Gratitude

Ah, gratitude.

It’s hard at times to cultivate a posture of gratefulness. There are days when it’s just not easy.

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Today is not that day. It’s Thanksgiving. And instead of blowing up the Facebook newsfeed with daily gratitude thoughts (which are nice), I decided to post my gratitude days in one giant post. Here are 20 things (in no particular order) that I am grateful for right now:

1. My Family

I’m missing my sister and her family, who moved a state away at the end of summer. But I’m so happy for them being able to live where they want, how they want. I can’t wait to see their place when we come to visit. I look forward to Christmas when they will be back to celebrate with us. I love the family Eric and I have created. Despite the normal parenting beat-your-head-against-the-wall days, I am still so very grateful for the minions, and the lessons they are teaching me everyday. Today we will have a feast with my parents and get to watch my kids climb all over them! I am thankful for family.

2. Health

You don’t appreciate it until you don’t have it, or so the saying goes. I am thankful for my family’s health. I’m thankful for learning about healthy living and eating well to nourish our bodies, and putting physical fitness into action. I’m beyond grateful that I’ve had the opportunity, and the energy, to model this for my kids. I’m glad I’m active and healthy enough to keep up with them!

3. Laughter

I love to laugh. Growing up, making my parents belly laugh was immense fun. I would go to great lengths to make them laugh, even lying in wait behind a door to startle my dad, who would freak out, but then chuckle and call me names! Even today, I like the sound of a big guffaw from my dad, or the silent-can’t-breath-convulsion-near-hyperventilation laugh of my mom. My husband, by nature, is not a laugh-out-loud kind of person. It takes something VERY funny to bring that out. I love being the one who can. My kids’ laughter is like music in soul. I love the uncontrollable giggles at whatever randomness they find amusing – like when I tickle them, or threaten to pinch their cute little butts all the way up the stairs as they scramble up as fast as they can to avoid mom’s “crabby hands that go pinch, pinch, pinch!” Laughter is my favorite medicine.

4. The Sun

I’m thankful that even on cold days, the sun has been out. I love the sun. The more places we live, the more I realize that I am a fair-weather girl. I need sunlight on my skin, the warmth reaching through to chase out the cold-to-the-bone raw iciness of winter. I need the vitamin D that chases away the winter grays and blues. The bonus is that these sunny days have provided cold-but-doable days at the play park to get the kids out of the house.

5. Friends

Old and new, near and far – I’m so very thankful for great friends. Real, authentic, see-me-in-my-p.j.s-and-morning-hair-and-still-wanna-hang-out friends. Friends who call from around the world for the 7 minutes we have to spare before going to bed/starting our day. Friends who while we may not talk daily, can pick up a conversation as if we do. Friends who are never far from our thoughts, those we bounce ideas off of, vent to, cry with, and smile for. Real friends are treasures for which I am extremely thankful.

6. Spin

I love spin. I don’t know if I love it more than running, but it may be a tie. Spin, especially in the winter here, is my current favorite way to get my much-needed endorphins, sweat out life’s frustrations and listen to some great music. It’ll cure what ails you.

7. Writing

Doing it for me, doing it for others – either way, I get to be creative, research, and learn. I love it and I’m thankful for the opportunity!

8. Vacation

The hubs has been on leave from work for almost 2 weeks. He’s taken over dish duty, early morning minion patrol, as well as preschool taxi service so I could get some vacation from the norm, too! I even got a few days to sleep in past 5am. There is no doubt I am thankful for the gift of sleep!

9. Grown-up playdates

Coffee and dinner dates with friends are one of my favorites. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been excited to have multiple dates over great food, coffee, and manicures – which result in wonderful conversation. Adult conversation is a gift beyond measure for someone who primarily converses with 3 and 5 year olds.

10.  Coffee.

If I have to explain this, you are not a coffee drinker and will probably not get it.

11. Anticipation

The holiday season is here and with it comes all the palpable energy of anticipation. I love watching the kids getting excited for the festivities to come. Often the anticipation and excitement are better than the actual events. Viewing holiday traditions and get togethers through the lens of my kids’ eyes is magic.

12. Food

Yum. I love Thanksgiving and all the trimmings. I also love starting new traditions and rethinking old favorites into healthier versions. I’m making scratch stuffing for the first time today. I can’t wait!

13. Funny inside jokes

I love those moments between Eric and I when we are sharing an inside joke, or spelling out things in front of the kids that we don’t want them to hear. It’s just fun.

14. Books, blogs, and magazines

Having a voracious appetite for reading, I love all kinds of books. I’m thankful for the many mediums to learn and read. Blogs, magazines, websites, and books to dig into, ask questions, get curious, escape into adventure and grow from are limitless.

15. Time

Grateful for time spent with my family, our kids, just the two of us, friends, or even just time to be alone. Deployments put time into steep perspective. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” -Mae West.

16. The Ocean

Simple words from my keyboard will never do it justice, but there is something about the ocean that I love and am grateful for. When I stand at the edge of the sea, I am reminded of the vastness of God, the universe and our planet. I am once again reminded that I am so very small. But, like the tiny peoples and grains of sands under my feet, I’m also reminded that small things, when grouped together, can do great things. I am grateful for the metaphors of nature.

17. Lessons Learned by Being a Military Spouse

The list is too long to count here, but there are some valuable lessons I’ve learned by being a military spouse. The community of spouses from all walks of life that come together over the thread of common experience is astounding to me. It proves in a small way that all kinds of people with differing viewpoints and backgrounds can get along – and thrive – despite hardships, heartbreaks, and distance. I am proud and thankful to be among the ranks of some of the strongest people I know.

18. Preschool

Yes, I am thankful for preschool. Not only for the mommy breaks it provides for 2 and half hours three days a week, but for the chance for the minions to play with other kids, to learn, and gain the foundation they will use for the rest of their lives:

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19. The Basics.

Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, running water, etc. We live a very comfortable life. I am grateful for it and hope to never take it for granted. Life is so good.

20. Gratitude

Yes, it’s kind of circular, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to be thankful. I hope to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in my kids, that they always look for things for which to be grateful. Hard times are made that much easier by taking the time to look to the positive, and to have a posture of gratitude.

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What are you thankful for today?

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