Just as writing Happiness Key made me think extra hard about what makes me happy and why, writing Fortunate Harbor made me think about all the ways I’ve been fortunate in my life.  Taking a blessing inventory, if you will, is a thought-provoking discipline, and I’ve found the more I think about this, the more fortunate I feel.  In fact I have a new ritual I’m trying to incorporate in my life.   Every day I fill in this sentence:  “I am fortunate because. . .”  And even on a bad day–and don’t we all have them?–it’s surprisingly easy to do.   This is different from Pollyanna’s “glad” game.   I’m not necessarily trying to find the good in every bad situation.  I’m looking for the major themes in my life, and all the parts of it for which I can and should be grateful.

Life is filled with “lagniappe,” (a term used frequently in Louisiana)  that unexpected extra we don’t necessarily deserve, which arrives on our doorstep anyway.  Yesterday I was reminded of this, and not subtly.  I was hit over the head with it, a baseball bat moment, as you will.  Years ago, after the birth of two sons, I realized, as much as I adored them both, I also wanted and needed a daughter to help balance out the testosterone overload in our household.   After a year of discovering just how difficult it is to adopt a child of any age, gender or ethnicity, we learned of a six-year-old who was available to us, and after mountains of paperwork and a few scares along the way, our daughter arrived at midnight at the Pittsburgh airport to become our third child and the family peacemaker.

My daughter is, in every way, the child of my heart.  But both she and I have talked about how sad we are that we missed her baby years together.  What did she look like?  When did she walk, talk, giggle?  I was sorry I never had the fun of dressing a baby girl–okay, all those years of playing dolls was leading to that, right?–and that by the time she arrived, her instinctive fashion sense was so highly developed that pretty soon she was dressing “me.”   We missed the baby cuddling stage, the pattycake and eensy teensy spider.  Small things, yes, in the scheme of life.  We got so much, who could mourn too long?

Yesterday as I held my daughter’s daughter on my hip and watched the ultrasound that informed us that yes, yet another baby girl was on the way, I was reminded (baseball bat moment) how fortunate I am.  I have my wonderful daughter.  And now I have the baby girls I missed.  When my three-year-old granddaughter makes a face, I see her mother so clearly, and now I know what SHE looked like at three.   I held my granddaughter when she was an infant, cuddled her, dressed her, knitted sweaters for her, made her a quilt, played eensy teensy spider.  All those things I’d missed are mine now.  And soon will be a second time.

I am fortunate because. . .

Last year so many of you told me what made you happy, even, for some of you, in the midst of great difficulty.  This year I hope you’ll tell me the ways you feel fortunate.  Dig for them, if you will.  What have your received that you didn’t necessarily deserve or work for?  What blessings have simply appeared in your life?  How do you pass them on?

To help you along, I’ve printed post-it notes with the words” I Am Fortunate Because. . .” at the top.  These are perfect to use every day.  Fill in the blank, then stick the post-it where you’ll see it, and be reminded of your good fortune throughout the day.

The first twenty-five people who comment here and tell us the ways they’re fortunate, will receive a post-it note pack, along with a signed bookplate.  You’ll also be entered in my next big giveaway in July.  So stay tuned for those details.  You’ll only be entered once, so be certain you can receive email from me so we can communicate with the fortunate twenty-five to get mailing addresses.

I am fortunate because. . .   How about you?

34 Comments

  1. Barbara M. on June 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I could go on for days listing all my blessings, but at the moment
    I’m thinking how fortunate I am not to have to go to work in the
    95 degree heat we’re having here in Tennessee this week. My car
    gets to stay in the garage instead of a hot parking lot. And I’m
    thankful that we have air conditioning.

  2. Barbara S on June 16, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Good Morning. Grandchidren are here for a visit. What more can one wish for in this life??

  3. Arlene MaDonald on June 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I am fortunate because I have found my soul mate, you know that
    one person that God created just for you. He didn’t come in a
    beautiful package and only came after I had made a mistake thinking
    that God had sent my first husband. He came with 3 children to give
    my 3 children more sisters and brothers. I still don’t know what I
    did to deserve such a gift, but as you said, this must be a
    “lagniappe,” and I thank God each day for that present.

  4. Vanetta Quintana on June 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I Am Fortunate Because. . . I took a chance and stopped and spoke to a guy who became my husband 3 months later. Since I meet him my life (marriage of 23 years), because so much different and better. We both worked hard to get where we are today because we took a lot of “un-fortunates” and turned them in to a lot of “fortunates”. Like our 3 blessed daughters. We are very fortunate for them. We are also fortunate for a stranger who believed in us and helped us out by loaning us money to start our own business. We will ever be so grateful for him.

    May God Bless you Emilie! Safe Travels!

  5. Audrey Bonnell on June 16, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I am so fortunate that God has saved me from not one but two fires. He has given me two more chances to reach out to others so that I can tell them what He has done for me. I have a man in my life now when I thought I would never have another…didn’t really want one because my choices have been very wrong when it comes to men. I still have both of my parents, dad is 86 and mom will be 86 in Sept. They are still in somewhat good health considering their age. I fortunate to have met two wonderful writers, and although it is just to talk to online I feel that Emilie Richards and Diane Chamberlain are friends that I will have for the rest on my life. I belong to a writers group and we now have two published writers in that group. I am fortunate enough to have had all these amazing women give me encouragement to continue writing, even if I never have a chance to submitte my work or have it published, as it will leave my family a piece of myself for them.

  6. Alicia Farage on June 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I am fortunate because I grew up in a loving family and married a wonderful man. After 27 years, we’re still learning about each other. I am fortunate that God has been good to us. Even though I was laid off from work 3 months ago, we are surviving. I am also fortunate that you took the time to write a blog entry to remind us that we are fortunate. Congrats on the new grandchild!

  7. Debbie Hearne on June 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I am fortunate because I know and appreciate the love of family of friends. We lost our oldest son because of a car accident. He was married at the time, but separated from his wife and living with his Dad and I. Chip’s wife and I have formed a strong bond of love and forgiveness. Cheryl is the daughter of my heart. We can help each other with our grief in a way that no one else can. I never did have a doubt that they loved each other even when apart. Love lives on forever in our hearts, we just have to be open to it.

  8. Stacey on June 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I am fortunate because after 7 years of dealing with infertility I was blessed with a son. He was born premature and spent many weeks in the hospital. This year my son will be turning 10 and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I am to have him.

  9. Anngela Tollsten on June 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I am fortunate because I have got two beautiful children who thinks that I am the best mum in the world. I love them with all of my heart and then some, and I am so greatful that I have been given the opportunity to be a mother.

  10. Miss Paula on June 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Because I along with others is loved by a God unconditionally!!

    Fortunate to live in a free country although I do see our freedoms
    being swept
    out under out feet!!

    To have a wonderful family who loves God!!

  11. Jeanne Sulzbach on June 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I am fortunate because I have the best husband in the whole world. Every day he tells me how beautiful I am, and he how much heloves me. We recently celebrated our 10,000th day being married 2 weeks ago, at his calculation! I am fortunate because I have a wonderful almost 19 year old son with a huge heart, who is very giving. I am fortunate because I have a great job with a wonderful boss, and wonderful co-workers.

  12. Marilyn Seitz on June 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Oh, where do I begin? I am fortunate to have had a teaching career where I never felt as if I ever went to “work”. I am fortunate to have had two healty children, and most fortunate to have been able to retire just in time to babysit for three grandkids and be close enough to watch them grow. Don’t know what more one could want in life. Life is indeed good……..I am blessed!

  13. Evelyn Ferguson on June 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I am fortunate because we have a loving, large extended family who are happy and healthy. We are fortunate our son has found a loving wife and has become a wonderful father after having some troubles as a teenager and young adult. We also fortunate that we have been spared significant damage from the recent flooding which devastated our area. The damage is in the progress of being repaired.

  14. Sue Brandes on June 16, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I Am Fortunate Because. . I just found your blog and you as an author. And because I have a family and job which a lot fo people don’t have. And great online friends.

  15. Emily Murphy on June 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I am fortunate because ten years ago this really weird guy tricked me into going out on a date with him, and on the 19th we will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary! I had NO idea how lucky I was when I went on that first date, but now I give thanks every day that I did.

  16. Carol Parsons on June 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I am fortunate because I still have my loving husband of 34 yrs. with me, as he is recovering from a
    serious and nearly fatal illness. This made me stop and reevaluate my life and see how blessed my life
    has been. We have 2 sons who have grown into kind and loving men. They have both married women
    who make them happy, and given me the daughters that I never had. Now we have two grandchildren
    who remind me what a miracle children truly are.

  17. Gay Ratheal on June 16, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I Am Fortunate Because…after suffering a heart attack before the age of 50 and 2 heart surgeries, I am
    active and still going strong. I have 7 granddaughters who are the loves of our lives who bless my life
    beyond belief. I spend my gifted time reading such wonderful authors Emilie Richards, quilting and enjoying
    family and friends. So life is great and I am a very fortunate person.

  18. Cindye B on June 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I am fortunate because every day I realize the blessings we are surronded with. After a year of successful chemotherapy, my husband is still with us. We are blessed to be surrounded with the love of our family and friends and future good health. I am further blessed to know the gift of each day and thank God for the miracle and beauty of life and all the good He surrounds us with. It is at times unfortunate that it takes being faced with a tragic event of this magnitude for us to realize the many, many blessings that surround us.

  19. Angela Posey-Arnold on June 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I am fortunate because……I can find the peace in the storm, the joy in the pain,
    and the grace of Jesus beyond compare!!!!

  20. Jessica on June 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I am fortunate because I have the opportunity to chase my dream of becoming a published author!

  21. Nicky Russell on June 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I m Loved and I love without hesitation

  22. Jane on June 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I am fortunate for an unplanned pregnancy that has brought me
    both my first grandchild and a future daughter-in-law. What a
    blessing they have brought to my life!

  23. Sylvia Bobbitt on June 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I am fortunate that I found a wonderful man (at 40) who loves me more than I ever imagined someone could.

    I am also fortunate to recognize life’s priorities and know that helping those less fortunate is a better use for my money than spending it on material possessions, and I am fortunate to have some little money to do that with. Because no matter how little I have, someone else has less, and by helping them I help myself (spiritually).

  24. Sue Goodin on June 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I am fortunate because first of all I’m living and breathing. Second of all because I have wonderful friends and family.

  25. Connie Wade on June 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I am fortunate to have two terrific children who are grown and married, adding my number of children to four. Then along came the first (9), second (8), third (6), fourth (4), fifth (3), sixth (2), and seventh (5 mos) grandchild. I am fortunate to have been able to watch my fourth (4 years old) grandchild dance in her ballet recital the first Friday of June followed by my fifth grandchild’s birthday on Saturday. This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to watch in awe as my first, second, and third grandchild played in their piano recital and were having fun playing. The cherry on top is… I am fortunate they all love me!

  26. Tammy on June 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I am fortunate because both of my children are healthy and happy.
    There are many Mother’s in this world without that today.

  27. Holly Moon on June 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I am fortunate that my family is nearby (when so many
    families have miles between them)– and that we are close
    in spirit as well. I am forunate that God choose
    my husband and myself to be parents to our adopted children
    as well as our natural born children. I am forunate to have
    good and faithful friends to see me thru lifes ups and downs.

    I am forunate that I know I am forunate, and I thank God daily
    for the blessings he has sent my way.

  28. Nancy Carty Lepri on June 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I am fortunate because I get to read Emilie’s WONDERFUL books early so I can review them! Thanks, Em!

  29. Emilie Richards on June 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Congratulations to everyone “ahead” of me here. You’ll receive your I Am Fortunate post-it notes and autographed bookplates as soon as we confirm your addresses.

  30. Robyn Gatti on June 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I a fortunate because as I sat Tuesday with my 15 month old grandson napping in my arms I remembered the stitched pillow on my sofa that says “Some people only dream of angels…I hold one in my arms” and I truly knew at that momment how blessed I was 🙂

  31. Debbie Haupt on June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Emilie, I am fortunate because of my family and friends, of my work and my pleasure activities, because I live in a place where
    disagreeing with people only ends in arguments. I am fortunate to have read and totally enjoyed my copy
    of Fortunate Harbor and I am fortunate to be able to “impatiently” wait for the next episodes in the lives
    my friends of Happiness Key. 😉
    Your friend
    Deb

  32. Bonnie on June 24, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Today I am fortunate that I scanned your website and found that you have a cottage at Chautauqua Lake. I hope that you will be here in September for the Quilt Show weekend and maybe schedule a booksigning??? I love your books and wait eagerly for each new one. I recently found your Ministry is Murder series and love them too! I love good books that I can share with both my Mom and my daughters. Thank you.

  33. Susan Webb on June 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Emilie! I am fortunate to be alive. I am thankful for every day
    I’m alive.

  34. manisha on June 11, 2011 at 1:52 am

    i am fortunate bcoz i have hands eyes legs and all which a person need to spend life happily i want to tell all those who waste their time dont waste time try to do as much as u can we have got this wounderful life forget that thing which gives u pain.
    say to ur self every morning

    i m fortunate
    today is going to a great day i can handle more than i thing , things dont get betr by worring about them ,,
    i can handle more than i think i can,,,,,,,,,,

    this wil make u hapy and give strength to face problem hapily i wish this wil u help u in the way this help me,

    take care u all

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