Thursday, November 7, 2013

7 Days of Gratitude

Posting together seems to be working well, so we'll do that with these, too. Maybe we're in the mode since we're writing books together. I don't know. But either way, here we go.

Every November, we put up a big poster board or a big sheet of butcher paper and all month long, we write down things for which we're grateful. We set out a box of crayons and anyone can write down anything they want.

I think gratitude is healthy. Year round, we discuss being thankful before every meal and before bed, and of course we add the extra special traditions every November. Why not add some blog posts to the mix? The kids are doing daily posts. Mark and I are doing a handful of these throughout the month.

Stacy's List - I am grateful for . . .

1. Funny TV Shows - Freaks and Geeks, Friends, New Girl, I Love Lucy, Modern Family, Malcolm in the Middle, Go On, Frasier, Big Bang Theory . . . I love being able to tune into a fictional show and get lost in it for a little while and laugh and laugh and laugh.

2. Games - I love to play games. I'm a big fan of all the new European tabletop-style games that are becoming more well-known in the states, and I also like traditional games. Some of my favorites include Settlers of Catan (all versions), Trivia Games, Ticket to Ride, Scruble, and Smallworld. I also enjoy playing Mario Kart Wii as a family.

3. Food - I think food is one of life's great pleasures. I love all kinds of ethnic foods, particularly Mexican and Japanese. My favorite homemade meal is chicken enchiladas (which we're making and delivering for co-op tonight!) and I also love bacalhau (Portuguese codfish). I'm a big fan of seafood and of course, sushi, sushi, sushi.

4. Sunshine - I have a positive, visceral reaction to sunlight. On a cloudy day, when the sun breaks through and shines, I feel an immediate difference in my mood. It's palpable. I love bright, natural light, sunny days, and summer warmth. I am grateful for sunshine.

5. Books - Reading is great. I love when I get on a kick and read several great books in a row. Some of my all-time favorite books are Rebecca, Jane Eyre, To Kill A Mockingbird, and the entire Harry Potter Series. Some other favorites that get me excited include The Thirteenth Tale, Shadow of the Wind, Water for Elephants, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Wonder, The Fault in our Stars, The Chosen, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Eleanor & Park.

6. Friends - I am grateful for my friends. I love the sense of community you get from good relationships with others. To me, this is a big part of what life is all about - the relationships we form and value and enjoy with others, whether we're related or not. Ever since college, we haven't ever lived near extended family, and while people may think that's lonely, for us it's not. It strengthens us as a family and we're grateful for the friends we have who become like family.

7. Blogging - This one is a special shout out to the many people who make blogging so much more fun by reading and following and participating through comments. I'm going to go ahead and specifically mention some people who are special to me because they always take the time to do all of that. I mean, I love to write for the pleasure of writing itself, but blogging is a great way to share and interact with others and of course that only works if others also participate.

So a big, special, particular thank you goes to Mark, Kate, Emily, LMW, and Jimmy - you guys are awesome to always comment. I love that I can count on that and I get so excited to hear from you. And I do not want to neglect other awesome commenters - Max, Dave, Nevillegirl, Jim, Sherri, Kim . . . thank you, thank you! I love to hear from you - you guys are great. To ALL of you: without your comments, I'm just talking to myself. Thanks for helping me feel heard and appreciated. I hope you know that I appreciate you, too. (And if any of you are lurking in the shadows, come out and play!).

* * * * * * * * * *

Mark's list. I'm grateful for . . .

(It is late and I'm severely tempted to write the first things that come to mind--family, friends, etc.--and it's not that I'm NOT grateful for those things. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I'd like to come up with the unexpected this year. That's all.)

1. My family. OK. I cheated. I just feel like I'm not accurately expressing my true feelings of gratitude if I don't list them first. I have an incredible wife, and two fantastic children, who are really more like little adults in training. We have a wonderfully neurotic canine, too.

2. Autumn sunsets. Lately we've been noticing some great evening skies. I don't know if any other season has the same kind of sunsets that autumn does with its brilliant oranges and yellows, and the amazing cloud patterns we've seen.

3. Writing. I don't think I'm a natural writer, and I don't even know that writing is my best form of expression. Although, the spoken word lets me down fairly often, too. Anyway, with each passing year I appreciate how therapeutic and rejuvenating the writing process can be.

4. Volunteering. We have a lot of chances throughout the year to do various volunteer activities. Our recent involvement with the Special Olympics has been especially fun.

5. Intelligence. I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about how great it is to meet and deal with people that are able to discuss a variety of topics with enough depth to feel intellectually challenged and rewarded. There is nothing like a good debate to stretch the brain to its limits.

6. Logic. I took a logic class in college once and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is something comforting about being able to break down a line of thinking into logical functions so that you can really start to assess the thought process involved in coming to various conclusions. Even a cursory knowledge of logic and logical fallacies will open your mind to how emotional we as human beings tend to be.

7. Individuality. How great is it that we all have our own personalities? It comes with a whole host of challenges, true, but in the end this diversity of thought and characteristics makes life way more interesting.


Boquinha said...

You ARE intelligent.

Also? I've heard about 17 logical fallacies today alone. Awesome.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm grateful for you, too!

Dr. Mark said...

Great list! I love your list of TV shows and books. So much fun.

And thanks for the compliment. I know I'm no slouch but sometimes there are people that make me feel very average.

LMW said...

Great lists, especially the part that mentions us, your readers. Just kidding...though it is admittedly nice to comment on a blog where the writers of it interact so well with their readers.:)

I've probably already said this, but To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my very favorite books ever.

Emily Foley said...

Awww, so nice. I'm not good in person and on the phone, I'm much more vocal with writing. Thus, blogs and comments are my favorite means of communication. Also why I love Facebook.

I liked your sunset one, Mark. I second that. And intelligence. I love to talk to smart people.

Jimmy said...

Thank you for the acknowledgement. I love this blog. And thank you for getting me to think about things I'm grateful for...

1. Learning--I just learned that acknowledgement can also correctly be spelled acknowledgment, at least according to Webster's New Riverside Dictionary.

2. Our government--After reading The Orphan Master's Son and getting an insight into life in North Korea, I'm grateful for what we've got, imperfect as it is.

3. Piano--I love that I have the means to send my kids to piano lessons, that they're growing up in a home with a piano, and that I am taking lessons with my 8 year old daughter.

Boquinha said...

I love that you're taking lessons with your daughter!

Words like that - acknowledgement, judgement - have that optional "e." I'm a fan of keeping it in the word.

The Magic Violinist said...

Love the unique ones. :) I also love sunshine and autumn sunsets!