Life’s Not Always a Smoothly Paved Road

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So far, so good in 2012.

But as we know, life is not always a smoothly paved road.

Sometimes it’s pretty damn rough, in disrepair – rocky from heartbreak, marked by potholes, overflowing with disappointment and often impassable from loss, grief and misunderstanding, despite our pledged best intentions at the beginning of a new year.

But even in the worst of times, I can still throw my hands up and scream, “I’M STILL HERE!”

I can still offer my love – free from judgment, my faith – stronger in the midst of the storm and my hope – that remains unwavering, to those who may seem a little short of their own.

And I can still be grateful.

If I died today, it would be okay because I have truly experienced all the goodness that this life has to offer. And, if nothing else, for that I am grateful.

But, of course, there is always more, so I am also grateful for:

– Family! More specifically, a mother who still talks to me in the middle of the night, no matter how tired she is; a father who still remains my rock, regardless of how far my world spins out of control (Thanks for the reality check.); a sister who is always ready to get down and dirty for a good cause, and my children, who never fail to have a hug and some sugah for dey mama. Sometimes a hug and kiss is all it takes to make everything right again.

And for the other things that need soothing … well, I’m grateful as hell that somebody takes care of that too.

– Childhood memories. It takes talking about them to remember how innocent growing up can really be. I was talking to someone about my paternal grandfather the other day. I would sit on the patio with him for hours, learning the finer points of checker moves. Just mouthing the words “King me” left me with a delicious feeling. I’ve had some wonderful male figures in my life.

– A job that never fails to entertain me. Everything in life has its downsides, and so does every gig, but it has been a HUGE learning experience. I have grown and become a better person because of it. I am more tolerant of others and myself. I know how to push myself, but also accept my limitations. I also learned how to “let go and let God.” I’ve found that you don’t have to agree to get along, and not everyone is going to like you. But if you do your best and your intentions are in the right place, then that is enough.

– Bubble baths. I took one at 12:30 this morning because I couldn’t sleep. Nothing relaxes me more than a few bubbles, a lot of heat, jets on high and a good book. I stayed in there until it was almost time for me to go to work. I think I make a pretty cute prune!

– Health insurance. Damn, do you know how much it costs to get some tests done these days?! My heart goes out to those who struggle with adequate health care insurance for their families.

– My creative mind power. I truly understand that everything starts inside of me and that I only have to change my thoughts to change my circumstances.

– Love. I’ve had a lot of it – and continue to be overwhelmed by its generous nature. That’s why Corinthians 13:4 is one of my favorite verses: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” Wouldn’t the world be a different place if people truly believed and practiced this?

There are a ton of other things that I could include, but these are the ones that are sitting at the top of my list for today.

As always, I offer you my best ~ and for that, I am also grateful!

Now, what would your gratitude list look like?

Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.