What Another (gulp) Birthday Taught Me

Writers often use life events in their stories because they are the perfect settings for drama, the stuff all good stories are made of. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, retirement parties…it’s all fair game. Characters come alive. Conflicts ensue. Add alcohol, loaded expectations, cheesy music, and voila! The perfect scene for chaos story is born. Or, in my case, reflections.

It was my birthday recently. 🙂

This is us. Me and my musketeers.


We went to dinner at a nice place, which we don’t normally do on our budget. For once, we ordered everything – appetizers, salads, steaks, even desserts. We tried everything. Twice. One of us had to unbutton our jeans. Not telling who. 🙂

So I always tell my kids – no gifts, please – just a handwritten note is all I want. But they are teenagers now, with jobs and bank accounts and minds of their own.

My daughter made me open her gift first as soon as we sat down. It was a sparkly gold Continue reading “What Another (gulp) Birthday Taught Me”

Grateful: Living each day as a thank you

I’ve been reading a new book that I wanted to tell you about. It’s called “Living life as a thank you: The transformative power of daily gratitude.” It’s about embracing gratitude in life wherever you can get it. With the economy still seemingly in free fall and bad news all around, I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by it all. So when I saw this little book on the store shelf, it struck me as something I needed to read. Now.

It’s a quick read, and it inspired me to try to think of 10 things I’m grateful for every night. I’ve added this as a new question for my kids at the dinner table, too, to share one thing they are grateful for. Why wait for Thanksgiving, right?

Honestly, it’s harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been focusing so much on the negative things going on that I’ve overlooked so much of the good things right in front of my face. My biggest takeaway is that it’s easier to be whiny than grateful, and I have a lot to be grateful for, which I seem to take for granted when I don’t make an effort to consciously think about it.

After trying this for two weeks, I can honestly say that I feel happier than I have in awhile, even after I read yet another dire news report on the state of the economy or world affairs. So here are 10 things that I’m grateful for today:

  • My relative’s cancer is in remission.
  • My children are relatively healthy, happy kids.
  • Being married to my best friend.
  • A roof over my head and food on the table.
  • Knowing that I am loved and accepted for who I am by the people who matter.
  • My friendships.
  • My dogs.
  • Laughter.
  • Books. I am so very grateful for books.
  • My recent ladies-only trip to Vegas. Wish I could say more on that one, but, you know, what happens in Vegas…

How about you? What are you grateful for? Is it hard to remember to be grateful?