As my year from hell comes to a close, it’s time to take an honest inventory. Yes, the bad news always makes the front page, and there was more than enough death and devastation to fill several tomes. But there were victories as well, and I do not fail to make note of them, and to fully appreciate their appearance on my gratitude list.

First, the bad news: Aunt Jo died, Mom died, Bobby died, Glenn died. Rick racked up somewhere around 85 days in one or another hospital, and we had to cancel our much-anticipated 18-day European Cruise. The family angst dynamic this year reached almost unbearable stress levels, beginning in January and continuing throughout the year.

Now the positive counterbalance: I reached #22 in Chicken Soup for the Soul story acceptances. I finished writing my second mystery novel. I have managed to maintain a tentative email relationship with my 85-year-old father. I weigh 101 pounds less today than I did a year ago. And the Seahawks are on a roll.

But do the pluses make up for the minuses?

Not really. It’s apples and oranges; the categories are entirely different. I just know that without counting my blessings today, I’d be in a world of hurt, and the Law of Attraction says I’d be inviting more negativity into my life. And that’s just not going to happen.

So I’m grateful for the many good things that have come my way the past 12 months: the friends, the music, the smiles that start at the mouth and reach the eyes, the spontaneous happy dances brought about simply by dawning a pair of bright yellow 3-D glasses and allowing myself to be silly in public.

And while it’s not ALL good, I have plenty of blessings to count, and there’s still lots of good things to treasure today.