A Time for Thanks

A hummingbird visits the new garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A female hummingbird visits the new garden (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As many of my readers know, 2015 was a busy year spent rebuilding our home after a fire loss, and 2016 has proven equally challenging as I continue to tie up loose ends around the house, while trying to rebuild my life. Some days I take things in stride, other days I do not. But either way, I am always grateful. Grateful for the roof over my head. Grateful that I can get through each day. Grateful for the love and support of family, friends and community.

Traditionally, November and December are months of togetherness and celebration for my family. Yet, with several birthdays mingled between the holidays, it often becomes so hectic that there is rarely time for reflection. For a quiet moment to look back on the year’s accomplishments and lessons. As this holiday season approaches, I would like to share what I have learned and the ways that I am recharging my gratitude meter.

My sister and her husband's wedding in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

My sister and her husband’s wedding in my new garden (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As I looked back at this past year, I noticed a shift in priorities . . . a new understanding of what is truly important in my life. My job, and my 110% dedication to my employer, slowly evolved as I realized what the real issues were and what were self imposed by me or society’s expectations. Suddenly, the job was no longer #1 in my life, instead I became #1 and my priorities changed the more I understood this transition.

Lesson One: No one can be their best self until they put themselves first and listen to their heart. This doesn’t mean to exclude others from our decisions, but when we put our feelings first, the things we really enjoy doing – like spending time with our family and friends – go from something we squeeze into our spare time to something we make time for! I now spend much more time with those I love, and I truly treasure each precious moment.

The Night of the Fire in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://www.agardenforall.com

The fire that consumed our home and changed our life.

I lost everything that I owned in the fire, some things that really didn’t matter and many things that did. This is still hard to accept almost two years later. Gone are the pictures of our daughter from birth to college, no wedding album, no pictures of my husband during our first decade together. Framed family images, some deceased, are nothing but ash. An entire drawer full of cards from my husband, buried in a landfill. A lifetime of beloved pet photos carefully stored in albums; my first horse, Chester, purchased for $1 and saved from slaughter, my first Great Dane, and many others . . . preserved only in my memory. Irreplaceable heirlooms, quality clothing and unique collections of art and jewelry – many cherished gifts, now dust in the wind.

Lesson Two: Although lost and irreplaceable, all these treasures are material items. They were a special part of my life and I am saddened to have lost them, but they are not – and will not – change who I am.

The new house and garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The new house and garden (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As our home was rebuilt, we lived in a rental house – a very difficult circumstance for someone that had always made it a priority to own their home. Even as a single woman, I sacrificed to buy rather than rent. Until this rental experience, I never realized how unloved a house could feel. It wasn’t only the appearance of neglect, this feeling was a part of the houses’s atmosphere. An unloved home seems colder, drearier, and in our case, this manifested itself in roof leaks, appliances breaking down and critter infestations. Our homes were always clean and pridefully maintained. They were loved and they showed it. Thanks to my perseverance and unwavering dedication to this cause, our new home was rebuilt within seven months.

Our precious granddaughters with Gatsby in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Our precious granddaughters with Gatsby (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Lesson 3: An excerpt from the 1914 song Home!Sweet Home! by composer, Henry Bishop: “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home” sums up my sentiments perfectly. You don’t need a mansion, an indoor pool or a wine cellar to call your place home. Any comfortable space, where family and friends can joyfully gather together, is a home.

In the weeks ahead, we may all get caught up in the holiday hustle bustle and life may seem a little crazy. You might forget to pay a bill on time or turn on the washer after you loaded it with clothes. But do remember to listen to your heart, spend time with those you love, and be thankful for all that you have ♥


  1. This is the post I’ve been waiting for!!! So beautiful. So Beautiful. Thank you.

  2. So heartfelt- We learn hard lessons-you have survived yours with Grace. Thank You for sharing and inspiring us with your grit and determination. Happy Thanksgiving

    • Thank you for your kind words, Gloria. You’re right … we all have lessons to learn during our lives, which makes the experience much richer. I feel blessed to be able to share my story and inspire others to hang in there, understanding that hard times often manifest themselves into something beautiful. Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season ~

  3. Kath,
    Beautifully written and felt You have truly come a long way. Thank you for sharing with all. Love you, Mom

  4. Diana Edwards says

    Kathy ..so heartfelt and well written. I am so happy that you have your lovely garden’s and home sweet home ..it looks just beautiful. Best wishes always.

    • Thank you, Diana. It’s always so wonderful to hear from my readers and friends – it touches my heart to know my message resonates. Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season!

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