For the first time in our lives, Dan and I chose to travel away from home and family on Thanksgiving. We've been hearing about the snow back home, and we are feeling like we chose the right year to get away...

Palm Springs/Palm Desert is beautiful.  We are staying at a lovely JW Marriott resort thanks to DanO's travels.  Those nights he spends in places like Fargo, ND, Sioux Falls, SD, Grand Rapids, MI earn him platinum elite status.  Those points make this trip possible.  Talk about something for which to be thankful!

We are here with our friends, the Shives family.  This is their Thanksgiving tradition to spend the week here.  This year, they invited us along... or maybe we invited ourselves... either way, the time together with our dear friends is wonderful.  We have been laughing so much it hurts.  

Yesterday, we all played golf - boys in one group, girls in the other.  The weather is a perfect 10 and we are feeling really fortunate.  Being with my pal Kula and seeing Erin interact with her friend Ariana warms my heart.  Erin no longer has a sister to share things with, but she's lucky to have friends to step in and fill the void.

Today, Erin and Ariana will pass on golf to take advantage of some pool time/girl time.  I am going to attempt to play again today, hoping to make a few more pars and a few less 7's.  As Erin would say, that's a first world problem.  Then later this afternoon, we will gather at the Shives condo for a traditional thanksgiving meal.  That qualifies as a pretty good day...    

It is difficult not to think of Shannon today, on this national holiday where we count our blessings.  She continues to be one of mine, even if she's no longer physically present.  She changed me in ways that have enriched my life, and she brought people into my life who have eased my burden.

So, on this day, I am thankful for our family who understand that the rules have changed, and the old way of doing things doesn't always work for us.  We are missing them today, for sure, but happy to be taking care of ourselves and doing something different this year.  

Today I am also thankful for the friends who have become our chosen family.  Not only Tom, Kula, Ariana, and T. Connor, but our network of people in Rochester.  Texts have been coming in this morning from my girlfriends.  How great is that?  There is much to celebrate today.  

Today and every day, we are grateful for those friends who will talk about Shannon.  The people in our life who help us move forward, but who always remember.  

Happy Thanksgiving.