I started out with a lot of big talk at the beginning of this month. Following the prior examples set by Lisa Radvansky and Anita Erwin, I was going to post at least one thing I was thankful for each day in November. That plan somehow went awry early on, not because I couldn’t think of anything but because I was, well, you know, busy. That’s no excuse, of course. What happened is that I missed a day or two, and before I knew it, mid-month was here, and I didn’t want to play catch-up.
My son recently shared some information he had learned from an article stating that if people could think of at least three things per day that they were thankful for, it would help affect their happiness. From experience and observation, I know that such a practice can also improve health, decrease stress, and increase longevity. For some reason I’ve always been able to recognize and appreciate all of the good things I have going on in my life even in times of deep sadness, loss, or stress. Seeing the good while acknowledging the bad has kept me sane.
Throughout November, I’ve been uplifted and gladdened by the facebook thankfulness posts that I’ve read. While I slacked off in adding my own daily posts, I’ve continued to keep a gratitude journal, something that’s been my practice for about 15 years. I daily record at least five things for which I’m thankful. The only difference between now and then is that now my journals are all over the place. I use whatever is at hand, and the “journal” might be a notebook, a pretty journal, my laptop, my Kindle, or one of several tiny pads that I have scattered about. While this isn’t the most efficient method, it works for me.
This morning as I sat down to jot down a few items, I got carried away with events and experiences and sights and sounds of the past several days. So instead of writing something pithy or detailed, I’m just going to share 30 (one for each day in November) of those, mainly to demonstrate that you don’t have to get all formal and worry about sentence structure and correct phrasing when you’re just making a list. You just list things like:
- Paul and Amanda’s new car.
- Facebook picture of Olivia and Ethan staring at the Christmas tree lights.
- Elizabeth and Emma lying on a bed sharing stories and giggles.
- Last night’s full moon illuminating our neighborhood.
- Baby Seth kissing his father’s face and head.
- Look and feel of Elizabeth’s house at Thanksgiving.
- So much good food, especially the ham, the cornbread dressing (my mother’s recipe), and the apple pie.
- Rich, my son-in-law, Skyping with his family in California and listening to his twin sisters laugh (their laughter was contagious).
- Target trip with my daughters and two of my granddaughters.
- Seeing Wreck-It Ralph with the grandchildren and stuffing ourselves with popcorn.
- Listening to talks and music from the Mormon Channel on my iPhone.
- Seeing bits and pieces of the Macy’s parade, something I remember doing with my father.
- Rich and my children’s father putting Elizabeth’s together a bed frame for her
- Baby Seth walking around all over the house eating pumpkin cranberry scones ( a no-no unless you’re an adorable baby).
- Brooke and Emma’s pretty polished nails (courtesy of Aunt Elizabeth). They chose alternating colors of Penthouse Blue and Purple Passion.
- Skyping with Paul’s family in Atlanta.
- Braden seeming so tall and grown up. When did that happen???
- Hearing my children and grandchildren state the things they are thankful for.
- Rich and Brooke playing “Heart and Soul” on his iPad. I loved this so much that I downloaded two versions of this song to my Kindle Fire.
- Missing Otis during the holiday but remembering that couples can (and probably should) have spaces in their togetherness.
- Waking up rested on Saturday and recognizing the restorative power of sleep.
- Christmas music.
- Spending an inordinate time in the kitchen but then quickly remembering how awesome it is to have food, dishes, and hot soapy water to wash dishes with.
- Thinking of my parents and their November 1947 wedding. Missing them but feeling their presence.
- Emma and Brooke dancing and singing.
- Colton waking me early (before six) each day asking for my iPhone so that he could play with Talking Ben.
- Beach experience with Carrie and being so glad that we decided to go despite a limited time frame. The kids LOVED the birds and were awed by the fishermen. We even saw horses strolling along the strand.
- Seeing Lincoln with Otis, Judy, and Carl on the night before leaving for the beach.
- Hearing and humming “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.”
- Uploading eBook on student success. Rich buying a copy and reading it on his iPad. Talking about Chapter One the next morning.
- I know November doesn’t have 31 days, but I just have to add one more thing: America!
That list took minutes to put together. The trick is to be attentive to what’s going on around you and make a mental note of it before you forget. Try it and let me know how it works out for you.