Gratitude Days #1-16

It’s November so it’s time to start my annual tradition of finding something I’m thankful for every day this month. Here’s what I wrote down for days 1-16.

Thankful day #1: Today I’m thankful for bowling and my bowling buddies. I’m also thankful l can watch the World Series and bowl at the same time. It’s a happy evening.

Thankful day #2: I have a working car. That’s a blessing.

Thankful day #3: I am thankful for a job. I think every job has its moments. My job can be crazy at times,but the benefits of employment outweigh the drawbacks. What are you grateful for today?

Thankful day#4: I’m glad l have a library card. I love the library. They have many great resources there. I just got two free Phoenix Symphony tickets during my little library trip today.

Thankful day #5: Clouds
Thankful day #6: My parents are wonderful people. I love them and I’m glad they are in my life.

Thankful day#7: I’m thankful for shoes.It’s nice to have a way to protect my feet. What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Challenge Day 8: I’m thankful for Jesus and all that he has done for me.

Thankful day #9: Soup
Thankful day #10: I’m thankful I got to go to lunch with some friends today.
Thankful day #11: Veterans and their families for sacrificing for my liberties.

Thankful day #12: Music
Thankful day #13: The ability to walk is a blessing.

Thankful day #14: Eggplant paramesian is delicious. I ate it for the first time this week. It’s wonderful and I’m thankful to try something new.

Thankful day #15 Clouds

Arizona the beautiful state
Thankful day #16 Arizona is beautiful. I just love the desert landscape. (And thanks to the person who owns this house. I’m sure you wondered why a stranger was taking a picture. The view was just too pretty not to take a picture of it.)

Pizza and Prayers

 

Pizza picture

I had an interesting experience tonight. The Accountant and l went to a pizza buffet for dinner. We don’t normally go there due to the cost, but we had flyer from our insurance guy stating that buffet was only $3 for a customer appreciation special. When we got to the buffet, the cashier told us we had to get the discount meal ticket from the folks at the table in the back of the restaurant. I should have asked which table, but l didn’t. Instead l marched to the back of the restaurant and said hello to the people at a table. They turned out to be a group of preachers not the insurance company.
Me: I’m here.
Preacher: That’s great. I’m sure God has brought you here today.

Accountant: Amee, you’re at the wrong table.
Preacher: We are a group of ministers and we’d love to pray with you.
Me: Okay. I’m not going to turn down a free prayer.
Preacher: Do you believe Jesus is your personal Savior?
Me: Yes. I do.
Then the table of ministers reached out their hands and all said a little prayer for me. I’ve never been prayed over by total strangers at a pizza buffet before. I liked it. It made me feel really loved and important. It was a sweet experience.

Why I do the Gratitude Challenge Every Year

I’ve never liked the movie Pollyanna. She was always so glad and happy about everything. I don’t think it is humanly possible for a normal person to always be happy.

Despite my dislike of Pollyanna, I do a gratitude challenge every year.  During the month of November, I think of one thing I’m thankful for each day and write it down. I’ve learned two key lessons about gratitude by doing this challenge year after year.

#1    I don’t have to be Pollyanna.

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is Really hard. If my dog dies and my car gets stolen on the same day, I am not going to be happy about it. If a well-meaning friend tells me to be happy about it and to write a list of everything I’m thankful for,  I might just yell at them. Bad stuff happens. That’s life. Gratitude is not pretending that life isn’t really hard sometimes. It’s not sweeping the pain and real grievances under the rug. It’s acknowledging and feeling the pain. Sometimes you have to feel the pain before you can start to heal.  When I realized that I didn’t have to be “happy and grateful” all the time it opened up the possibility that I could be happy and feel gratitude some of the time. That made a huge difference and helped me to learn a second lesson on gratitude.

#2 Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness

There is goodness in the world. There are good people who are doing good things to make the world a better place for all of us. Gratitude is believing in that goodness. Yes, there is also badness and bad people in the world. We’ve seen a lot of that badness in the world the last few months. Gratitude is taking a minute to stop and see the good. You might see the good for a minute, for an hour or for a day. The important thing is that you stop and look for it. There is something magical that happens when you start hunting for the goodness. You will find it.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)

What will you be grateful for today?

Me picture

 

 

 

Not Grateful Day

terrible-scrorpian

I’ve been doing the thankful challenge for 30 days now. Yesterday,  I had a bad day. I wasn’t feeling grateful for anything. So, I decided to honor my feelings and write an ungrateful list.

I’m NOT GRATEFUL for…

  1. Scorpions
  2. Scorpions that don’t die when you try to kill them.
  3. Students that turn in all their overdue work and then expect me to have everything graded by the end of the hour.
  4. Dropped cell phone calls
  5. A cold   Achoo!
  6. The bill from the dental office
  7. Ants who decide to bite you when you are mowing the lawn.
  8. Lawns that don’t mow themselves.
  9. The blender decided to break when I was trying to make a smoothie.
  10. Bad dreams
  11.  Good dreams that you wake up from and realize that it was just a dream. I really wanted the ability to fly.

The list goes on and on.  I made a list of 50 things.  It was super easy to think of things. The more I thought about being ungrateful the more stuff popped into my head that was wrong with my life. Here’s are a few of my favorite ones from the list.

22. I’m not a millionaire.

37. French fries have calories in them.

48.  All the bad stuff that I see on the news

I learned that it was a lot easier to be ungrateful than grateful. It takes work to be grateful. That was actually ungrateful item #50 from the list.

50. Being grateful takes too much work.

After I wrote out all 50 items, I read them out loud in my most annoyed voice in front of the mirror.   I felt like a little girl who had been caught doing something naughty. It was so much fun to be unthankful. I gave myself permission to  get upset about all  the little annoyances and big grievances in my life. It was fun. You should try it sometime.

Today I’m grateful that I can be ungrateful and still laugh about it. 

 

Thankful Day #26: Water

Water.

I take it for granted. It’s always there when I need it. I don’t have to walk five miles a day to get water for my family from a well or river. I’ve never had to worry about clean water. I just turn on the facet and out it comes. It’s there for drinking, bathing and watering my little herb garden. I know I’m privileged. There are  many people in the world who don’t have access to clean water.

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I’m not a politician, but it makes sense to me to support policies that will keep water clean. I’m not a great philanthropist, but it makes sense to me to support organizations and programs that help individuals and nations have access to clean water.
Without clean water, we are all in trouble.

 

Grateful Days 1-24

It’s time to start my November tradition. I write something I’m grateful for every day for the entire month in my journal. Here’s my list for the first 25 days of November.

Day 1: I’m grateful for music.

Thankful Day #2: I’m grateful for bowling with my friends after a long day at work.

Thankful Day #3. Windshield wipers that work

Thankful Day #4: The weekend is here!

Thankful Day #5: Walking. It’s a gift.

Day #6: I’m grateful for all the rights in the Bill of Rights. It’s a blessing to be able to assemble with other people, pick my own church and express ideas in written form with others. It’s a blessing that you have that same right too. I may not always like how other people exercise their rights, but l will defend and respect their right to do so. The day we only look after our own civil liberties at the expense of others rights is the day that we all start to lose.

Day 7: Family and Friends
Day 8: The ability to vote

Gratitude Day #10: I’m grateful for puffy white clouds. I love clouds. They are so pretty. I saw a beautiful cloud driving home from work today. It made me just smile. Clouds are cool. I bet you are wondering what happened to yesterday’s gratitude post. Well, I wasn’t feeling very thankful on November 9th so I took a day off from the challenge. I’m back though today and will try to be thankful for something every day for the rest of this month.

Day 11:  I’m grateful for all veterans and their families. Thank you for your service.

Day 12: Grateful for my legs and feet

Day #13:  I’m  grateful for books.

Day 14: I’m thankful for a working car.

Day 15: I’m thankful for my free pen. Some one gave me a free pen today and I was very happy to get it.

Day 16: I’m grateful for my bed. It’s good to have a bed to sleep in . l would be a very grouchy person if l had to sleep in a tent every night.

Day 17: I’m grateful for my siblings.

mi-familia

Day 18: I’m grateful to have a job. (And now I’m off to that job.)

Day 19-20: I’m grateful my Grandma got me a cookbook for my graduation gift many years ago. I love this book and use it all the time. In fact, l used it tonight. I felt like eating some deviled eggs but l couldn’t remember how much mayo to put in. This book has everything in it. It’s amazing. Thanks Grandma. I’m still enjoying the gift. (By the way, Nathan said he loves this book too. He likes to eat.)

cookbook

Day 21: I’m grateful that I’m not a Pilgrim and that I don’t have to cook over an open flame every night. The 6th graders went on a virtual field trip to Plimouth Plantation this week. The students enjoyed it and it made me remember to be grateful for things like a modern kitchen and indoor plumbing. I would have made a terrible Pilgrim.

Day 22: I’m grateful for my parents and how they have put up with all these years.

Day 23: I’m thankful for good people who are trying to make the world a better place. Last night, Nate and l participated in a choir that sang for an interfaith Thanksgiving service in Tempe. It was a sweet experience and l felt God’s love as we came together with songs and messages. I’m glad l was a part of it. I even ran into my dear coworker Diane which made it a special treat. We took a selfie.

singing-in-the-choir  selfie

Day 24: I’m grateful for my Mom and the joy she brings to the world.

Thankful Day 25: I’m grateful for Jesus, for my family and for the ability to turn off my alarm clock and sleep in until 7:30 a.m. I normally start my day at 5:00 a.m. so sleeping until 7:30 is a wonderful treat. I’m also thankful for cousin Carrie. I got to see her today and she is one of the coolest people I know on planet Earth. She’s intelligent, fun, beautiful, creative and just an interesting person. I love hanging out with her. I’ve got to find her job in Arizona so I can see her more. (Or maybe we can both find jobs somewhere exciting like London)

carrie-and-me

 

Joyful Moments #202

I’ve been tracking my joyful moments for the last two years.  Every time I have a little pocket of happiness or a moment of fun, I call it out for what it is. It’s a joyful moment sandwiched in between my ordinary and sometimes stressful life.  I had my 202nd joyful moment this week. I made a frog cake. The Accountant told me it also looks like a green ghost.  I borrowed a frog pan from the cake pan collection at the public library. I got all the ingredients for the cake and looked up on the internet how to make frosting. (Sorry, Mom. I know you taught me how to make frosting, but I forgot the recipe.)  He was a happy frog until we started eating him. Then he was just a pile of crumbs.

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Life is hard. There are many, many problems in the world. It’s easy to get down and worried about things.  If I didn’t count the joyful moments, I wouldn’t even see them. I’d miss the joy of recognizing the pockets of fun that are in my life.

“Joy is strength.” –Mother Teresa

 

 

Goodbye Harry

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Today Harry the Laundry Basket died and went to laundry basket heaven. This laundry basket is about twenty years old.  It’s been to college, on road trips, lived in many different houses and had all kinds of adventures. It’s one old laundry basket ,and it was completely falling apart. The handles had both broken. It had two large holes in it. Ever time I did laundry, I grumbled because clothes would fall out as I was walking to the washing machine.  It was time to say goodbye and get something new.

Goodbye Harry.

Hello Suzanne.

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Ramblings from the Birthday Girl

Little Family

I turned old today.

It’s my birthday. I’m now 38. You might not think that is old, but it’s older than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Birthdays are a time to celebrate. I get to open birthday gifts. It’s just a fun day on my birthday.

I received a very special gift 38 years ago. I was given these two wonderful people as my Mom and Dad. It’s the best birthday gift I’ve ever been given. Mom and Dad have shaped my life in a beautiful way.

My parents

Thank you for my birthday, Mom and Dad.

I love you both so very much!

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone needs an Aunt

Everybody needs an Aunt Marla in their life!

I had a good day at work and then I got stuck in some very heavy traffic driving home. My good day turned bad really fast. I was grouchy, tired and frustrated as more and more cars piled onto the same road as me.

I found this in the mail when I finally got home.

Cute Card

It’s a Christmas card from my Aunt Marla. The card turned my day back to a happy, good day. It’s also really cute and glittery. I now have glitter all over my hands, sweater and face. I guess I touch my face more than I realized.  I look like a fairy princess ready to sprinkle pixie glitter all over to fly away. The card really did change my entire mood. It’s the power of a simple gift. It’s the power of remembering people. Thank you, Aunt Marla. You’re awesome. I love you.

By the way, I love all my aunts. They’re all strong, incredible woman who have influenced my life for good.

Have you thanked your Aunt Marla today?

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(This photo was taken earlier this year at Good Friday services. Marla is the beautiful woman in the middle of the group.)