On facebook at the beginning of November, some friends were writing that they planned to post something they were thankful for each day of November. Since I like goals, I decided to tag along. Could I find 30 things to be thankful for? I thought it would be a good exercise for me. Turned out, time ran out. And instead of running out of things to be thankful for, I ran out of days.
I was partially inspired to participate in the gratitude game because of a speaker I heard at a local attorney luncheon meeting, Laura Ling. After being inspired by her story, I purchased and read her book. One of the things that Laura used to get through her very long and hopeless imprisonment in North Korea, was to play the "gratitude game." Laura found something, anything to be thankful for. Can you imagine? You've been captured by the North Koreans, brutalized by your captors, and yet, you force yourself to be grateful. One day, Laura was thankful that she got to see a butterfly. One day she was grateful that she had hours of sunlight in her room. She practiced the act of being thankful to keep herself focused on the good that was present, even in the worst possible circumstances. Her story may have turned out quite differently, she could have died or been imprisoned forever. And she would have died thankful, not bitter. Makes you think about how you spend your life. If you are not grateful in your deepest heart, you are wasting the beauty that is gifted to you daily. There is always always something to be thankful for.
When I started the month, I wanted to make sure that I was thankful for the big things, each member of my immediate family. I wanted to make sure I was thankful for the little things. I wanted to make sure I didn't get too carried away and planned out and that I was thankful for what was happening right then. But like anything, it gets easier. Initially I felt a little too exposed, a little too heartfelt going on facebook, shouting out about all the good in my life. But as is typical for me, I quickly stopped caring what anyone thought. It was a very good moment for me to consider every day my blessings. The 2 minutes I spent reflecting and writing were often the best two minutes of my day.
I sputtered in late November and missed the 28th and 29th. It was not because I wasn't thankful for anything. It was because life got sticky with a newborn and I didn't use my phone or computer or get near facebook for bit.... Anyways, here is my list. And as December begins to amp up, and the pressure of having no presents under the tree is starting to get to me, it's good to slow down, be thankful, and spend a little time just observing the beauty around me. I won't always be so focused on it, but hopefully from time to time I return to positive reflections that I had this past November.
30 thankful things:
Nov. 1 - on his birthday, my older brother jeremy
Nov. 2 - technology, which allows me to work from home and take a longer maternity leave
Nov. 3 - Nicholas laughing in his sleep at 10 days old
Nov. 4 - my friend who threw me a very fun baby shower for Nicholas
Nov. 5 - beautiful orange trees with berries spotted on my walk, had never seen them before
Nov. 6 - a successful surgery for Eliot
Nov. 7 - my friend Shelley's beautiful and healthy new baby who arrived quickly, safely and to some pretty ecstatic parents
Nov. 8 - my husband's delicious coffee
Nov. 9 - brotherly love and that my oldest has shown no jealousy of his brother, only affection and kindness
Nov. 10 - on her birthday, my wonderful sister-in-law, Trena
Nov. 11 - bloody steak and red wine
Nov. 12 - those in military service
Nov. 13 - intuitive friends who are just there when you need them
Nov. 14 - a free chocolate glazed cream filled donut (winning)
Nov. 15 - my mama
Nov. 16 - running and the adventures and friends I've gained through it
Nov. 17 - my undeafeated football team. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!
Nov. 18 - the holiday spirit! And getting to watch Grinch with my kiddo
Nov. 19 - my son's wonderful preschool and the teachers
Nov. 20 - Eliot
Nov. 21 - gorgeous warm weather and a little girl that helped me have perspective on my own wealth and privilege and blessings
Nov. 22 - my dad
Nov. 23 - my husband's hard work to finish a beautiful remodeling project
Nov. 24 - Firefly Yoga
Nov. 25 - that my hair grows quickly. (I might have whacked off my bangs in a fit of hormonal rage...)
Nov. 26 - Nicholas
Nov. 27 - my brother Keith
Nov. 28 - DOH!!!
Nov. 29 - DOH!!!
Nov. 30 - on his birthday Scott, my phenominal husband.