Not Grateful Day


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.


  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


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.


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.


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.)


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)



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.


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


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.



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?


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

Gratitute Challenge Days 25-30


My annual gratitude challenge is over. It’s kind of weird not to wake up and immediately go to my journal to write down a thankful thought.  Here’s my list for days 24-days 30. Day 30 is my favorite. Toilet paper really is a miracle and I love it!

Day 24: Green arrows at busy intersections

Day 25: Oops. I forgot to be grateful today. I did get a lot of cooking done though.

Day 26: I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my faith, warm socks, hot chocolate and those yummy Biscotti that go with the hot chocolate, the Bible, everything I said on gratitude days 1-25, my super cool cousins who I love to hang out with, a comfortable bed with pillows and blankets and a bunch of other blessings. I’ve had so many opportunities and blessings in my life. It sometimes seems unfair that I have so much and others have so little. I’m feeling grateful today.

Gratitude Day 27: Thanksgiving leftovers= no cooking for several days. I love it! I’m also grateful for paper plates.

Day 28: Kleenex. My nose is so grateful for soft Kleenex especially when the allergies are acting up.

Day 29: I’m grateful l grew up in a home where it was okay for my siblings and me to ask questions. I didn’t realize what a gift this was until l got older and met people who were punished as a kid for asking why. Thank you Mom and Dad. You are good parents and amazing people. Sure love ‘ya.

Gratitude Day 30: Toilet paper. Life is much better with it.

The Joy of Green Arrows


Some teens dream about the day when they can get their driver’s license.  I wasn’t one of them. Driving terrified me.  I got my driver’s permit like all my friends at 15 and then I let it expire.  In fact, I let my driver’s permit expire three times.

My parents, bless their hearts, kept trying to teach me to drive. Mom and Dad would take me to safe, calm streets and parking lots for me to practice. They kept bringing me back to practice even though I would always tell them that they were signing their death certificate by being in a car with me. I even took one of those driver’s education classes at school. That actually made my anxiety worse as the teacher told me all the ways I could get killed while driving.

What does this have to do with my gratitude challenge?  I was at a busy intersection on day 22 of this  challenge. The radio was on. I was waiting for the green arrow that allows me to turn left.   I’ve always liked green arrows. They are so helpful at busy intersections.  I turned and then I drove down the street and got on the freeway.  I went to my appointment and then I drove home. When I got home, I started thinking about the green arrow, the freeway  and the way I had just nonchalantly driven to and from my destination. I got a little teary eyed thinking about it.  I was a driver. Me.  A driver.  Driving does not scare me anymore. It hasn’t for several years.

This may not be a big deal to you but it is a big deal to me. I was in college before I finally got my driver’s license. I went for years with only taking surface streets and then I’d drive five under the speed limit. (Yes, I’m probably the person you honked at who was driving too slow.) There was one time when I actually said no to a really good job offer because it would have involved a daily freeway trip. I was over 25 years old before I had enough courage to brave the freeways.  And at that point, I had to have the Accountant or a kind friend in the car with me while I was driving on the freeway.  I was in my 30’s before I could drive on the freeways by myself.

I can drive on the freeways by myself now. I no longer make decisions in my life based on avoiding freeways. I can drive the speed limit and depending on the traffic flow, I can even go above that speed limit to keep up with the other cars. Am I a speed demon who loves the open road? No. I probably will never drive for fun but I can do it now and I’m grateful for that skill.

Day 22: I’m grateful for green arrows and the ability to drive. Driving did not come easy for me but I did learn how to do it. It’s a miracle in some ways. I can drive.

For any one out there who is struggling to learn something, keep trying.

Gratitude Challenge: Days 17-23

The Gratitude Challenge is in full swing. Here are days 11-23.

Day 23: I’m grateful for the Earth and especially for pretty sunsets.


Day 22: I’m grateful for green left turn arrows at busy intersections.

Day 21: I’m grateful for public libraries. I love the library!

Day 20: I’m grateful the Accountant knows how to fix things. It has sure come in handy over the years when stuff breaks around the house.

Day 19: I’m grateful for email and Facebook. It’s a fun way to waste my time and keep in touch with people.

Day 18: Kung Fu Punctuation. I’m excited and grateful to try it with my students. Every punctuation mark has its own little karate move. We will correct the sentence on paper and then stand up and act out the marks. I think the kids will get a kick out of it.

Day 17: Clouds. I’m grateful for beautiful, interesting clouds to look at on my drive home from work.

Day 16: I’m grateful for blankets.

Day 15: I’m grateful for my siblings and parents.

Day 14: Shoes. I’m grateful for them.

Day 13: Grateful for a working a car

Day 12: I’m grateful for my job. It’s good to work.

Day 11: I’m grateful for all the veterans and their families today.

What are you grateful for today?