Monday, December 01, 2008


[Above: two of my greatest reasons to give thanks.]

Ah, Thanksgiving. What a magnificent holiday. The food, the family, the friends, the food, the laughter, the memories, and the food - what's not to love? (According to my sister and husband, what's not to love is all the pumpkin. Too bad for them that they are wrong!) We spent the weekend in Oregon with my four younger sisters and their families, and we had a great time.

About a week before Thanksgiving, I started writing in a journal again. I just finished this particular journal. I started it on November 20, 2000. An eight year journal. My first entry documents that "Andy and I are dating". The last entry, November 22, 2008, documents that "Andy and I have two children". Wow.

So I finally finished up the last few pages of my eight-year journal. I had been thinking a lot about gratitude, and was thinking in terms of New Year's resolutions and how to show more gratitude in 2009. Then I realized that it was ridiculous to wait until the calendar turned before beginning my personal gratitude challenge. Why not start now? So I did. I started keeping myself awake for a few minutes longer each night (sleep is a precious commodity right now) and writing down some of the events of the day that had blessed me in one way or another. I have found this little exercise to be so uplifting and clarifying. Here are some of the things that came to mind as I was reminded of just how blessed I really am:

11/19/08. Today I was blessed by: friend sending a bag of her pumpkin cookies home for me; daughter reciting her Cubbies verse and earning her patch; baby sleeping for seven hours and then going back to sleep quickly.

11/20/08. Today I was blessed by: a cheerful traffic flagger; Caffe Ladro coffee and barista; daughter's preschool teacher calling her "Angel"; daughter's Cubbies leader telling me that daughter was very well-behaved at Cubbies last night; daughter drawing a picture of her "sad feeling"; baby smiling as she fell asleep; receiving order of children's books from preschool; finding a funny CD that Andy left in daughter's CD player as a gag; dinner out with my family, both girls happy throughout meal.

11/21/08. Today I was blessed by: friendly staff at doctor's office; vision & hearing [I was struck by how horrid it would be to lose either sense]; an apologetic flagger; daughter wanting to learn all of her Cubbies verses, and wanting to know how to spell all the words; daughter spelling "apple" with no prompting [we had told her how to spell it several days prior]; daughter recognizing by sight only her memory verse from last week; Andy cleaning out the pantry; thinking about the love represented by the many items handmade by loved ones in our home; looking through photos of our trip to Austria a few years ago.

11/22/08. Today I was blessed by: girls collecting food outside the grocery store; Andy making a detailed grocery list; pre-mixed formula and having a clean bottle in the car; my sister's invitation to stay with her over Thanksgiving, saving us the cost of a hotel; teaching daughter the "I've Got the Joy" song; clean diapers; a good latte.

I continued this exercise in a new journal, which I haven't been able to find since we returned home from Thanksgiving weekend. A few other blessings, written in the missing book, are: the baby sleeping for nine hours one night (the first time she has truly slept through the night); a person very dear to me very ecstaticly sharing the news of her pregnancy; a friend driving sixty miles one way to bring us a "new baby" meal; a great Christmas tree farm; and an unexpected note in the mail from someone I barely know.

There are just so many things for which to be thankful. They're everywhere! I have read that, once basic needs are met, money and possessions have nothing to do with happiness. Neither do status, education, appearance, or career success. The factor that happy people have in common is gratitude. That in itself is something for which to be grateful! Anyone, anywhere, at any time, can cultivate gratitude. This is a tremendous gift.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Kate said...

That was absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing. What fun you will have continuing to look back through your eight year journal.