I set out with a simple goal. Write down one thing every day for which I am thankful. It wasn’t hard to think of that one thing. Sometimes several thoughts bubbled up and the hard part was picking just one. It was surprisingly challenging to remember to take the quick moment to write it down. Sure, a phone reminder or calendar alert would have done the job, but I wanted to see if I could remember under my own strength to capture something from the day and accomplish what I set out to do.
The word gratitude means grace. And research proves that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
I set out to give grace to each day reminding myself of just how full the glass really is.
On more than one occasion I had to post date two, sometimes three days of thankful posts. And that was the hardest – trying to recall a specific moment of gratitude when the meal preps, laundry loads and errands pepper the sweet that has happened in between.
The challenge was an eye-opening exercise in reflection, and it was the simplest joys that I enjoyed jotting down the most. I happily now have a day-by-day snapshot, a glimpse into that month in our lives.
A time will come when I can look back and see these exact moments, relive them and give thanks another round.
Here’s my month of thanks. And thank you for reading.
- A new beginning, a whole new month to make memories.
- A forgiving, understanding, adoring without condition husband who loves me more than I deserve some times.
- Catching up over a glass of wine with a dear friend talking about the hard stuff and still arriving at we wouldn’t change a thing.
- Homemade pizzas and what’s becoming a Friday night tradition plus my two tiny topping decorators.
- Daughter’s first trophy and a day of rest.
- Getting a run in in the rain and all.
- My son trying out his newfound running feet as he hurries to follow sister back to her room to continue playing dress up.
- My daughter asking why Daddy had to go to work on his birthday.
- A new day because I was not my best yesterday. A new year (34 for my husband) and all the soulments that await us.
- A tiny fist filled with the last, prized blackberry.
- Cutting out early to start a weekend away and pressing pause on the to do list.
- Celebrating with old friends in the happiest place on Earth even if there was a minor tantrum over mac and cheese with those horrendous breadcrumbs.
- Sweet son said “sorry” for the first time while hugging sister after he hit her with a tinker bell wand. She hugged him back relieved by his affection and empathy.
- A work project, much like a puzzle, is starting to show glimpses of a complete picture. Progress feels good.
- Pieces of that puzzle fell out of place today, but I know it will all be amazing practice for soulments, which now has an inspiration board for its identity and I’m all kinds of inspired by it. We also had our first shower trio. The kids plus me in the guest shower because now both bathrooms are out of order. It was comical and insanely frustrating.
- Inspiring better beauty talk with some pretty amazing women.
- A letter from daughter’s teacher. “She is so enthusiastic about every activity and is one of the best helpers in the class, often without being asked. Today, I looked up after centers to see her sweeping scraps of paper off the floor. She had noticed the mess, got the broom & dustpan and did a better job cleaning than I could have done! Her smile lights up my heart.”
- One deadline met, new ones set.
- Celebrating a 40th birthday with the same friends who we celebrated a 30th birthday with some time (and five kids) ago.
- Filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child with my daughter. She helped me pick out crayons, a ball, toy car and toothbrush for a less fortunate child. She asked to shop for a young boy like her brother.
- My babes are fast asleep safe, sound and healthy.
- A class of Pre-Kers in turkey hats.
- He’s still little enough for me to hold in my arms like I did when he was new.
- First time turkey trotter who smiled the entire way! She was so proud to be part of the “race” she talked about for weeks. Plus a first in age group for this momma!
- Two helpers who are practically tripping over each other to assist in cleaning the new potty in their bathroom.
- People who bring their dogs to Home Depot.
- We took the Christmas tree display from Home Depot with an extra helping of snow that my daughter announced she was going to make cotton candy. We had her cotton candy for “dessert” after decorating our 9-foot, almost too big but absolutely perfect after we rearranged the entire living room, tree.
- Sheer excitement with the light up snowman greeting our front door. My son tried to say his sister’s name for the first time. He was at home sick and asked about her several times. He doesn’t know life without her.
- A little nervous about each nail gun noise coming from downstairs, my son quickly found the safety of my lap and said “seat.” Yes, sweet boy, you always have a seat here and will be safe.
- We prepared for a new Christmas tradition in our house but one that sweetened my childhood. Our advent calendar is filled with goodies and goodness including small acts of kindness that even little hands can make.
Gratitude is a powerful tool that doesn’t cost a thing, and its strength only grows with practice. Here are some ways to nurture your gratitude practice.
Pray or Meditate. Taking time to be still and reflect reshapes your brain in positive ways.
Keep a gratitude journal. Look at every day as a gift and notice the smallest of things that bring you joy. Write them down and go back periodically and enjoy those blessings again.
Say or write meaningful thank you’s. Grow your relationships by expressing appreciation to those around you.
Chew slowly. Taste every bite and enjoy the simple pleasure that is eating.
Have you given a month to thanks? I’d love to hear from you.