Five a day

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denials into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

Part of my new morning ritual is to read daily a book I discovered quite serendipitously: Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

She shared the quote above – so beautiful, so true- and a challenge to note five reasons to be grateful each day.

Some mornings I can be in solitude to read my book and note the previous days gratitudes, although this morning, Mon Cœur was up with me. First she scribbled her gratitudes in my journal, then I reminded her about her journal and she noted her gratitudes there.

This week, I was grateful for:

  • A snow day with the kids
  • Dinner as a family
  • Beautiful sunrises and sunsets
  • A walk through Millie’s garden
  • Hugs & snugs
  • Thirty minutes to sleep in bed alone
  • Beautiful full moon
  • Brisk afternoon walks
  • Dance parties with Mon Amour
  • Help with housework
  • Mon Cœur’s laugh when playing with Chou Chou

Mon Cœur was grateful for:

  • Unicorns
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Ice horses

How do you maintain a spirit of gratefulness?

Word of the year

For 2022, my word of the year is less.

Less is more

less words, better chosen ones

less screen time, more life time

less money spent, more saved

less junk, more order

less hoping, more intentional planning and doing

less stuff, less clutter, more simple, open spaces

less waiting, more action

less multitasking, more prioritizing and focusing on one thing at a time.

less trying to do everything for everyone and more trying to do something for me.

In 2022, I will aspire to be less. Sounds counterintuitive. I have realized that I try to overcomplicate …well, everything. By doing less complicated things, I can focus more on the simple, wonderful gifts that are found all around me.


I can not take credit for this idea of word of the year… this comes from Gretchen Rubin, who co-hosts the Happier podcast. Hear more about the word of the year at her podcast here. Gretchen is the author of The Happiness Project and Outer Order, Inner Calm, among others.

What’s your word for 2022?

March gratefulness challenge

Allow yourself to be proud of yourself and all of the progress you’ve made. Especially the progress no one else can see.

@tinybuddhaofficial via Instagram

We’re mid-way through March, and I realize I had not shared my March daily “gratitudes” I’m noting.

As I was choosing what to focus on daily, I wanted to give myself a little credit. I feel like I am trying to take on and focus on many different projects right now, in addition to the daily Mom gig. Today I was especially frazzled. Fridays are supposed to be Fantastic, Phenomenal, Fabulous. Not Frazzled. I had to readjust my lens more than once today.

The projects I have chosen to take on and the things I choose to do are for me. So if I am finding that I am losing my patience or becoming stressed, I need to take a step back, and give myself grace.

I feel like there is an abundance of information (both in my home library and online) and things I could fill my day with. I see, create, or plan ideas and activities, and when I can’t accomplish them or lose the purpose, I get super frustrated at myself. But I need to think about quality. And keeping my sanity. And giving myself the space and time and credit for all that I do accomplish daily.

So when I saw this quote, I thought…Yes. It should be all about this month. I should celebrate little successes and progress that I make. Last month I shared outwardly my gratitude for others, and this month I am taking some time to turn inward and give myself some credit.

I hope that you take some time to give yourself credit for all of your successes and progress whether it be mini or monumental.

Read more about last month’s gratefulness challenge:

Three updates to February’s gratefulness challenge

February is such a strange month for me. It is a month where we could experience freezing, frigid weather or we could have days tricking us into thinking that it is springtime.

Many customs worldwide, including Groundhog Day, la Chandeleur and Mardi Gras, make us feel superstitiously hopeful for the days of Spring to arrive. The days get a little longer, although I know we still have some Winter ahead before we can expect Spring.

Personally, February is a month full of losses, too – I started to list them out here, and we literally have a handful of family, including my dad, who have gone before us.


Yesterday was a wash for me – literally – I didn’t check anything off my to do list. But I had the opportunity to do something bigger. My uncle came over and he helped repair our hot water heater, as one of the elements had gone bad. Typically, this would have been something I had called Daddy for. I was freaking out about the impending ice storm, the loss of power that would surely happen, and all the household chores requiring hot water that I wanted to do before said loss of power.

My uncle put his whole day on hold, came over, and in just a couple of hours was able to fix our hot water heater like it was new. That’s something Daddy would have done, too. I stood close by while he worked, offering help when I knew I could and staying out of the way and observing the process otherwise. I always loved helping Daddy because I was learning something new and getting quality time with him. I enjoyed the same yesterday, as I learned about how the water heater worked and was able to visit a little, too.

Despite not tackling anything on my list, I was grateful for the time I had with my uncle yesterday. And getting back to the post, that’s what I’ve made this whole month about – practicing gratitudes and sharing out. I knew what a strange and bittersweet month it was for me, and I hoped that I could make a positive impact on others who may be feeling the same.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

Gratefulness challenge updates

We (I say we, because I know there is at least one other person who has taken this challenge with me – thank you!) are two weeks plus into February’s challenge. What is gratefulness if it’s not shared?  I think it always brightens someone’s day, and who doesn’t need that? Here’s a quick update on how I’m making it happen, the two-way feel-good vibes, and who I’m reaching out to.

Making it happen: 

Brain dump 

I made a cheat sheet, and that has really helped me give specific examples of why I am grateful to the person I am thanking.  It has given me the intention to reach out to those people and helped me find the words as I send them my note of gratitude.

Cheating a little 

Let’s be real here.  Some days I did not send a gratitude note.  I spent the day with the kids, I was in a funk, or I chose a shower and self care over reaching out.  And I gave myself the grace to do or be all of those things. 

A routine of being intentional

After missing a couple of days a few times, I decided to make choosing a person part of my morning routine. By setting the intention to contact that person that day, it has helped me to get caught up and even ahead.

Feel good vibes:

Some letters I’ve been able to sneak deliver, or I’ve sent through the mail and it’s been a happy surprise for recipients.  Others have been out-of-the-blue texts.  It’s helped me reach out to people I haven’t talked to in a while, and it’s been nice to reconnect.  

I feel good just knowing that I am sharing my appreciation to these people.  It’s been very gratifying and a positive boost for me to touch base.  

Whether it was an act of service, or having a positive mindset, something specific that was said or shared, all of these people in some way have positively affected me.

Recipients:

I have such a variety of people that I have or will be reaching out to – ranging from family to friends, pastors to colleagues, and doctors to influencers – these people have all in some way shaped, influenced, or otherwise inspired me to be the person I am today.  

They helped me in my season of grief with the passing of my father and Millie, they have inspired me to go after my dreams or they have shown me what it means to have grace (I’m trying!).


How is your February going? Are you leaning more into Winter or Spring?

Read more about my “bujourney” here:

Reminder! February’s Gratefulness Challenge

Hi friends!  I can’t believe we have made it through the first month of 2021, and that February is tomorrow. I feel a little ahead of the curve, I posted my February gratefulness challenge over a week ago, and we’ve got our valentines already made, addressed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow. More on that glittery goodness later. I thought a little reminder might be nice if you are joining me in this challenge!

January recap

In my bullet journal, I like to log some sort of gratefulness each day.  For January, I focused on laughter with the quote:

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

Isn’t that the truth, though? When there’s a little bit of light-heartedness and laughter in the house, everything feels a little warmer and brighter. I will admit, this is something I need to work on – sometimes I am just a little too serious.

Mon Cœur (MC) has always been verbal, and now she’s really entertaining and astonishing me with her witticisms.  This month it was pretty easy to laugh with all that she said. When I felt I was being a little too serious, she was always close by with something to lighten the mood. Here are a few snippets I never want to forget:

In the kitchen, while Chou chou and I are fixing lunch, MC approached me.

“I would like some S-T-H-A-O, please.”

Me: “What does that spell?”

Whispering, “Candy!”

She picks up on us spelling words when we are talking about something S-E-C-R-E-T that we don’t want her to hear.  She understands this, and most of the time, unless we spell out the whole darn sentence, she gets it anyway, through the context of the rest of the phrase.  Now, she is applying this method of spelling out words, and perhaps wanted me to know she wanted candy, without Chou chou knowing!

While washing her hands, I asked “Do you want to sing the ABCs or Happy Birthday?”

“It’s just an hour! Not a minute!”

Well, now I know! She’s got a concept of time, but it’s still very nebulous to her.  When I ask her the last time she washed her hands, she’ll say, “Friday!” and it’s a Monday.   She knows her time, days, and holidays, although how they all fit together are still a mystery, and I love when she responds with a totally crazy answer that is still absolutely in the correct context.

After asking me to W-A-T-C-H, while Chou chou and I were having a conversation, I responded, “You may watch one show.”

“I make the deals, not you!”

Oh really?! She’s pretty assertive, and so it was funny when she thought she might get the upper hand on screen time.  We all had a good laugh, a good roaring belly laugh, and then Chouchou reminded MC who wears the pants around here. ME.

While she was playing in the kitchen, MC started counting, “One, two…Five, six, eleventeen, thirteen, nine, ten!”

Chouchou told her, “You know how to count – One, two, three…”

MC interrupting: “Don’t organize me, I’m counting!”

Linguistics is a mysterious and amazing field.  MC has a vast vocabulary although sometimes I find myself struggling to understand her particular word choice…Like why did she say organizing?  And when someone is mad…why does she say they are curious? She’s still figuring it out and I love listening to her as she shares her thoughts on her world.

Just yesterday, we were in her cabin playing and she grabbed the magic 8 ball (Chou chou’s childhood one – remember those?!), and with her serious voice (yes, she has a serious voice), she begins asking, “How do you…?”

And I looked at her in awe, thinking to myself, “Girl, you know how to use this!” But she must have seen confusion in my eyes, because she looked at me, and said, “Mom- you ask this thing questions!” and she went back to asking her question, “Is Olaf here?…(looks at the ball)…nope!”

February’s challenge

I really enjoyed January’s daily notes which I shared above. For February, I am planning on noting daily gratitudes for others based around the quote:

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

As an introvert, keeping in touch with people and reaching out are not at the top of my priority list.  I think it’s super important, though, especially now, to reach out and tell people how much they mean and the impact that they’ve made in my life.  It’s a boost for me, thinking positively about the people in my life, and it’s a boost for them, hearing personally (out of the blue) what impact they have made on me.

Tomorrow, I will begin a personal challenge to reach out to at least one person a day to express my gratitude for them.  I hope you’ll join me and touch base with those who have touched your life.  

Read more about my “bujourney” here: