I'm already starting to get kind of bored with this post idea (A-Z gratitude), but I think it's a good way to keep me thinking about the many blessings I've received.
Books: I currently seem to collect them instead of reading them, but nevertheless they have brought me great joy over the years. When I was younger I would stay up all night reading a book, and even now a good book (like Redeeming Love) can tempt me to stay up until 3 a.m. on a work night.
Barnes & Noble: When I was growing up, we didn't have anything remotely like this store. I like the comfy chairs and of course, perusing a book thoroughly (and occasionally actually reading it) before making the decision to buy. Plus the fake Starbucks within B&N was the closest thing we had to a decent cofeehouse up until recently.
Baking/Bakeries: I love to bake, and I love to eat baked goods. It works out well. One of my favorite things about Spain (and the reason I gained 15 pounds in one summer) was the bakeries. They were on every street corner, and unlike the typical non-metropolitan bakeries in the U.S., these bakeries offered a lot more than cupcakes and cookies. My favorite bakery items are petit fours and the cupcake icing at Party Favors in Brookline, Massachusetts (see the pic of a container of the icing I received for my birthday below...yummy!). My favorite things that I bake are peanut butter brownies and chocolate chip cookies with Hershey Kisses with peanut butter in them on top.
Babies: Although I'm not a huge baby person (I like them better once they have a personality), babies always seem perfect and such a wonderful reminder that miracles happen every second.
Berts: I eat there as often as five days a week, and I'm grateful to have a restaurant I enjoy so much only three blocks from my office.
Boston: My family didn't travel, but we did take a trip to Boston for a workshop for my step-father at Harvard. This was my first real experience in a city (other than Atlanta), and it opened my eyes to travel. In short, I loved the T, seeing different kinds of people (my first tranvestite), and exploring unknown places.
Blogs: Although I spend too much time reading them, I really enjoy reading other people's thoughts and about their experiences. And I'm grateful for making friends with "Spam Price" through the blogosphere. His testimony and relationship with his wife are a source of inspiration for me, and he gives very Godly advice.
The Bible: Reading the Bible on a regular basis has really changed my life. Late last fall I was talking to Donatello's mother, lamenting that I just never seemed to find the time to read the Bible every day (like she does). She remarked that she always made time for the reading first and that God always blessed her with enough time to do everything else she needed to do. I realized I was being ridiculous in pretending that I didn't have ten minutes to devote to reading the Bible every day, so I started reading a chapter of the Bible every day the next week. I have learned so much and felt so much more peace since then. I am in the process of reading a One Year Bible right now, and I love knowing that I'll read the whole Bible this year.
Here's a pic from a more recent trip to Boston on which I had the pleasure of attending a Red Sox game. The game ended up getting rained out after a few innings, but the nice long run in the rain to the T station was so much fun I didn't mind.