5 Things I’m Grateful For (July 2020)

Okay, so the summer writing schedule has been COMPLETELY off track.

And yet – I’m grateful, for these five things and many, many more:

  1. The library. Oh, the library. We visit the parking lot of our local library at least twice a week to pick up books, and it is glorious. I definitely miss being INSIDE the library – browsing and playing and plopping down on the floor to read books we’ve just pulled off the shelves. But for now, I’m just so grateful to have books readily available, for me and for my boys.
  2. The work of Ibram X. Kendi. I’m currently reading Stamped From The Beginning together with a college friend, and also Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, which is a YA version of the first title. They’re both fantastic, and I’m learning a lot of history that I either forgot or was never taught.
  3. My beautiful home and our array of working fans. Our air conditioning is currently broken for the fourth time this season. THE FOURTH TIME. Luckily, since we’ve never had AC before now, we have a collection of box fans that we can break out when this occurs. I am sitting directly in front of one right now and radiating in the breeze.
  4. A wonderful few days at the beach with my sister and her family. It was so nice to get away and to enjoy the ocean and the sunshine and the company.
  5. Breakfast activities with E and J! I’ll probably write more about these at some point, but they are basically quick little activities that we do every morning while the boys eat breakfast. I got the idea from my awesome sister-in-law, who I think heard about from the website Days With Grey. It took a little while to get into a routine with it, but now the boys really like it (most days) and it’s a great little part of our mornings.

Happy August, everyone!

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5 Things I’m Grateful For (June 2020)

So much to be grateful for.

  1. So grateful to be done (for now?) with working from home while parenting. It was a ton of multi-tasking, which wasn’t good for me. My phone was always in my hand because of work. So then, even when I wasn’t working, I’d find myself getting the boys busy with an activity and then scrolling social media or texting. For the summer, I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep my phone in another room (or inside the house while we play outside) so that I am not constantly checking it out of habit.
  2. After George Floyd was murdered, a friend of mine shared info on Facebook about SURJ. It’s a group called Standing Up For Racial Justice that works to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice through community organizing, mobilizing, and education. I’ve attended a few meetings and am exploring ways I can contribute and learn and be involved. I’m grateful to have found the group; it’s helping me to feel more engaged and knowledgeable, and it’s been a way to “do something” at an incredibly important moment in our country’s racial history.
  3. The library! Baltimore County Public Library is now offering curbside pick-up. Edgar, Jonas, and I drive to the parking lot, call the library, and a librarian brings our books out to our car. Which leads to the extremely awkward issue of me having to apologize because someone other than me has to carry the 35 library books I requested out to my car. After months of reading ebooks, it feels so good to have a hard copy of a novel in my hands.
  4. Edgar has developed this sweet habit. Several times each day, he’ll just randomly look at me, smile, and say, “I love you, Mommy.” It melts my heart. Sometimes he’ll take it further, grab my arm, and hug it and say, “I LOVE THIS ARM SO MUCH.” Which is just as sweet in its delivery but also hilarious.
  5. My boys and books. If you sit on my living room couch and start reading a book, particularly if it’s a book he knows and loves, Edgar will come running from wherever he is in the house to curl up next to you and listen. It is lovely. And Jonas, who was not always eager to sit and listen to a book when he was a baby, will now sit through stories that are meant for kids his big brother’s age. Jonas’s current fave is Do Not Bring Your Dragon To The Library by Julie Glassman, which is great because I love it, too, and therefore don’t mind reading it six times in a row.

It does feel odd, to publish a gratitude list right now. I’m angry about a lot of things. I sometimes get annoyed when I see any content or post right now that’s not related to the civil rights movement currently happening in our country.

But I’m also very aware that practicing gratitude helps me to sustain the energy and clarity that I need to be useful, to the movement, to my family, and to myself.

So I’ll be grateful – and I’ll keep learning, working, and fighting. Happy June.

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5 Things I’m Grateful For (May 2020)

What. A. Month.

Here’s my gratitude list for May 2020:

  1. Great books to read. This month, I’ve read White Fragility, Eight Perfect Murders, The Holdout, and Darling Rose Gold – all fantastic reads.
  2. Spring! We’ve been going outside barefoot and in sweatshirts and it’s glorious.
  3. Rainy days. On the sunny and beautiful days, I am either gloriously happy and grateful – or, if I’m having an off day, I end up getting an attack of the “shoulds.” I should be outdoors all day. I should take the boys for a hike. Lately, when there’s a rainy day, it gives me the freedom to curl up with the two boys and watch a movie without the sunny day outside lookin’ in my window and just judging me.
  4. Ebooks. What would I do right now, with the library closed, without ebooks?! There were so many books that I had requested through the library months ago – physical copies of books – that I now can’t get access to. Luckily, I’ve been requesting copies of ebooks and miraculously getting the books pretty quickly. So grateful to be able to read the latest books published!
  5. These boys. It’s a crazy time, and things are hectic. But if there had to be a freaking global pandemic, I’m grateful that a side effect of it is a lot of extra time with my boys while they’re oh-so-little.

I am all the things – grateful, stressed, worried, scared, happy, peaceful, content. And it’s all okay. And whatever you’re feeling?  That’s okay too. Cheers to May and to a beautiful June coming our way later this week!

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5 Things I’m Grateful For (April 2020)

Such a crazy time – but so much for me to be grateful for.

  1. Time at home with my family. I am so grateful that my boys are healthy and happy and that I get to be with them every day right now. There are health care workers who are currently quarantined from their kids; I can’t even imagine it. I’m praying for those families and I’m grateful to be with my children at this stressful time.
  2. Great books. Currently reading White Fragility and Moriarty and finished Magpie Murders and The Glass Hotel earlier this month, which were both excellent!
  3. My job. Never been more grateful to have a steady job and income.
  4. Fun activities to do with the boys. This month we made oobleck, bubble foamcloud dough, salt dough, and more. I love it. I’m not so much into “let’s sit down and make a butterfly out of a tissue paper and a clothespin”, but I do love following a recipe with the boys and making items to be used for sensory play.
  5. My healthy extended family.

I’m watching the news and I’m hearing stories about horrible things. I have friends who have lost loved ones. People are stressed and suffering and grieving and dying. Never a more important time to take stock and to be grateful.

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5 Things I’m Grateful For (March 2020)

Never could I have predicted what’s happened this month. Not in a million years.

There’s so much to be worried about, and there is so much to be grateful for.

  1. OMG – the new book by Glennon Doyle. It’s called Untamed and I freaking love it.
  2. My month of creativity. I’ve been listening to a Creative Live writing course, I’ve been writing. Never as much as I want, of course – but it’s happening. I’m so grateful.
  3. Now more than I ever, I am grateful for the health and well-being of my family.
  4. Great books. I’m currently reading Untamed and a novel by Clare Lombardo called The Most Fun We Ever Had, and I have several exciting reads on my bookshelf. Right now, I need books more than ever.
  5. Our home. I loved our farm and our little old farmhouse, but right now I’m so grateful to be living in a home with internet, good heat, and comfortable space for us to live and work and play.

It feels odd, continuing my gratitude practice at a time when so many are suffering. But I need it, and it helps me to maintain my perspective.

It’s trite, but it’s true: my heart and my thoughts and my prayers are with those who are suffering, ill, hurting, stressed, grieving. For myself, I pray for the strength, courage, and wisdom to do the next right thing, one day at a time.

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