30 days of gratitude
Life doesn’t always work out as we plan, right? I don’t know about you but I have had many moments during my lifetime where I’ve paused to think, “how the heck did I get to this?” Sometimes we can’t control what happens, other times we made these decisions that may or may not pan out. The reality is that even when life is tossing us some lemons, road blocks or whatever, there is always something to be thankful for.
The end of year holidays, particularly Thanksgiving, are of course perfect opportunities to think about what we’re thankful for in our lives. While I try to pause every day of the year to reflect on my blessings and gratitude, I often write down my blessings in my journal during the 30 days of November. I decided to share some of these blessings with you. I’d love to know what you’re thankful for!
Day 1: I’m grateful for my inner strength – no matter how buried or quiet this strength gets, I’m relieved to feel it burn when needed.
Day 2: I’m grateful for my good health. I pinch myself daily to believe I’m still alive and healthy this many years later after a bone cancer diagnosis. The anxiety never ends but the gratitude always grows. The side effects sometimes scare me, yet I’m alive and cancer-free. I pray my good health never ends.
Day 3: I’m grateful for my body and its ability to overcome adversity. I’m so proud and pleased that I’ve overcome surgeries, aches, modifications and pain to be able to do all that I can post-cancer. Unless you have a titanium rod or similar in your body, people don’t really understand how I feel, the sensations I live through daily. Yet I feel blessed to have both my legs, my muscles and my overall body. I may not always have the best body image but I know deep down how amazing this body is.
Day 4: I’m grateful for my dad and all that he taught us. He left our family much too soon and I miss him so very much every day. I wish he was here to celebrate life with us, watch his grandchildren grow, enjoy life with his wife, share fatherly advice, and be the patriarch of our family. He loved life and laughter, and I am so grateful for the lessons in life and love that he was able to teach me.
Day 5: I’m grateful for my sorority – both the friends and experiences in college and now. These women remind of the strength, loyalty and beauty of female friends. It is important to have strong, smart, funny, kind women in our lives and I’m blessed my AXO sisters fill these roles.
Day 6: I’m grateful for the job I enjoy and coworkers I like. Sure, there are moments that make my eyes roll and my brain feel frazzled, but overall I feel gratitude for being able to use my skills and education, be paid well, have flexibility to enjoy life, and be respected for my opinion. It is such a refresher from previous jobs that made me miserable.
Day 7: I’m grateful for my husband in my life. We have our struggles and low points as all relationships, but I’m grateful for the moments of laughter, love and kindness with him. He is a kind, smart, strong, loving person.
Day 8: I’m grateful that my beautiful, smart, oldest niece loves me enough to FaceTime me from her military base. She is training for our U.S. military, committed to protecting our country and citizens. She gets precious little free time and access to her phone so I was thrilled to get a call from her on this day. She’s been gone since July and we all sorely miss her smiling face. I’m so proud of her dedication and sacrifice, especially at such a young age.
Day 9: I’m grateful for my childhood. It wasn’t perfect, of course, yet it was filled with so much laughter and love. My sisters and I are so fortunate to grow up with parents who never hesitated to hug and compliment us, who believed in us to achieve success, and did whatever necessary to keep us safe. I’m so grateful for those memories, especially since my dad is no longer alive to build new memories. Sometimes I wish I could relieve those childhood moments, when life was simpler and filled with less big decisions!
Day 10: I’m grateful for my sisters – two women who never leave my side, who love me for being me, and have their own way of ensuring I know that I’m loved by them. I’m lucky to have great friendships with both of them and even though we disagree at times, they are always my dearest, most special friends and confidants. No one could ever change these relationships and I cherish my sisters forever.
Day 11: Today is Veterans Day, which makes me pause to think of how very blessed we are to live in the United States of America, where our voices and ideas are free – even when we disagree and stand out from others. We’re allowed to choose these paths because of freedom fought for and defended by our troops. I love being an American, love every symbol from our national anthem to the bald eagle. There are some crazy people with crazy ideas and negative actions, but I never lose hope that calmer, more civilized Americans will always prevail with louder voices.
Day 12: I feel so grateful for my nieces and nephew. No one ever prepared me to love these children like I do – like they’re my own and I want to help make them happy and safe no matter what. I doubt they know how very much they fill my heart, although I try to often express it. They inspire me to be a good role model and even want my own child, if that is meant to be. I am grateful for the laughter and love these five children bring to my life. Not much beats their hugs and smiles.
Day 13: I’m grateful for my love of reading. I love to read books, which lets me sometimes go to new places to meet new characters. Sometimes I need an escape from life, even for a few moments inside a book.
Day 14: I’m grateful for a nice evening out with my husband. Theater, drinks, good conversation and pleasant feelings toward each other made for a lovely night.
Day 15: I’m grateful for beautiful, sunny days filled with the colors of changing leaves on the trees. Days like today remind me of how beautiful our land is – a wonder created by God. We are so lucky to be on this planet. We need to be better stewards of Earth so we can protect it for generations to come.
Day 16: I’m grateful for childhood friends who are still part of my life as dear friends. I love these women who check in to make sure I’m okay, who share so much laughter, memories and love. I sometimes miss those easy-going days of childhood, when the biggest decisions were whose house to play at, when my sister would get off the phone so I could call a friend, or what time the sleepover started. I love that we can pick up so easily with conversations and I know I can always count on these amazing women. I’m blessed.
Day 17: I’m grateful for my extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins. I sadly and unfortunately don’t see most of them that much lately, but my memories are plentiful from childhood and these people will always be family.
Day 18: I’m grateful for girlfriends who are still friends despite our lives not being identical. It’s sad how many girlfriends I no longer hang out with or talk to, mostly because I don’t have children. I made repeated efforts with several but eventually stopped and focus on those who reciprocate with effort. I don’t know if I’ll have a child and I don’t want to build a friendship based on only that criteria. I want friends who love all of me. So I’m grateful for those girlfriends who continue to make efforts to be close and spend time together, no matter the direction our lives go.
Day 19: I’m grateful for my mom and our close relationship. She is my mom and friend, and has stood beside me since I was born. She has protected me, pushed me, encouraged me, laughed and cried with me, and hugged me. She is my loudest cheerleader in life, and always shows me what it is to be a loving, loyal, strong woman and mother.
Day 20: Today is my niece’s 18th birthday and I’m so grateful for this beautiful, smart, funny, quirky, spunky, loving, independent young woman in my life. She is loyal and loves our family with a ferociousness that not many people her age have. I pray she has continued love and success in her life because she so much deserves this.
Day 21: I’m grateful I was taught to work hard and save money so I can buy myself nice things once in awhile. I’m proud of my two college degrees and how hard I’ve worked to build good credit and a savings account.
Day 22: I’m grateful for relaxing, quiet days at home once in awhile. Reading, watching a movie with my husband, phone calls with friends, and drinking warm Chai tea. These are much-appreciated days in the midst of a busy life.
Day 23: I’m grateful for our community libraries so that people can borrow books to read and explore the world. I love libraries – the books, quiet setting, common bond with fellow library patrons. And even though I download many e-books to my Kindle, these all come from my local library (using the Overdrive library app). I’ve read about 50 books this year – all but two were from the library!
Day 24: I’m grateful for the ability to be crafty and creative. From writing a blog to making soy candles to creating homemade dryer balls to mixing an essential oil roller bottle for achy muscles, I love the creativity, pride and work that goes into creating these items. I’m excited and proud of myself for seeking a more natural way to enjoy things.
Day 25: I’m grateful for the sunshine and warm temps that allow me to walk outside, clear my brain and get some exercise –
at the end of November! I love the outdoors and am so cautious and anxious walking in the winter due to the metal rod in my leg. But I so needed fresh air today and am feeling blessed for the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine.
Day 26: I’m grateful to be alive today and every day. Facing your mortality at 21 years old is eye-opening and heart-breaking. Yet I learned lessons and found my strength and courage, which I carry with me daily.
Day 27: I’m grateful for family time filled with board games, dancing and cuddles during Disney movies.
Day 28: I’m grateful for music. There is so much variety of music in the world and each of it plays an important part in filling our hearts and lives with joy, sadness, and other emotions.
Day 29: I’m grateful for the charities and people that help other people and animals. There is much need in our world and whenever you’re able to help, whether through time, talent or money, I hope that you do.
Day 30: I’m grateful for the people, adventures, memories and moments that make up my life. Some days are tough days, some people are challenges, yet overall I am blessed and am grateful for all of that which makes up my life.
What are YOU most grateful for?