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I thought I was the one in charge of the surprises, this Christmas morning.  Sipping my coffee and waiting for everyone else to wake up and smell the coffee, so they could unwrap what I hoped were a number of delightful surprises ...

... I realized there was something a bit different about my dkos page.  

At first, it didn't fully register -- it's like looking at a dear friend who got a new hair cut and you know something is changed, but aren't exactly sure what it is.  Plus, I was still on my first cup of coffee.

Then, an incredible thought occurred to me -- there were no ads.  Could it be?  Naw, how could it be?  Me? My eyes flicked to the right: No messages ... But, clicking on my profile, YES! There it was -- a Lifer Badge on my profile!

wow. WOW.  I just blinked at it; rubbed my eyes.  I clicked off and then back onto my profile to see if it stayed there.  Yep, it did indeed seem to be there alright.

I don't mind sharing that I burst into sentimental tears.  Talk about being surprised and bewildered and humbled and touched and grateful, and did I mention surprised?  So much for ME being the one who was the keeper of the day's surprises.  I have never been as completely and delightfully surprised in my entire life, and it's left me nearly speechless.

All day long I've been trying to find words to express what I'm feeling.  I even went to a thesarus for some help.  I poured over hundreds of words and none seemed to capture the awefilled sense of appreciation, bemusement, gratitude, snese of undeservingness (but still tickled pink), and wonder all mixed up with a burning desire to somehow express my thanks.  

But how could I do that?

With No messages ... an anonymous donor ... Who could I thank?  HOW could I thank them or them(s)?  And, looking at the long list of gifted subscribers, I could hardly take in the generosity of this community demonstrated by that long list.

I live in a very red part of a very red state, and I found Dkos during the bleak Bush years when it seemed like our country was morphing into some alternate, and much darker reality than I ever thought possible.  I felt so alone outside our close family.  Then, I found my way here, and I knew that I wasn't alone.  

Yes, I came for the politics, but stayed for the community.

Through the Great Recession, when my husband was out of work for over two years, so many offered up great ideas for economizing and the commiseration and encouraging words helped to sustain me.  When hubby finally got hired again, just a few months ago, there were congratualtions and celebrations.

When our dear companions passed away -- a pootie named Turtle and a woozle named Cindy -- there were kind messages that helped to ease the ache and loss.

Again and again, life happened over the last 5 years, and often, I'd find myself sharing and reaching out to this community to share and discuss not only politics, but also life.   Yes, talking about election highs and lows, but also sharing about our son being bullied, budget cuts at school, having another group of wild baby bunnies to be rehabbed ... this place is indeed a community where we share so much of our lives with one another. So, I am indescribably grateful and happy that I am now a Dkos Lifer.

Tearing up again, and I still can't describe the feeling I have inside, but whoever is responsible for this feeling, I want you to know that whatever it is, I am filled to overflowing with it.  So, I hope this reaches whoever was so kind to me:

Thank you!

And, it also occurred to me looking at that long list of those who have also received  subscriptions that I may not be alone with a burning desire to say thank you but feel a bit at a loss for how to do so. If you have your own thanks to offer, please, feel free to do so in the comments.

What a community!

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