Gratitude: Discovering the Small Joys in Life

July 23, 2010

in Life Lessons, Parenting, Song of the Week

Wednesday I wrote about feeling grateful in the face of a challenge. Readers left wonderful comments with examples of gratitude they felt as a result of a challenge. It was very inspiring to read. Thank you to all who shared.

The best marshmallow roasting stick ever. It's coming home with us.

What about when there is no great challenge? How is it possible that gratitude can be elusive in the good times in life? Slowing down in order to evaluate blessings is necessary. Everyone has frustrating situations daily. Traffic, a child misbehaving, a slow line at the grocery, a boss yelling, an argument with a spouse, someone letting us down, to name just a few. Why is it easier to focus on a bad day at work and not on the positive events during the day? Why do negative events have a residual effect, but not positive?

Each night at dinner or at bedtime, without fail, I ask my children to tell me about their favorite part of the day. This routine brings about a dialog of gratitude and I get an opportunity to learn about their day. This moment of connectedness with the kids is one of my favorite routines. I have an opportunity to  experience Princess Daisy and Monkey being positive and sharing stories from their day.

As I wrote on Wednesday, the challenge I face with the divorce has been so consuming that at times gratitude has slipped away. This week I have been able to tuck away my challenges and just rest. All the divorce issues are waiting for me when I return home, but for this week, I had a break.

This break has been good for me to rest and recharge. I return to divorce issues and another mediation session in one week. But having rediscovered gratitude on this trip, I know next week will not be difficult. Finding the small blessings in life bring about peace and joy.

Here’s what I am grateful for this week:

  1. Listening to the rustling of leaves on mature trees.
  2. Enjoying a contant breeze.
  3. Watching my son swimming in the lake with no fear of the water.
  4. Seeing the pride on my daughter’s face as she reached the top of a climbing wall.
  5. Sitting in an Adirondak chair, enjoying the lake view and breeze.
  6. Low humidity, cool temperatures.
  7. Swimming in the lake.
  8. Perfect running weather.
  9. Relaxing each day.
  10. Reading a great book.
  11. Learning and becoming addicted to Rummikub.
  12. Sleeping well.
  13. Laughing more.
  14. Meeting wonderful people.
  15. Seeing my children happy.
  16. Enjoying time with AC.
  17. Eating dinner on the patio nightly.
  18. Exploring a state park.
  19. Watching the kids play in the falls at the state park.
  20. Having a beautiful lake in the backyard.
  21. Frisbee with the kids.
  22. Watching chipmunks scurry around the patio each morning.
  23. Eating well.
  24. Finding the perfect marshmallow-roasting stick.
  25. Eating S’mores.

For the Song of the Week this week I chose something based upon gratitude: Cheryl Crow’s “Soak up the Sun.”

My favorite line in the song:

“It’s not having what you want, but wanting what you’ve got.”

How about you?

What are you grateful for this week?

I hope you are able to soak up the sun this weekend.

Happy Friday!



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan (Best of Fates) July 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

Sounds like you have a lot to be grateful for – especially an Adirondack chair, I love those!

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Jen July 23, 2010 at 11:41 am

I can’t wait to use that marshmellow roasting stick; the “perfect one.” Great post!
I am thankful for the love and laughter I am surrounded by each day. I couldn’t ask for a better life!

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AKeo July 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I hope you share your favorite moment of the day with your kids as well. That will help you remember gratitude each day.
AKeo recently posted..Food Wars- More Inner Turmoil Than A Soap OperaMy Profile

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Corinne July 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Sounds heavenly… amazing list :)
And love that song.. one of my favorites.
Corinne recently posted..ScrappyMy Profile

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Diane Foster July 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

I have been guilty of losing sight of all that I have to be grateful for. We are about to adopt our 14 year old foster daughter who we have been taking care of for 5 years now. I am so grateful she came into our lives. Thanks for reminding me that remember what I do have instead of focusing on what I don’t.
Diane Foster recently posted..Restoring Trust in RelationshipsMy Profile

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Ash July 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

I began my blog oh so many moons ago to teach myself to look at things in life with a little bit of humor and a ton of gratitude. It took a while (all good habit adoption does, right?), but I’ve finally found myself at a place where positive reactions come more easily. Alleluia. Because seriously, my healthy psyche was hanging on by a synapse.

Here’s to finding the perfect marshmellow stick!
Ash recently posted..Dropping my shortMy Profile

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Jenni July 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I tend to show more gratitude on my better days. Because I’m grateful for a BREAK of always feeling so worn down.

On my bad days though, I’m also grateful to be able to step back and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes it may take a day or two, but I eventually do it. And it really helps me figure out why I’m so upset, and what I can say or do to change that.
Jenni recently posted..Conversational BaggageMy Profile

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T July 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Awesome. Love it.

The list was the best part!!
T recently posted..An Examination of Marriage- Putting all of my proverbial eggs in one proverbial basketMy Profile

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Bruna April 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I love many things on your list but #25 is my favourite.

I’ve been through divorce and can relate. Take it one day at a time and know that there will be happiness for you once it’s all over and done with.

Adding your blog to my RSS feed!

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Bruna,

Thank you so much for adding me to your RSS Feed!

This post was written last summer when I was completely engrossed in divorce negotiations and lawyer’s meetings. It is great to look back to where I was then and where I am now. The sun is shining again in my life and I am happy to be where I am at this moment in time. Hard fought, but I got here. Because of the work that was involved to get to this good place, I appreciate it that much more.

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Jessica Anne April 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Such a good lesson. I know for me ooking at things positively makes all the difference in my mood. I love that routine with your kids. I’ve tried to do it at dinner, but I’ve been slacking lately. Thanks for the reminder to restart. And I love RummyKub. :)
Jessica Anne recently posted..Changes AfootMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I love to meet other Rummikub-obsessed people! We haven’t played the game in awhile so I might pull it out and ask the kids to play with me.

As for guiding a positive discussion at dinner, I think gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. It will lead to a happy and more fulfilling life.

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Jenn April 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I love that some of the things you are grateful for are small things that most people take for granted!
That is how I am trying to live my life…being grateful for the little things.

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

If you can learn to be grateful for the small things in life, you always have something to be grateful for, right?

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yvonne@attractedtoshinythings April 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Wow, excellent post and it really hit home with me. My divorce just became final on 1/4/11, but for the entire previous year I was going through all the court stuff and UGH! Now I’m going through the trying-to-pay-the-bills-when-my-deadbeat ex-husband-isn’t-paying-child-support, as well as finding myself yelling at my kids more because of the stress. I’ve found that writing about it all really helps. I’m going to try listing what I’m grateful for as well. Thanks!

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

I hope creating a gratitude list helps you as well. Hang in there.

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