1. The gift of life and the grace of baptism
2. The little town of Ortonville, Minnesota that welcomed me
3. The little town of Wahpeton, North Dakota that formed me
4. My father, a blue-collar kind of guy from Argyle, Minnesota who never graduated from high school because he snuck into the Marines at age 17. Who fought hard in the Pacific Theatre yet lived to tell about it. Who returned to his hometown beauty, married her and fathered six children. Who became a Catholic deacon when I was fourteen. Who is one of the great loves of my life.
5. My mother, one of the most talented and efficient ladies I’ve ever known. Who was not too tired by the time her youngest chick came along at the age of 42 to sew her beautiful things and to drive her around to her various activites: piano, ballet & baton when she was wee; cheerleading, danceline & speech when she was a teenager. Whose countless prayers saw her daughter through a very stormy young adulthood. Who was beautiful at 18 and is even more so at 82.
6. My college education: Art, Photography, English, French
7. Travel: England, Scotland, Ireland, France
8. An arts camp in Interlochen, Michigan: my “Summer of ‘42”
9. My time as a nanny in New York City: mid-town Manhattan and the Hamptons, a naïve but loving little girl from North Dakota working for photographer Jill Krementz & husband/writer Kurt Vonnegut
10. The meal I cooked for Martha Stewart, which taught me humility
11. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, made in the Fall of the year in Connecticut at the loveliest of retreat houses, which delivered me from years of slavery and opened my eyes to unutterable Truth and Beauty.
12. The Love of the Father
13. The Friendship of the Son
14. The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
15. The Kindred Spirits that came along after my conversion. (Ladies, if you’re reading this blog, I mean you.)
16. My husband
17. My husband
18. My husband. God’s goodness was never so manifested in my life as it was when He gave me the gift of this man.
19. My six little chicks. How I love them. How my heart swells to the point of nearly breaking when I even think about them.
20. My four beautiful (older!) sisters
21. My big brother Michael
22. The love and support of our extended family: the gift of my mother and father-in-law and their spouses, the friendship of my husband’s sisters, and the joy of innumerable nieces & nephews & cousins.
23. My five godchildren: Jon, Helen, Allister, Bradee and Evie.
24. The support and encouragement of my husband in our decision to homeschool
25. Real art
26. A really good movie
27. A good camera
28. A beautiful sunset on a Fall day
29. Freshly fallen snow outside a cozy kitchen window
30. The lilacs of spring
31. Going to the Lake on a hot, hot summer’s days
32. Music, in forms diverse to serve a multitude of moods
33. Blessing my heart with exercise and sweating off one’s pent-up angst
34. Bible studies
35. The fruits of prayer
36. Field trips!
37. Cool Ranch Doritos & Coke
38. Coffee & Haute Cuisine
39. Chocolate that comes in little gold boxes
40. And finally, this humble little blog that has been for me both a burden & a blessing. May God grant me temperance in my time on-line and the grace to share only that which gives Him glory.