Tag Archives: gratitude

This one little thing

Every once in a while, I get fixated on this one little thing. It might be having my son participate in his preschool Christmas program, or my daughter take dance lessons (okay, that one hasn’t happened yet). I want my child to do this thing that really isn’t all that important in the long run, but for some reason it means something to me, like singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” in front of 75 strangers proves I’m raising a well-adjusted three-year-old.

Um, no?

Yes, it’s not asking much. But it seems like when I get so excited about these supposedly fun little things, they never go how I want.

The same thing seems to happen with little things that might not be so little—the small gestures I anticipate, like that first smile or first Mother’s day card will be the one little thing that convinces me this motherhood thing is worth it, that I’m not driving myself nuts watching Curious George and teaching the alphabet and trying to get! them! to! share! completely in vain.

Those are the little things that are really dangerous, because I can become so fixated on them that they become the reason for motherhood itself. And when they don’t come—and it seems like they never do—I’m so ready to give up. “All I wanted,” I want to scream at the heavens, “was this one stupid little thing. This one gesture to tell me I’m doing the right thing—one tiny tender mercy. Why are you withholding it from me?”

I’ve gotten better about these little things, but sometimes they sneak up on me. Hayden was “keeping a secret” about his Mother’s day gift at school (not really at all): a book he was writing for me. (It’s his second. He’s pretty prolific; he gets it from me. 😉 ) It was supposed to be a book about how great I am.

I knew better than to get my hopes up. I mean, the child is six. For Christmas, he got me an airhorn at the dollar store, an “attention-er,” he called it. I’ve never received a gift that filled me with so much guilt: my first thought was that he was under the impression that I yelled all the time and needed the help. (Ryan set me straight: he was five. He thought it would be fun. Therefore, he reasoned, I must have thought it would be fun. Child logic.)

Still, Hayden was very excited about his book. A few days before Mother’s day, I arrived to pick him up, and he was distraught. “The wind blew your book away!” he pouted. And it had, the staff verified: this four page book he’d spent all week on had been taken by the (surprisingly stiff) wind.

I was not going to accept this! We marched four blocks, scouring in yards and under cars, looking for that book. And I’ll admit it, my mind really wanted to go to that “Why are you taking this one stupid little thing from me?” place. That “Why can’t I get the smallest vote of ‘thanks, Mom, nice job’?” place. That “Do you not care?” place.

The search seemed to mollify Hayden, at least—my biggest concern at the time (yes, it was). He told me what the book said (I’m a great cook and I give him hugs), and said he’d make another at school the next day.

After we’d been home for a while, I remembered his teacher was sending home a certificate for some award he’d earned. I didn’t know what it was, exactly, so I was pretty surprised to find the president’s signature on the certificate:

As proud and as happy as that made me, though, it paled in comparison to the other homework he brought home:

Yep.

It’s not about these little things. It’s about the sentiment behind them. And that will be there whether I get the book or the air horn or nothing at all.

How have you found fulfillment this week?

How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (0)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)

Remember Thanksgiving

At Thanksgiving (in America), we remember our many blessings. Usually, we focus on big ones: family, freedom, upcoming books. But remembering the little things is important too, and not just on an annual day of thanks.

In this year’s General Relief Society Meeting, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke about things that we need to remember, using the image of a forget-me-not flower as a symbol. One of the things we need to remember, he says, is to focus on the wonderful parts of our life:

The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.

This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.

The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.

What do you think? How do you forget not the beauty and sweetness of today?

Photo by KH1234567890

How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (0)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)

What do you find encouraging?

It’s no secret that motherhood is a thankless work. We work until we’ve worn ourselves out, and then we work some more. And, it seems, most of the time, we receive next to no “thank you”—not even a little acknowledgment.

Sometimes, it also seems that we’re expected to accept this. Mothers must know how much they’re loved and valued, the logic seems to go. I mean, don’t we tell them every year?

While we do need to strive to be well-adjusted adults, we can turn to others around us to help us feel better about our work—and not just by petulantly demanding recognition of every sock we’ve washed:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell suggested that one of the ways we can manage our own vexing feelings of inadequacy is to “add to each other’s storehouse of self-esteem by giving deserved, specific commendation more often. We should remember, too, that those who are breathless from going the second mile need deserved praise just as the fallen need to be lifted up.” (from Notwithstanding My Weakness p 10, via When Times are Tough by John Bytheway, p 76).

Isn’t it great when the solution to the problem we’re facing is to give what we need most to someone else? Not many things work that way, but a kind word is one of them.

What would you like to be praised for?

Photo by Todd Jordan

How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (1)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)

100 101 Things to be Grateful For!

Thursday (the second half of the post):
6. At least a little good news for my very pregnant sister, Brooke—even if it’s not her baby yet. (Hurry up, baby!)
7. A sweet sister from church who loaned me her jacket—it was FREEZING for June!!
8. On that note, aside from one hot spell + visitors in April, we haven’t turned on our A/C yet this year.
9. Being brave and calling a stranger (service provider) for an appointment.
10. I’m going to the BEACH! (Just check out my Pinterest: clearly I’m inspired by this, even though it’s quite some time away.)

Friday

  1. New plants in the garden! Yeah, I had to buy them, but, hey—tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to go along with our peas!
  2. All the materials I need (hopefully) for two crafts now in my possession.
  3. Getting started on one of those crafts—working hard (tune in to Wayward Girls Crafts Monday for the big reveal!)
  4. Blogging with my sisters—it’s so fun to work with them and see what they’re up to!
  5. Having Jaime on our “promotion team.” (Maybe you should switch careers to social media, Jai 😉
  6. Getting stuff done, even when I have two kids with me.
  7. Dinner at a Japanese steakhouse! Fun! I even caught a shrimp in my mouth! (Much luckier than the other lady at the table, who caught it with her glasses.
  8. Reasonably well-behaved kids during said dinner (even though we forgot to bring anything for Rachel to eat!
  9. $20 off said dinner—Ryan’s always scouring City Deals.
  10. Being done with this dang project!
  11. A friend who did it with me!

All right, to be honest, I kind of came to hate doing this. Like my friend Elisa said, it seemed to put on a lot of pressure to post daily, something which neither of us do—it became an obligation. It did take some stretching to think of things I hadn’t mentioned before.

However, it was nice to take a few minutes at the end of the day (or a day or two later) and think about all the good parts of the day—the things that I enjoyed most about the day and the things the adorable things that all my kids had done. Plus it’s helped filling in Rachel’s baby calendar (if I had a grateful list for today this would be on there: I have a list of everything I need to add to Rachel’s last month of her calendar! Now if only I could find one of the two special markers I’ve bought to write in there…)

But once when I’d really had enough during bedtime, I went in my room and tried to think of the gratefuls for the day. I think that’s a pretty good take away, don’t you?

What are you grateful for? Not taking on the challenge?

My 100 101!

  1. Rain—don’t have to water the garden! (Borrowed from my friend Elisa, who’s also participating!)
  2. My garden (okay, my sugar snap peas) is growing.
  3. Ryan just cut both yards and they look very neat.
  4. Hayden’s drawings—today he drew me an awesome cow 😀 .
  5. Getting things done with the rest of the Executive Committee of my writers’ group.
  6. Chopped!
  7. Chatting with my sister, which I missed today.
  8. Contact lenses and glasses.
  9. Already having my pineapple CUPside-down CAKES, done and posted on Wayward Girls’ Crafts for this week!
  10. Sleeping in! (relatively)
  11. Naps, even if in theory only.
  12. Rachel kicking with delight!
  13. Checking things off my to do list (like this post!).
  14. Putting the kids to bed early-ish.
  15. That Rebecca’s hair will grow. (See last picture.)
  16. Potty training! (And being done!)
  17. Finishing off the cookies we made last night—no more temptation.
  18. Left overs and Ryan reheating them.
  19. Tuna salad sandwiches with celery, making me think of my mom.
  20. Hayden including his sisters in playing with his blocks. And his blogs. But more about that next week.
  21. I actually do like Rebecca’s bangs. Love, even!
  22. Rachel getting more and more courageous at walking.
  23. Hayden riding bikes with the neighbor boys. (Can I tell you how cute I think this is?!)
  24. Neighbors we trust (and love).
  25. The DVR (sad but true).
  26. Forgiving myself/not pushing myself (all the way) into burnout.
  27. Hayden’s creative buildings with blocks.
  28. Cool new software available free for my site.
  29. Not having to go grocery shopping.
  30. Getting everyone out of pajamas, away from screens, and spending time together.
  31. A new “smile chart” for encouraging good behaviors, mostly for Hayden
  32. Yoga when I just don’t feel like aerobics.
  33. WEBSITE BACKUPS!!! (Nothing to do with #8 above.)
  34. Tech support at Bluehost.
  35. Rebecca’s favorite movie and her imagination play with Monsters Inc.
  36. Not having to clip Rebecca’s hair back.
  37. Online “chatting” with “old” friends 😉 and jokes about “punctuation” 😉
  38. Writing something totally fun!
  39. An editing job I really feel good about!
  40. Sending something to critique partners.
  41. Aunt Jasmine!
  42. Fun times with friends
  43. Homemade pizza (made by my friend)
  44. Our friend who takes Hayden out for fun
  45. Homemade cookies (made by Hayden and ^ friend)
  46. Rachel’s excitedly tackling her daddy
  47. Rachel’s favorite (only?) word: HeyDAH! (Hayden; Hi, Dad; Hi there; Here it is)
  48. For the first time in 43 months, I am neither pregnant nor nursing!
  49. Ryan doesn’t work on Fridays
  50. My aerobics show
  51. Our freedoms.
  52. Those who have sacrificed (and are now sacrificing) to preserve those freedoms.
  53. A day off!
  54. Rachel going from hands and feet to just feet without support.
  55. Craft store sales.
  56. Ambitious art projects (I’m so NOT that, but I’m ready to try now!)
  57. More exciting (and delicious) projects coming up for Wayward Girls’ Crafts
  58. One (and only one) fun find at garage sales/thrift stores over the weekend.
  59. Lining up the first teacher for the first class for my writer’s group!
  60. Ryan putting Rachel to bed.
  61. Finally, May-worthy weather!
  62. Time at the park (even if we all got a little sunburned)
  63. Takeout for dinner
  64. Lining up more teachers for my writers group
  65. Homemade doughnuts
  66. Going to bed early! Seriously couldn’t keep my eyes open after 10:30 last night.
  67. Rebecca’s imaginary toys at the park (which she told her daddy all about at dinner)
  68. New friends for Hayden at the park.
  69. Rachel said “Hi, Dada” three times this morning!
  70. Man—just a great day!
  71. Ryan taking my frustrations
  72. Rachel’s first ride in a car shopping cart.
  73. A place to run off to
  74. A fairly good grocery shopping trip
  75. A good day at eating
  76. Cleaning up, even if it needs more work done!
  77. A baby who wakes up happy.
  78. Getting up early. (And it’s a rare day when I can say that—either that I’ve done it or that I’m grateful.)
  79. Finishing the smile chart: Hayden did earn the helmet and the bell. Still have to tally up Rebecca’s.
  80. A baby who eats well. Usually.
  81. Growing kids!
  82. Hand-me-downs from cousins.
  83. Finding new clothes I forgot the kids had.
  84. A night out with the ladies from church
  85. Chocolate chips. In moderation.
  86. At least a little good news for my very pregnant sister, Brooke—even if it’s not her baby yet. (Hurry up, baby!)
  87. A sweet sister from church who loaned me her jacket—it was FREEZING for June!!
  88. On that note, aside from one hot spell + visitors in April, we haven’t turned on our A/C yet this year.
  89. Being brave and calling a stranger (service provider) for an appointment.
  90. I’m going to the BEACH! (Just check out my Pinterest: clearly I’m inspired by this, even though it’s quite some time away.)
  91. New plants in the garden! Yeah, I had to buy them, but, hey—tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to go along with our peas!
  92. All the materials I need (hopefully) for two crafts now in my possession.
  93. Getting started on one of those crafts—working hard (tune in to Wayward Girls Crafts Monday for the big reveal!)
  94. Blogging with my sisters—it’s so fun to work with them and see what they’re up to!
  95. Having Jaime on our “promotion team.” (Maybe you should switch careers to social media, Jai 😉
  96. Getting stuff done, even when I have two kids with me.
  97. Dinner at a Japanese steakhouse! Fun! I even caught a shrimp in my mouth! (Much luckier than the other lady at the table, who caught it with her glasses.
  98. Reasonably well-behaved kids during said dinner (even though we forgot to bring anything for Rachel to eat!
  99. $20 off said dinner—Ryan’s always scouring City Deals.
  100. Being done with this dang project!
  101. A friend who did it with me!
How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (0)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)

It will never be enough (+ 20 gratefuls)

Apparently in my head, there’s this imaginary quota for the amount of work, frustration or time I can spend on any activity, especially ones related to motherhood. After that point, I feel like I’m entitled to give up. I’ve done enough, I’ve given enough, and it’s time for a break.

While it’s definitely wise to recognize our limits, sometimes we need to recognize what isn’t really a limit. My “enough-o-meter” is pretty sensitive—and Ryan walking through the door lowers the threshold even more. Just because I don’t have to put up with something or do something, does that mean it’s okay to shunt it off on someone else, or slough off entirely?

This is motherhood. It’s a calling, not an activity or a hobby or even a job. It’s part of who I am. And even then, it’s more than that—it’s having these three little people completely dependent on me. Having given them a lot already today is good, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need me now.

They’re children. They haven’t learned to regulate their wants yet, and I have to set boundaries for this all the time. But most of the time, my arbitrary limit is just that—arbitrary. Set totally by me, independent of important variables like how much patience and time and enthusiasm I could muster if I tried.

I don’t have to love every second of motherhood, and of course I won’t. And of course there will be times when I’m legitimately overwhelmed and can’t—and shouldn’t—push myself any further before I take some time to recharge. But when it comes to my children, how can I possibly say they’ve gotten “enough” of my time, attention and love—enough of me?

Photo by Bake it Pretty


The Gratefuls!

Wednesday:

  1. Ryan taking my frustrations
  2. Rachel’s first ride in a car (see right)
  3. A place to run off to
  4. A fairly good grocery shopping trip
  5. A good day at eating
  6. Cleaning up, even if it needs more work done!
  7. A baby who wakes up happy.
  8. Getting up early. (And it’s a rare day when I can say that—either that I’ve done it or that I’m grateful.)
  9. Finishing the smile chart: Hayden did earn the helmet and the bell. Still have to tally up Rebecca’s.
  10. A baby who eats well. Usually.

Thursday:

  1. Growing kids!
  2. Hand-me-downs from cousins.
  3. Finding new clothes I forgot the kids had.
  4. A night out with the ladies from church
  5. Chocolate chips. In moderation.

The rest to come tomorrow!

How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (0)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)

Back up your website!! (and thirty gratefuls!)

skip to the gratefuls

Last night, I had something else to check on my site, and I decided it was about time I upgraded my blog software to the latest version. It’s only a few clicks in the management software of my site, and in about five minutes, it was all ready. I pulled up my site to make sure everything had made the transition okay.

And it welcomed me to my new WordPress blog.

Um, what?? This isn’t new. It’s nearly five years old. And when I visited the blog, it was a fresh, blank WordPress site.

Almost five years of posts, memories, pictures, ponderings—gone. I was a little distraught.

Miraculously, my web host keeps backups. I called their 24/7 tech support and in less than an hour from the initial implosion, the site was completely functional again. If you saw a “Hello World” post from me this morning, that’s why—and that’s why it’s not here now. Thank heavens! And Bluehost!

(I’ll be doing updates manually from now on. 😀 )

How can you avoid this panic? Back up your website regularly!

How to backup a WordPress blog

In WordPress, scroll down to Tools on the left-side menu. Select Backup.

The default information WordPress backs up is listed in the left column. If you have more information for plugins and their settings, you can select those from the list in the right column:

Scroll down to see the options: you can have it save the file to your server if you’re on your own host, download it to your computer, or send it to an email account you specify.

But! You can also set it up to automatically email a backup to you regularly:

Remember to check that email address! I have mine set up to mark it as read automatically. But because these files can be pretty big, you might want to delete older ones.

How to backup a Blogger blog

Blogger makes it easy to back up a blog.

To back up the content (posts, etc.), see Clarissa Draper’s instructions here. Four easy steps! (Summary: Settings > Basic > Export blog — Download blog — Save file. See Clarissa’s post for step-by-step with pictures.)

To back up the design and layout, see the (also) four (easy!) step instructions in Rachael Harrie’s post. (Summary: Design > Edit HTML — Download full template — Save file. Again, see Rachael’s post for step-by-step with pictures.)


And catching up on gratitude:
Wednesday:

  1. I actually do like Rebecca’s bangs. Love, even!
  2. Rachel getting more and more courageous at walking.
  3. Hayden riding bikes with the neighbor boys. (Can I tell you how cute I think this is?!)
  4. Neighbors we trust (and love).
  5. The DVR (sad but true).
  6. Forgiving myself/not pushing myself (all the way) into burnout.
  7. Hayden’s creative buildings with blocks.
  8. Cool new software available free for my site.
  9. Not having to go grocery shopping.
  10. Getting everyone out of pajamas, away from screens, and spending time together.

Thursday:

  1. A new “smile chart” for encouraging good behaviors, mostly for Hayden
  2. Yoga when I just don’t feel like aerobics.
  3. WEBSITE BACKUPS!!! (Nothing to do with #8 above.)
  4. Tech support at Bluehost.
  5. Rebecca’s favorite movie and her imagination play with Monsters Inc.
  6. Not having to clip Rebecca’s hair back.
  7. Online “chatting” with “old” friends 😉 and jokes about “punctuation” 😉
  8. Writing something totally fun!
  9. An editing job I really feel good about!
  10. Sending something to critique partners.

And today:

  1. Aunt Jasmine!
  2. Fun times with friends
  3. Homemade pizza (made by my friend)
  4. Our friend who takes Hayden out for fun
  5. Homemade cookies (made by Hayden and ^ friend)
  6. Rachel’s excitedly tackling her daddy
  7. Rachel’s favorite (only?) word: HeyDAH! (Hayden; Hi, Dad; Hi there; Here it is)
  8. For the first time in 43 months, I am neither pregnant nor nursing!
  9. Ryan doesn’t work on Fridays
  10. My aerobics show

What are you grateful for today?

How does this post make you feel?
  • Encouraged (0)
  • Fulfilled (0)
  • Informed (0)
  • Smart (0)
  • Entertained (0)
  • Amused (0)