Friday, September 30, 2011

Is Gratitude Offensive?

Yesterday, in a meeting, a friend of mine called me a "kiss ass" because I post this blog every day - and it got me thinking. First of all, I know he was kidding - but it still kind of made me pause and think. Is it offensive to post this blog each day? If not offensive, is it obnoxious?

I really hope that my daily list is not considering kissing ass (although, if you are going to kiss someone's...God is not a bad choice!). I also hope it doesn't come across like bragging. I really believe in the power of attraction, and I think that by thinking good thoughts, more good things come into your life. I am not trying to show off, by any stretch of the imagination.

My purpose in this blog is four fold:
1. To recognize where my blessings come from and make a habit of acknowledging them
2. To fight my sarcastic, cynical nature and focus on the positive
3. To be accountable to maintain the habit of having a grateful attitude about EVERYTHING that comes into my life, even things that might seem like they don't offer much to be grateful for.
4. To show other people how this works for me, in order to show them it could work for them, as well.

Yesterday was kind of a bum day. Without going into the details, it just seemed like I couldn't go anywhere without bumping into drama or trouble - definitely not my idea of fun. On the verge of tears of frustration and anger, in my car, I made myself think of things to be grateful for...and in a short car ride, my attitude turned around.

Here's my list - Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Tree lined streets - big ol' trees, with big, tall, long branches that create canopies over the road
- Sunshine - after a foggy, yucky morning, it was good to see the sun poking her head out.
- Privacy in the car - thank goodness I can retreat to my car and have some alone time, where I can sing, shout, pray out loud.
- My health - I can breathe, walk, etc. without any struggle, and there are lots of people that would give anything to be so lucky.
- My husband - he knows exactly how to make me smile, even when I am fighting not to.

There? See? How can I be a grumpy pants when all that good stuff is in my life? Life is good, for the most part, and if the price I have to pay for having all that are occassional days where I feel like I have a black cloud over my head, so be it.

Dear God, thanks for giving me another day to try again. Please grant me the serenity to accept the things and people I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, especially my attitude, and the wisdom to know the difference. Please keep an eye on K's family, especially my MIL - they are going to miss her a lot, and she's fought valiantly. Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saying "Thank You"

"God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today.

Have you used one to say "thank you"?" ~William A. Ward

My focus for today will be saying "thank you", out loud and directly to the person or thing I feel gratitude for. It's all well and good for me to post this here and to share it with you, but it's a little self centered of me to assume that the people I feel grateful for read this blog (although, I hope that they do...and I am not above being a little self-centered...). Today, I am going to take it to the "next level" and say "thank you" in person!

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Coworkers that let me vent
- A husband that always has my back
- Opportunities to be of service to two organizations at the same time
- Back massages
- Microwave popcorn

Dear God, thanks for the awesome people, places and things in my life - I am surrounded by good stuff, and I owe it all to You. Help me to be more outwardly obviously in my gratitude for the blessings You've given me. Help me with the character defects of ________ and _________ today....oh, and ________. They are kind of kicking my butt right now. Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Passing it on

Today, I spent some time with some ladies that live in a residential rehabilitation home - there's 18 of them that are living in a big ol' house in downtown Birmingham. They are all newly sober - and as usually comes with that many women in one house, new in sobriety, there's a little drama going on. OK - there's a LOT of drama going on - gossip galore.

My intention in going to the house was just to spend time with them and have a little pizza - maybe play some games, bring a little sunshine and distraction. As always, when I go, I brought "prizes" - journals, puzzle books, sweets - because who doesn't like a treat, right?

Well, with all of the grumbling going on at the house - I knew it wasn't going to work to just eat some pizza and dive into some games. There was some serious animosity going on - physical tension when certain people walked in the room, certain girls refusing to even hang out in the same room where we ate the pizza (now, THAT is a serious issue! Who doesn't want to be near pizza??). I hate tension - and so, my little brain struck with an idea! "What if I taught them how to do my handy dandy gratitude list exercise in these here journals, and explained how gratitude turns my grumpiness around?" Ta da!

They were into it! Everybody was able to pick their own journals out - and I walked them through the process. I explained that my lists varied from very simple things like "air" or "being able to walk" to very specific things like "the way the moon illuminated the backyard and made it so bright that I could see the way the dogs were spooked by the little baby frogs on the back porch". Once I gave them some examples, they were off to the races - some of the girls even put ME on their lists! Bonus!

All of the sudden, there were smiles on faces and the mood in the room lightened. They were actually having a good time trying to brainstorm things they were grateful for, and despite their extenuating circumstances, they were all about to come up with at least a page full of people or things they felt lucky to have. Just to add a little sparkle to the moment, I even handed out stickers that said things like "Well Done!" or "Wow!" - just because it was fun.

When everyone was finished, we moved on to how to write the prayer at the end. I told them that the formula I try to follow is three fold:
1. Thank God for all of the blessings in my life.
2. Ask Him for help to not mess it up and try to find a way to be of service that day.
3. Include a request for a friend.

I told them there was no right or wrong way to write the prayer - that mine varied every day, but that I use that formula as a way to get started when I feel stuck or don't quite know how to talk to God that day. (It happens - some days, I feel like God and I speak different languages.)

I encouraged the girls to use this as a tool - when they find themselves getting cranky or feeling discontented, this was an action they could take to turn their attitudes around. Moreover, it was something they could (gently) suggest to the other residents as a way to stay positive - instead of resorting to gossip and complaining. They seemed into it, and I am excited to have been able to pass it along today!

Here's MY list for the day:

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Being able to pass it along and have it be received so well
- Someone on the board that's willing to step up and try to FIX some of the issues that are wrong
- Trying a new tilapia recipe that S and I both actually like!
- New books to read on my Kindle
- Plumbers that can fix things when they break

Dear God, thanks so much for the wonderful things You've graced me with, today and every day. Thanks for the opportunity to pass along this fun gratitude list tool. Help me to continue to practice gratitude in my every day life - and to be an example of how You can work through someone if we let You. Please keep an eye on the girls at the house - it's crazytown there right now, and they are scared. If I can be of service in another way, please show me how. Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fighting My Grumpy Inner Nature

Today, I am feeling very grateful - kind of just all over content. Although it's not my nature to look for the positive side of circumstances, because of practicing gratitude, it's become habit...which means that in the things that would have formerly made me grumpy and grumbly, I can see something to feel gratitude about. It's a fabulous way to travel through the day, instead of feeling like the world is out to get me or get in my way. Here's what I mean:

A friend running late to meet me for lunch? Sweet! That's time to read "The Hunger Games", which I am now hooked on. Dogs are both sick at the same time? No problem - we have a great vet that will get them back to fighting shape in no time, and we get a discount for having multiple dogs. Car trouble six months ago? Whatever! That's in the past - and to make up for it, they gave me two free oil changes, so I got a free oil change this week AND one more to come - that rocks! I live too far away from work to get home and back again before my next meeting, so now I am "stuck" in town with nothing to do. Absolutely not! It freed up time in my schedule to be able to go volunteer at the Komen office today, which I've been meaning to do anyway since it's a cause near and dear to my heart.

See what I mean? It's all about perspective - and making gratitude a habit has changed mine, for sure.

The last thing on my list for the day is my wonderful husband - today is our monthaversary, and I am grateful for being so lucky to marry a man that will indulge me when I want to celebrate our smaller milestones.

Dear God, thanks for everything - please help me to not mess it up form here. Amen.

What's on your list today? What can you look at in a new way?

Monday, September 26, 2011

How can you be grateful for laundry???

This afternoon, I PLOWED through some massive laundry - and instead of being grumbly, like I wanted to be, thinking things like "How can two people make such a ridiculous amount of laundry?" or "Why do I have to do all of our laundry?", I decided to be grateful for laundry. Huh? How can someone actually be grateful for doing loads and loads of laundry? Check this out:

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Having a washer and dryer, in the house - I vividly remember the days of apartment living, where I would have to haul all of the laundry down to the basement (or worse, to the laundromat!!), make sure I had enough quarters to get everything done (I hate the looks of the people at the bank when you ask for several rolls of they KNOW you are an "apartment person".), make sure no one else was doing laundry when you wanted to, and plan to hang out for several hours because if you leave your laundry alone, the creepy guy that lives in apartment 2c might come sniff your underwear.
- Having a husband that likes to iron - all I have to do is hang the stuff he wears...and he'll iron it when he wants to wear it! Booyah, baby!
- Having so clothes to wash - I also vividly remember being a broke college student, whose entire wardrobe consisted of t-shirts from various radio station events or college functions and jeans.
- Having time to get it all done - I know some people would kill to have a few hours of solid time to focus on getting their house in order and laundry done.
- Awesome music on my iPod - kept me grooving and singing along for most of the afternoon.

Dear God, thanks for the lesson of the laundry. It's all about my perspective, huh? Thanks for the opportunity to practice gratitude. Please help me to keep that attitude for the rest of the day! Show me how to be of service to You and Your kids - and get rid of the junk in me that blocks me off from seeing those chances to show how You can work in me, if I let you. Please help me to get motivated on the amends that I owe ____, _____, and ______. I need to clear off the side of the street so my little brain can work on other stuff. Help me to make time for that in the next 24 hours, if You can. Keep an eye on all of my loved ones, please - and comfort and guide them in their daily walks. Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Patient husband, naps and our refrigerator

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A forgiving husband - he seems endlessly blessed with patience and forgiveness for my crankiness when I don't sleep well
- A nap - yes, I probably should have gone to church, but I am pretty sure God understood the necessity of getting caught up on sleep
- A refrigerator full of healthy food - it feels good to be back on track
- Movies that make feel laugh and cry
- The amazing spirit of the kids I hung out with today - cancer survivors that outlasted me on the dance floor - all with smiles on their faces

Dear God, thanks for today - and for all of the blessings in it. I am very grateful for my life - and I know I owe it all to you. Help me to be of service to You and Your kids in the best way possible. Amen.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gratitude Quickie

It was a long - but good! - day, but yesterday, we didn't have internet at the, I wanted to post a list for today!

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A day full of family time in Tuscaloosa
- A husband that likes spending time with me
- Our Internet connection being restored
- A successful work day reporting from the Alabama game
- Neighbor that was quick to help with taking care of the dogs while we were out all day

Dear God, thanks for the blessings in my life - both those listed and the many others. Today was a good day - and I know I owe it all to You. I am going to take this raging headache to bed...but I'll see You tomorrow. Please watch over me and my loved ones as we sleep. Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bright lights, adjustable mirrors and dangly earrings

You know what I HATE?? People that drive behind me with their high beams on. Part of the reason it drives me so nuts is that there's no way to politely signal them to let them know that they are blinding you. If they were driving toward me, I could just flash MY brights at them, and give them the opportunity to turn them off. Instead, when they are behind you, there's no way to let them know - and they could be behind you for MILES.

Ok - deep breath. Here's a chance for me to try to find something I am grateful for in this situation, so it doesn't ruin my morning. Hmmmm - uou know what I am grateful for? Adjustable mirrors! Maybe it makes me a bad person, but now, instead of being blinded, I can just adjust my mirrors to reflect their ridiculously bright lights back at them. Does it work? I have no idea. Does it make me feel better? Abso-freaking-lutely. Somehow, by doing this, I feel like I am winning in the driving game. Is it very spiritual of me? Nope. But today, I don't care. (Insert maniacal little giggle...)

What else is on my gratitude list today?

Today, I feel gratitude for:

- Dangly earrings - they make me feel so fancy and grown up

- Car dancing - it's fun to be able to let loose and have a little fun in traffic (even more fun to observe OTHER people doing it!)

- To do lists - I would forget to do everything if I didn't have a few "to do" lists

- Online billpay - it makes life so much easier!

Dear God, thanks for the attitude adjustment today. That may not have been what the Serenity Prayers means when it says to have the "courage to change the things I can", but it definitely perked me up. I'll try to be more grown up for the rest of the day today, with Your help, of course. Please keep an eye on E and her mom today, and on my dad today - and anyone else that needs some comfort and/or healing. If I can be helpful or useful, please show me how. Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My garage is awesome

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick

When S and I moved in to his house, I had a lot of boxes of stuff that didn't have a place to go in the house immediately, so I put them in the garage. This was a source of contention between my very uncluttered soon-to-be husband and me - he doesn't keep a lot of stuff that doesn't have an immediate use, and I couldn't quite understand what the big deal was to have boxes in the garage.

I insisted that I didn't mind parking in the driveway - "It's easier", I proclaimed, "and besides, I am scared to park in the garage anyway. I don't want to hit the sides of the house when I pull in and out." For my safety, he claimed it was better for us to both park in the garage. His points? If we park in the garage, it would be harder for someone to break into the cars, and if it's raining, wouldn't it be nice to have shelter while exiting the car and going into the house?

OK - he had me there. I hate getting rained on. So, after he made that point, those dang boxes haunted me - especially on cloudy days, when the threat of rain was imminent. Slowly, I unpacked as many boxes as I could and found places for the contents in the house, and finally, anything that didn't make the cut of things that needed to be inside the house, I either neatly stacked in the very back wall of the garage (so that the cars could still fit inside) or put up in the attic, where they would be out of sight and out of mind.

Not only did I have a very happy husband once I finished, I was also able to park in the garage on rainy days (and other days, too - it's gotten less scary as I have gotten more practice.) Now, after months of parking with impunity in our uncluttered garage, I can almost forget that there were many times over the years of living in apartments without garages that I had to RUN from the car to the apartment, attempting to dodge raindrops. And today, when it was raining torrentially, I was super happy to have a garage to park in. I won't take a garage for granted ever again. (Ok, I might...but if I do, I hope someone reminds me that I said that today.).

Another thing that I often take for granted is my access to tickets to fun things like shows that come to town. Since I work in radio, we occassionally get tickets to events like concerts or shows when they come through town. Since I've been in radio for about 17 years now, it can almost seem like a "given" that we get to go to these events, when in reality, it's not a given at all. It's an awesome perk, and tonight, we get to go see one of my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e musicals, Les Miserables. I have loved this show since I was a preteen, so I am super pumped to be able to go. (I apologize, in advance, for anyone sitting near me if I sing along too loudly.)

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A garage where I can park my car when it's raining
- A break in the rain for the dogs to go outside right when I came home - perfect timing, Dude!
- A free haircut at a fancy salon - is there anything better than having someone massage your head while they shampoo your hair? Actually, YES! You could also have someone massaging your hands, at the same time! Heaven...
- Tickets to go see Les Miserables tonight - my inner theater geek is bouncing up and down with excitement
- A DVR that can tape "my shows" while we are out at the theater tonight, so I won't miss anything

Dear God, thanks for the blessings you shower upon me - and for the chance to notice them and feel gratitude for them. I am even grateful for the rain that showered all day, because I know that soon enough, it'll make all the plants around us green and gorgeous. On what seemed like a gloomy and yucky day, it would have been easy to dive into matching my mood with the weather - and instead, You made life so good that I couldn't ignore how lucky I am. Keep up the good work! Amen.

What do YOU feel gratitude for today? Anything that struck you today that you might normally take for granted?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Babies, Married Men and Naps

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A healthy new baby for D and RJ - born naturally, just like they had hoped!
- Downloadable sheet music - I have downloaded a few of my favorite tunes for the piano, and it's been fun to try to play again. I mean, I've got the thing sitting here - and because of my schedule, I have a chunk of time in the afternoon before S gets, no one is affected by my attempts to pound out the notes, other than the dogs. So far, they don't seem to mind!
- Men that love to be married - I saw two guy friends today, having lunch outside together, and both asked how things were going with being married - and I got to thinking about the two of their marriages. Both men often sing the praises of their wives, and are very vocal about the joys of being married to these sweet women. How cool is it to know these men?
- Naps - I am not rubbing it in, but I got to take a 2 1/2 hour nap this afternoon! Awwww, yeah!
- Gorgeous weather - again, not rubbing it in, but I did my reading this afternoon in the hammock in the backyard - sun shining, birds singing, not too hot, not too cold...just right!
- Being able to buy S a present he reallllllllllllly wanted - and getting to see him enjoy it! Although I may never get to see him again unless it is via FaceTime on the new iPad - it's really nice to be in a position to be able to get him something he's wanted for over a year and to see him using it a TON, already!

Dear God, thank you for today - and for the gifts that it brings. Thanks for the gift of new life in W! I'll keep it short and sweet today - please grant me knowledge of Your will for me and the power and courage to carry it out. Show me where I can be of service to You and/or Your kids, and keep a loving, comforting, protective arm around those that need it! Amen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Second Chances

Last week, I made my unspectacular debut on a regional TV show called "Tide and Tigers Today". It's an hour long show that airs on Saturday mornings from either Auburn or Tuscaloosa to cover the Auburn Tigers or the University of Alabama Crimson Tide home football games, and to talk about college football, in general. My official title is "Tailgate Reporter", which means I am not the girl interviewing the coach on the sidelines, or the person throwing down statistics, facts and figures. My entire job is to report on the other stuff - the fun, human interest type of stories.

After missing opening weekend of college football (because we were on our honeymoon!), I wanted to get down to Auburn and ROCK my first TV show. As it turns out, I should have done a lot more in the way of preparing. I kind of figured I would be able to "wing it" - after being in radio for 17 years, I am accustomed to thinking on my feet and interviewing people. I would drive down on the morning of the game, and chit chat with some folks about their tailgating experience that day. I had also arranged for a friend to bring her son to be on camera for him to talk about how excited he was to be at his first game. I was supposed to verbally spar with the guys back in the studio, and ask them "tough questions" they weren't prepared to answer to see if I cuold stump them. Should be easy enough, right?

Wrong. Due to technical issue, I couldn't hear the hosts back in the studio and couldn't answer the questions they were asking me. Due to a schedule shuffle, my friend's son couldn't come. Due to having no backup plan for if my star interviewee couldn't come, I randomly grabbed a very shy child and ambushed him to being on camera - which turned out just about how you can imagine. Due to being late, I had parked very far away, and had to literally run the mile and a half to the stadium, which left me sweaty and unable to have to time to find other people to put on camera. Due to being late, I didn't have the time I planned to do the research for questions I was going to ask the hosts back in the studio.

Super. Awesome. Fabulous. I failed BIG time...and in front of a lot of people. I hate being bad at something...h-a-t-e it! I especially hate it when it's completely preventable. I considered writing an email to the producers to apologize and quit (or at least, offer to, if they wanted me to!). My husband talked me out of that, and suggested I wait until a few days had passed before talking to anyone about it and to see what they thought of how I did.

It turns out that they weren't thrilled with my efforts - but not as disappointed as I was in myself. They had LOTS of helpful suggestions for how to do better next time, and had even set up a fun interview for me to do while I did the next week's show with the mascot of the school's team. Wait...what? Next time? You mean, you are not firing me?? You mean, I get a second chance? Seriously?

Of course, I was psyched to have a second chance - but also, pretty scared, as well. What happens if I flopped again, even with all of their help?

This morning, I tried to remain in gratitude for my second chance - and it changed everything. I decided that I was going to be grateful for the whole day, and purposefully, thank God for the whole experience, even if I failed again. I even remembered to hit my knees and say a little prayer before I headed out for the day.

Instead of being AWFUL, here's how it went down: My darling husband took me out to breakfast first, and even walked me to the broadcast site, holding my hand the whole time. As we drove down, I wrote out all of my questions in big writing on a clipboard, so that if I froze up, I'd have a little cheat sheet. My interview arrived early, and I got the chance to do some preparation with him beforehand, and clear up some of the questions that could have been tricky during the live shot. The other reporter saw how much fun we were having with the interview, so he made a fun suggestion for how we could do the final segment - and it was a huge hit! The equipment worked, and I could hear the questions they were asking me from the studio.

Can I get a "Woo hoo!!!"? What a difference a grateful attitude can make!

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Second chances
- A yummy breakfast at Waysider in Tuscaloosa with S - and getting to hear about the tradition
- Getting guidance and help from my coworkers
- Feedback that will help me get even better next week
- Love and support from my husband, family and friends

Thanks, Dude. You are awesome. Thanks for the second chance, and for not letting me blow it. Thanks for the whole day. Seriously, God. I really appreciate it. Now that I can relax for a few hours and reflect, I am also brazen enough to ask protection, guidance, and comfort for my loved ones - specifically, D, C, D & RJ, L, C, and anyone else that is suffering without speaking up. Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Blah Blah" gratitude

After doing a gratitude list for a while, and trying to be creative about what I am grateful for, I can almost get cocky about the amazing blessings in my life that can almost seem like they are just givens. It's not that I am NOT grateful for them, it's just that as I take stock of my life, those things don't immediately come to the front of my mind, since they are part of my daily life. What kind of things am I talking about? Having a job, having a roof over my head, having enough to eat, and being healthy...just to name a few.

So, when I sit down to do my daily list, I can actually find myself thinking "Ok, I am healthy, employed, and well fed, and I have a safe place to live...blah blah blah. What ELSE do I have going on that rocks?"

This morning, my radio station is broadcasting live from Children's Hospital of Alabama - and it's absolutely breaking my heart to watch these kids and their parents march through the lobby on their way to treatment. Kids wearing masks because it's not safe for them to breathe normal air, parents that look like they've been through war, families that are up at 5:30am and already at the dang hospital because the treatment is going to take ALL day. Small children Good grief, I can't even imagine.

Today, I am going to try not to blah my way through a gratitude list. The "basics" are not givens. They are precious gifts, and today, more than usual, I know that I need to remember that.

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Being healthy
- Being financially stable to donate money to the hospital to support the incredible work they are doing here
- The fact that this place is open for the kids that need it
- Professionals and volunteers that can make sick kids smile and forget they are sick for a while
- The wakeup call out of the "blah's"

Dear God, please bless and protect these children. Please comfort them and their families as they battle their ailments. Thank you for the wake up call out of the "blah's". Today, K will be in court - I pray for the best possible outcome for her son. Also, it's the home stretch for M, please bring her through with flying colors. Continued prayers for D and RJ, and soon-to-be born baby. For myself, I only ask that You grant me knowledge of Your will for me, and the power to carry that out. Amen.

Your turn: Have you ever "blah blah'd" anything in your life that you should be grateful for? What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bubble baths, new music and more

Today, I feel gratitude for:

- my awesome husband surprising me last night by having a bubble bath drawn for me (complete with candles and Jim Brickman playing on the stereo!) when I got home from work - he even kept the dogs out of the room so I could just relax and enjoy it! How did I get so lucky?

- lunch with a dear friend yesterday at a new restaurant - great food and conversation

- my Kindle - now, I have something to read wherever I go (and for a nerd like me, that's imperative!)

- new music by Mumford and Sons and The Script on my iPhone - it's fun to groove along to new music.

- inspiring podcasts from the Eventual Millionaire - they make me think I CAN reach my goals (monetary and otherwise).

Woo hoo, God! This life You have given me is just freaking awesome these days, and I am feeling so grateful. Thank you for all of the many blessings You have given me - and for the awareness of how good life is. I would hate to be missing this stuff! Please help me to stay on track with aligning my will with Yours, and please remove any of my character defects that get in the way of me being useful to You and Your kids. Please continue to watch over M as she deals with the culmination of all of her hard work this year, and D and RJ as they continue "Baby Watch 2011", and anyone else just needs a little extra TLC today. Thanks again, Dude - You Rock! Amen.

What are YOU grateful for today? Can you think of ONE thing? I'd love to hear it! As always, I am grateful for you taking the time to read this blog!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How gratitude saved my marriage last night

Doing this daily gratitude list saved my marriage last night! Here's what happened:

I have not gotten a lot of sleep this week - which is a chronic issue for me since I get up for work at 4am. I TRIED to get a nap yesterday afternoon, but our dang dogs were especially rowdy and noisy yesterday, which prevented any nap from happening! So, my fuse was a lot shorter than usual when S came home from work and started going through the mail that I had sorted and left out on the counter. He started going through MY stack (because I hadn't bothered to tell him which stack was which) and dismissing it as "junk".

Also important to this story: I'm a little sensitive to the mail issue because my beloved husband and I have VERY different views about what to keep and file and what gets tossed. He tosses pretty much everything - and I keep pretty much everything. One of our biggest fights was me trying to convince him that I needed a desk because I wanted a place to file things - and he just thinks it's a place for me to hoard papers. He eventually bought me a desk (because he's sweet and wonderful), and now, I have to get it all organized to show him how helpful it is to have a place for everthing! I have been procrastinating on all of that while planning the wedding - but now, I have NO excuse. I have given myself a deadline of working on that this week, so that is another reason I was on high alert: GUILT. I know he hates how messy my desk is, and I feel guilty that it's not organized like I know he'd rather it be.

So, with all of that going on, when he started dismissing all of my very important mail as "junk", I snapped at him and told him it wasn't f-ing "junk", and that he should just stick to his OWN mail. The poor guy had just walked in the door from a long day at work and was only trying to go through the mail - and I jumped down his throat because I was tired and feeling guilty. He was obviously hurt (and surprised!), as I grabbed my mail and shuffled off into the other room. He announced that he was going to go get changed for the long walk we had planned with the dogs.

Now, if I hadn't been actively trying to have more gratitude in my daily life, I probably would have sulked for the whole night, thinking about what a jerk HE was, and probably would have passively aggressively started loudly making efforts to clean up my office. Not a fun night for either of us.

Instead, when I walked off into the other room, I actually had the thought: "Ok, Jeannine, you know you are being a little ridiculous right now. How can you turn this around by finding something to be grateful for in this scenario?" In just a few seconds, I came up with a LOT to be grateful for:
1. That I have a husband that didn't snap back at me when I was a jerk.
2. That I had a husband at all (hey - it took until I was 35 to get one!).
3. That my husband is concerned with neatness (I know a lot of husbands aren't!).
4. That he wanted to go out on a walk with me because he knows it's important to me to be active and healthy.
5. That it was cool enough outside to go for a walk together.
6. That we were healthy enough to both be able to go for a walk.
7. That we live in a place that is safe to go for a walk.
8. That we had the time to go for a walk together.
And so on...

By the time he came back out of the bedroom, changed and ready for our walk, my whole attitude was turned around. I ran up to him, gave him a hug, and apologized for snapping at him. He was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. I am sure he was dreading being held hostage during our walk by a cranky, sullen wife - and instead, I had brightened up and was actually being pleasant and grateful for our time together.

That NEVER would have happened if gratitude hadn't already been a habit, and doing this daily blog has made it a habit for me...and I am grateful for that today, too!

Have you ever used gratitude to turn a yucky moment around? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today, I feel gratitude for:

- My husband - he's just dreamy and fun to be with
- A packed brown bag breakfast - it's easier to stay "on track" when I plan ahead and bring food that's good for me
- The ability to laugh at myself - it's not fun to make mistakes...but they make the best stories! (This picture is of #1 and #3 on the list today - we couldn't figure out how to cut the cake!)
- Time to do laundry today - although I have NO idea how two people make so much laundry
- People offering help and guidance on my new freelance work ventures

Dear God, when I refuse to accept that I am human and make mistakes, please help me to remember to find the humor in my missteps, and to share it with someone. Help me to remember that I need to walk before I can run, and crawl before I can walk, and even though I make my mistakes in a pretty public forum, that nobody dies if I have a bad day at work, and that if I keep a good attitude about the whole deal, I get another chance to do better next time. Also, I feel like I have been praying for this for a while now, but please guide and protect D and RJ with the whole "about to become parents" thing - it's looking like You are going to make that happen sooner than later! Woo hoo! Thank you for all of the awesome people in my life - please keep them safe and help them know You and Your comfort. Amen.

So - what are YOU grateful for today? I'd love to hear about it! Post it in the comment section below.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Audio Gratitude List

Bonus for today! I did an audio gratitude list while I was driving home from hanging out with some of my girlfriends:

What do YOU feel gratitude for today?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I am trying to get back on track today - while I have been very much living in gratitude each day (my life is pretty dang good lately!), I have been a remiss in posting! I find myself thinking about things I "should" put on this list, while I am driving, while I am walking, while I am working, while I am having lunch with a friend, while I am in a meeting...any place but in front of a computer! Instead of feeling good about how full my life is and how blessed I really am, I have been kind of beating myself up for not being more diligent about gratitude! Kind of counter productive, eh?

Yesterday, S and I watched a lot of the 10th anniversary coverage of the 9/11 tragedies. It brought back a lot of difficult emotions - and put in perspective the fact that I was beating myself up for such a small thing. In the light of that tragedy (and many others!), there's very little in my life that has ever been worth beating myself up for.

So, with that said, I am ready to get going again:

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A tenant for my condo in CT - yay for not having to pay a mortgage for a house I am not living in anymore!
- Kathy Griffin's comedy - she makes me laugh, even when I am not really in the mood to do so.
- Supportive friends, family and coworkers - my big debut on live TV did NOT go very well, but my crew made me feel like a rock star anyway
- Time to go for a run this afternoon
- A husband that doesn't mind cleaning - how did I get so lucky??

Dear God, thank you for my awesome life and the awesome people in it. I do realize that I am one of the luckiest girls around. So, it may not seem like such a big deal to you - but I could use some help getting back on track with food and exercise. On top of being derailed from my daily gratitude blog, I have also gotten pretty far off track in that area, and really need to feel healthy again. It's pretty tough to feel useful when I am feeling frumpy and sluggish. Please show me how to be useful in spite of myself, and in honor of You. Please keep an eye on my loved ones - I kind of need them around, ok? Thanks! Amen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Today, I feel gratitude for:
- Meeting K's beautiful baby girl today - truly one of God's miracles!
- Fox Point seasoning from Penzey's Spices and for A sharing it with us. Dear LORD, I don't know how I lived without it on veggies before now.
- Free chicken biscuits, yogurt and fruit delivered to the radio station today...just when I was starting to think about going to grab a bite to eat!
- Trying out a new recipe today...and having it work out!
- S promising to take care of the remainder of the laundry tomorrow - hallelujah for not having to fold the final two loads from our honeymoon!

Dear God, thank you for the multitude of blessings you have given me and to my friends and family. Please protect and guide all of us, and grant us knowledge of Your will...and give us (or take away) what is necessary to do it. You are pretty awesome, Dude. Amen. Oh, and P.S. Please grant D and RJ a safe and happy birth of their baby boy SOON! Thanks. Amen again. Link

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today, I feel gratitude for:
- An incredible wedding day, filled with family and friends, where I got to marry the best man I know, my true "answered prayer"
- The opportunity for us to go on a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon to St. Lucia
- Making a new friend today
- A clean home to return to after a long vacation and every day after work
- The book, "The Happiness Project" - inspirational and interesting - real life application for ways to tap into being happier

Thank You, God. Thank You for the gift of life, for a world of natural beauty and power to live in, and for the people around me who love me and accept my love. Thank You for caring about me and helping me every day in my journey, and please help me ask for the gift of Your help each day.  Amen.