This is in order from least to greatest, although to make the top 10 you've got to assume that even the least is still pretty great.
10) My job: I don't love my job. In fact, I don't even like my job. But I like getting money and in today's world it's tough to find someone who will give you money for anything, even doing something you don't like. And I'm pretty sure there are a heck of a lot of people out there who would love to hate my job for me, so I'm pretty grateful that I get to do it.
9) Days off from my job: Weekends, holidays, vacation, sick time - what ever the reason I'm grateful that I get time off from my job (like the next 4 days) to be with my family. Just think, a century ago there was no such thing as time off. ... you only got it when you died.
8) My house: Yes, it's impossibly too small. My neighbors are a real pain. We lost our ass on this thing when the market fell. It was only supposed to be a "2 year house" 5 years ago. But you know what? It keeps the rain off of our heads. It keeps the cold wind outside. And it keeps all that oozy, gooey, sappy love of ours with in its walls!
7) Friends and Family: The past 13 months have been rough on the friends and our extended family. Priorities have changed dramatically and we don't get to see them as much as we'd like. But even though we don't see them directly in front of us, I know they are standing right behind us, arms outstretched ready to catch us if we fall and put us right back up on our feet. I feel that even though we are not their for them all the time, they're always there for us. For that I am grateful.
6) Karma: Yes, the ancient Indian balance of good and evil is great, but I'm actually talking about my dog, Karma. It may seem weird that she's above above (or below depending on how you're reading this) friends and family on this list, but if you find that puzzling then it's clear you've never owned a dog. She was our practice baby. She is our therapist. She is our vacuum cleaner. She is our friend and our ally. As grateful as she may be that we rescued her from the pound that day, I am even more grateful that she rescued us.
5) Sisters: I am surrounded by them. The lone wolf in a pack of pink poodles, so I better be grateful for them. 2 blood sisters, 2 step sisters and 3 sisters by law. The truth is I love them all, and they make my life a real joy. A brother might have been great, but I'd trade 7 sisters for 1 brother any day. Which is funny, because when I was younger I recall trying to make that trade and no one would go for it.
4) Moms: I've got two pretty terrific ones of these. My own mom has been my hero for as long as I can remember. She made me the man I am and she did it with out a very good example to show me. So I decided long ago that I was going to base the man that I would become on my mother. Sure there are side effect, like my love of the color pink, but I work hard every day for my family. I dream big every night for my family. I love hard and I play often and I do everything with in my power for my family. The best example of a good man, is a great mother. And I had one of those. I also hit the lottery with my mother-in-law. There are horror stories out there from down trodden and sad little shells of husbands. They must want to kill me with envious rage. My mother-in-law is amazing. Sometimes I think she forgets that I'm not really one of her flesh and blood children. ... sometimes I forget as well. She has 100% confidence in me as a man, as a husband and as a father and the best part is she lets me know it. I don't just "feel" like part of the family because of her - I am.
3) Life: You know how you know it's a good day today? You woke up. With out this breath in my body I wouldn't be able to be grateful for anything. For that fact I am grateful. What more, I live in a wonderful country, a beautiful state, and vibrant and colorful city. I wasn't just give life, I was given luck as well.
2) My wife: Gratitude isn't a big enough word. Thanks is hardly the verbiage. Recognition and benediction are far too formal, and beholden just sounds to holy. When she found me I was a broken, scared, starving little mutt. Hunkered down in the corner of a deep, dark alley. Her voice calmed my heart. Her smile brightened my world and her hand pulled me out of my abyss and brought me to my feet again. It was her love that built a fire in me, taught me who I was, showed me the man I should be, the one I wanted to be. With out her, this list is much shorter. ... and my story does not have it's happy ending. I don't deserve this woman in my life, but I'm grateful that she hasn't figured that out yet.
1) My angels: I found purpose with Gina. I learned drive from my mother. I got strength from my family and friends. But all of these things were tools; objects to be used for creating a masterpiece. My children are my masterpiece. I will not do great things, but I have a feeling they will. So, by default, they are my great thing. Or things, I suppose, as there are two of them. They quickly have become the center of my universe. The magnetic energy around which everything else in my life spins. They hold me in the palms of their chubby little hands. They are mine, but the truth is I am theirs. If everything else in my life falls to shambles in an instant tomorrow, I would still have to bow my head and give thanks; for He has given me the greatest gift of all: fatherhood.