Thank you notes at lap 56……

I’m headed into my next lap around the sun
this week and I’m 56 years grateful.
  Here’s a little celebration of thank you notes,
tossed random like confetti from my heart:

~ Thank you,  Mom,  for carrying me up against your bones and breath and heart.
For loving hard and caring big
and every drop of delight you’ve ever taken in me or mine.
You,  too,  Dad….thanks for your humor and hard-working heart.

~ Thank you,  music and music-makers,  for making me feel so alive.
Every. single. day.

~ Thank you,  sweet potatoes,  for replacing pasta in most every dish I felt homesick for
when my gutt began a standoff with grain.
And to all of you potatoes – thank you for being a friend.

~ Thank you,  John,  for the honest journey you’ve made me take.
For inspiring me to stop and look and re-think and re-learn and dump my hurried assumptions.
For teaching me what it means to be a human.
And for being such a kind one:)

~ Thank you,  Candace,  for being a big sister when and how I needed it most.
For your belly laughs and beauty and bounty shared generous and wise.
Your friendship healed something deep in me
and I’m cheering always wildly always in your corner.

~ Thank you,  mamas,  for being a safe place for me to learn to be a human in the church.
For letting me dart away and come back,  get spooked and mad and howl in pain
and loving me safe just the same.
For fighting with me for friendship in my hardest place.
We’ll be laughing together for ages to come:)

~ Thank you,  people who pick up trash.
You are heros.

~ Thank you,  Janet,  for being my Janet.
You alone know the words I can’t write,  the tears I pray in the night,
and the way I can’t even make the words to say how much it is to me that you are in this world.
You’re the peanut butter to my jelly:)

~ Thank you,  flowers,  for being.
Every single petal and blossom.
I just love you.

~ Thank you,  helpers,  for showing up with your open hands
and willing hearts when a being is in need.
For every act of kindness offered ever.
You make me glad to live on this planet.

~ Thank you,  Peter,  for teaching me what it is to be spirit.
For challenging my fears and leading the way and showing me how our essence
is not broken by our breaking.
For showing me how deep love goes.
And for making me brave:)

~  Thank you,  rivers,  for going where you go
in your river-ly way.
You remind me not to g0 stale.

~ Thank you,  car people,  for knowing what to do.
For fixing things that break and getting me back on the road.

Thank you,  Hannah,  for teaching me to be a mother.
For being an amazing companion as in many ways we grew up together.
I was young,  sweetie,  and you broke so much ground.
For breaking ground still wherever you go
and for being earth and fire to my wind and water
and challenging me toward change that is beautiful.

~ Thank you,  techy people,  for having a clue.
And for making it so that I don’t have to get one
and can instead go plant or paint something.
You mean the world to me.

~  Thank you,  neighborly neighbors.
For being just that.

~  Thank you,  people who transport snail mail and packages to our boxes and doors.
I don’t want to live in a world without you.

~ Thank you,  story-tellers and art-makers,  for painting the fabric of our lives.
Or something like that.
Or maybe it’s that you nudge us to really see.

~ Thank you,  Bryan,  for being my traveling companion these 35 years.
For all of the loving,  learning,  fighting,  flailing and forward-falling.
You’re still my one and only;
thanks for letting me take the long way home.

~ Thank you,  Queen City Church,  for being a harbor of truth and beauty
where my damaged stuff could mend.
Because you let creativity flow free,  my soul didn’t break always out in hives
and I could stay and let the healing happen slow.
Again and again you inspire me.

~ Thank you,  Sacred Mountain Oil,  for smelling
like the breath of God.
I diffuse you forever:)

~ Thank you, tragedy,  for the way that we think we’re strong until a ringing phone
jars us awake in the middle of the night.
For reminding us how fragile this life.  How sweet this moment.
How worthy of our finest attention
is this present joy.

~ Thank you,  uncertainty,  for being the way forward.
Go figure.

~ Thank you,  forgiveness,  for being the life-blood of my peace.
For how you heal and restore.
And that nothing is beyond you.

~ Thank you,  laughter,  for being medicine.
The very best.

~ Thank you,  Amanda, for teaching me the piercing power of a heartbeat
and how far spirit stretches.
And for living your beautiful life to the brave rhythm of your own unique song.
Thanks for singing true.

~ Thank you,  God,  for writing a stream of love songs on my palm
with every tender stroke of your love.

~ Thank you,   control,  for being an illusion.
I enjoy learning to lose you.

Thank you, waterfalls,  for showing me how to fling my heart over every
rock hard place
and let the music that happens
be what it is.

~ Thank you,  listeners.
For listening.
It’s the main thing.

~ Thank you,  honest tears,  for cleansing away the clutter
of ugly baggage left behind.
You clear the way for fresh starts.

~ Thank you,  birds,  for the way you keep on singing.
For showing us how.

~ Thank you,  dead-ends and time-sucks,  for teaching me
who I am not.

Thank you,  Manie,  for being mother to my mister
and loving our family so sweet.  Your big heart is golden.

~ Thank you,  12 steps,  for being a thing.
You are hope in hellish places.

~  Thank you,  morning dew,  for showing up every single day.
And for every other “insignificance” that mostly goes unsung.
You make all the difference.

~ Thank you,  small businesses,  for taking risks
and braving waters.
So much of what I love comes right from you.

~ Thank you,  sugar,  for being sincerely sweet.
For keeping it real.
I still believe in you:)

~ Thank you,  Mandy Bird,  for your compassion and counsel.
For not being afraid of my grief.
You truly are a warrior poet.

~ Thank you,  Janis,  for your warm welcomes at the gate.
Your hugs have felt like home.

Thank you,  lunchtime,  for happening almost every single day
and for making this sacred space for me to hang out with friends.
You know who you are.
And I’ve loved every single stop-and-sit with you.
Going out to lunch is my favorite:)

~  Thank you,  Rivergreen,  for connecting us with so many amazing people.
For showing us the value of each piece of land and the lives lived out there.
You’ve taught me more than I may process in a lifetime.

~ Thank you,  dogs.  Elephants.  Cows.
Just for being.
And all the other animals,  too.
You make us better humans and I wouldn’t want to be one
without you.

~ Thank you,  people who give loving care
to people and animals and water and land and sky.
You are my personal favorites.

~ Thank you,  leaders,  for sticking your neck out
and offering to serve.
Hand-to-my-heart for you,  like a prayer.

~ Thank you,  my big extended family,
for being roots and connection and context and history.
I love you all so.

~ Thank you,  people who built the backroads I love to travel.
Your handiwork makes my heart soar.

Thank you,  Danielle and Lance and David.
Your love for and friendship with my children make you feel like a part of my brood
and I love what you bring to the table.
You make us a better “we” and I’m richer for each of you.

~Thank you,  crafters of good iced tea.
I mean really,  really good tea.
With lemons sliced generous and the faintest blush of sweet.
I get up most days because of you.

~ Thank you,  wood smoke,  for making cold air smell so fine.

~ Thank you,  headphones and ear buds,  for making sense out of certain places.
You save me sometimes.  You really do.

~ Thank you,  blogger friends and your blogs.
Even though we’ve never hung out in person,
you know my heart in some pretty fierce ways.
We’ve shared a lot together,  you and I.
You are mostly my favorite reads and my windows are so much wider because of you.

~ Thank you,  cell phones,  for making my brain go stretchier,
my everyday seem safer,  and my loved ones feel closer,
and my world shine brighter.
And for doing it all in color.

~ Thank you,  gratitude,  for being the one practice I can go to
anywhere at any time
for a swift perspective tweak and energy boost.
For helping me feel the abundance that surrounds me always.

“Imagine!  Imagine!
The long and wondrous journeys still to be ours.”
–   Mary Oliver

Thanks for wading through this long read,  friend.
(and thank you,  Jimmy Fallon,  for the sweet inspire)
Love to you.  Love to you always.


  1. Elephants Child on January 14, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Happy birthday oh fellow capricorn. We share a week, though I have been round a few years more.
    Thank you for your heart which is bigger and deeper than the ocean.
    And a big thank you to you, for being yourself. Perfectly imperfect.

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      You, too, Sue! That makes me happy:) A beautiful birthday month to you;
      may this next jaunt around the sun be your sweetest so far,
      and may all your days be peace:)

  2. Jane Brocious on January 15, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Thank you, Young One, for the courage, grace, and inspiration made manifest in you shared words. I love you still! 😘😘😘

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks so much, Jane, for coming by to visit. You mean the world to me.
      Know that always.

  3. jeanie on January 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

    After such beautiful and expressive words from your big heart, thank YOU for all you bring to the table whenever you write and share, so bravely and courageously the joys and turmoils of self discovery, teaching us all to think a little deeper, stand a little taller, be a little stronger. You are beautiful (both your heart and your lovely face in that splendid photo above) and that emanates from your soul. Happy Birthday, my friend. Thank you for letting us walk a part of your journey with you.

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      It’s joy to have you along, Jeanie; thanks for all the wisdom and love you share.
      I appreciate you big,

  4. Julia Bourque on January 15, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Happy Birthday, sweet Jennifer. You are getting wiser and wiser with every passing year and thank you for gifting us with your open heart words that makes us aware of places we seldom would think of visiting. We are richer for it.

    You remind me of a stream that flows, always fresh and beautiful, flowing courageously around every obstacle, deep in places but always life-giving.

    I love that photo of you and Mr.
    Warm hugs, Julia❤️

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Julia I appreciate this dear heartshare.
      Warms my own so. Much thanks, you:)

  5. Barbara Shallue on January 15, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Happy birthday, Jennifer! What a beautiful reminder that we have so many things to be grateful for each and every day of our lives. I am grateful for you and your honest, bold words. Bless you on your 56th lap!

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks for hearing and holding them so generously, Barbara.
      I appreciate you,

  6. Marcia Earhart on January 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I love the outpouring of your heart of gratitude but more importantly, I love you! I love your authenticity, the beauty in your broken that is clearly visible, the fixture of hope in the fractured places, the peace where pain once inflicted, the bold love that could not be quenched and the ongoing process of walking life out with your heavenly Father! Thank you for allowing us to glimpse into your journey seeing the struggles, the wrestling, and how you have overcome living victoriously as a mighty warrior! I love you!

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks for these balmy life-soaked words, Marcia.
      I am so grateful:)

  7. Karen on January 15, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    And, Happiest of birthdays to you, Jennifer! I look
    foreward to many more years of laughing and sharing life with you and the mamas!
    It’s sure been fun and precious. So thankful for this sweet thing we call friendship. ❤️

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks, Karen:) Yes, many, many years:)
      I appreciate you big:)

  8. Sandy on January 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    So good my sweet friend. Can’t wait for your next journey, and all the laughs waiting to be had ❤️❤️❤️

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you, Sandy:) Comforts me to know that you’ll be there in some way, also.
      New adventures ahead for all of us:)

  9. Donna Donabella on January 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Oh my dear, sweet Jennifer….thank you for your big wide, vulnerable heart….always sharing and showing us we are all connected in love. And I love this practice. I am discovering gratitude again as it is part of hope and love and essential for our humanity! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! And happiest of birthdays to you…..

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful:)
      Thanks for your kindness and encouragement, Donna.

  10. Scarlett Casner on January 16, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Thank you Jennifer for always being so real, vulnerable and accessible with your heart.
    I genuinely feel your love..makes me want to soak in it. You are a true treasure! Love you dear.

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks for those really kind words, Scarlett:)
      I appreciate them. And you:)

  11. Susan on January 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Oh, Lord … I didn’t know I was going to cry so hard while savoring your beautiful birthday blessings, each one a song so true and familiar because of how I’ve loved your heart and soul for so long, how I cherish this connection. But not just tears here, so many smiles and chuckles and head nodding, too, because you just get it, life and living and loving and you teach us how to be better at it and I thank you from my heart.
    I feel so blessed that you are spinning in this world.

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks for coming along, Susan:)
      Spinning alongside of you is joy:)

  12. CherryPie on January 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    So delightful, it reminds me of my Happiness Jar. A happy thought for each day.

    Your Thank You notes are so inspiring 🙂

    • jennifer on January 16, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Glad for your gladness:)
      Thanks for your kind words, Cherie,

  13. elk on January 17, 2018 at 5:34 am

    lovely celebration of word & gratitude …may your next year be filled with many more “thank yous”

    • jennifer on February 25, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Thank you’s are happening over here a whole lot, Elaine, thank you:)
      It’s been an intense first-of-year but in a good way and I’m grateful
      for each moment as it comes:)

  14. Suzanne on January 17, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Thank you for giving us such a beautiful gift on your birthday… the gift of witnessing your incredibly beautiful courageous artistic loving heart, that’s so full of gratitude for all. You’re an amazing blessing to our world. Happy Birthday and much love!! <3

    • jennifer on February 25, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks for those loving and warm-hearted words, Suzanne:)
      This thank you is long overdue and I appreciate your kindness shared:)

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