Day 365

February 25, 2014

A year ago today I started the Gratitude Experiment. I was skeptical it would work. I honestly thought gratitude couldn’t be that profound.

I was wrong.

Daily gratitude has changed my life. My tendency to fall into despair over the injustices of the world has diminished. My propensity for self-pity has fallen drastically. I am more consistently able to cope with adversity. I am stronger in my faith. I have experienced miracles in large and small ways.

Gratitude is a secret of the Universe. Gratitude is the Grace of God.

And, believe me, this has been probably the most difficult year of my life. I’ve had plenty of rough times, too, so I’m not saying that lightly.

It. has. been. a. hard. year.

I truly and honestly believe that gratitude has gotten my through these struggles. I believe gratitude made room for God to be more present in my life.

I saw the Steve Harvey show on Friday and he spoke on the topic of gratitude. He reiterated that the very time you need gratitude is the time when you don’t feel like being grateful. I really encourage you to watch the clip. Steve Harvey is so great.

When your car breaks down, you don’t feel like thanking God for your misfortune, but you should. It’s hard to do. Trust me, I know. But if you want peace and the grace of God, Gratitude will get you there.

When a loved one gets really sick, Gratitude will hold you. When you’re applying for public assistance, keep Gratitude by your side. If you lose your job, there is still something for which you can be grateful. Gratitude is your weapon. Use it to protect yourself.

Because Gratitude opens doors. Doors you didn’t know were there. Gratitude opens eyes. Eyes you didn’t know you had. Gratitude opens hearts. A heart much stronger than you thought possible. Gratitude opens minds. Minds that were closed to Truth, Light, and Love.

I pray that each of you find Gratitude in your lives. I pray that the Grace of God be with you as you struggle with the fallen world. Life is hard. We need every little ounce of beauty to help us cope.

*P.S. It looks like I may have missed a day or two along the way since Day 1 started on February 18, 2013. But I hope you get my point anyhow. Love and peace.

 

 

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Day 364

February 24, 2014

I found out my friend G was in a motorcycle accident on Saturday. We were supposed to have lunch together today, but he has been out of work for awhile and between the motorcycle accident and finances he couldn’t join me for lunch.

So I went to him.

One thing I’m learning is the importance of friendship during difficult times. People need support. People need to be able to lean on others. That means letting others lean on you as well. Given the amount of support I’ve been given recently I felt it was only fair for me to extend myself.

It’s a long drive out to see him, but I don’t regret going. Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice.

He lives near a train station so I took my son to see the train tracks. My little guy loves trains and has never seen one up close. The weather has turned bitterly cold again so the outing wasn’t a huge hit in that regard. I hadn’t really dressed my son for the sudden change in weather.

However, my friend got a call about a job while we were there. I am really praying that this job is the one he’s been waiting to find. I hate seeing him feel so horrible. I know it has damaged his sense of self esteem among other things.

After our visit, I drove to get the girls from school and took them to our music lessons. We haven’t been to music lessons in three weeks for various reason – weather, sickness, and school-related conflicts – so it was nice to see Ms. R again. She is a great teacher and we enjoy seeing her and her sweet family.

I am exhausted and behind in laundry, but I am grateful I had the chance to see G and grateful I had enough money to pay for gas, food, and tolls. It might be the last time in awhile that I can do that. Even so I will remember today over most other Mondays and I’m grateful for that.

Because, you know, laundry just can’t compete with friendship.

I’m also grateful for music scholarships for my daughter and I so we can continue to study music while my husband is not working.

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Day 363

February 23, 2014

Today has been hectic. Laundry. Baths for the kids. Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning the bathrooms. Laundry.

But the weather has been beautiful.

I agreed to host a play date for my older daughter and let my younger daughter invite a neighborhood friend over to play as well.

They spent most of their time outside, which was great. The sidewalks in our neighborhood are now covered with roads, hopscotch squares up to 52, houses, and abstract art. The younger girls took some of the leftover snow and mixed it with the chalk, which was messy but interesting.

After my older daughter’s play date left, my friend Nina Bean and I went for a run while her husband watched the kids. The run was fantastic for two reasons: 1) I wanted to go on a run while the weather was so gorgeous and 2) I got to spend time with a good friend.

I am so grateful for today.

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Day 362

February 22, 2014

Our neighbor, Steve, took me and the kids out to one of our favorite restaurants this evening.

I’m really, really, really grateful he offered. I’m really grateful I accepted.

Not only did it spare me having to cook dinner, but I’ve really been struggling with loneliness today. Sure, my kids keep me from being alone and fill my day with much joy, but I need adult companionship every now and then. The only reason I got dressed today was because we were going out to dinner with him. Otherwise, I would have covered my head and figured out a way to sleep.

One thing I’ve starting thinking about is the connection between depression and loneliness. I am beginning to wonder how much of my depression is related to a lack of social interaction. I don’t get much social interaction at work and I spend the rest of my time taking care of the kids. Sometimes I can chat briefly with another mom, but often times it doesn’t go deeper.

Having my dad around for almost three weeks made me realize how great it is to have someone to talk to that isn’t under the age of 8. While I am an introvert and get overwhelmed in social settings, I am finding I want to be around people more these days. I am really, really lonely. My goal is to broaden my circle of friends. Reaching out will help with that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. They just don’t have the ability to discuss things the way adults do, and as hard as it is for me to admit, I have adult needs. My kids have until recently been the absolute center of my life. They still are, but I need to make room for others to be in my life. I’m not a robot.

So, tonight, despite having a rough day emotionally I am feeling content and full. Dinner was lovely. The kids are happily playing in a bath. I am catching up on my gratitude blog. I’m not hiding under a rock or living in a shell.

I can do this.

I can.

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Day 361

February 21, 2014

I took the afternoon off work to tackle the paperwork I didn’t file while my dad was here. Although I didn’t make it through the whole stack (it’s been almost a year since I’ve dealt with the paperwork), I made progress AND I cleaned the basement. Enough that I was able to vacuum the floor.

Go me!

My daughter’s class celebrated Valentine’s Day today because they didn’t have school on the real Valentine’s Day due to snow. I am one of the room parents. So far I’ve led most of the activities, but this time the other mother led the activity, which was great given how overwhelmed I am right now. I am really grateful that she was up for putting it altogether.

I’m also grateful tonight is NOT Bingo night at the school. I thought I was going to have to shuttle the kids from dance class to dinner to school, but I was relieved to have the night “off.” Once dance class was over, I picked up dinner for them at Burger King (a weekly treat) and spent the rest of the evening in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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Day 360

February 20, 2014

Five days left until my experiment is over! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I started my gratitude prayer.

Our neighbor cooked dinner for us tonight. He lost his wife about a year ago and is still really struggling with loneliness so I didn’t mind accepting his offer. Normally I let my pride prevent me from accepting help from people outside my family.

He didn’t have to eat alone and I didn’t have to cook. It was a win-win situation! Plus, he invited us to go out to eat with him on Saturday to the kids’ favorite “real” restaurant (meaning not fast food)!

Unbelievable.

I’m really grateful not only for the offer but also the opportunity to get to know him more. He is a really interesting person.

I am feeling very blessed tonight.

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Day 359

February 19, 2014

My dad left today. I sobbed at my desk for about an hour. Thank God I don’t share an office.

Although I’m heart broken he had to leave, I’m grateful for the time we had together. It really opened my eyes to how little support I’ve had for the past 5 or 6 years. I now know what it’s like to get consistent help, and there’s no way I can go back to a different scenario after my husband gets out of the hospital. I’m just so grateful I know that now.

Clarity is everything.

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