stephmodo: Gratitude: 10 Things

Gratitude: 10 Things

• 11 October 2011

At the end of summer vacation, we rewarded our kids with a trip to Salt Lake City (they tried so hard to be good this summer so we would have "energy" to take them on a road trip) .  It's a loooong drive (13 hours, no stops) and since Ben and I can only handle Dan Zane for so long, we gave several Ted talks some serious airtime.  

One particular talk stood out during that road trip--a talk by Neil Pasricha about looking for and documenting the "awesome things" in life.  Examples included snow days, finding money in a pocket and underwear right out of the dryer.   Neil's blog, which he started during a painful divorce, isn't necessarily design-savvy, but it's compelling in that it conjures up thoughts you might not entertain otherwise.  While listening to him, I felt immediately inspired to try and take up journal writing again.  Now this is something I've never been good at doing, but I do have strong feelings about the importance of writing down thoughts and feelings that be a positive influence later on--either for ourselves or others who might read our journals at some point.  

So I picked up an inexpensive Japanese notebook and started writing 10 things that I am grateful for each a great parking spot downtown, or a note from my son on my nightstand, or a poignant email, or even a short burst of sunshine.  Some of the points were lengthy, and some were short and sweet...the great thing is that it doesn't really matter!  After just a few days I started to notice my outlook steering in a lighter direction and it felt wonderful. I'm really in love with the idea as it's a guilt-free method of documenting the simple, everyday moments in life.  

Today, the 10 things I am grateful for are...

1. the chance I had to get away, work hard, and to meet genuine and lovely people
2. a warm bed at night.
3. having a dishwasher and the time it frees up to do other things.
4. that I only had one casualty in my suitcase (I brought home a lot of yogurt pots and jars!)
5. that my children actually missed me
6. that someone rearended our van--as now our insurance co. will pay for new carseats (no one was remotely injured thank goodness)
7. a friend unexpectedly coming into town
8. climbing an apple tree last week and feeling like a kid again
9. that 2 of my 3 older kids ate squash soup last night
10. the chance to celebrate 12 years of marriage today :)

What are 10 things you are grateful for today?  I'd love to read your list too; in fact I'd bet we'd all be inspired by each other's "10 things", so if you feel so inclined, please share!

images 1, 2, and 4 by moi / image 3 - Aran Goyoaga


  1. Wonderful post. I totally agree that making a habit of expressing gratitude can totally improve your overall outlook. I document "Three Beautiful Things" on my blog every week, and I look for those beautiful things every day. Your list is a great one.

  2. I love this! Here are my ten:
    1. the day that my husband and I had together yesterday while the kids were at school, it's so much fun to hang out together
    2. homemade banana bread that I just had for breakfast
    3. the wonderful experience of attending The Sewing Summit over the weekend and meeting online friends that I have had for years, and meeting new friends and laughing all night till we cried :)
    4. the sweet little sewing machine necklace I received from a friend at the Sewing Summit, it will always be a reminder of her and our fun weekend :)
    5. that I get to be a stay at home Mom and do what I love and still be able to help support our family financially.
    6. that I recently was able to go to lunch with a longtime friend that I hadn't seen in years.
    7. that even though my husband and I have been married for 10 years we still feel like newlyweds
    8. my cozy home
    9. that I am going to buy some apples from a little stand in front of someone's house today on the way home from picking up my girls from their dance class
    10. the rain, it smells so good

    Congratulations on 12 years of marriage Steph!

  3. A dishwasher is a huge blessing that I've been thankful for a lot this past week. After 7 years, we are finally back in a house that has one. My kitchen looks so tidy because there aren't dishes lying around or in drying racks.

    And tree climbing is always a fabulous feeling.

    Did you read "The Happiness Project"? It, much like the TED talk, I'm sure, helped me be on the lookout for wonderful things.

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  5. I've been linking up all year with a photo challenge called the simple things. I know this is a bit different than writing things down, but it has worked for me. Currently I take one photo a week of something that made me happy but I have loved doing this. (you can see them on my this&that blog. they're tagged the simple things) Right now I am in the process of making a photobook with those photos and the things I wrote about them. It might just be my favorite project ever.

  6. Congratulations on 12 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary!

  7. I stopped writing in my journal when I started blogging. I type 109 wpm so writing in a journal seemed so archaic and time consuming. I've discovered, though, that I miss it. A lot! My list: 1) computers; 2) babies; 3) my work from home job; 4) pretty paper; 5) running water; 6) my old dishwasher. We recently moved and don't have one anymore, so today I'm grateful for the 3 1/2 years when I got to have one! 7) ditto for my washer and dryer; 8)my super cool 5-year-old; 9) my van; 10) flip flops.

    Happy anniversary!

  8. About 3 weeks ago I rec'd this e-mail from a friend who lives on the other side of the country, a friend I hold dear but rarely see or communicate with. I said yes to his offer and it has been wonderful for me and a great way to reconnect with him:
    ****Would you want to be my gratitude buddy for the month of October?

    Let me explain: a friend got me into this over the summer and I was skeptical about it but have ended up liking it. What you do is every day you write your "gratitude buddy" with three things you are grateful for that day. It could be seeing a friend, a good meal, book, movie, a thought, health, whatever you genuinely feel grateful for. You write me and I'll write you. Usually we each write sometime in the evening, reflecting on the day, but it can be whenever during the day it's convenient. The email takes just a minute or two to write and send. Only thing is, you have to commit to doing it each day for the month, even if you're out of town or something.

    I'd like to do this with you. Want to try? If so, we start October 1.****

  9. 1. Our furnace is getting replaced.
    2. Space heaters until our furnace is replaced.
    3. One of my best friends is coming into town this week to visit me.
    4. I only had to take one kid grocery shopping today while the other was at school.
    5. Allergy season is coming to an end.
    6. Morning sickness waning.
    7. Rainboots.
    8. Fudge from Sweet Afton's.
    9. Watching my kids rearrange the pumpkins on our porch every time we go outside.
    10. My grandma's Beef Stroganoff for dinner.

    Congrats on 12 years!

  10. I did the exact same thing on my blog today! I'm especially thankful for my flannel plaid shirt right now.

  11. Gratitude was on my mind today too. I posted a list of things I am grateful for on my blog:

    Highlights include pumpkin ice cream, a fresh new journal, and giving my little one tiny kisses to melt her frustrations mid tantrum.

  12. 10 things i am thankful for today.....
    1) the sun is shining and it's hot out!
    2) my cold seems to be taking the hint and hitting the road.
    3) that i have a movie date tonight - 2kids, my bed and the rest of narnia.
    4) the chicken that's about to be roasted.
    5) that i am almost done christmas shopping.
    6) that we just spent the most amazing weekend away with friends and it was sunny the whole time - kids even got to swim outside!
    7) that even though money is tight we can pay our bills and eat roast chicken.
    8) that we live is a somewhat calm and beautiful country.
    9)that me and my husband have been together 8 years this week and it feels like yesterday.
    10)that even among the frustrations i am able to be at home with my son and greet my daughter off the bus from school everyday.

    great list! you have inspired me to write these everyday and see the light of the days rather than the dark. inspiring as always. thank you.

  13. You have inspired me. I think I will ask for a new Anthropologie journal for Christmas so I can begin this tradition! Thanks for sharing. I always love your blog :)

  14. Ten things I am thankful for...
    1-Having the opportunity to stay home and enjoy my family.
    2-that we had a very good soup for lunch on this rainy cold day.
    3-I was able to catch up with my work and my quilt project.
    4-that I talked to my Mom and Dad today.
    5-that my daughter today feels very proud because she learned to jump rope!
    6-for being healthy
    7-that recently I had the chance to see my school friends and had a wonderful time remembering old times...
    8-that I can hear (right now) my son and my husband laughing and playing together
    9-having a warm bed (I am thankful for this every night)
    10-that I had the chance to write this list (thanks!) and that we should dedicate more time thinking about the positive things we have in life...

  15. first, happy anniversary! love this idea (of course). i am always trying to get the discipline to write in my journal. for awhile I was writing down the "3 best things that happened to me today" worked for longer than other attempts. and it took some of the pressure off of "feeling grateful" (which sometimes for me is hard or feels contrived.

  16. Wonderful post! I used to do something similar to this where everyone in a class would go around and mention a high point and low point for the day. It helps refamiliarize people and allows us to count our blessings and learn from the low points.

    My ten for today are:
    1)Having leftovers to take to work for lunch today.
    2)Tying the laces for my converse sneakers rather than slipping my feet in. Makes me appreciate the details.
    3)Having the chance to engage in a good conversation with my boss while in the car.
    4)Buy 2 get the 3rd one free blended watermelon juice!
    5)Advil for getting rid of headaches.
    6)Water in a bottle when the tap water smells musty.
    7)Noticing a marked improvement in performance on word games (like 7 little words).
    8)Swimming at the local pool.
    9)Being able to answer the question "How are you doing?" with cheerful gibberish noises and having the other person understand.
    10)Lactaid, because I'm lactose intolerant.

  17. I just read through every one of these...thank you for taking the time to share them with us all! I love all the little things you are grateful for and have a new perspective just from reading your ten points. Thank you for being an inspiration to me tonight.

    Wednesday readers, keep 'em comin'!


  18. I have always loved having a journal. As life has gotten busier I have missed it, but I'm back and loving it.

    My 10:
    1) Spending Monday with a wonderful friend who moved far away. Chance to grouse (just a bit), get inspired and laugh a lot.
    2) Talking through wedding plans with same super creative, wise friend. Amazing advice.
    3)Going to the beach with The Man for a couple of days.
    4) A difficult situation working out much less stressfully than expected.
    5) Costco Tiramisu Cake.
    6) Great workout last night clearing my head & heart
    7)Beautiful walk under a gorgeous full moon last night.
    8)Blessings: a few significant and amazing gifts the past few weeks. Even won a blog giveaway yesterday.
    9)Inspiring blogs like Stephmodo (it's true!)
    10)The ability to read: Gives me the ability to learn about anything.

  19. Reminds me of an article in the March 2011 Friend about doing a blessings journal. I started a small black Moleskine based on the steps in that article.

  20. Hmmm... 10 things today...
    1. Perspective
    2. Friends
    3. That I don't have to be to work at 8:00 am every day. 9:00 am is perfect
    4. A generous co-worker visiting from Amsterdam brought me mustard. Awesome! And so thoughtful.
    5. hot chocolate weather
    6. family
    7. having enough money to pay the bills. So often I focus on the things I don't have, but truthfully... being able to pay the bills is a huge blessing each and every day!
    8. It's almost lunch time!
    9. having spare time at the office today -- so nice not to have meetings all day or deadlines hounding the clock. It's nice to be able to breath.
    10. friends... so i know I already said that, but the alternative is to say hot chocolate again. Hmmm... y'know what would be even awesomer? Friends with hot chocolate. oh, yeah, now we're talking!

  21. I love this idea. It's so sweet and inspiring. I may need to start doing this myself! Also, a big congrats on your 12th anniversary!!

  22. Beautiful thoughts ladies...thank you so much for sharing this side of you!

  23. I'm a little late, but I posted today the ten things I'm grateful for!


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