Tag Archives: gratitude

The First Emotion & The Aftermath


After the accident, I went through quite the myriad of emotions.

But surprisingly, one thing I didn’t feel was anger. I wasn’t angry at driver in the red minivan that never stopped. It wasn’t a malicious thing, just negligent. I just hope that someone is watching over them to ensure that they are more careful driving in the future.

The first feeling I truly felt (besides exhausted) was gratitude. In fact, that night, I purposefully sat down and wrote out all the reasons I was grateful after this accident. These are the words exactly as I wrote that day {with my current comments in brackets}.

2/14/16 – I am so happy and grateful for:

  • things aren’t much worse {as they could have been in terms of injuries}
  • our safe Hyundai Elantra {aka Sharkie}
  • we are alive
  • the guy who called 911
  • everyone who stopped – at least 3 people – and provided nurse care (wrapping Rob’s wrist in his scarf and telling him to apply pressure), company, blankets and a first aid kit. {People stayed with us until the rescue team arrived.}
  • Burnsville firefighters, so helpful and professional
  • jaws of life
  • seatbelts
  • our EMT care – Andy
  • the ambulance {transported us!}
  • that I am not hurt in any way
  • the state patrol and all people who are guiding us through next steps
  • that no one else was hurt
  • the medical staff in the ER at Fairview Hospital
  • that the glass was lodged in Rob’s wrist – and nowhere else {Oh, those what-ifs became difficult dwell on!}
  • That his CT scan came back clean.
  • That we should be able to control his pain and recover
  • That I walked away from this
  • For Jen who picked us up from the hospital and took us to the pharmacy and offered to drive us somewhere for food
  • For everyone who offered to help us once they learned the news

Feeling grateful was the most important emotion, I believe. I am so glad it came first. But little did I know, there was a multitude of emotions to follow. Perhaps I’ll describe those will be described in a later post. But until then, here are some photos of my vehicle when we went to retrieve our belongings at the salvage yard. Of course, it was totaled.

From these angles, it doesn’t looks so bad:


But let’s take a look at the entire vehicle…


When you look at the passenger side, you can see why Rob was the one who was injured.


I recall going in the ditch, the impact, and then rolling over counter clockwise. The first impact was on Rob’s side. That’s were the bulk of the damage is.


The tarp is on the vehicle because the passenger side door glass shattered completely. They also ripped off that door with the jaws of life. That door was now sitting across the front seats.

Believe it or not, I found a new car already. It’s a hard decision to make when the insurance company doesn’t offer you the total amount you owe on the totaled car. Luckily, a local Mercedez dealer ship wanted to get a used Hyundai Elantra off their lot! It’s hard not to want the same car after you feel it saved you.


Although a more gray than my silver one, this Elantra is two years newer, 5,000 miles less, $1000 less than what I owed on Sharkie. I thought I might be nervous getting into it to test drive. But it felt natural. And now I have heated seats. Silver lining.


Be Thankful Everyday


It’s this time of year when Americans tend to stop to give thanks. But shouldn’t this be a practice all year round?

Over a year ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal nearly every day. I have filled over five and a half journals now. It has changed my life.

We’ve all heard people brag, “I’m a glass-half-full kind of person!”

I’ve never been that person.

Somewhere along the way, I learned how to think of the negative. Only the negative. I learned how to put myself down even though I would never treat anyone else I know that way. I’d think of something wrong in my life, which caused me to think of something else related, which in turn snowballed until I convinced myself that my life was a complete mess.

Why couldn’t I think of anything positive?!

It was because I wasn’t accustomed to it. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know where to start. Even if I thought of something positive, my first instinct was to think of something negative to contradict it.

Pretty sad, isn’t it?

That was until I read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.

I wanted to change the way I was thinking. I wanted to be happier. So I adopted the practice of keeping a gratitude journal.

Every day, I write in it ten things for which I’m grateful and why. That way, I can truly feel it.

Yes, some days it’s still tough, especially if I’m going through a difficult time. But there are so many simple things we tend to overlook. There are simple things that we feel entitled to that we all take for granted sometimes. Like these.

No matter what, I can always come up with something to add to my journal.

And then, you know what?

The gratitude is what snowballs!

Generally speaking, the more I write, the easier it becomes.

But will it ever become natural for me? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that this practice reminds me on a daily basis of what is truly important.

I’d always heard that attitude is everything. I was the one to roll my eyes when people said that to me. I thought it was just cliché. I didn’t truly understand what it meant. All of those people knew something I didn’t. I didn’t know how to change my attitude. And other people telling me to just made me angry.

But I do now.

The practice of writing in my gratitude journal daily forces me to think of all of the positives in my life, which in turn changes my attitude, and in turn makes me happier.

Since I’m expressing my gratitude every day in my journal, maybe Thanksgiving should be the day that I skim through those past journals and let the joy overflow.

How do you express gratitude?

Happy Thanksgiving.


What I Learned from #100HappyDays


As of May 1st, I decided to participate in the #100HappyDays Challenge


71% of people who sign up and commit to the challenge don’t complete it, citing the reason is that they are too busy.

Are you really too busy being unhappy that you can’t come up with one thing each day that made you happy?

That statistic made me determined to complete the challenge. I was already writing in a gratitude journal. For this challenge, all I had to do is photograph one moment each day that made me happy and post it to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

What I was really excited to do was fill up my Gratitude App with photos since it was looking a little light in March and April.

But there are a few interesting things I did not expect with #100Happy Days.

On the Photo Aspect:

  • Sometimes, even if you had a great day, when getting ready for bed, you realize that you forgot to take any photos. Does that mean you fail? I’d often take photos of my pooches and post them the next morning. They always make me smile anyway. Is that a cop out for not looking deeper?
  • Some wonderful things in life can’t be captured in a photo – like the way the breeze feels on your skin, or the high you got from a run. So then I’d share a photo of something outdoorsy or a sweaty selfie – which isn’t really interpretive of the real sentiment.
  • This exercise reinforces the power of visualization.
  • You realize that you now have a little piece of each day of your life for 100 consecutive days. That’s kind of cool.


On the Public Aspect:

  • Making your #100HappyDays public is difficult. People may start to think you are narcissistic or are image crafting. That’s not the point of the challenge.
  • People will make fun of you.
  • The one who makes fun of you the most may even be your spouse.
  • I now see that you can do this challenge privately instead of publicly. I didn’t think doing it publicly would be an issue; but I’ve learned that this kind of thing is more personal to me.
  • For this reason, I’ll stick to my gratitude journal; but Imay continue to collect a photo a day as a collage for the year!

 The Happiness Aspect:

  • I went through a period of summertime blues during #100HappyDays. I think I would have been worse off without the challenge.
  • On those days, I really had to dig deep to find something that I wanted to capture on photo.
  • This is a great practice for anyone who doesn’t already practice gratitude or who needs to get out of a slump.
  • Some may have found my #100HappyDays posts annoying, but what I find more annoying are complaining posts on FB. You know, those people who never have anything good to say and are just fishing for something.
  • If you tend to be a Debbie Downer or find yourself posting negativity, force to edit yourself and deliberately post something positive. You find that it’ll help you feel more positive.

I’m glad I participated in #100HappyDays. Yes, I’d recommend it or some other way, whether public or private to document your gratitude. Here are some resources for you:



There’s not much cookin’ going on this week!


  • Monday – Golf League – perhaps dinner afterward at The Happy Gnome
  • Tuesday – Dinner at my friend Kim’s place
  • Wednesday Andouille Sausage with Red Beans and Rice and a side salad
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • FridayShrimp with Zucchini & Tomatoes
  • Saturday – My friend Stacy will be in town. I haven’t decided how we’ll dine quite yet!
  • Sunday – TBD




  • Monday – Golf
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Thursday – Run 1 mile in the am
  • Friday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Saturday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Sunday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile

Do you keep a gratitude journal or take photos to chronicle your daily life?

How do you do it?

Do you post publicly or keep things private?


Smiles for Friday


As if it being Friday isn’t enough of a reason to smile…

Sometimes it’s hard to be productive on a Friday, so find out the secret here.

And here are the results of the first leg of my #100HappyDays challenge:

Finding this book I bought years ago

Finding this book I bought years ago

Selfies with friends.

Selfies with friends

The best in-laws a girl could ask for

The best in-laws a girl could ask for

Sunday afternoon naps

Sunday afternoon naps

Finding this book on Audible to listen to while running

Finding this book on Audible.com to listen to while running

Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolates and this message inside

Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolates and this message inside

Getting back to running again with the Couch to 5k

Getting back to running again with the Couch to 5k program

Letting sleeping dogs lie

Letting sleeping dogs lie

Then, there’s this song that I’ve been hearing on the Current, that just makes my heart sing:


Happy Friday!





Jean on Jeans #100HappyDays


This is a throwback photo of Sophie Jean about two weeks BS (Before Shamrock). I caught her lounging on her daddy’s jeans, so I’m titling this photo:

Jean on Jeans


I found the pic on my phone in the Gratitude 365 App. I forgot how much I loved this app! I started using it a little over a year ago right after my back surgery. On any given day, you list things for which you feel grateful and you can take or upload a photo to represent that day. It’s also how I remembered where I looked back to see what date we adopted Shamrock so that I could post on the anniversary.

 Apparently, I’m grateful for my dogs!

Since I’ve been writing in a gratitude journal in the morning, I’d kind of forgotten about the app. But scrolling back through the photos has made me smile upon these memories. What’s nice is that you can whip out your smartphone at any time to capture your gratitude when you are feeling it. You can click on a specific day to type in your gratitude list and take or upload a photo. It’s up to you if you want to keep it personal or share it on social media. Typically, my lists are just for me.

When I started writing this post, I fully intended to begin using this app again in order to attach a photo each day for the entire month of May. But then, somehow, most likely by the Law of Attraction, I came across #100HappyDays. Why not extend it from 31 days to 100? Anyone with me?

What are you grateful for today?

Happy Saturday!




Thankful Thursday


Today, I’m copying Racheal with a Thankful Thursday. I write in my Gratitude Journal everyday, but I’m needing a little thankfulness today, so I thought I’d participate publicly.

Today, I am thankful for the fact that we only got a light dusting of snow, unlike the 15 inches they got just 30 miles north of us.

I am thankful for all of the extra Sophie Jean cuddles and snuggles I am getting now that she has been groomed.

photo 2

I am thankful that we have three coffee shops within a half-mile of our house.

I am thankful that we have family in town this weekend. That we get to celebrate my brother’s belated birthday and that I get to see my nephew and gobble him right up! {Wrong holiday? 😉 }

I am thankful Rob’s parents will be in town in a few short weekends, too. We love when they visit. Plus, they need to catch up on Season 2 of House of Cards. 😉

I am thankful for my friend Ceci who signs for our South Coast Wine Club wine because we are not home during the day to do so.

I am thankful that I am still going strong {or at least going!} with the Couch to 5k and that I found these stretches to do post-run.

I am thankful that it’s supposed to be in the 60s next week!


I am thankful to my friend Jen allowing me to borrow all of her Veronica Mars DVDs and waiting for me to catch up to see the movie together!

I am thankful that I got most of my pre-guest cleaning done last night, so I can focus on running tonight.

I am thankful for fresh sheets on the bed and a good night’s sleep.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

What are you thankful for today?


Why I Love Winter… Seriously {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Love – that’s a strong word.

But, I originally thought of titling this post, “Winter, I hate your face.” Also, a strong word.

Snow 2.21.14

Despite the fact that I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life, I’ve never really been a fan of winter. I don’t do winter sports. I don’t even really like being outside at all during the winter.

And I often get the Winter Blues {aka S.A.D.}

But this year has been a little different. It’s not that I like winter any more than I have in the past because I haven’t. In fact, this winter has been tough for most people all over the U.S.

But ever since I started my Gratitude Journal and I began noticing, listing and voicing all the things for which I’m grateful, my life has taken on a new perspective. So, since this is a decidedly difficult winter, let’s put it in the spotlight.

Winter, I love you and am grateful for you because…

  • I can watch TV while I workout – whether I’m on the treadmill or recumbent bike or I’m doing exercises on my yoga mat.
  • I can catch up on all of my favorite TV shows and watch a lot of movies while snuggling under the covers.
  • I love sipping hot coffee in the morning and hot tea while relaxing at night.
  • Hot chocolate and hot cider – enough said.
  • Red wine warms me up rather than makes me too hot.
  • Hot wine – well, mulled wine, really. It’s just the literal translation of the French vin chaud.
  • Many restaurants have blazing fireplaces.
  • I love cozy winter sweaters. They have always been my favorite piece of clothing.
  • Wait! Scarves are my favorite piece of clothing. Well, let’s call them accessories instead.
  • That the dogs are feeling chilly, too, so I get extra doggie snuggles in the morning, at night before bed and while I’m watching those movies on the couch.
  • It’s the time of year when comfort food tastes best.
  • It gives me an excuse to travel somewhere warm.
  • That $5 bowl of Roasted Pear Tomato Basil Soup.

Winter, I love you because you make me appreciate Spring, Summer and Autumn even more. So much, that I wrote a letter to my Summer Self.

Thank you. I’m very grateful.

And now, it’s time for…




  • Monday – Pasta Carbonara – Rob has been begging for this! I will probably serve it with a side salad to add some veg.
  • Tuesday – Chocolate Chili – Can you tell we love this? Plus it is so easy because it incorporates ingredients that I already have on hand!
  • Wednesday – English Muffin Pizzas – Yes, these have been on the menu for the last couple weeks, but they always got bumped out. I still have the goods, so this will be the week! Served with a side salad.
  • Thursday – Leftovers or more English Muffin Pizzas
  • Friday – Poker night!
  • Saturday – Dinner with the girls
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Cottage cheese with a side of this Tomato Soup. I made a batch on Sunday and devoured it with a cheese quesadilla. It is so easy and so good! I highly recommend it.
  • Leftovers
  • And for snacks throughout the day: Berries with Greek Yogurt and, of course, dark chocolate.


  • Breakfast Quesadilla
  • PB Toast
  • Granola with Milk



I’m finally getting into a groove with riding the recumbent bike and following it by PT exercises. Next week, my broken toe should be mostly healed and I can begin walking on the treadmill again.

  • Monday – 30 minutes recumbent bike & PT exercises/yoga
  • Tuesday – 30 minutes recumbent bike & PT exercises/yoga
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes recumbent bike & PT exercises/yoga
  • Thursday – 30 minutes recumbent bike & PT exercises/yoga
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 30 minutes recumbent bike & PT exercises/yoga
  • Sunday – Rest or makeup day

Sounds boring, but it’s better than nothing! I’m getting through some magazines and catching up on some shows. Thank you, Winter, for that!

So tell me, what do YOU like about winter?