I’m Back! And, a Note about Gratitude.

Ohhhkay. So it’s been a while. I’ve taken breaks before, but never of this magnitude. I wish I could say that I planned it, and it was a sabbatical filled with lots of important thinking and stuff, but that’s not entirely true. So to the 4 of you that have clicked over here to read, I thank you.

Quick and dirty of the past 8 weeks:

>I got a tattoo. Managed to blog about that. I’m still obsessed with looking my own wrist, and have plans for a second tattoo. No regrets. Love it.

>I had heel surgery, wore an aircast for 2 weeks, was incredibly impatient about the whole thing, and I still am. I can’t do any high-impact exercise for another several weeks, and it’s killing me. And, my heel is still mildly sore all the time, sometimes more painful depending on my shoe choices and how much I’m up and around. So really, y’all can thank me for NOT blogging during the earlier part of this whole ordeal, because I was crabby (tiny violins are playing everywhere right now, I know).

>So this is bad, but Luke had a birthday and I didn’t write a post (I have a moderate amount of guilt I’m dealing with over this). Thankfully, this blog has been around for a sweet forever at this point, and I’ve documented his birthday nicely from age 5-11, so I think this is forgivable. Plus, in my head, he’s still this tiny adorable guy, and sometimes I like to pretend he’s not 12:

>I have listened to a million hours of my current favorite songs on repeat. I can listen to a song over and over and not tire of it for longer than you can imagine. It’s a special gift.
My family does not share this gift.

>Christmas: fabulous celebrations with just the 5 of us and our extended families.

So. There ya go. Caught up.

Onto the second half of the title of this post: for the past 2 years, our family has been writing a gratitude journal. And the new year is the perfect time to start something like this, so I thought I’d share.

I got this notebook, used the Silhouette to cut out some stickers for the cover, and boom: our Family Gratitude Journal was born.

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The idea is really simple, and I’m sure I read it on a blog somewhere years ago, but I don’t remember where (sorry, random person with this great idea). It starts with one family member writing down the date and something for which they’re thankful, and signing their name. Then, they leave the notebook at the bedside of another family member. That’s it.

For me, the goal is this: not every day has a huge, oh-my-goodness-this-is-amazing moment. If it does, then it certainly should be documented. But every day, there is so much to be thankful for, and I think kids (and adults, too, really) need to be taught to look for blessings in their lives.

My boys never have to worry about having a roof over their head, or enough food to eat, or if they’re safe and cared for at school. They have medical care and reliable transportation (well, as reliable as their mother’s memory, at least). Naturally, then, it’s easy to take these things for granted, but that’s not how I want them to be raised. One way we work to be aware of these gifts is by sponsoring kids through Compassion International – you know how much I love this organization, and our communication over the years with Jeremy and Joangel has opened the boys’ eyes to so much.

So our journal has become another tool in teaching gratitude. Obviously, I can’t say for sure whether it’s working or not, because as with all things parenting, we don’t get to know how this works out until we’re finished. Which is crap, but that’s just the way it goes, and it’s why we try these things, right? I’ll be so happy if the boys, when they’re grown, remember this practice. And even happier if it’s impacted them enough to really, truly live a life of thankfulness and compassion.

Logistics: it started out going to someone new each night. Over the 2 years, it’s not gotten passed around quite so frequently, so we’re working on that again. But I LOVE this family artifact we’re building, complete with little kid handwriting. Mercy…Jack Henry’s earliest entries are so stinkin’ adorable.

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FYI: Waffle is his little stuffed dog.

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What do you do with your kids to teach an attitude of thankfulness? Help a mama out.

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