Grateful.

When I was out shopping on small business Saturday, I saw the most lovely, authentic sign in a home decor shop from {this store}.

It read, “Thank you God, for blessing me with so much more than I deserve.”

After spending the past week bopping from family home to family home, sharing amazing meals and authentic conversation, and learning a top secret McCann Christmas cookie recipe, I feel inspired to be reflective and grateful.

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There is so much in my life that is good. However, in our society’s daily information bombardment, it is so easy to dwell in a negative comment or be saddened by a lack of love or get wrapped up in a bottomless pit of materialism or become overwhelmed by a disastrous world catastrophe.  We can begin to feel helpless and insignificant.

This time of year especially, I want to do my small part. I want to be a ray of sunshine for those around me {especially when the skies are grey and clouds are heavy with white fluffy stuff}.  In Mother Teresa’s words, I want to “spread love everywhere I go, so that no one ever comes to me without leaving happier.”

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I like to think that one happy comment can cancel out one bad something in the world. Little acts of love can have a much greater impact than you might think.  Notes and words and kisses and hugs and even thoughts have great power.

My December challenge to myself is to be as authentically love-and-goodness-spreading as I can. To feel inspired, here is first a little list of things that make me feel blessed.

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~ a whip-lash tail wag and stinky puppy breath kisses that greets me every day after work

~ staying healthy so far this winter!

~ a cozy home to call my own {and the luxury of paying for rent, groceries, gas, and Christmas presents}

~ my job and my cheery students who remind me that each day brings a fresh start

~ the zillion and one ways technology makes it easy to stay connected

~ my kind, smart, thoughtful, motivated husband who is working his butt off in grad school to do what he loves and provide for his family

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~ sisterly love that gets better and better as we get older. Also, our knowing what the other is thinking without speaking.

~ parents and grandparents who, in their infinite wisdom, even after we’ve “grownup,” still think about what would make us happy and consequently have those favorite cookies baked or that mechanic on speed dial.

~ love that is so tangible in a family it is heard in the clinking of a holiday toast, smelled in a sweet baby’s pink baby smell, tasted in a home cooked comfort-food meal, and felt in teary goodbyes, warm hellos, and those-new-jeans-look-good-on-you sassy spanks.

~and OH. so. much. more. Volumes more. I’ll save a little for tomorrow. The thing about gratitude, is once you get going with the recognizing phase, you realize that the blessings in life truly abound. Infinitesimal. Like stars.

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Here’s the plan.

I’m going to spend a little time each day feeling grateful, just like I did above, and then also spend a little time each day spreading the love. This might mean listening to someone with patience when I’d rather talk, calling a friend or relative whose voice I haven’t heard in awhile, donating my winter clothes {and summer clothes!} to those in greater need, paying forward a little latte at the coffee shop, secret santa-ing someone at work with a chocolate square, making a recipe for my husband with extra love, being kind to the crazy drivers and too-busy-to-look-where-they’re-going shoppers, and thinking about the needs of those around me before my own.

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Cheers to spreading the love. Maybe it’s even better than presents.

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6 thoughts on “Grateful.

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