Gratitude.

 photo: Katie Boone, Ceremony Photography

Thanksgiving tomorrow. I love this time of the year - family and friends, food and music. The annual Homer Nutcracker, the Chamber Christmas Tree lighting, the Pratt Museum's holiday party complete with a Santa in the homesteader's cabin. All of it comes wrapped in a daily rhythm of cold (mostly, usually, hopefully) and short days, long nights. 

And opportunities for reflections of thanks, and forward leaning to a bright future. 

This year I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

  • Toddler Sadie, who is learning to navigate the world, make choices, push boundaries, empathize with others, be grateful and kind. Sometimes. Also thankful for our quick healing from pink eye earlier this week. Yowzers.
  • Baby Linnea, who is pushing past her baby state as she nears the one year mark (next week!). She has one word ("HOT"), and she's practicing standing all by herself. She's opinionated and cheerful. I'm so thankful for our healthy kiddos.
  • Transitions! I've been mulling over my dreams for years now. It's still a slow and steady project, but I'm SO THANKFUL for the opportunity to lean in to Alaska Stems - to our farm and our design business - in 2017 and beyond. And I couldn't do it without....
  • Ben. This goes without saying, but as my graduate advisor told me when I started my M.S. in Wildlife Biology, "You must always remember what is important. These are the three things that are important: being kind to children, respecting your elders, and telling the people you love that you love them." It's not your standard advice for starting off grad school, but it's how I knew I was in the right lab. So with that, I'll take another opportunity to express my deepest gratitude and love for Ben. In parenting, farming, design, critical thought, and navigating this crazy complex world - I'm so thankful. 
  • Instagram. I know that sounds silly. But truly - the vast majority of those I follow are engaged in farming, flowers and design. They create things and support beauty and kindness around the world. It's a source of daily inspiration that I've been especially thankful for during the past few months. 
  • Being a part of a physical community. It's a broad and diverse community, despite it's fairly narrow (and cosmic) reputation. And I love it. I love engagement in day to day life in a place. Digging in and committing. It can be a challenge sometimes for my travel-loving heart to wrap around the relatively stationary life in a single community. But with that sacrifice comes huge payback in personal grounding.

May you all have a season that is filled with gratitude. With empathy and compassion for those around you - friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street. May you do something each and every day that helps make the world just a little bit of a better place. I'll be working to do the same, and I hope our paths cross along the way!

(all photos in this post are thanks to the wonderful Katie Boone of Ceremony Photography. Check out her fun post about her trip to photograph Food Hub producers up here in Alaska this past September.)