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.

February 21, 2011

Assortment of Thankfuls

President's Day, Monday, February 21st, finds me thankful for the feeling you get when something lost is found (like our brand new digital camera).  I could write a whole post on this but I'll just say I'm glad it somehow ended up in the bottom of my Mom's purse on Friday and I'm glad she decided to explore why her purse was feeling heavy today because yesterday I tore apart my brain and my house looking for the camera.

Today also finds me grateful for unexpected days of 'rest' with Ross and E-man.  BU closed all offices and cancelled all classes today, so Ross was home and after having him gone from us for most of last week, it was a treat to have a 'surprise' long weekend.  It was also nice to have MOPS cancelled and to just chill while watching the snowflakes furiously stick themselves to our world.

I am also extremely grateful that this snow (we are at 12-15 inches in our neighborhood over the past 24 hours) will NOT be around for the next 6 months.  I was very bummed to see my clear sidewalks disappear but I know it's only a matter of weeks (vs. months) until they return and that, I think I can handle.

February 18, 2011

Friday Fun

Today I am thankful for time with my family (Josh and Ann were visiting for the morning), a fun morning of riding the Light Rail and lunch with my family (fun that Dad could join us at Aurelios - yum!).  My family was up for a little adventure and they were good sports about being out and about on a chilly February morning.  They helped me deliver a car for Ross, too, so that he can bring himself home tonight when his flight gets in late (thanks for the ride!).  I am thankful for my little dude who is SO very much enjoying anything and everything related to 'trains'.  He had a blast riding on 3 different light rail trains and we even bumped into Grandpa Jerry at the end of our ride which helped our tears to end more quickly (because who wants to get off of the train - not my E-dude!).  Here are some pictures of the fun-filled morning:
Here comes "Arrow"

He was LOVING his riding experience.

Fun times with Ann and Josh!  

February 17, 2011


Tonight I would like to thank a woman I have never met.  I have never actually even seen a picture of her, but today I played the piano and sang at her funeral.  She was a woman who was very active in her community, who loved hosting people in her home over a cup of coffee and who enjoyed canning everything and anything.  Whenever I play for events like these, I never go into them expecting anything in return, and today those expectations were blown away.  I was paid very generously for one hour of 'work' and very little preparation.  I have been slowly saving for something special, a Nook Color, and today, Ruby helped me finish off my fund and contribute a little towards my upcoming CO trip, too, I think!  Wow!  Thanks, Ruby!

February 16, 2011


E-man has quite the vocabulary going and he puts together quite complex sentences for being only 2.5 (at least I think so :)).  I'm thankful for all of the many smiles these words bring to me as he expresses his thoughts about life.  Here are just a few from the past few days.

My Mom took him to McDonald's last night for dinner while I taught a few piano lessons.  Earlier in the day, he and I had talked about going to the play land to get some wiggles out.  They ended up at a McDonald's without a play land and the boy has NOT stopped saying "Sorry about that Gamma.  We went to the wrong Old McDonald's.  Sorry about that!"  (Totally not his fault but so funny!) He has continued to apologize to ME about it even after I brought him to the play land.

While playing in the tubes at McDonald's he kept running in and out and saying to me "I'm going to my workshop now!"  (runs into tubes) (runs out) "My workshop is broken." (Me - go fix it bud!)  (Run back to tubes and then back out again) "I fixed my workshop!"  (I THINK this has to do with Psalty and his worship workshop but that's just a guess.)

He also said this to my Mom last night at dinner and then to me while we were having a tea party and then later at lunch today ... "How's your day going Mama?"  (Melt my heart!)

We were out walking today (yes, outside - PTL!) and he dropped a goldfish cracker on the street and was quite upset about it.  I told him the birds were happy and would eat it up and about 2 hours later in the car he brought up how his goldfish was being eaten by the birds.  "Mama, my goldfish eat by the birds" yes babe ... it's (most likely) true.

And the Ross Manders quote on Valentine's Day ... keep in mind, I was in the bathroom and he was in a different room.  "Mama?"  "Yes E?"  "You love my daddy?"  "Yes buddy, I do, very much!"  "Mama, you love Ross Robert?!"  (Me trying not to giggle) "Oh yes - I love Ross Robert!"  See what I mean?!  He's great.  His little mind is ALWAYS going and you never quite know what's going to come out next.

This morning, at 6:30 a.m., the first thing out of his mouth when he woke up was "Mama, I like your necklace."  (Clearly, I did not have a necklace on as we were both waking up in our PJs in our bed - yes - he slept with me last night.) I'm pretty sure he was talking about the necklace Ross and him gave to me for Valentine's Day but it was so funny - the VERY FIRST thing in the morning.

February 14, 2011

I'm grateful for quite a few things today ... so I'll play catch up, list style:

1.  2/12/2011 - I'm extremely thankful for a fun-loving, deep-thinking,  service-oriented, God-honoring, care-giving, hard-working,  all around fantastic husband and dad to E-man on his 29th birthday!
2.  I'm thankful for the friends and family who helped us to celebrate Ross this weekend by eating ice cream cake, going bowling and out for pizza, calling, texting, sending cards, etc.  We are blessed to live near to such a great network of support and encouragement and to have family and friends who live far away, who take the time to help celebrate these special days, too.
3.  Date night!  WOOHOO!  Thanks Diane Manders, for watching E-man so we could go out to celebrate Ross and Valentine's Day.
4.  46 degree weather on Sunday led to my first outdoor walk-for-exercise in many months.  I don't mind the Club House and I'm thankful for the accessibility I have to indoor exercise equipment, but I REALLY LOVE EXERCISING OUTSIDE!! YAY!!!
5.  Love ... "We love because HE first loved us." Enough said?  Happy Valentine's Day.

February 10, 2011

Leaving the house!

E-man has been puke free since Tuesday night around 10:48 p.m.  so we ventured out together today into the arctic sunshine.  It was great for both of us to escape our beautiful walls for a few hours.  He did have a few melt downs (not typical) and slept for close to 3 hours upon arriving home (also not typical), but we ventured out and still are puke free.  YAY!!!  Victory!  I'm so thankful that our bodies heal themselves - what an incredible Creator we have!

February 9, 2011

Practical Grateful

I think I have completed 7-10 loads of laundry in the past 5 days.

This does not mean all of the laundry is folded or put away but it's been washed and dried.

I am SO VERY EXTREMELY AND PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL (Charlie and Lola anyone?!)  for our washer and dryer being on our third floor right near our bedrooms and bathrooms.  I'm grateful to own a washer and dryer, period.

February 7, 2011

Nothing Beats ...

Nothing beats waking up to a clean house after the stomach flu has hit your house.  Thank you, Ross Robert!  I am grateful for a husband who is not only not afraid to tackle any variety of household tasks but he often initiates serving our family in this way.  I am thankful for Ross's Mom and Dad who taught their kids the value of hard work and the practical skills of picking up and cleaning up. The gift of cleanliness always helps this girl's feng shui to balance creating a much happier home in general.

February 6, 2011

I Highly Recommend Following ...

I am grateful for these two blogs that allow me to see a different part of my family's lives than just chatting over the phone or via skype.  I'm glad you all joined the blogging world!  I hope you don't mind that I am sharing your great blogs with all my blogging friends! :)

My sister, Jill:

My brother Josh and his wife, Ann:

February 5, 2011


Ross and I are currently passing through one of those 'rites of parenthood'.  E-man woke up last night around 11:15 p.m. and threw up (eh-hem - HOT DOG sick sick sick TMI I know ... it was one of those 'all natural dogs from Good Earth).  Everywhere (Ross was still at his retreat).  I realized how grateful I am for Ross the second I walked in E's room and it dawned on me that I was on my own for this one.  I proceeded to clean his bed, sheets, carpet and the bathroom sink, tub and toilet since all of these were in his 'path'.  In between cleaning and changing PJs for both of us three times and managing a few more episodes and starting at least 1 (of many) load of laundry, I was grateful for snuggling time with my always-in-motion 2.5 year old.  By 1 a.m. when Ross got home and we cleaned up together about 2 more 'episodes', we laid out towels in our bed and snuggled E-man between us, figuring it was easier to manage the 'on the hour happenings' in between trying to catch some Z's if he was right with us.  It has been a weird day of laying around together, reading (me), watching movies, providing apple juice to the sick one and napping; but it has been wonderful to hold him in my arms as he fell asleep for his afternoon nap.  I realize there will come a time when he won't fit in my arms (he already barely does!) so, I'm trying to soak up this time (and refrain from gagging and joining the throw up party).

February 4, 2011


I am extremely thankful for Ross's job which is truly a very normal 8-5 type of job.  Sometimes, he finds himself back on campus late in the evening to meet with students but he is usually home right on time and for that I am very grateful.  Tonight, Ross is holding a retreat for his student leaders, so he will be out until very late (or early depending on how you look at it :)) and E-man and I have successfully survived our long day and evening together (with a little outing to the mall with G-ma to break up the day and take a ride on the train that runs around the mall).  I am thankful for a pleasant day with no 'uh oh' times and I'm thankful that these kind of long days are very rare for our family.  What a blessing to Ross so available and present with our family!

February 3, 2011

Still alive and grateful ...

I am still alive.

I am still grateful.

My brain has just been in a 'non-creative' mode and so my blogging has been lacking.  I would love to blame it on the climate of Minnesota in January but that is a lame excuse.  Perhaps I need to get more vitamin D, maybe that would inspire some deeper thoughts about life and gratitude.

Here is my simple thought for today ...

Today, I am grateful to my Mom.  She took the little dude for part of the day and it's so very quiet in my house with the 'why' question having left with E-man.  I have chores to do and cooking to accomplish in preparation for dinner guests and I'm grateful to know my son is having a great time with his Grandma while I check things off my list.  Thanks Mom!