Birthdays, Dirty Laundry, Flannel and Jesus.

What are you thankful for today?

I’ve spent this morning thinking about all the ways that life is a little richer today……

1 // This little munchkin turns TWO years old today. He’s probably the first baby I was a really big fan of — and the first piece of faith that, yeah, having my own kid one day is going to be REALLY awesome. Happy Birthday, Ev! You ain’t a baby no more!

THE CUTEST CHUNK.

2 // Yesterday I spent 10 minutes in Bath & Body Works sniffing all of the fall scents. I spent a long time with Flannel. It’s a small thing and totally a luxury, but few things have the calming effect on me that fall candles do. I can’t wait to get some. And then get more to share the joy with my loves.

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3 // Speaking of flannel, it’s almost time to wear it. THANK the heavens. I’m soaking in every last second of sub-70-degree weather out West while I can. The 10-day forecast for Atlanta still has 90-degree days and I won’t let that steal the joy of wearing a sweatshirt today. The start of a changing season always makes me feel grateful that we get four.

4 // My mom is a nurturer. She gets joy from taking care of her family and doting on each of us. I know that there are many days I took for granted her tidying up behind me, paying attention to setting the table, keeping us in clean clothes and always asking about our comfort. “Are you cold? Do you want a blanket? Do you need something to drink?” But as I get older I’ve started to recognize that through her action — she also taught me a little something. Now that I’m a little older I recognize all the effort and appreciate all the gestures. And I notice that I’m starting to enjoy doing the same. It’s 9 a.m. in Portland and I’ve done a bunch of loads of laundry for Andy. And honestly? It just makes me feel love to do it. ❤ Few things feel more womanly than feeling love folding underwear.

A picture. Cause we’re cute.

5 // NBC letting Kathie Lee honor her husband on air the way that she wanted to–sharing faith. I know that this is news from earlier in the week; but it’s stuck with me each day. It raises the question “would you do the same?” I’m a Christian. Would I be brave enough to ask to share my husband’s testimony on network television? I would hope so. But I think one of the greatest parts of her address from earlier this week is likely the bravery that led her share those words. I want to have faith like that: unashamed, unbound and unfiltered. I want to not “expect people to be offended.” Or “expect standards to not allow it.” If you want to talk about Jesus; talk about Jesus.

Why you need to keep a gratitude list.

I like to think that I’m a pretty thankful person on any given day without thinking about it in too much detail.

For the most part I like to think that I take my family and friends, job, apartment, and money to heart.

There are lots of moments that I feel a notable heart surge of thanks when something nice happens.

But, note, “I like to think” a lot of these things. I’m not 100 percent sure though that I consistently meditate on how great they really are.

We’re all busy. On lots of days it’s all you can do to work, cook all of your meals, squeeze in a work out and find time to chat with loved ones. Nevertheless have a moment to sit around in conscious thought about how great life is.

There is a need, though.

Life can be even better if we take some extra time once a week for ourselves. We’re always wanting that quiet 15 minutes, and when you steal it—jotting down your gratitude list can make the other minutes of your week a little more colorful.

I think you’ll find that the reflection on gratitude will affect every aspect of your life and those you share it with.

1. Conscious gratitude results in deeper gratitude.

When you stop to really think about how many and what kinds of good things are happening in your life; the good seems a lot bigger. It’s easy to think “of course, I’m healthy.”

Well, that takes the feel-good out of a blessing.

At times where things go wrong — I think that half of the sadness in the situation is knowing that we didn’t appreciate it when it was going GOOD. We need to fully live in our gratitudes and soak out every last drop.

I am healthy today and that isn’t something that I was promised. It’s not something that will necessarily always be true. I have the strength to go run four miles if I want and I don’t have to stress out about any doctor appointments like some people. I really need to be thankful in that. And also maybe get my butt out from behind my desk and go run.

Nodding your way through life diminishes some of the most important parts.

2. When we keep track of the numerous blessings in our life; the need to bless others is un-ignorable.

The good things we have are privileges to some degree, right?

And with privilege comes a kind of responsibility, right?

By consciously realizing what we have–we can appreciate the need to share the good with others.

On those days we passively feel thankful for what we have it’s easy to feel like all of those things are deserved:

  1. good health
  2. family who supports us
  3. friends who follow through on plans
  4. a stable job and income
  5. work that we feel like matters
  6. a safe home
  7. freedom to practice whatever faith we want
  8. physical ability to go take on that killer work out
  9. opportunities to grow
  10. mentors who care what you can accomplish

And those are just 10 things.

My guess is that at some point in time you haven’t had one or more of those. And in that moment, YOU needed a blessing.

I think by keeping a gratitude list we can reflect on what we’re being given and be thankful. And even more we can see the opportunity to bless other people.

When you’re thankful your friends follow through on plans — it makes you want to be a friend who does the same, am I right?

It makes you realize how important calling your grandparents can be.

And it could give you that kick to respond to a new grad’s email about helping them with the job search.

3. Keeping a gratitude list can change YOUR day.

It’s Monday and a small hiccup in your schedule happens sending some plans into disarray.

Cue “over-reashley.” (Ain’t that a cute nickname? Real love you guys.) I tend to overreact about small things and turn them into GIANT problems. #TheWorldIsEnding.

When you have the perspective of what you HAVE. What is good. What matters. You’re not going to be sweating the slow line at Publix or co-worker who doesn’t understand work process.

By reflecting regularly on a gratitude list — your gratitude WILL affect your attitude.

All of those opportunities at your feet? Maybe by realizing how special they are you’ll start being more proactive about exploring them.

So, what am I doing about it?

I’m going to work on meditating once a week on my blessings. Yes, a perfect opportunity for a beautiful handwritten list.

And then I’ll focus on finding motivation to share in at least one way with others. Sometimes maybe I’ll post about it — but I’ll always try to keep a physical list.

While life is not perfect and there are definite improvement areas; I think my perspective can be even better right this second if I take a little bit more time to breathe in through my nose…close my eyes…smile…and know in how many ways I’m taken care of.

When you figure that part out; you can’t help but share it.

Spoiler alert: My gratitude list is going to be directly relevant to a >>>> prayer list. Which is something I’ll be writing on Sunday. (PS: If you like lists, let’s be best friends.)

Today’s gratitude: The opportunity to pick up an extra shift at work this weekend to help ease some financial stresses.

Today’s pay it forward: Since I’ll have a little extra money, it’s probably a good idea to chip into that co-workers present pool to show how much I really appreciate working with them.

xx.