At this time of the year, every year, we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving, and with it, what we have to be thankful. This year thankfulness is a little harder to come by as many people are out of jobs, homes or are hungry. I hope that a list of what I am thankful for may help us all to realize how rich we truly are.

I am a married mother of two. My family is what I am most thankful for and what keeps me going day in and out. I have been married for 20 years, and while they haven’t been without difficulties, I love the man my husband is, and we are committed to getting through difficult times and enjoying the good ones. Marriage is a blessing, and I am blessed.

My children are incredible. My oldest child, Eric, is a college freshman. He is handsome, tall and thin, with a level head, great sense of humor and a quick intelligence. He is a protective and loving brother. He is slow to anger, and has a good sense of justice and loyalty. Always very good in math and science, he combined his love for the environment with his smarts to study environmental sciences. He wants to find a way to balance human needs with environmental ones in a way that is realistic. He’s spent years volunteering at church and in the community, and I know that he has a good solid faith. I’m always told that he is a great kid, a smart kid, polite and helpful. I am blessed.

Meghan is my daughter. She is four years younger than her brother and a freshman in high school. She is tall, thin, blonde, blue eyed and beautiful. Meghan is a feisty girl with a great dry sense of humor. She has an artistic side that amazes me. Meg decided at the age of three she wanted to be a “dancy girl” and so she began her continuing journey in ballet. Today she dances en pointe, and she is graceful and strong. She is very musical, playing oboe, piano, and vibraphone as well as having a beautiful singing voice. She also draws very well. She just finished a season of marching band where she was in the pit orchestra (piano and vibraphone). Her true love in marching band, and now for an indoor season, is color guard. She loves to spin flags and rifles, but joined pit orchestra to be helpful for a season. She is very intelligent and consistently on honor roll, plus has had perfect attendance since kindergarten. I also hear from other people about how amazing she is, how affectionate, helpful, faith-filled and smart. I am blessed.

We also have pets. Anyone who has them is probably thankful for their loyalty, love and affection, and we are no exception. My dog, Lizzy, has that in abundance. She is an English Setter and a beauty. More than that, she is affectionate, silly, energetic and, as my husband likes to say “needy”! At 50 pounds she is hardly a lapdog, but tries to be anyway. Our cat Patches is less affectionate (and more cat like), but purrs at the drop of a hat. They are both a calming, stress-relieving influence on us all, and I love them both. I am blessed.

I must also be thankful for the amazing network of friends that I have. These friends have stuck with me through thick and thin, no matter whether our politics or religion synch. They make me think, challenge me to look past differences, and cheer me on. You know who you are, and I love you for it. I am blessed.

I love my job. I work as a paralegal for a franchise company. It is a stable company that has grown despite the economic hardships. Our management encourages ideas, growth and supports its staff. I feel valued, rewarded and appreciated in the workplace. I am blessed.

I am thankful that I can write. I was given an amazing opportunity to write for clashdaily.com. It gives me an outlet for ideas and for frustrations. I have other writing outlets, and they are amazingly cathartic as well. I’ve learned new things and found a whole new way to express myself. I am blessed.

This Thanksgiving day in particular is poignant for myself, my siblings and my mother. It is the 4th anniversary of the passing of my father, Herbert Joseph Reisig, Sr. I am eternally grateful for my parents. The people that they are and were have made me who I am today. My family was never perfect, but no family is. Because of who my father was, I learned to be a strong conservative, to stand up for what is right, value discipline and the Constitution and to make sure my children know the same. Because of who my mother is, I learned to be a woman of faith, tenderness and love, value the benefit of education and thinking independently of what others may tell us, and to teach my children the same. I am thankful that my mother is here and healthy and I miss my father daily. I am blessed.

Remember this Thanksgiving Day to take stock of your blessings and to say thank you to the Creator who gave each and every one of them to you. Thank you Father, I am blessed.