Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gratitudes 12/31/2013 and Reminder about the Gratitude Challenge

It is a cold New Year's Eve here in Upstate New York. My back is killing me today. I threw it out around this time last year and it clearly decided to give me an anniversary reminder. So I'm living on Motrin and Tylenol and sitting with my back against the heating pad, trying to stay comfortable LOL.

But I remain grateful.

Today I am grate*full...

1. for naps.

2. for the imaginations of my two older children. Rachael (the 4-month-old) got a puzzle for Christmas that has these little figures of animals. Of course, she's too little to play with it without assistance, but they do different things like rattle or squeak, or whistle, or there's this little butterfly that has soft wings that she can touch. The "puzzle" is a little tray that all the animals fit on. Marc (the 2 1/2 year old) calls it "cookies" because we had been baking cookies on Christmas Eve and it kind of looks like the cookie tray. So he takes it, puts it on a shelf that he calls "the oven" and bakes them. Then he'll take them off the shelf and say "You gotta blow on them, Mommy, they really hot!"

3. Melanie (the five-year-old) and Marc got these little puzzles that are like those play mats. Melanie has been taking the two puzzles (one is Disney princess and one is Doc McStuffins) and making all kinds of stuff...little houses for her dolls, little paths that she calls "the sidewalk..." She is so creative, and clearly shows spatial ability that I don't possess. She gets that from her father.

4. That Rachael fell asleep without being held tonight.

5. That Marc is running around tooting a horn and screaming at the top of his lungs, "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" I'm not sure he has any idea what it means, and he didn't take the nap I told him to, so I doubt he'll make it until midnight, but OMG he's being cute, albeit slightly annoying, right now. He'll be grown-up and out of the house in the blink of an eye...trying to remember this as every time he blows a noisemaker, my nerves jangle a little bit :)

The gratitude challenge starts TOMORROW! Sign up at 365gratitudes@gmail.com or post in the comments!


Monday, December 30, 2013

12/30 Gratitudes and Daily Reminder about the Gratitude Challenge!

Today I am grate*full...

1. for the friendship and life of my friend Dave. Today is his birthday. He's Rachael's godfather. We have been friends for over 20 years now and I absolutely adore him. And since he and his son got to come for Rachael's baptism, now my children do too.

2. for my donors to my GoFundMe campaign. I'm raising money to send myself to Musikgarten training this summer and get my business off the ground by this fall.

3. for something funny that Marc said yesterday. Often, when the kids come up to us asking for something to eat, we offer a few suggestions that are met with "no." So then John will suggest something outrageous, usually an elephant or a porcupine. Yesterday we were getting ready to leave for church, and we had let Marc sleep late, so we told him we were bringing Froot Loops with us for him to have for breakfast. He asked me if Melanie and I had had breakfast, and I told him that we had, and that Daddy had too. And then he said, "But daddy wants porcupine!" It was really funny.

4. that Rachael rolled around on the floor babbling yesterday. It was very sweet and cute and made me really happy.

5. that the Giants ended their season with a win.

The 365-Day Gratitude Challenge begins this Wednesday, just two days away! For more details, see the Gratitude Challenge page or send an e-mail to 365gratitudes@gmail.com.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gratitudes 12/29/13 and Daily Reminder about Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grate*full...

1. that I got my first donation on my GoFundMe campaign to raise money to get my Musikgarten business off the ground.

2. that I got to see Rachael roll over today.

3. that Marc found Melanie's Sofia the First doll.

4. for the amazing talk we had at the UU this morning on Picking and Scrapping, the Art of Getting By. It was so not what I expected when the person who set it up said that this woman was coming to give a talk about poverty.

5. for the amazing visit we had yesterday with my BFF, her husband, and her dog.

The 365-day gratitude challenge begins on Wednesday! Sign up by sending an e-mail to 365gratitudes@gmail.com. I will never give your e-mail to anyone without your permission. Commit to writing down five gratitudes per day and see what shifts you have in your consciousness.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gratitudes 12/28/13

Today I am grate*full...

1. for the annual UK/U of L basketball game, taking place at 4:00 today.

2. for the beautiful weather we're having. I went out to get the mail in short sleeves and no coat and my teeth didn't chatter! (At the end of December in upstate NY this is really saying something.)

3. For crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and GoFundMe. I have set up a GoFundMe account to try to get some help raising money to start my Musikgarten business this fall. My 40th birthday keeps getting closer and I'm not living up to my potential. I'm looking for investors to help me get there.

4. For Marc saying, "I nove it! Tank you Santa!" every time he opened a Christmas present.

5. For my house. I don't express gratitude for my house enough. I really love our little house.


Gratitude Challenge Update

Good afternoon all~

I have been asked if I will be sending out e-mails regarding the gratitude challenge.

If you would like to receive e-mail updates regarding the 365-day gratitude challenge, please send an e-mail to 365gratitudes@gmail.com :)


Friday, December 27, 2013

A few clarifications/FAQ about the gratitude challenge...

1. When does it start?
The 365-day challenge starts January 1.

2. What do I have to do?
Commit to writing down 5 things you're grateful for every day. I'm going to post mine here on the blog. Feel free to post yours in the comment section, or link to your own blog in the comment section, or, if you feel like the things you're grateful for are too private to put in the blogosphere, then just put "did mine!" in the comments.

Also, if you're having trouble, post about that too, and I'll see what I can find to help you out. We're all in this together. It's a gratitude community.

Finally, once a week, on Fridays, I'll post a check-in to see how we're all doing, and what changes we might be noticing in our lives as we move toward, as my friend Tricia says, "living in active gratitude."

In addition, if you want to, if the spirit moves you to, please share the gratitude challenge with your friends, family, acquaintances, enemies...I would love to see this thing go viral.

3. What if I can't post in the comments?
Well, to be perfectly honest, one of my goals is to increase pageviews/subscribers to the blog, but I'll be cross-posting my daily gratitudes to Facebook and Twitter, so feel free to share there as well, if you can't post in the comments. And please share share share with those who might be able to post here!

With deepest thanks~

Gratitudes 12/27/13

Getting out of the house to go to work was hard this morning. I admit it. But...

1. I'm grate*full that I have a job. Many people who have been out of work long-term are about to have their unemployment benefits terminated, and at least locally to me, I'm not seeing the job market get much better. I have two (relatively) new college degrees and some new marketable skills, and I'm still taking every civil service test I qualify for trying to get a job on which I can support a family of five.

2. I'm also grate*full to have a job that I actually like. If I had trouble getting out of the house (just because my kids were being so stinking cute and I wanted to stay home with them) to go to a job I like, can you imagine how much harder it would have been to get out of the house to go to a job that I hated?

3. I'm grate*full for my two new followers and people who have expressed interest in my gratitude challenge. I've never done anything like this before so to be perfectly frank, I'm not sure what I'm doing but I am grate*full that people are willing to undertake the journey with me.

4. As usual, I'm grate*full for Pandora. I created a "Hair Bands" station today and at first, I wasn't too keen on it. But it's growing on me.

5. I'm grate*full for the Keurig in the office. I am enjoying a delight*fully succulent cup of Italian dark roast with Irish Creme ID creamer and Sweet 'n' Low. It's very tasty.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gratitudes 12/26/13

Today I am grate*full...

1. for the amazing Christmas we had yesterday.

2. for the quietude of the office today.

3. that I got to talk to my precious babies on the phone at lunchtime. And that I have my precious babies. I read an interview in O Magazine where Oprah talked with a set of parents who lost their son in the Sandy Hook school shooting last year. It broke my heart so bad I started crying right there in the middle of the faculty room. Talking to them and my husband made me feel so much better.

4. for my dear and loving husband who is working so hard to make our little house a home.

5. That in the same issue of O magazine, Oprah wrote about...gratitude.


365 Day Gratitude Challenge

365 Days of Gratitude

Back when I was doing Mary Kay, the woman who became my sales director told me that if a goal didn’t make you want to throw up a little, it wasn’t a good goal.
My friend Andrea Schroeder, who leads workshops and has an amazing website where she helps people discover their creative passions, led a group one year in which I was able to participate. For the coming year, she asked us to list 100 goals. They could range from the sublime to the mundane. It was a powerful exercise, so powerful I’ve done it every year since. And as I was working on the 100-goal list for the year 2014, a little voice kept whispering to me, “365 days of gratitude. 365 days of gratitude.”
I haven’t gotten very many pageviews lately here on the blog. And even fewer comments. Like none. In over two years. It makes for a lonely existence on a blog. But let’s face it, I’m a sporadic blogger at best. A drip here, a drab there. And while we’re facing stuff, most days, I try to list five gratitudes and a lot of the time three of the five are named Melanie, Marc, and Rachael. More often than not, a fourth one is named John. (Those are my kids and husband in case you’re just joining me for the first time.) My ego says nobody’s going to read the same five gratitudes day after day for a whole year. So the idea to host a 365-day gratitude challenge on my blog was scoffworthy at first. But I’ve been attempting to engage in a regular gratitude practice for years now. And nothing sticks.
I need accountability. So maybe a challenge, that people sign up for and check in with me for, is just what I need. In addition to checking in with me, I’ll be checking in with them. We’ll create community. A gratitude community. I’ll be honest, the thought of having to do this and stick with it is making me want to throw up a little. Things are hard right now.
But if beginning a gratitude practice (for which I am indebted to my friend Tricia Moore) taught me anything, it really hammered home for me that what a person focuses on expands. As I began to really get in touch with things I was grateful for, I noticed myself feeling more grateful. Noticing more things for which to be grateful.
Grateful is a nice place to stay. I want to move in and live there permanently. So I am reaching out to anyone who reads my blog to engage in this with me. Help me put down roots in gratitude. Come put down roots with me.
I hope to come up with a formal way for people to sign up for this year-long foray into gratitude. I’ll be working on that between now and the end of the month, but for now, if you’re willing to undertake this with me…just list five things you’re grateful for, every day, for a whole year, raise your hand by putting a comment on this post. That will let me know I’m not alone and that the universe is pointing me in the right direction :).

With deepest thanks~

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gratitudes 12/18/13

Today I am grate*full...

1. For Christmas gifts from two of my colleagues, Judy and Debbie.

2. For my friend Kyle's mom. Months ago when we first found out we were being evicted from my father-in-law's house, Kyle sent me a Facebook message telling me that his mom wanted to buy Christmas presents for the kids. Thinking she was going to get one thing per kid, I said sure.

The woman did their whole Christmas. OMG. Five or six presents per kid. Plus stockings. Plus a box of food. The woman is amazing. Big love to her, Kyle, and Kyle's sister Harley.

3. I picked up the pictures for the Christmas cards I'm sending to my brother and sisters. They're each getting two baby pictures of Rachael from the hospital, one of Melanie's school pictures, and a picture of all five of us from Rachael's baptism. They came out beautifully.

4. I got an extension on some of my schoolwork, and I am so grate*full. (Yes, that's redundant, but it bore repeating.)

5. My dear and loving husband made dinner, took out the garbage, made himself a list, and got everything but two things done on it. He is a rock star and I love him.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gratitude 12/14/13

1. Today I am grate*full for my friend Niki loaning me her stand mixer. OMG the thing is amazing. It has actually made baking this year fun instead of tedium that kills my wrists.

2. I'm grate*full that it looks like Christmas outside and we didn't have to do much venturing out in the snow.

3. I'm grate*full for FlyLady incorporating breaks into her system. Every time I've completed some dough/batter today I've taken a 15 minute break and it's made all the difference.

4. I'm grate*full that my mom and husband remind me to put things away as I go. Because of this I realized quickly before putting it in the oven that I'd put 2 1/2 cups of SALT instead of 2 1/2 cups of SUGAR into my banana bread mixture. OMG it was disgusting! Luckily it wasn't too late to scrap and start over and I had plenty of the ingredients.

5. I'm grate*full for my beautiful home. It has greatly improved my husband's and my marriage to be in our own space.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Gratitude 12/13/13

I'm gratefully anticipating this date next year when it will be 12/13/14, being the numbers girl that I am LOLOLOL...

Today I am grate*full...

1. Hoping I'm not posting this prematurely, I am pleasantly surprised by the quietness of the office this morning. I was prepared for a maelstrom of naughtiness today because there's apparently a snowstorm brewing out there. It's been flurrying on and off here, but I haven't seen anything major.

2. So grate*full I got to kiss my precious Marc good-bye before I left this morning. Most mornings, I leave before he wakes up. I didn't get to kiss Melanie; she was still asleep, but I'm focusing on what I'm grateful for.

3. I'm grate*full I got to see one of our teachers whom I thought I wouldn't get to see today. He's a good friend.

4. I'm grate*full for finally starting my Christmas cards this morning.

5. I'm grate*full that John cut the cuffs of my jeans off and they're not dragging on the floor anymore. I'm short, but high-waisted with a LOT of junk in the trunk, so if I get average length jeans, they're too short, and if I get the tall length ones, they're too long.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gratitudes 12/12/13

1. As usual, I'm a numbers girl (which is funny...if you'd have asked me four years ago if I was a numbers girl I'd have given you a big HELL NO!), so I'm loving that it's 12/12. And I'm grate*full for that.

2. I'm grate*full for my faith. I just found out that a potential job opportunity that had presented itself did not pan out. And instead of beating myself up, I'm keeping faith that God has something better in store for me. Or at least that that wasn't the right opportunity.

3. I'm grate*full that I have a garage to keep our van in. I never have to scrape. That is such a joy.

4. I'm grate*full for my babies (you'll see me post a lot that I'm grate*full for my babies). Last night, I got home, and they were so happy to see me, and my five-year-old had even set up a tea party for me. She is such a sweetheart!

5. I'm grate*full for my husband. I don't post often enough about him. He does EVERYTHING to keep our house and children in order while I'm gone during the day, and I come home to a clean house, generally well-behaved kids, and a relaxed atmosphere. He's a great guy.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Gratitudes 12/2/13:

1. I am so grate*full for my new friend (sooner rather than later to be Fr.), Marc Bentley. Marc is a seminarian at St. Meinrad, and I "met" him on Facebook through a mutual friend of ours, Fr. Tom Farrell.

From the time I was a tween, I have been praying an Advent devotional. 15 prayers my mother called the "Hail and Blessed," and 40 Hail Marys, every day of Advent leading up to Christmas. Well, last week, didn't Marc post up a link to what was called a "St. Andrew novena." IT WAS THE HAIL AND BLESSED! 15 Hail and Blesseds, starting on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, which is November 30, until Christmas Eve. (Technically I don't think it's a novena, because by definition aren't novenas nine days? So I'll continue to refer to it as a devotion.)

2. I am grate*full for my precious son, who is also named Marc. He is named after his godfather, one of my very best friends, Marc Johnson. I originally sent (soon to be Fr.) Marc a Facebook message to let him know that I had a son Marc whose name was spelled the same way as his. That was how we got to be friends.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting about MY Marc is because I was pushing him through WalMart in a cart yesterday, and his dad, my husband, stopped to look at something and was trying to figure out the best buy, so I pulled Marc close and gave him Eskimo kisses. He says, "Mugga mugga mugga!" It was SO SWEET! Apparently they do that on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood...so...

3. I'm grate*full for Mr. Rogers for creating the character of Daniel Tiger.

4. I'm grate*full for Christmas music on the regular radio.

5. And I'm grate*full to my officemate, who decorated our office.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

OK so I only did gratitudes yesterday in my head. So today I wrote ten of them.

1. I'm so grate*full that I have Laurie back in the main office.
2. I'm grate*full that it's Hump Day. Hump DAAAAAAAY!
3. I'm kind of grate*full that my Giants jersey is in the wash, so I didn't have to take shit about it.
4. I'm grate*full for extra money to order lunch in from out and about.
5. I'm grate*full for French Vanilla coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
6. I'm grate*full for my friend Becca teaching me to order French Vanilla instead of Dunkaccino, because it saves me fifteen cents per cup of coffee.
7. I'm really really grate*full for the good mood I appear to be in today.
8. I'm grate*full to be able to use Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. I cannot stand Internet Explorer.
9. I'm grate*full that as of today, this stupid cold has not knocked me flat to a point where I've had to miss work for it.
10. I'm grate*full that this pay period's payroll was relatively uncomplicated.
And that's 10! Whoo-hoo!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Gratitudes 11/18/13

Wow, I've gotten away from this lately. If I'm going to do a 365-day gratitude challenge on the blog, I need to be better about this.

(Yes, I said 365-day gratitude challenge. It's coming, ladies and gents. Be prepared.)

For today, these are my gratitudes:

1. I am so grate*full that I have robustly healthy children. I saw a piece on the news about a hospital that was destroyed in the typhoon in the Philippines, and they had a NICU and six of the babies in that NICU have now died because they haven't gotten aid that they desperately needed. I'm also grate*full for the agencies that help us since we're low income in this country. (Yes, we're low income, and I work a full-time job, and we still get SNAP benefits, Medicaid, and heating assistance).

2. I'm grate*full for the employees higher up than I who recognize that there's a learning curve to my job and don't treat me like the idiot I feel like I am when I screw things up. Not major things...just an e-mail that should have been sent to person A instead of person B, but still...

3. I'm grate*full to whoever cleaned up the coffee I spilled this morning. I went back to clean it up and it was magically clean.

4. I'm grate*full to my friend Jen, who doesn't judge me, even when my heart is bigger than my brain.

5. And finally, I'm grate*full to my ESC mentor. ALL my work has been late this semester, but it's been quality, so she's overlooked that it's late.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gratitude 11/13/13

1. Today I am grate*full that my husband drove me to work. OMG, the roads were so bad. There were wrecks both on 352 and I-86, and they made many of my beloved colleagues late. It was horrible.

2. I am grate*full for my co-worker Terry. She knows why. ;)

3. I am grate*full that I ran into my friend Matthew last night at Walmart. I haven't seen him since our graduation from CCC in May (that should be criminal, really). It made a trip that I was totally dreading absolutely worth it.

4. I am grate*full for my co-worker Cindy in Tech Services, who enabled me to print reports from an important program :)

5. I am grate*full for Christmas music on Pandora.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude 11/12/13

1. I'm grate*full that it's 11/12/13. I just love writing that. There's something so...orderly about it. I don't have OCD or anything, but I LOVE when the dates align like that. It's so cool.

2. I'm grate*full for the faculty and staff that I work with in the school where I work. I'm sure there's a misplaced modifier there because of all the prepositional phrases, but I hope the sentiment is clearly conveyed. CFA has an awesome faculty and staff.

3. I'm grate*full for my quiet rides to work. This morning, they yielded a couple of major ideas, both for a 2014 project, and a Lenten sacrifice.

4. I'm grate*full for technology. As much as I complain about it, it really does enrich my life. I read my textbooks (and save money on their purchase) on my Kindle. I keep in touch with many friends with whom I would have fallen out of touch via Facebook, and have made many more friends than I ever could have hoped via the various incarnations of SARK-related message boards. I listen to music I really enjoy on Pandora.

5. And I'm grate*full for a working vehicle, enough food to eat, SNAP benefits to pay for said food, and a full-time job with which to bless my family.

Elizabeth 11/12/13 (writing that makes me giddy LOL)