Thankful Tuesday

Sometimes it’s challenging to be grateful.

It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to feel down. It’s easy to feel shorted in life. But, when reading about hungry children, seeing a homeless elderly person, or talking with a sick parent, suddenly you realize how truly lucky you are. You see beyond the car not starting, the tough day at work and the extra five pounds. And all that you have to be grateful for comes into focus.

Wouldn’t it be great to harness that clarity and spread that slap-in-the-face gratitude all the time? I wish to be that way. I also wish to be able to give at a level that could eliminate the homelessness, hunger and disease that plagues so many. But, you know the saying, wish in one hand …

So, instead of wishing let’s get started be grateful and giving, shall we?

Today, I am thankful:

  • for having to pull my car window up manually (like pull the glass with my hands b/c the motor-thing in the door is broken)
  • for this inspiration to keep writing, even though I know I’m not yet where I want to be
  • for the health my little family enjoys
  • for dealing with the feelings and emotions of an 18-month old’s emerging personality
  • for my weird, still-not-flat, c-section stomach that holds on to an extra five pounds
  • for the challenges of the 9-to-5
  • for this video that reminds me of how little others have and how silly it is that I keep complaining about my car window or the 9-to-5
  • for having the food that fuels me and keeps this extra five pounds around
  • for the little kids standing at the bus stop today reminding me of how quickly my 18-month old will grow up
  • for attending a luncheon to learn about ways to give
  • for never having anything to wear
  • for being so busy I feel overwhelmed
  • for the spouse cooking dinner and keeping that extra five pounds around
  • for feeling uncertain about the future
  • for a house to clean and all that laundry to do – even though I allegedly never have anything to wear
  • for rarely being bored thanks to all there is to keep me busy
  • for good girlfriends to share a night out with
  • for discovering that there’s more to everyone’s favorite frenemy, Dwight, in real life
  • for being inspired by so many
  • for slowly, but surely, finding faith again and starting to feel less anxiety about the future
  • for my legs, feet, lungs and determination to run even though I’m perpetually tired and sore
  • for babies and puppies
  • for really, really good music to keep those runs going
  • for still thinking my eyes are too close together
  • for realizing I get a lot of sleep for being a parent so I shouldn’t really be tired
  • for seeing things a little clearer after a run (even with my too-close together eyes)
  • for siblings and parents and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and in-laws and children
  • for life

Thankful Thursday: Now

ImageI’ve been reading a lot of inspiring, go-getter material lately. The kind that makes you say, “If not now, when?” For example, I was lured in to this motivational story of immediate and gratifying change. And I was moved by this blunt and hilarious (and maybe crazy) gal to stop talking and start doing.

I keep thinking, “YEAH! Let’s DO … something.” But then I remember that I just moved. And I am training for a marathon. Hold the go-getting, I’m not doing ANYTHING.

But, wait. There is still so much to take away from these stories. Because, I just moved. And I’m training for a marathon. And both of these actions happened out of seizing life by the … er … by just doing it.

Last spring, the spouse and I were inspired and encouraged by our friends to put our house on the market. We didn’t think we had enough saved for a new house, we didn’t think our old place would sell, we were nervous and unsure. But, we just did it. And what happened? Our house sold in one day. (Holla!) We found our new house less than a week later. And everything that needed to happen to allow our move to go smoothly happened. Because we acted. (BTW – thanks for the advice, friends!)

And, last month, I got an email inviting me to participate in the NYC Marathon. Yup, the NYC MARATHON!! (Can we say MAJOR life goal?) But, was it the right time? Not to beat a dead horse, but like, I just moved. Right? Ugh … what to do …

Then, I was given every possible reason to do it: low fundraising goal, guaranteed entry, the race was on a weekend I’d be on the east coast anyway so no travel costs … wait, what?? YES! The race is scheduled for a weekend I was planning to be two hours away from the Big Apple. How in the world could I say no? Since then, family and friends have shown unbelievable support and are already asking how they can help and training has had an immediate impact on my body and my soul (man, I love a good runner’s high).

So, the get-up-and-just-do-it moments have come. And I grabbed on to them. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of missed opportunities in my life (I’m no go-getting pro). And I’m sure I’ll miss out plenty of fun during the next four months of training. But the things that were (and are) really important to me, the big goals that I wanted deep, deep down inside of me, are happening (or have recently happened). Because I didn’t wait. I didn’t talk about plans. I didn’t over-analyze possible outcomes. It was time to live life to the fullest and make what I really wanted happen.

I know it all sounds nice, but I know what you’re thinking. “Great for you, but it’s not the right time for me.”

That reminds me of when I found out that I was pregnant – which we didn’t exactly plan. And by ‘didn’t exactly plan,’ I mean shocked the living daylights out of us. At first, I looked at so many opportunities as missed. I couldn’t do this or that because I was knocked up. Boo.

But, it didn’t take long to realize that I was given a whole new set of opportunities. I tell you what, nothing will motivate you to get your sh*t together like a 9-month deadline.

Suddenly, I was paying off debt and doing home projects I’d put off forever. I dove into my writing (some of my best posts are here) and cleaned up pretty much everything at work to prepare for a leave of absence. When the time came, I was more organized and prepared to have a baby that I could have ever imagined. (Except emotionally. Oh, and except the whole raising a child part … but I don’t think I’ll ever feel prepared or organized on that crazy-train).

Although it wasn’t what I had planned, it was full of opportunity to get a lot of other things done that I really wanted.

And that’s the beauty of now. Now is full of it’s own possibilities. It’s full of goals you might not have even realized you wanted. Of opportunities you didn’t even know were there.

So, I am thankful for now. Now might not be the time to travel to Europe or start a company but it is the time to achieve at least one (or several) of your life dreams. It is the time to do something on the life list no matter how small or unplanned. What are you waiting for?
You got this. Go get it.

Happy Thankful Thursday, folks. I am thankful for NOW!

Overwhelming Gratitude

At the moment, I’m sitting on my couch with a sweet little boy sleeping against my chest and two puppies sleeping on either side of me. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m surprised every minute by how thankful I am that this little man has come in to my life. Every time I look at his sweet face, my heart melts and I’m overtaken by love and gratitude. While I was sitting here today, staring at him and saying a little prayer of thanks for the teeny dude, I realized I have a lot of you to thank as well.

The past couple of weeks have been exciting and full of love…..but also extremely challenging. Although I haven’t written many posts about our first three weeks, I received a lot of love and support from so many of you who read this blog. I really appreciate all your words of wisdom, advice, and help. The little man in the pics below and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the encouragement you’ve given us! Thank you!!

P.S. If you haven’t yet looked at our newborn photos, please visit freckle photography to check them out! A HUGE thanks to my dear friend Jesse for taking such amazing pictures!

Thankful Week: Spreading Gratitude

Happy Monday!!

I hope you all had an incredible weekend….or at least a productive one. Mine was productive; no major fun but a lot of crossed off To Do’s (hoo-rah for raking leaves).

So sorry for my absence in the latter part of last week, my cousin and his girlfriend were visiting FC so I was busy being a tourist in my fave town (and working…of course….to all my co-workers who follow this). Anyway, since I missed last week’s Thankful Thursday and since Thanksgiving is this Thursday, I decided to dedicate this entire week to showing appreciation.

So, I now introduce….Thankful Week! Each day I’ll be writing a little post about something I’m thankful for (extremely original, I know).

Today, I am thankful for all of the simple and creative ways we can spread gratitude. I’ve been seeing so many cute ideas on the interwebs for fantastic Thanksgiving table decor that embrace the holiday’s meaning, there are so many tools at our fingertips to help us spread a message of appreciation, and I think sometimes we forget that we can say thanks by showing our appreciation through an action or gesture.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite ways to spread gratitude for everything you’re thankful for:

  • Add these cards to your Thanksgiving Day table setting.
via Babble. via Satsuma Press.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  • Use this idea to create a jar of thankful messages.
via Young House Love.
  • And while you’re creating your jar of thanks, you can download this template to mail a thankful message to special people in your life.
via Young House Love.
  • Send this text to your best friends: “Unscramble This: I MA LHTAKNFU ORF !OUY” Answer: I am thankful for you! (You might remember this from Valentine’s Day).
  • Ask guests attending your Thanksgiving dinner to bring a canned food item – donate all the items you collect to a food bank on Black Friday instead of hitting the stores (or between shopping stops….thankful for multitasking!).
  • Say a little prayer of thanks for all the blessings in your life. 
via Polish My Crown.
  • Write a list of the Top 5 Reasons you’re thankful for your spouse or partner and give it to them Thanksgiving morning with a yummy egg nog latte.
  • Bring a Thank You note and a fall flower arrangement to dinner for the host of your Thanksgiving feast.
via frolic! via Saipua.
  • Ask your kids to draw a picture of what they’re thankful for and tape them to your fridge.

I’m sure there are a million other small ways to say thanks, so add them in the comments below.

Happy Thankful Week!