1.  Free food.  I was blessed today with several jugs of free milk, some cereal and juice.  FREE food.  I love food, but I love it even more when it’s free.

2.  Scotch tape.  M ripped part of a page out of C’s book this morning and it’s now good as new, sort of.  C went from tears to joy in seconds.

3.  Grandmother B.  She took the time to call me back today when she didn’t need to and complimented a recent news article that quoted me.  She always takes an interest in what I’m doing, which always makes me feel good.  She has quite a few grandkids and great-grandkids to keep track of these days, so it’s pretty special to know she continues with that task.  I hope I can provide that for my grandkids (if I have them) someday.

4.  Friends who answer the phone.  I was having a parent of a teen mini-crisis today.  I need you to talk me down, man.  Haha!  Be my friend long enough and you can expect at least one call like this.  It’d probably be a lot more interesting if I was actually high on something, instead of just emotional.  But I digress…K did indeed talk me down and in the process helped me feel a lot better about some other things bothering me that I didn’t even realize were bothering me until we talked them out!  I feel so honored to have such great friends.

5.  Friends who don’t answer the phone (but call back).  One of my other friends, H, who also parents similarly, wasn’t available during my mini-crisis. If she’d been available, I might have missed out on a great conversation with K.  Strange how that works, no? She did call me back later, though, so I was able to bounce my thoughts (whines) off her as well.  In less than hour, I got to revel in the groovy-ness of not one but two people I’m lucky enough to call friends.  And that is something to be immensely grateful for.

6.  Generous kids.  When one of the kids wants something but the other kids don’t have money, they usually offer to buy something for the others.  This is especially true if they want to go to McDonald’s, which eats most of their allowance.  I think I may have had some influence on this by not wanting to go places when only one has money to spend, but whatever, I’ll take it.  It’s still ultimately their choice whether to share the “wealth” or not.

7.  I-44 Surplus Discount Store.  This store is the reason we eat so many high-ticket gluten-free meals in our house.  It’s about two miles from my house, making it easy to bop over there often enough to score good deals.  As you may have noticed, I like my food and that is why this store makes my list of gratitude.  It’s also set up in such a way that the three older kids can roam while still being within earshot and without getting into much.  If you’re a parent, you know how awesome that is!

8.  Allowance.  While I’m grateful to have the money to give them an allowance and grateful to provide the opportunity for the to learn about money in real, tangible ways without the lifelong negative impact some of us had, what I’m *most* grateful for is the reason to not have to buy lots of extras.  We have a limited budget and it’s hard to feel like I’m not giving the kids every little thing they want.  With an allowance, they choose what to spend their money on.  Yes, that toy/candy/CD/movie/hat/weird-looking-whosit-whatsit IS really cool.  Do you have your allowance?  This is freeing for me and valuable to them.  Maybe that makes me awful, but I appreciate it nonetheless.  Hey, at least I’m honest.

9.  Kids who are old enough to go into the store alone.  Oh my goodness!  The gift of sending one of the kids in to pay for gas while I pump!!  Having toddlers in carseats is made immensely easier by having older kids who can do small errands.  It also totally rocks when they like to do it, which is most of the time.

10.  Visiting a friend’s new home.  Some family friends just bought their first home and I was finally able to go see it.  They’ve worked quite diligently to fix it up, including yard work and a complete kitchen renovation.  It was beautiful to see them in their own place, the pride they had in showing me around and hearing what plans they have for it.    I feel grateful to be a part of their lives and to share in their joys.

11.  Recognizing and acknowledging my faults.  The particular one I’m grateful for recognizing today is jealousy.  While visiting my friend’s place, I had to actively work at being happy for them only instead of jealous.  Jealousy sucks and has done some pretty nasty damage in my life.  I do NOT want to repeat that and I do NOT like the way being jealous makes me feel.  I’m grateful to know these things, to see when this pops up for me and to work on it.

12.  Hopes and dreams.  On days like this, when my eyes turn green with envy and PPM (poor, pitiful me) smacks me in the face, I’m grateful for the hopes and dreams I cling to for dear life.  It’s so easy to become disillusioned, nasty and bitter.  I’d rather have the hopes and dreams, thanks anyway.

13.  Giving back.  I try to always fully appreciate when people do kind things for me, such as bringing me free food or listening to me whine, by giving back when I can.  The way that gets accomplished is varied.  Sometimes, all I can do is simply say, thank you. Today, I was able to immediately give back something tangible, for which I am wholly, truly grateful.  Give and take is important, I think, to this life.  Giving helps us continue feeling connected to each other.  When I eat the food I was given, I will think of my friends and smile.

14.  Liniment.  A family friend makes this in gallon batches, then gives us a bottle.  She told me once what was in it, but I can’t remember now.  It’s good stuff.  We use it on scrapes, scratches and more.  I like having things that help us heal and avoid infection, especially when I know who made them.

15.  Super glue.  I totally used this on my favorite pair of Birkenstocks today.  They’re pretty old, I think about 5 years, but I love them so much.  I bought them “used” (quotations because they looked brand new) from eBay for less than $20.

16.  Mama-to-mama time.  Sweet moments of chatting on a couch as one person to another, eating pie.  Seeing friends in a new way, appreciating the unique qualities that make her, well, her.

17.  Pie.  I went to a friend’s house tonight (at 9:00!!!) to eat pie.  From Slice of Pie.  There’s really nothing more to say, is there?


Today’s thank you note goes to Grandmother B:

Dear Grandmother B,

Thank you for taking the time to return my call this morning.  I greatly appreciate how you always ask what is going on with me and how I am, taking the time to comment positively if you’ve read or heard something about me recently.  I know you have many grandkids (and now great-grandkids!) to keep track of, so it is really something to feel so special and noticed.




P.S. Two of the friends I mentioned today also blog:
Losing the Glass Slipper
Hopeful Insights