A Week of Gratitude: Friday

This week I bring you a . . . 


I am generally a big fan of the Friday after Thanksgiving. (And NOT because of the shopping.) I like this day because it tends to be Very Low Key. There is zero pressure to get anything done. I already know what's for dinner (leftovers). And there is generally a feeling of contentment after the celebration of the day before.

And . . . it's also a great day to make stuff!

Today is Friday. I'm grateful for being able to move my hands in creative ways -- and for all those who inspire me.

My plans for the day include . . . a quick re-org/inventory of my refrigerator, a workout (because ohmygod yesterday was a blur of food and I need to work that out of my system a bit), and then, for the rest of the day, some . . . creative something-or-other.

If you're looking for inspiration, here's a quick round-up of 9 little ornament projects from one of my crafty-creative favorites, Ann Wood . . . 

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Celebrate your creativity!
Stitch up some gratitude.

A Week of Gratitude: Thursday

This week I bring you a . . . 


I miss my mom most at Thanksgiving.

I thought of her this morning, as I was peeling potatoes. And I got a bit teary; a bit melancholy. (There was an . . . incident . . . involving potato peelings and a not-so-great garbage disposal and Trouble in a Small Kitchen that was very funny back in the mid-90s.) (And we never let her forget it.) You really never know when grief will rear its head.

Today is Thursday. I'm grateful for memories that bring comfort. Even when they also bring tears.

On days like today, I find poetry to be especially comforting. Here's one that suits my state of mind . . . from one of my favorite poets.


What Came to Me
Jane Kenyon

I took the last
dusty piece of china
out of the barrel.
It was your gravy boat,
with a hard, brown 
drop of gravy still
on the porcelain lip.
I grieved for you then
as I never had before.


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate.
And a special hug to all of you who may . . . need one today.


Today's poem is from my copy of Jane Kenyon: Collected Poems, pulished in 2005 by Graywolf Press.

A Week of Gratitude: Wednesday

This week I bring you a . . . 


I don't know about you, but I'm really in the thick of it now. It is my biggest "prep" day of the year! Pies and potatoes and guest room and tablecloth and hoping to avoid a last minute stop at the grocery store.

I secretly love the flurry of activity. 

Today is Wednesday. I'm grateful for my energy and a (reasonably) good attitude.

And I'm also grateful for a good, high-energy playlist to keep me moving. Like this one . . . 

Keep moving.
Celebrate gratitude!

A Week of Gratitude: Tuesday

This week, I bring you a . . . 


It's a busy week for me. I'm hosting a Thanksgiving meal for my family on Thursday, and I'm trying to get prepared for . . . all that. On top of all my usual stuff. And now it seems I have a sick dog to deal with, too. (JoJo, in case you're wondering.)

It's always something, y'know?

Today is Tuesday. And I'm grateful for my centering meditation practice.

I like to sit myself down on my meditation cushion every morning, to start the day with silence or sounds or mantra or music. It helps me feel grounded in the midst of hectic days and a crazy world.  Today I'm sharing a short gratitude practice from Saqib, one of my favorite "guides" from Insight Timer. It's a lovely way to begin or end your day. Click here for the 8 minute practice.


Find your center.
Celebrate gratitude!



Neighborhood Joy

(Today's post features Really Bad Photos.)
(But it's a nice story all the same.)

In my neighborhood, our mailboxes are all out at the street at the end of our driveways.  That way, the mail deliverers can just drive up and pop the mail in our boxes, easy-peasy.  A lot of people have little garden beds around their mailbox posts, so in the spring and summer I like checking out the plantings to see what's blooming. (I often have to resist the urge to pull other people's weeds, but that's another story). It's a bit early for all that right now, though, so mostly I don't notice the mailboxes at this point in the season.


Last Saturday, I was out for a walk in my neighborhood with JoJo.

As we were walking, something brightly colored caught my eye.  Too early for blooms!  Turns out . . . it was a little painted rock at the base of a mailbox post.


As we walked a little further, I noticed another . . . 


I found painted rocks at the base of signposts, too. . .


They weren't at every mailbox, nor were they at every post.  But there were enough of them that . . . I started looking!


There was even one at the foundation of our neighborhood "landmark" (a big metal barn just down the road) . . . 


I have no idea who placed these painted rocks, or if they're meant to be part of some activity for kids in the neighborhood, or a sort of Easter egg hunt maybe???  All I know . . . is that they brought me great joy as we walked!

I was kind of sad . . . that I hadn't noticed  a painted rock at the base of MY mailbox.  

But when I got to my corner, I caught a little flash of orange!


We live on a corner, and have a city-installed brick retaining wall next to the sidewalk (which the snowplows hit every winter, so the city has to replace the bricks every spring) -- and there was a sweet little orange rock on the retaining wall.

I was SO excited to find it there!  A bright spot on my corner!


I have no idea who is behind these bright and charming painted rocks in my neighborhood (probably a crafty mom cooped up with her kids and desperately looking for things to do. . . ), but they have been a wonderful sight on my walks!

These days, it's really all about the little things that brighten our days.  
(And especially unexpected painted rocks embellished with glitter and pipe cleaners!)


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
      --- Melody Beattie


I wish all of you peace and gratitude and a sense of thanksgiving today . . . and always.

Thursdays Are For Gratitude

(I'm grateful every day . . . but in November, I blog about it, too.)

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On Tuesdays, my dad and I go out for lunch together.  This week, as we sat eating our sandwiches, our conversation turned to hobbies -- and about how so many people just don't "get" them. I'm sure you know what I mean . . . those folks who say things like 'I could never find the time' . . . or 'I don't have the patience.'  Or - worst of all - those people who belittle your choice of hobby: 'she plays in the dirt' or 'you probably made that'.  We both agreed that it's just silly and sad, and neither of us understand how people can NOT have hobbies.  For both my dad and I, our hobbies provide entertainment and outlets for creativity and friendships and -- even some really useful objects.

All of our talk about hobbies got me thinking more about my own this week -- how much they add to my days and settle me and just . . . well . . . please me!

So today, I'm grateful for my hobbies, and in particular, for the hobbies that allow me to make things.

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  • I'm grateful for the teachers who showed me how to use my hands to make beautiful things in the first place:  my great grandmother (who taught me how to embroider), my mom (who taught be how to knit), and Miss Helzer (who taught me the right way to sew).
  • I'm grateful for the ever-expanding availability of lovely materials to work with.  Earlier in my life, I was limited by the fabric and fiber choices available to me locally (often . . . just Red Heart yarn at the grocery store, y'know?).  Now?  There are yarn shops and fabric stores and fiber festivals and "big box" craft stores -- not to mention all the online resources.  It is a treasure trove of options out there.
  • I'm grateful for all the online resources to help me be a better knitter/stitcher/sewist.  Ravelry (for keeping track of my projects and patterns, for an endless parade of new designs, and for real-life photos of finished projects), Pinterest (for never-ending ideas and inspiration - and a way to sort and save them), blogs (for friendship and technique and inspiration), YouTube videos (for technique and instructional how-tos).  Really . . . an embarrassment of riches.

How about you?  What are you grateful for today?

Thursdays Are For Gratitude

(I'm grateful every day . . . but in November, I blog about it, too.)

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Most years, here in my corner of the world, we have lovely, lingering falls that last well into December.  We get our leaves raked up and into the streets by Thanksgiving, and the city comes around a few times in November to pick them up.  We use the nicest November days to put up our Christmas lights and prepare the outsides of our houses for the upcoming holiday season.  We have plenty of time to finish all the garden chores and plant spring bulbs and gather in the last of the still-thriving parsley.  There is plenty of time to locate your ice scraper and get it into your car.

But this year?  Not so much.

And I made a pact with myself . . . that if winter really IS here already . . . that I'm going to roll with it and Not Complain About It. Even though the snowplows did a real number with all those leaf piles in the streets, waiting for pick up.  And, in fact, half of the trees still HAVE their leaves, which are now falling and mingling with the snow.  And . . . you probably guessed it.  My bulbs didn't make it into the ground before the cold snap.  (That is not really complaining, by the way.  Those are just facts.)

Instead, I'm finding gratitude.

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  • After a day of snow, I'm grateful for the return of sunlight - even just for a minute - and especially when I stumble onto magic sunlight patterns in my bathroom.
  • I'm especially grateful that I have a car designed to handle well in the snow and ice of a Michigan winter.
  • And I'm so grateful to have a warm house to return to after being out in the snow -- with enough heat and light and down comforters and love to get me through the longest winter.

What are you grateful for today?


Thursdays are for Gratitude

(I'm grateful every day . . . but in November, I blog about it, too.)


Today, as I was walking with JoJo through the leaf-piles in my neighborhood . . . watching a few snowflakes dance in the air . . . and trying not to think about my cold feet . . . 

I thought about what a wonderful day it is.  And how much I have to be grateful for!


  • A safe and beautiful neighborhood to walk in.
  • An energetic pup to coax me into the leaves (where the crunching is best) (and apparently the smells, too).
  • Inside warmth and a hot cup of tea when I return home.

What are you grateful for today?