Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gratitude Challenge. Part II.

So yesterday I started making a list of things I’m grateful for because I was challenged by my friend, Amy. I was supposed to write down three things every day for five days that I’m grateful for and I was supposed to challenge three additional people every day to do the same thing.

But I didn’t. I was sort of busy last week and it got by me. Oops.

So yesterday I wrote down half my gratitude list in one fell swoop and posted it in my blog. And I didn’t challenge anyone in particular to follow in my footsteps. I didn’t follow the “rules.” That’s me – the Maverick.

Nah, not really. Generally speaking, I’m the epitome of the Rule Follower. I’m a Maverick only in my dreams. 

But I get it. The point is to get more and more people to realize all they have to be thankful for. Sort of like the ice bucket challenge for ALS – or the “Pay it Forward” movement.

I really get it. Because the world would be a much kinder place if we all challenged one another to find gratitude and joy in life rather than in things to complain about.

So I have some more things to add to my Gratitude List:

#8. I’m really grateful that I don’t have to eat kale every day. Vince has decided that kale is “good for us.”  Whenever Vince uses the phrase “good for us,” I cringe. Because it usually means that it won’t necessarily taste good, but we still need to eat it. Sigh. I’ve drawn the line at Brussel sprouts and Kimchi. But to show you what a good wife I am, I added a big handful of kale to our fruit smoothies this morning. Good for me, eh?

#9. I am grateful for running water and working toilets. Hey, don’t scoff. Some people don’t have these “luxuries.” ‘Nuff said. (Oh, except for the fact that I’m grateful I didn’t grow up in the “olden days” when you had to use an outhouse. Yeah, I’m really grateful for that.)

#10. This is going to sound stupid, but I’m grateful for the kind things people do for strangers. I get choked up every time I read about a Random Act of Kindness, even if it’s something as small as paying for the coffee of the person in line behind you. Heck, it makes my whole day when a stranger smiles at me or opens the door for me – so I try to do those little things for other people, too. Because who knows? Maybe I can make their day a little brighter. It does become a little awkward, though, when a stranger and I are both trying to hold the door open for each other at the same time. Then it becomes a little less  an act of kindness and more sort of a power struggle.  (“After you.” “No, please. After you.” “No, no, really…!”) Ah well. It all works out. Eventually.

#11. I’m grateful for chocolate.

#12. I’m grateful that even though I can only hear out of one ear, I can hear perfectly fine out of the other one. And even though my eyesight is horrible and I’m legally blind without corrective lenses, I’m grateful that I can wear corrective lenses and see stuff. And I’m grateful that even though I’m not the absolute sharpest knife in the drawer (oh, be quiet!), I have no complaints about the brain God gave me and the creativity and sense of humor he gifted me with. And, yeah, okay, sometimes my sense of humor gets a little lost, but a little chocolate always helps. (Hence, #11 on my list.)

#13. And, finally, I’m grateful for my brother Andrew. He recently celebrated a birthday and listed on Facebook the top three things in his life – his wife, his dog and his boat. A long conversation ensued where it turned out I was far down the list falling somewhere below his cherished ball of twine. Or something like that. Shows me where I stand with my brother, doesn’t it?! So I wanted to write a special note to him to show him I’m SO GRATEFUL for bratty brothers. But, seriously, Andrew is a kind, giving person and he has a great sense of humor. He’s pretty darn smart and I love him a lot. And just because he’s #13 on the list does NOT mean he’s the last thing I’m grateful for. I said mine were in no particular order except for #1. (This is an especially important point given that I said I was grateful for “toilets” and that is listed above being grateful for my brother Andrew.)

#14. Darn it. I can’t be grateful for just one sibling – I have to include the other two as well. I’m grateful that my brother John is in my life. For whatever issues he has had, the one thing he taught me was how to be generous. John was way better at sharing than the rest of us were.  My mom used to say that John would give you the shirt off his back even if it was the only shirt he had. Personally, I think that’s because John likes to walk around shirtless so he can show off all his tattoos, but that’s just a theory. 

#15. And, finally… (No, really, this is the last one I’m going to write down. I swear!) I’m really grateful for my sister Denise. There truly is no one in your life like a sister. She and I shared a room growing up – and even shared a couple residences through the years as adults. I love her so much. She and her husband Joe make the long drive from Milwaukee to Ohio several times every year to spend time with family – and it has given me the chance to be a part of their lives and watch my niece, Chloe, grow up. And for that and so much more, I’m truly grateful.

So there you have it. My Gratitude List. Is this all-encompassing? Nope, not by a long shot. I would’ve had to include my cats, Twinks and Jinx, and a whole slew of other people by name. But it does make me realize that I have much to be grateful for. And even if I don’t write down these lists on a regular basis, it has given me a new perspective.

I guess that means I can’t complain about anything today.


Where’s the chocolate?

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