That I graduated from Berklee with awards
50. That I get to SCAT sing!
51. That I have a great little a cappella group that has many gigs this Christmas!
52. That I get to encourage the elderly at numerous nursing homes
53. That my kids are in a good school system
54. That My daughter is a talented artist!
55. That my son got the lead in Lion King at School!
56. That My daughter is so compassionate and cheers other’s up often!
57. That my daughter has a terrific big sister in the church , Brittany!
58. That my son wants to know Jesus better and study the Bible!
59. That my son is a junior black belt in Kung fu and protect his sister!
60. That both of my kids are bright lights wherever they go!
61. That my husband is faithful always and loves me deeply!
62. That we often have so much fun as a family!
63. That I have great friends!
64. Erin from Childhood
65. Sharon and Margaret from Oberlin!
66. Diana, Rebekah, Suzanne, Lori and soooooo many more from church!
67. That Jean, Lauri T, Suzanne, Elena & Karen studied the Bible with me years ago!
68. That Bob Tranchell Baptized me on Jan 6th 1091!
69. That Sal Difusco married Ralph and I at Hammond Castle August 19th, 1995!
70. That Hannah and Caleb were born On April 1st 2004!
71. That we own a house
72. That we live in America where we still have more freedoms than anywhere else in the world!
73. That I have not experienced extreme poverty of hunger in my lifetime
74. That my kids can get great healthcare in the Boston area (Including braces!)
75. That I can get antibiotics when I need them!
76. That I get to fund-raise and volunteer for the fantastic charity Hope Worldwide
77. That HOPEww is doing so much for the poor and needy around the world with disaster relief, boots on the ground giving medical care to those in dire situations and remote areas!
78. That I have a fantastic church!
79. Mike and Kristen Lamb who lead our local region of the church!
80. That We have an inspired teen ministry!
81. Diana and Dakota Botello who lead our teen ministry!
82. The Bible and the truth and comfort and guidance it gives me!
83. Our international church and the souls it is saving!
84. The big church conferences I get to go to and be inspired by like Reach last summer in St Louis!
85. My Zumba classes at the gym
86. My friends from the gym like Susanne, Angie, Mary and more
87. My Pets: Mit Mit, Lizzy, Archy and Bun Bun
88. My Sleep Number bed!
89. Getting a big cart full of food and bringing home the harvest
90. Carrot cake (and lots of other favorite foods!)
91. Mountains
92. The ocean!
93. The seasons!
94. The woods!
95. The wild animals!
96. The clouds/ sky/ sunsets!
97. The wind!
98. My health!
99. Jesus
100. God
OK- you get the picture! That will have to do for now, ’cause I have to get back to my homework for my graduate class in Sibelius music notation software! (I am grateful for that class, too and how attentive my professor is and how understanding of me being behind in my work!)

Oh- I am also grateful that when the hood of my car fell on my head when I was trying to jump-start my ride on lawn mower with my van (unsuccessfully!) that even though I was rushed to the hospital with a big gash in my head and needed stitches- that I didn’t even get a concussion! It could have been so much worse!- And that it is healing well!

Many blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving and always!

Love,

Julie

PS- I forgot FLOWERS! I am grateful for flowers!

And hot water bottles… and Chai Lattes… and I could go on!

Happy Thanksgiving and a great beginning to the holiday season!

Love Julie