Tag Archives: gratitude

Why I’m Thankful Every Day…

Hi.  You guys know me as author J Monkeys, but as I sat down to write Saturday’s blog post, I knew that I had to do something a little different from my usual tongue-in-cheek rant because in addition to being a children’s author, I’m also a mom of very young school children.  My name is Jennifer Moncuse, and I live in Connecticut.

I live just about as far from Newtown CT as our tiny state will allow, but my twins will be starting kindergarten next year.  I have a second grader at home as well and today’s horrifying news of the heartless slaughter of innocents and innocence, practically in my own backyard, has shaken me.  I cried through some of the news coverage late this afternoon, watching on the sly because I don’t want my preschoolers to hear about children being killed at school.  How could I possibly talk with them about this in a way that they will understand when I don’t understand it myself?  I don’t think it is something that is understandable.

I had been planning to write next week’s post, due out 12-22-12, about why it was all right with me if the world ended on Friday, but I’m switching up the order and the slant because for a lot of people the world ended today.

In addition to sending my most heartfelt prayers to the families of those who lost so much today, I wanted to take a moment to be thankful for the wonderful things in my own life.

  • I’m thankful for my wonderful, healthy children, their laughter, their genuine-ness, the opportunity to teach them about the world.
  • I’m thankful for my incredible partner in this life, for his kindness, his sensitivity to others, his willingness to be responsible for 50% of everything, and for loving me just as I am.
  • I’m thankful for my family – drama and all, I wouldn’t swap any of you with anyone else, no matter the reason.
  • I’m thankful for my dear friends who really know me and accept me without reservation.

As I thought about all the other things I’m grateful for, especially the things, I decided that they didn’t really matter.  The house, the car, the job.  Maybe it’s easy for me to say that having a roof over my head doesn’t really matter, because I have the luxury of saying it under said roof.  There’s probably a lot of truth to that.  But on a night like this one, it doesn’t make the list, except as a safe haven for my kids.

Here’s my secret for today: However you understand God (as a him, a her, a them, or an it) take a moment to say “Thank you” for all the important things in your life, whatever or whomever they might be.   Hug your loved ones tightly and remember to tell them often how much you love them.  That way you’ll be ready when the world ends, no matter if it’s next Friday or more likely, some other day when you least expect it.


I Love Life in 21st Century America

Welcome to Blog Tour de Force!  You should have gotten here from Paul Rice’s blog and the next up is Sharon Gerlach’s blog.  Everybody who comments on my blog today gets a free digital copy of my first novel, The Cordovan Vault.  And for every copy I give away to a commenter, a copy goes to a soldier, too.

When it comes time for the family round-table discussion of what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving Day, the most common answer at my table will be ‘electricity’.  We’ve had two big, long power outages here in Connecticut this fall.  First Hurricane Irene in September and now Winter Storm Alfred.  I didn’t have trouble with Irene, but Alfred cost me four and a half days without electricity.  That’s the longest I’ve been without power in my life.  Eight days after the storm, 300,000 electricity customers in CT are still without power.  And it’s been cold.  Like in the 20’s at night.

It turns out that I’m nowhere near ready for Armageddon.  That whole Mayan 2012 thing had better not come true, because I don’t like living in the Dark Ages.  Primitive conditions suck.

Since this is supposed to be a post about gratitude, let me say that I’m incredibly grateful to have the lights back on at my house.  I’m grateful to have heat and food in my cold fridge again.  My kids are thrilled to have a working TV.  But beyond all of those things, I’m newly grateful for the good fortune to have been born in the United States of America in the 21st century where I get to take all these things for granted.

Of course I realize there are lots of people right here in the US of A who don’t have these creature comforts, but at least they have options.  Food banks, shelters, government assistance programs, inadequate as they may seem to some, are far better here than in many parts of the world.  Africa comes to mind.  I can’t imagine having no water, no food, no shelter, and no hope of finding them.  And I really can’t imagine having starving children with no way to help them, widespread Aids, rogue militia or genocide to top it all off.  (This holiday season, consider shopping at Heifer International.  Your gift could mean the world to the recipient.)

What about “life” in a world where women are treated as property, without any rights of their own?  Unable to vote, work, drive a car, be educated, or even walk in public without being draped head-to-toe in a life constricting burka.  And of course, there are plenty of other places with terrible living conditions.

So after living through my little four-day disaster, I’m pretty dang grateful that my life is as cushy as it is.  I’m also incredibly grateful to the millions of Americans who’ve fought and died to be sure that I get to enjoy that cushiness, the freedoms and life that I’ve taken for granted for 30 years.  From the farmers who fought in the Continental Army right on down to the men and women who will be coming home soon from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Thank you.  Seriously, thank you.

I’d also like to offer my thanks to all the others who’ve fought to better my life.  The Suffragettes who got me the right to vote, the Civil Rights Workers who fought to make my kids’ lives equal, the Social Reformers who improved factory conditions, the Scientists who developed modern medicine.  And today, I’d like to offer a special thanks to Mr. Edison and Mr. Tesla.  Thank you for electricity.

So what are you grateful for these days?  Don’t forget to include your email address in your comment so that I can send you a magical code for a free copy of The Cordovan Vault.  And comment generously, for every copy of the book I give a way, a copy goes to a soldier, too.  Thanks for hanging out with me and the next stop on the tour will be Sharon Gerlach’s blog.

For more info on me, J Monkeys, and my books, check out my website: www.jmonkeys.com.