Gratitude for the ‘extra stuff’ of life


“Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” —Dr. Seuss

Do you have your Thanks­giving list ready? They’re almost as fun to make as a Christmas list. Mine includes my daughters, my health, my family, my friends, my home and my faith. I can’t be thankful enough for any of these because I don’t deserve them.

I know a lot of words, but none that convey what it means to wake up every morning with these realities. To recap, I really, really don’t deserve them.

I used to keep a gratitude journal. Just a simple notebook where I wrote down five things I was grateful for every morning. It’s good practice to get into, waking up grateful. I’m a morning person and it helped me, so I can imagine how it would soften the pain of getting up for those who aren’t.

I would generally write the same things down (see second paragraph) in some form because those are the things that I almost feel guilty for having. But now, I will break out of that guilt and say what else I’m thankful for. The simple, excessive and abundant “extra” stuff that make us Americans what we are. (Good people, sure, but ridiculously spoiled.)

Regardless, this is what got me through the past year. And for that, I am truly grateful.

1. My black bathrobe—thanks for being all warm.

2. Barefoot brand sweet red— thanks for just being.

3. My yellow bedroom walls—thanks for being bright when I’m not.

4. My dog—I understand how age affects the bladder, so thanks for pottying on the floor less in the last week.

5. “Modern Family” and “The Office”—thanks for being so flippin’ funny and as far from “reality” as possible.

6. Pintrest.com—I think we all feel this way about you.

7. Rob Thomas. Thanks for the lyrics that fit just right. Obsessed (as my daughters say) or not, I’ll claim the title if you could just get a new album out already.

8. Zest honey body wash—I don’t know why they stopped making you. I miss you.

9. “The Postmistress,” “The Help” and “Sarah’s Key”—thanks for being my top three reads in 2011. And thanks for the motivation.

10. Cheesy potatoes—you complete me.

11. Autumn—thanks for making even the ugly parts of Kansas pretty.

12. Babies—thanks for the abundance of beautiful babies in my family. They’re popping out everywhere and I don’t have to get up at 2 a.m. with any of them.

13. Unexpected surprises (the happy ones)—few and far between, which makes them all the better when they happen.

14. “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss—thanks for being equally meaningful to a 6-year-old and a 39-year-old.

15. Wood pellets—thanks for smelling like oak logs in my stove and reminding me why I am ready for cold weather

The big things are a big deal but these little things sure add up. I’m even working on being thankful for the downs along with the ups. That list is a little harder to make. Lucky for me it’s a shorter one anyway.

Comments or questions about this column can be directed to shelley@hillsborofreepress.com


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