Fantastic Friday: Thirty Days of Thankful

22860078_1455523874565520_3981533813585540576_oI found this image on my Facebook feed. The prompts come to us courtesy of If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen people posting one thing to be thankful for per day. November is always a hectic month for me. It’s a busy time of year for teachers, and the inconsistent schedule makes it hard to remember to do things every day. So I’m posting my “thirty days of thankful” for today’s Fantastic Friday post.

If you haven’t done your own posting, I would encourage you to reflect on these thirty prompts. Perhaps you might journal about each. I find that when I look for things to be thankful for, I’m happier, can fall asleep more easily, and have more energy.

So here it is, my thirty:

  1. Today, I am grateful for a healthy daughter. Every time I hear a story about a child having to go to the ER, I realize that every moment is precious.
  2. Though I have a love-hate relationship with my smartphone, I am thankful for the ability to connect. Social media and my website has allowed me to stay in touch with those I used to live and work with, and family I would otherwise only see once or twice per year.
  3. I am grateful for the color blue. Anyone who knows me knows that winter is my most hated time of year. On those gray days where the sky and snow blend together, I feel lifeless and hopeless. But all it takes is a clear day, when the blue sky breaks through the clouds, to remind me of the magic of nature. The deep, clear blue is a promise that eventually the stark white of snow will be replaced by green and yellow and red and all the other colors of spring.
  4. As I reflect on the month, I remember how sick my family was with a terrible cold that seemed to be passed around from one person to the next. I’m always grateful for warm soup on cold days. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, but it warms the spirit as well as the body.
  5. November’s weather contained three seasons in one. Among my favorite “sound” memory this month is the sound of wind whispering through the trees. (I learned a while back that the term for this is psithurism). Walking around the yard with my daughter, we often talk about different sounds. One of her favorites to imitate is the sound of wind whooshing through trees.
  6. I’m grateful for nature in general. During the month of September, my husband was busy closing out the fiscal year and had to work late nights and weekends. Staying alone with a toddler all that time was taxing at times, but we went on several hikes using a toddler backpack, and I find nature always re-centers me, whether it’s a formal hike or a few moments sitting in a chair in the afternoon sun of the back yard.
  7. One of my favorite memories is the moment when words came alive for me. I’ve blogged about it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. My dad had me memorize “The Night Before Christmas” as a young child. I was too young to understand all the figurative and descriptive language of the poem, but I remember the time he showed me a full moon glowing against the snow in our backyard and recited the line “the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / gave the lustre of midday to objects below.” I realized then that those word could evoke the image I was seeing—snow glowing in the moonlight—whether I was somewhere dark and cold or warm and tropical. Words have power, and I knew at that moment my life would involve them.
  8. Most recently, I am grateful for the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It’s my daughter’s go-to favorite, and even if she’s in a bad mood before bed, reading it to her almost always calms her down.
  9. I’m grateful for my house. There’s nothing like ending the day warm and safe.
  10. I often joke that I could eat pizza every day and not tire of it. There’s something about the saltiness of pepperoni that I never tire of…
  11. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a chance–and an excuse–to be creative and weird and help others have fun doing so.
  12. On cool nights this time of year, I’m grateful for soft fleece blankets (despite the fact that they are magnets for corgi fur!).
  13. Throughout my life, any time I have been stressed, sick, happy, tired, energized, writing has helped me to consider my thoughts. It’s served as a creative outlet, a stress reliever, and a way to empower myself in situations in which I lacked control.
  14. IMG_4828While I’m not a fan of winter, I am grateful for the sight of the sunrise. This is only visible to me in the winter because the neighbor’s tall trees normally block the sun.
  15. I don’t even have to think about how thankful I am for summer. As a child, my mom read me a book called Barefoot in June, and it truly embodies my love of summer and warmth, the time of year when animals and people can all enjoy the outdoors.
  16. Several years ago, I partially tore my ACL. I didn’t realize how much of my body I’d taken for granted until I could no longer walk very well, let alone run. Since then, I’ve lost the weight I gained post-injury and work out to stay strong.
  17. I am thankful for the knowledge that there is always something to learn. When people believe they know everything, or are smarter than others, they shut down and stop learning and growing. I’m glad that I still maintain a sense of curiosity and a wonder to learn.
  18. This may sound cliche, but I am writing this particular bit at my desk at work, where a laminated poster of Van Gogh’s Starry Night hangs on the wall. The imaginative nature of the swirls, the blue and yellow color scheme, and the references to it in Doctor Who, one of my favorite shows, makes it a personal favorite.
  19. This morning, my toddler woke at 4 a.m., screaming for me. Usually, she wakes up early in the morning, turns on her musical puppy doll, and goes back to sleep. Clearly, something frightened her. When I went in, sleepy and cold from being jolted out of my covers by her screams, I was rewarded by the touch of my daughter’s sleepy arms finding comfort against my shoulders. And although cold and tired, it is a task I am privileged to have.
  20. I’m grateful for my husband, who is there with patience when our daughter needs just one more story before bed or wants to take apart her toy just one more time to change the batteries (even though they were just changed ten minutes earlier).
  21. Whenever I hear Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, I’m filled with adrenaline and hope. There’s always been something amazing to me about a composer’s ability to reach beyond his or her lifespan to share an artistic vision with the future. The song always gives me chills.
  22. The tale “Stone Soup” is a story I’m thankful for. It was my earliest study in human nature–about people being willing to share and what motivates them. I read a version of the parable of the loaves and fishes in Blythe by John Kramer, and it explains an alternate version of how Jesus was able to make a small amount of food feed an entire crowd. It was nearly the same principle as stone soup.
  23.  I write this with a smile. When I hear Christmas music, I have a Pavlovian response: I want to clean the house. Over the years, since I have hosted Christmas, I tend to associate holidays with house cleaning. And I mean this is our yearly clean-the-house cleaning. As in, I scrub the refrigerator, top to bottom, putting shelves through the dishwasher, take apart the stove top, mop the floor–twice. While cleaning can be stressful, the house sparkles for weeks afterward. Cleaning is the Christmas tradition I’m thankful for!
  24. I am grateful for the challenge of being a working mother and a writer. While it’s a lot to juggle, the balance of the three helps me keep everything in perspective. A bad review might ruin the day of a writer, but balanced with the smile of my daughter, it’s worthwhile. A mouthy student might ruin a teacher’s night, but having my daughter and my writing makes me realize there are more important things to spend my mental and emotional energy on.
  25. This week, my husband has been sick with pneumonia. I was grateful for the moment he told me he felt slightly better–rather than worse. Perhaps we’re taking a turn toward health again!
  26. I am grateful to live in a country that promotes freedom of expression in many forms. Most of us take our rights for granted or become offended by others’ freedom of speech, not realizing how horrible the opposite truth would be.
  27. I think almost daily about how glad I am for contact lenses. To have peripheral vision is an amazing reality I missed last week when I had to wrap up ten days of wearing glasses (following a bout of pink-eye).
  28. This month, I was blessed with random acts of kindness: a coworker leaving an amazing cupcake disguised to look like a sundae; several texts of well-wishes following several bouts of family illnesses; and a nice note from my sister.20171120_163351
  29. I’m thankful for my sister, who had a beautiful wedding this month 🙂
  30. I am once again thankful for my ability to write, to share these Fantastic Friday posts with you and hopefully spread happiness and hope through my works.

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