Category Archives: Gratitude

Gratitude: Weeks 1-4


A sampling of things I’ve been thankful for weeks 1-4 of 2013:

  • A low-key New Year
  • Getting Christmas decorations taken down before March
  • Soft black licorice
  • Finding motivation to get back on the healthy living bandwagon
  • Jack not peeing in his bed
  • Warmer than usual winter weather.
  • Simon sending me to a coffee shop after church.
  • Outdoor walk with boys.
  • Unusual Friday night date nights with Simon (two in a row!).
  • Great small group discussions.
  • Nightly prayers with Liam and Jack.

What have you been thankful for in the past few weeks?


2013 Resolutions

2013_resolutionsPrior to blogging, I was never really one for making annual resolutions (aside from the time I resolved to only flip Simon the bird one time a day – I made that resolution, BTW, and I know I’m just the best wife ever). But I have attempted to set them for the past two years, knowing that by publicly posting them, I’m more likely to keep them, or at least try. I don’t think resolutions are necessary for a happy life, or that you have to set them at the first of the year, but it’s been working for me – I’d encourage you to do whatever works for you.

I think realistic goals are a good thing and I believe that if you don’t meet your goals, you don’t beat yourself up about them. There is no score chart, no scale by which we are measured for these things so it is pointless to feel guilty, but it is not pointless to try. It’s in the trying that we improve, that we learn more about who we are and often, it’s how we make new friends, friends who join us for part of the journey and cheer us on when it gets tough. Last year, for me, was a tough one but my friends made the difference and helped me stay upright and moving forward (even if in inches). I’m happy to bid it adieu, but 2012 really was a gift, in that it taught me that I can’t do it all (whether I think I can or others think I am) and asking for help and doing life with other people is the way to be happy. And I’m so glad to have lessons to be learned, to continue to work on being a better person.

Life is meant to be dynamic, not stagnant.

That said, here are my resolutions for 2013 and here’s hoping they are kept but I reserve the right to not complete them and to not feel bad about that. Sometimes (often), despite our best intentions, life has a way of leading us in a completely different direction than where we think we are headed.

  1. Read more books (a minimum of one a month)
  2. Pray EVERY night with the boys [so far, every night Liam has asked to pray for Joseph, you know, Jesus’ adoptive father]
  3. Eat more meals with all four of us around our kitchen table [this happens rarely as there are only two days a week when we are all home at the same time and not sleeping]
  4. Be a better friend to my family
  5. Prepare house for selling/renting (and preferably, do one of those things)
  6. Work on non-blog writing
  7. Host a dinner party
  8. Lose 50 pounds
  9. Move 500 miles (walking, bike, elliptical) [If you want to join this effort, sign up for this group on Facebook.]
  10. Go on a family vacation
  11. Spend more days at the beach
  12. Procrastinate and worry less; laugh more
  13. List my gratitude on a weekly basis

So Thankfulness…

I do not believe that you need to feel obligated to name the things you are thankful for on Facebook, or out loud for that matter… but I’ve been in a practice of being more specific about things like gratitude and prayer requests. When I say I am thankful for you, I want to tell you why and when I say I’m praying for you, I want to tell you exactly how so in my own head and heart I am giving more weight to my words. It’s easy to say you are praying for someone and it’s easy to say it and immediately forget about it, but when you take a moment to name your prayers, you are in essence actually praying… God doesn’t need us to say “Dear God” so he knows we are talking to him and he also doesn’t need us to take 30 minutes to lift up a prayer request when 1 minute will do. That was a very tangential way to tell you, here’s the list of things I posted on FB the month of November, all wrapped up in one place. You might find this practice corny, cheesy, not for you or whatever, but for me, it works.

  1. Thankful, beyond words, for friends.
  2. Thankful for a husband who gets up super early to go to men’s bible study.
  3. Thankful to be spending the weekend with my three favorite boys!
  4. [apparently I skipped this day]
  5. Thankful for nearly nine glorious hours of sleep last night – the rarest of occurrences. [For the record, my average is 5-6.]
  6. Thankful that Jack ate a frozen waffle for breakfast… if you know my picky eater, you know this is a big deal. (and he just asked for another) [Author’s note: Jack will only eat them with the “crust” cut off; what’s that you say, waffles don’t have crusts? Well, Jack would beg to differ and also adamantly refuse to eat the waffles with crusts that you offer to him (at first I wrote “crusted waffles” and that just sounded gross.]
  7. Thankful that no matter what, God is “president” of the world – at least according to Liam.
  8. I am thankful for my siblings all around the world, whether they are in my life through birth or marriage, I think you all are pretty swell.
  9. Thankful (again beyond words) for my parents who got me started out right in this world and continue to be listening ears and unlimited support for me and my own little family.
  10. [and this one, also skipped – let’s pretend I said Diet Coke]
  11. Thankful for date night with my hubby and friends who make it happen.
  12. Thankful for the wonderful people in our small group – the abundance of laughter, authenticity of character and lack of verbal filters makes it just perfect for us!
  13. Thankful for my job/business and that it gives me the freedom to drop Liam off at school and pick him up every day. [Not at all thankful for the pick up line which is why I normally park and walk up.]
  14. Thankful for healthy (tho sometimes body-weary and broken) family and friends.
  15. Thankful for MOPS: the friends it has brought into my life, the church family it introduced us to, the delicious brunches and the time for fellowship.
  16. Thankful it is Friday and not only do I have the most fun weekend plans that kick off tonight, the day is filled with good things with some of my favorite people (and also work 🙂 ).
  17. Thankful for the person who did housing assignments at Calvin back in 1996… They stocked First Rooks with the best people who I am blessed to call my friends.
  18. Thankful for a weekend filled with some of my favorite things and that my boys all had fun without me!
  19. Thankful that all five of us (George included) are getting haircuts today – we will all look great for the holidays and the little boys and I get to hang out with friends while we get our hair done.
  20. Thankful I am not the Michelle Bennett who actually works for [a client] – she gets way more phone calls and demanding emails than I do (if all the wrong calls/emails I get are any indication).
  21. Thankful to get to spend the day with my first born… Movie, lunch and a play date = pampering boy style.
  22. Thankful for all of the good things in my life – Happy Thanksgiving!
  23. Thankful my husband likes to shop at the mall and find good deals, I much prefer staying home and shopping via Amazon.
  24. Thankful for new babies that have been added to our family and ones that are to come halfway around the world.
  25. Thankful for being on the other side of the stomach flu. [I’m also happy to say that I think one of my super powers is avoiding puking, no matter how sick I am feeling – go me!]
  26. Thankful for my kids’ creativity. At some point yesterday, both boys acquired 1000 invisible brothers (don’t call them imaginary, they are invisible!); this morning Liam was telling me that one brother (Bob) was in college* and staying home with daddy today… but not the brother Bob he had already told me about, or Michael or Snicklefritz McDoobie (apparently, only 996 have names). [*When I asked why he didn’t go to class instead of hanging out with Simon, I almost heard Liam roll his eyes when he said, “Because there aren’t any invisible colleges, mom.” Noted, just 1,000 invisible brothers.]
  27. Forever thankful for a roof over our heads, jobs to go to every day and food on our table. God’s provision is boundless and good.
  28. Thankful for Liam’s school and Jack’s daycare – most especially on days like today when I have had my fill of them by 7 a.m.
  29. Thankful for kids who love us enough to throw tantrums when we leave their company (how’s that for positive spin?).
  30. Thankful that there is so much to be thankful for in life! And thankful for my particular life, it isn’t always easy and seldom perfect, but it is mine and I kind of love it.

Gratitude, 81-100

Previously: 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80

81. Baby Ethan’s safe arrival.

82. Baby L’s safe arrival.

83. A MOPS’ table get together [at the yummy Marie Catrib’s].

84. A couple [late] days of Indian summer.

85. The ability to make good food that people enjoy.

86. Italian Sweet Cream coffee creamer.

87. That Liam has friends in his after-school art class and that he enjoys it.

88. Gift cards to Panopolous that allow me to buy stuff I wouldn’t normally get for myself with zero guilt.

89. Companies that can take a joke and deliver a hilarious response

90. Having the resources that allow us to sponsor a child in the Congo, and the opportunity to do so.

91. Friends who allow you to have a self-pitying bad day and don’t think you are too damaged.

92. Not having to worry about hurricane damage to our home.

93. That a couple of “my teams” won this past weekend.

94. That Simon had a good coaching year for rugby and that he is missing the last game to go away with the fam this weekend.

95. Getting to take Jack to his first in-the-theater movie.

96. Friends who are always happy and willing to watch my boys when I need the “village” to pitch in.

97. Friends who let me invite myself over to hang out when our husbands are out of town.

98. Texting

99. The Voice

100. Having parents who were in their 40s when they had me.

What are you grateful for lately?

Gratitude, 61-80

Previously: 1-20, 21-40, 41-60

61. Having the ability to be crafty.

62. A husband who lets me stay home and sleep until nearly noon when I’m not feeling well.

63. A husband who will take Jack to the doctor and bribe him with McDonald’s while he gets his ears irrigated.

64. Spotify

65. Coffee dates with Keri

66. My former MOPS table and our friendship/bond.

67. Date nights with friends.

68. That Liam is learning and loving to read.

69. That Jack is feeling better.

70. That both boys love the Wednesday night program at a local church.

71. That I can use my creative talents for promoting church things.

72. That my dad’s knee is healing, post-replacement.

73. Having insurance that covers the traction equipment.

74. That my nieces are so close in age to me and that we are friends.

75. That I can play Words with Friends and check Instagram while I’m waiting to get Liam at school.

76. That BW3s has $2 kids meals and games on Wednesday nights.

77. Reconnecting with people from my past who I always admired and respected.

78. That God is always good.

79. That rugby season is almost done and that it has been a good one.

80. That Thanksgiving is next month!

What are you grateful for lately?