Today I have been thinking a lot of all the things I have to smile about. It always seems like there are so many bad things happening but when you really sit and think about it things could be a whole lot worse. There may be things in my family that are terrible and that I can’t control – but there are also a lot of good things that hopefully outweigh the bad.

One thing that I feel very grateful for is the fact that my mom taught me to be a saver, think ahead for the future, and be smart with my money. I was talking with a coworker yesterday who is basically my age and he has nothing saved, no car, lives at home with his parents, and in general doesn’t have his sh*t together. As we were talking I just felt so glad to have had a mom who taught me what she did. I was allowed to “blow” my first paycheck at 14 but that was it. Every check after that went to saving for a car, paying gas money to people who took me to work, buying food for work, etc. I was taught that turning 14 meant it was time to get a job and start thinking about the future. Nothing has been handed to me and I am grateful for that. Other friends have families that help with everything. Need $50K for a down payment on a house, no problem. Need a new car, no problem. No thanks! I want to work for what I have and know that I did it. If something terrible happened and someone wanted to help that is a totally different story – I would be there to help my family if they needed it too.

I will be attending a Christmas party this year and my niece won’t be joining us. I think it is the first one she is going to miss in her life (maybe the second). My brother “just can’t work it out”. I feel so sad that I won’t get to eat with her and see her talk to Santa and hear what crazy thing she wants this year (at 2 or 3 she asked for a pair of skis….) or see her dressed up in her Christmas outfit. I also feel sad that she doesn’t get to do those things like a kid should. Sure she will see Santa another 15 times until Christmas but she won’t get to do it with me. But I am glad that I am able to attend the party, help get food together, and generally be around friends and family to celebrate Christmas.

I am trying to be a glass half full person – sometimes it is harder to do that but I’m trying. Things could always be worse. I have a home, food to eat, cars to drive, and friends and family that are always there for me!

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