Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

September 23, 2010


Ross helped me decide I'm thankful for the rain today ... I guess I am.  It caused E-man and I to go a little stir crazy today but it also kept us home and just doing things around the house.  Nothing is wrong with a low-key day in sweats spent at home doing things like laundry, making baked apples for dinner, making a few phone calls re: our upcoming trip to PA, creating the 3 month schedule for Renovation's ushers, doing my Beth Moore Bible study, E-man watching a little Elmo, etc.

Side note: I'm thankful for Melps who brought over a birthday present for me tonight and told me all about her 30 week prenatal check up.  I can't wait to meet her little one!

September 22, 2010



I was raised eating pink applesauce.  Homemade applesauce.

My Mom said today she put it out at just about every dinner when we were growing up and I think that's true.  I grew up on applesauce - yummy, tart, applesauce.  NOT the store bought kind - I can hardly eat that stuff still ... [thanks Mom!].  :)  Thankfully, my Mom lives close enough right now, that we can make applesauce together during apples season and she shares with me.  Today, my great Aunt Liz and her daughter Pat joined us!  It was a big help to have 2 sets of extra hands.  E-man played with all of his toys at "Gamma's house" and was very well behaved as long as we fed him some applesauce every once in awhile.

We made about 63 quarts of applesauce today and that used up 4 bushels of apples plus a few bags of apples.  My Mom started around 8 and we all joined her around 9:30 and worked until 2:30ish.  She did all of the clean up/set up and putting out of lunch though (thanks Mom!!!).  It was a fun, productive day - we'll be enjoying the 'pink stuff' all year long!!

September 20, 2010

Laura Bush

I am almost done reading Laura Bush's "Spoken from the Heart".  I have enjoyed it, been challenged by it and been almost moved to tears by it.  She is a gifted story teller and writer.  I appreciate her candid nature and also her ability to weave our nation's history into her own life story.  I admire her resolve to encourage the world in the education and literacy of (men) women and children.  As she emphasizes over and over again, one of the ways to combat terror is through educating the ignorant (much of this was so similar in philosophy to Three Cups of Tea - I was shocked).  Reading this book has changed many of my opinions about many different things and deepened my concern for many other things.   One thing I know for sure, as I finish the last pages of this book, I am thankful for all of our President's - past and present.  It is a role I don't think anyone can ever fully understand and it comes with such terribly difficult knowledge to shoulder and decisions that need making with the knowledge the rest of the world has no clue about ... so thank you for your service, Mr. President (past and present included).  AND ... thank you to all of the First Ladies and their families who have sacrificed greatly for our country.

September 19, 2010

Clean Carpets

Seems kind of lame to be thankful for clean carpets ... I know ... but my mom-in-law loaned us her carpet cleaner this weekend and we borrowed my parents nice vacuum and we got down to business cleaning the downstairs bedroom carpet and our stairs leading up to our main level.  We have had 2 girls living in that bedroom over the past 3 years and we are ready to now use it as a room for our family (mostly a playroom) so it was time to deep clean the carpet.  I'm thankful we saved money doing it ourselves and I think the main level is going to get cleaned sooner than later.  It took less time than we thought and it dried within 24 hours.  We also were chemical free because we used water, a splash of vinegar and a little bit of Dawn's eco-friendly soap as our cleaning solution.  I like knowing what we're cleaning with ... it feels safer that way and we still got lots of dirt out of the carpet.  So, thanks parents for loaning us your equipment! :)

September 18, 2010

Since summer temps have left MN ...

I am attempting to be grateful for the next season ... 

Yesterday, with Ross's help cleaning, we put out my favorite decorations of any season (Christmas decorations are probably tied for first but I am NOT ready to see them on store shelves yet).  I love the colors and look of FALL 'cache' (pronounced cha-chee in our family).

Who doesn't love the smell of a yummy harvest spice candle and the taste of candy corn?!  :) 

While I'm enjoying my Fall decorations, I would be TOTALLY grateful and thankful (and so would my utility bill) if at LEAST the 70s would make an appearance again for a few weeks.  

September 17, 2010

Birthday Week Fun

Sept 10 (Friday) - Shopping with Mom for my birthday present (boots from DSW and a piano book) and I received my free Caribou drink birthday email.
Sept 11 (Sat) - A walk and birthday breakfast with girlfriends at Carol's - so delicious - wonderful to catch up on life
Sept 12 (Sun) - Read the MOPS newsletter, saw they had my birthday listed this month :) - it's the little things!
Sept 13 (Mon) - The Wells Fargo ATM wished me a happy birthday.
Sept 14 (Tues) - Received birthday presents from my parents and since Ross couldn't stand the suspense, I opened them so he could see what I received from them.  Don Pablos also loaded another 10 bucks on my rewards card for my birthday.
Sept 15 (Wed) - Extra long (5.23 miles) walk with SJ and the girls.  PLUS SJ brought me a birthday drink from Caribou and a sweet card/gift.
Sept 16 (Thurs) - Jeff and Christin stopped by to say happy birthday and bring me a gift - a VERY cute Fall decoration for the house (I LOVE Fall cache').  I also received a sweet birthday card from my Grandma and Grandpa Addleman and Grandma Shirley (Ross's gma).
Sept 17 (MY BIRTHDAY!) Ross stayed home from work because he had a follow up doctor's appointment for his kidney stone.  When he came home he made me a wonderful breakfast sandwich and gave me my presents from him and E-man.  I also had over 25 facebook birthday greetings right away in my email and my birthday email from my Dad which guarantees a birthday cry every year.  Throughout the day I continued to receive sweet messages and texts from siblings, family and friends.  Oh facebook ... I received at least 70+ birthday greetings and it was always fun to open up the email box to all of those messages.  Ross and I had a fun date night and my sweet mom-in-law watched E-man for us.  (THANK YOU!) We saw "Get Low", enjoyed Don Pablo's for dinner and chatted in Caribou over my free birthday drink (I chose a hot apple blast :)).  We had some time for good conversation as we look to going to the Church Planter's Assessment in a week or so.

Thank you to EVERYONE who made my birthday this year a true celebration.  Many of you contributed to the numerous smiles I had this week.  I am now officially '29' for the first time ;) ...

September 15, 2010


I have 15 beautiful, smart and talented piano students this year.

I started 13 of them this week.  2 of these students had their very first piano lesson ever this week.  1 of those students was my niece Adrienne.  :) It has been a fun start to a new school year of piano lessons.  Students who I didn't see ALL summer did NOT forget how to play the piano - PTL! :) I'm thankful for each smiley face and pair of hands I get to teach each week.

September 14, 2010

September Blue

I am convinced this is my very favorite shade of the color blue. 

Let's call it "September" blue.  

Everything just looks better with this blue as the background. 

I'm thankful for all of the time we get to play under this blue canopy. 

September 13, 2010

Middle of the Night Adventure

2:30 a.m. I hear a groan and then some moaning ... what the heck crosses my mind ... Ross gets out of bed ... now I'm more fully awake.  He's twisting and turning in pain and then on the floor in the fetal position. I asked him a few questions about the location of the pain.  At first he thought it was a back spasm (so it was abdominal ruling out the appendix) but then it became more centralized in his lower back.  Okay - what's going on ... do we need to go to the hospital I ask him ... he thinks yes while dry heaving from the pain (TMI?! :)) I'm grateful I was able to remain very calm which isn't shocking but you never know how you'll react in an emergency type of situation (especially one that wakes you up in the dead of night).

(GRATEFUL!!!) I call my parents at 2:36 a.m.-ish and my Dad says he'll send my Mom right over and that it might be kidney stones.  We get dressed, the pain is still pretty bad for Ross, we get down to the car, my Mom shows up a little before 3 and we're off to the hospital.  Did you know that the lights change to green almost automatically at 3 a.m.?!  I was thankful for that little discovery.  The one light I sometimes have to wait for 3-5 minutes at, switched as soon as my tires rolled up to the intersection.

How amazing is it that we have two great hospitals within 10-20 minutes of us?  We got to the one in 10 minutes tops and Ross was checked in by 3:15ish.  A nurse immediately processed him and then we were brought back into a room where one nurse took his blood, got an IV line started in case they needed it, etc. We found out the name of our nurse for the morning would be "Comfort" - she was super nice and funny - we liked her name :).  I'm thankful I thought to bring a book, so I basically sat in his room and read for 2 hours while occasionally talking with him and the nurses and doctor.  The doctor diagnosed him pretty quickly with a kidney stone.  They took a CT scan, ran blood work, etc. and the CT scan showed a 4 millimeter stone working it's way out.  They pumped Ross with an anti-inflammatory drug and had to flush it with fluids and then we were pretty much on our way (minus filling 3 prescriptions at the pharmacy).  We were home and back in bed by 5:30 or so.

I'm grateful for catching a few hours of sleep before getting up for my first ever MOPS meeting at Grace Fellowship this morning.  It was a fun time and I'm really thankful E-man walked right into the kids program without hardly even looking back at me.  Ross, in the mean time, preached in chapel this morning (it was on the topic of the virgin birth - not exactly something one of his colleagues could just jump in 'winging it').  We all came home for lunch and then I took a nap while Ross brought E over to my Mom's because I started my piano teaching schedule today from 3:15-7:30!  SHEW!  So my Mom once again helped Ross be able to take it really easy this afternoon and catch up on rest.  Thanks Mom!  (She would have had E anyway while I was teaching but she had him a little extra because of the middle of the night adventure).

I'm looking forward to sleeping tonight!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Ross to make it through the night without another incident.  We're hoping this little stone makes his grand appearance into the world sooner than later.  (Ha! :))

September 11, 2010

Sweat-wearing Saturday

The past several weekends have been like this in our family ...

Celebrated a Bethel wedding in Nisswa, MN July 24
Celebrated Josh and Ann with a family shower in Chicago July 31 and joined Ross at Trout on Aug 2
Celebrated Ann by hosting her personal shower at our home August 7 - celebrated Mom's birthday the 8th
Camping with the Manders family near Jay Cook State Park August 13-14
Celebrated Kim and Luis's wedding in Atlanta, GA August 20-22
Celebrated Josh and Ann's wedding in Nisswa, MN August 27-29
Celebrated Christin and Jeff's wedding in Waunakee (Madison), WI September 3-5

This schedule has been filled with joy and laughter, smiles and picture-taking, dancing and gift opening and lots of memory making.  It has also led to one very tired family. So, having a weekend where we didn't have to travel more than a few minutes in the car and we could enjoy staying in sweats all day has been a true treat!  I'm thankful for our love-and-people filled life but I'm also thankful for a weekend where we can be a little more introverted and laid back.

September 10, 2010


Thank goodness it's Friday.

I'm thankful for a fun shopping date with my Mom and E-man earlier today - snuggles with E-man towards the end of his nap - yummy dinner - saying hi to the newly married Jeff and Christin and delivering the rest of her furniture to them (time to call the carpet cleaners!! Our soon to be play room is almost ready for toys!!) - watching Date Night with Ross-man and comfy stretchy pants plus a bowl of ice cream :) ... what can I say besides ...

Thank goodness it's Friday!

(I'm also thankful for a week in which I accomplished a LOT and have been extremely busy balancing playing with E-man and working from home ... but I realize I have been neglecting my grateful blog!  I will try to get back on the blogging train next week.)

September 7, 2010

Some days ...

I'm just really thankful when bed time arrives ... for the little man and for me.  It's been one of those days - what can I say?  All mom's out there can relate - so can anyone who takes care of kids and has experienced an especially whiny, crying, clingy kind of day.  Perhaps it's the 'terrible twos' rearing their ugly head or perhaps it's a reaction to how busy we have been during the wedding season of the past 3 weeks.  Whatever it is, tonight I'm REALLY grateful for bed time.

September 2, 2010

"Enjoy Your Day"

A friend told me to "Enjoy your day" this morning and I thought to myself ... I really am going to enjoy this day.  It was a day where E-man and I actually stayed home ALL day (I can't honestly remember the last time we did that together).  We had a friend over for a bit in the morning and they played super well. Over the course of the morning, pre-friend coming over, and during nap time, I was able to complete 3 different personality-type assessments I needed to get done.  I even had time to fall asleep while E was napping.  I did some practicing of the piano for the wedding weekend #3 coming up.  In general, it was a low key, laid back kind of day.  I knew I would enjoy this evening, too.  My very good friend Stephanie turned 28 this past weekend and we went out to celebrate her golden birthday.  It was 10 years ago I met Stephanie and Mel on my freshman floor and they are still amazing friends in my life and it was a treat to get to spend some time with them over dinner.  Don Pablos also deposited 10 dollars on my rewards card for my 'anniversary' with them so I ate there for .84 tonight!  Stephanie and I headed to see The Switch at the AMC for 5 dollars (score!) after dinner and it was so sweet and funny.  (Side note:  Ross ended up playing a make-up baseball game tonight for his league and was VERY LUCKY to score Caroline as a babysitter at about 5 p.m. tonight).  I enjoyed my day and I'm thankful for the normalcy of just hanging around home and I'm thankful for the special night out with my beautiful friends.

September 1, 2010

Cousin Time

Last Wednesday and today I had the privilege of hanging out with my niece and nephew - Ade and Will.  Adrienne is 7 and Will is 4.  E-man adores them both.  They only live about 15 minutes away and it's so fun to spend time with them.  Their parents are both teachers and getting ready to welcome students back to school, so I have had a blast hanging out with Ade and Will and E-man - it's really good bonding time for ALL of us! Today I decided to brave the MN Zoo with the three kids.  We set up behavior expectations before leaving and they got a reward for their good behavior at the end of the day.  We all had a great time and all three of them fell asleep on the ride home.  Once we got home, E took his nap and I painted finger nails, baked cookies, helped with play dough creations.  We had a GREAT day and played hard - I think we'll ALL sleep good tonight. Here are some of the pictures from my cell phone!

The MN Zoo has some GREAT play areas.

We brought a picnic lunch which everyone enjoyed.

On the tractor on the way to the farm!

I'm really thankful for the time I'm able to spend with them, getting to know their unique personalities and what makes them giggle.  They are super great kids and I love being a part of their 'growing up' years.  It's also fun to watch E-man interact with them and love them.  "Will-will", as E-man calls him, can make E laugh so hard doing the silliest things - it's adorable.  Ade is a great helper with E and we've always shared a special bond.  I am SO excited to start teaching her piano lessons in two weeks! I have a full heart from some good family bonding time today and I'm grateful.