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1.  Flushing toilet.  This is one of those “working on it” gratefuls (like how I made that work?).  My toilet is gross.  I clean it ALL THE TIME, yet it seems to just attract ickiness.  This is saying a lot coming from me.  Anyway, sometimes it doesn’t flush properly and I am so, so grateful when it does.  Thank you toilet for sweeping away the unmentionables in this house.  Yuck!

2.  Cereal.  I know it’s not the healthiest thing in the world and someday I have every intention of weaning ourselves off the store-bought stuff onto homemade-only.  For right now, though, I am grateful that it’s around on those mornings when I just can’t drag myself into the kitchen to cook a meal.  It’s easy, the kids can do it themselves and they love it.

3.  Simplifying.  I’m slowly simplifying where I can to make more room for things that are important, such as family and midwifery.  It’s making life easier, both my house and my mind are less cluttered, plus I’m spending more *quality* time with the family when not distracted by the myriad of things/people/commitments.

4.  Kids who are independent.  Sometimes I’m not so grateful for this, because independent kids have a way of also questioning authority…even mine.  (WHO taught them that??)  However, it’s really a great thing!  They are capable of doing most things themselves and helping the youngest out.  When mama is exhausted from multiple no-sleeping nights, independence is highly valued.

5.  Learning not to take things personally.  Guess what?  Very little of what other people do has anything, at all, to do with us.  I don’t know about you, but my life runs so much smoother when I keep this in mind.

6.  Appreciation for my mom.  As my kids get older and I remember things I did around the same age, I see things a little more from my mom’s point of view.  It helps me appreciate her on a level I haven’t been able to do before.

7.  Ergo/Napping kid.  When we pulled into the long line for school supplies, M was asleep and stayed asleep for the first hour.  Yes!  Thanks to the Ergo, it was a breeze.  I felt bad for the person in front of me who actually had to use *arms* to hold baby.  😉  It was sweet to realize that we were both swaying, almost in time together, while holding our kiddos.

8.  Patience.  When M woke up and we were still in line, I worried that we were going to run into trouble.  B played with him for a bit, but quickly tired of that.  I suggested B and friend A stand in line while I run amok with the two little ones.  That worked like a charm.  I followed them around looking at flowers, jumping off railings…we even had a race with a few other kids.  Kudos for taking what could have been a horrible meltdown and turning it into fun!

9.  Kroger.  My second favorite place to shop, next to Aldi.  The produce is almost always lovely looking, even more so when it’s marked down.  Bread is the same way.  79cents for english muffins?  Yep!  The staff is always nice to me, which we’ve established is a big factor in my shopping.

10.  Rain stopping.  I haven’t ever seen flooding like this.  I can’t imagine how scary it is for the people living in those areas, many of whom can’t just go hang out in hotels until it’s over and who don’t have a substantial amount of money to replace damages.

11.  Being able to see.  No, not in the “I can see!” sense, more like an overall seeing things that other may miss.  On this day, while waiting in line for school supplies, I looked around and what I saw spoke volumes to me about our society (filed away for that privilege and poverty post I’m working on).  I saw people who, like me, are struggling to survive the day-to-day life.  I saw defeat, desperation, hope, shame and guilt.  Often, I don’t feel like this way of seeing is a gift.  It is, though, because it keeps me aware.  It forces me to think about the way I live my life, to share with others, to be and do better.  For that, I am grateful. I don’t want to ignore or turn away.  I want to see.

12.   Free school supplies and the opportunity to give back.  When C was a baby, the kids and I volunteered at a school fair where they handed out school supplies.  We had fun!  This year, we took a friend to attend because his mom was working during the fair and wouldn’t be able to take him.  B also attended.  Since we home school, each kid doesn’t need a stock of supplies, but having a few things helps out immensely.  For me, it’s important to give back, especially when I participate in charitable events.  When we finished getting our things, we got a trash bag and picked up some of the trash in the parking lot.  I am also grateful that I was able to talk to the coordinator and get on the list for helping out next year.  I’m looking forward to introducing the young ones to paying it forward.

13.  Compassion.  I think I’ve used this one again, but can (or should?) one ever stop being grateful for compassion?  I don’t intend on it, that’s for sure.  I was surprised how easily this came today, in between bouts of anger, toward a person who probably needs it more right now than ever.  I haven’t turned that compassion into action yet, but I hope to in the next couple days.

14.  Motivation.  I’ve been searching off and on for a different place to live.  Events have transpired in a way that tipped me into firmly motivated over the last couple days.  I am OUTTA HERE.  We haven’t figured out where yet, but the house is getting packed up and we’re going to act as though we’ve already found the right, perfect place.

15.  Husband who listens when I over-analyze and cycle between anger/compassion.  He knows me so well.  I’m sure he gets annoyed, but I appreciate that he listens all the same.

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