Monthly Gratitude Pages

A few years ago, I started the practice of writing a page at the end of every month, listing all the things for which I am grateful. I tried keeping a gratitude journal and writing three things every day before going to bed – but that only lasted about three days. Too much commitment. It turns out once a month is perfect!

I’m not going to share my monthly pages with you in this blog as I imagine that would bore you terribly, but I thought it would be fun to share a sample of one here. I will tell you though… that this is one of my favorite practices because I am always amazed at how positive and energized I feel after doing it. It is especially magical when I force myself to do it when I’m feeling angry, frustrated or depressed. It only takes about 10 minutes and it always manages to change my mood.

This month was easy since I’m so grateful for my new life…

Gratitude Page – July 2017

Monthly gratitude page – YAY! Of course I am grateful for this new life… as an artist, mom and wife. Hiker and photographer too. I am grateful for having less stress personally and for our family. At least for now, rushing doesn’t exist in our lives. I love that. I am grateful for my commitment to my 100 day challenges and for social media being there for accountability, as a commitment device. I am grateful for all the wonderful women with whom I have enjoyed one-on-one time recently: Teka, Brittney, Julie, Lori, Kristin, Wendi, Jessica, Jamie and for all the women in the Athena Project. I am grateful for all the gorgeous hikes that I can literally walk to form my front door. I am grateful for all the fruits and vegetables I can buy in abundance. I was grateful that our trip to the East Coast was successful – the lake in Pennsylvania was beautiful, the Glover family filled with fun, kind, caring and smart people. Despite the heat and humidity of New York City we made great memories. I am grateful for the girls enjoyment of the Golden History Camp and for the quiet home while they are there. I’m grateful that Peanut gets to be home with me all day (instead of in the laundry room). I am grateful for my new camera and laptop. I am grateful for bountiful creative ideas on what my next map is going to be made of. I am grateful that I got the Athena logo to a place where I’m proud of it. I’m grateful for Trevor Noah’s audiobook that was moving, entertaining and educational. I am grateful for Lucy learning to ride a bike! I am grateful for our new neighbors who seem really cool. I am grateful for all the artsy mentors I’ve had over the last few months. I’m not sure I could be any more grateful than I am right now. I forgot to mention that I am grateful I got to see Michelle Obama!

Forty and Full of Gratitude

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Today is my 40th birthday!

I woke up early this morning (per my usual modus operandi) and decided to journal about this milestone birthday. Here’s what I wrote about upcoming festivities and reflecting on my life up til now.

My big birthday bash is this Saturday at our local brewery. We are expecting about 50 adults and 15 kids. Maybe more. That’s more guests than we had at our wedding! Crazy. Well, you only turn 40 once.

Isn’t it funny that I’ve chosen to have a big bash to celebrate my birthday instead of something small and intimate. And that I’m actually excited about it? I mean that seems a little crazy coming from an introvert like myself. How is it possible that I am actually excited?

It’s because I’ve gained so many wonderful friends over the years and many of them will be here to celebrate with me. In chronological order in my life: Jade and Jon from childhood, unfortunately no college friends or travel friends since they’re so far away (Ahhh!!! Update since I wrote that — I just got a text from my college/travel friend Megan who just said she’s coming from California! I am sooooo excited!!!) , Scott’s friends from when I first moved to Colorado who quickly became mine too, Marjorie from my first job in CO, Playgroup friends, Book Club friends, families from Golden that we’ve become friends with over the past few years, work friends from the Zoo, and my recent besties, Teka and Jamie. Of course, family too – Scott, the girls, Emilie, Matt and Maman. So many people that I love dearly all coming together. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for that!

So now… how do I feel about being 40? Kind of weird if I’m being truthful. Up until yesterday, I felt fine about it. But I woke up this morning feeling kind of weird. When you’re in your 30s you are still on the young end. But 40 – when you tell a kid that you’re 40 they definitely think that’s old. But of course, I feel great.

Twenty years ago, if I had been offered the opportunity to look into the future and this is what I saw, I would be happy about it. A wonderful husband, beautiful, healthy children, a nice home (that finally feels like I belong in it thanks to all the work we did this year), amazing friends, a job that I love and being part of this incredible community of Golden, Colorado. Still taking photographs, still making art, working hard to stay strong and healthy and looking good. I probably would have thought that I would travel more but that requires time and money and it’s not so easy with kids in school, but at least it’s part of our plans for the near future.

I also feel fine turning 40 because I can look back and see all that I’ve accomplished over the years. All my incredible friendships that I’ve made along the way – listed above since most of them are coming to my birthday party! My early years in Boston (making it out of there pretty much unscathed – a child of unhappily divorced parents and a mentally ill mother); then a more safe, traditional childhood spending the rest of my youth growing up on Martha’s Vineyard; summers spent with my family in France and traveling around Europe; college and my years of world travel (living in England, Italy, India and Australia); amazing jobs as a teenager working in a bakery, a stationery store owned by a local artist, then with my friends (Jade and Jon) essentially running a bead/jewelry store together, and waitressing at Jade’s aunt and uncle’s restaurant; as an adult working at UMASS, in an art and frame shop in the heart of London, being an art teacher in India, assisting a designer in Australia, being a web designer at International Networks, running my own successful freelance company DESIGNi2i, and now my job at the Zoo; getting married and starting a family – going through natural childbirth twice, once at home in my bathtub; turning our house into our home by filling it with love and things that I love (specifically Scott and the girls and our pets); making art for over a decade; going through heavy-duty therapy to let go of anger and resentment from my childhood so that I can be the best mother that I can be; going through marriage counseling to ensure that Scott and I will have a strong and loving marriage and so that I can be the best wife that I can be; starting yoga and meditation in my early 20s and sticking with it, intermittently, throughout all these years, staying spiritual; focusing on my health – making fitness and good nutrition a consistent part of my life over the past decade; and lastly, being on this constant quest to grow, to learn and to improve as a human being on this earth. To be filled with gratitude for this wonderful life that I’ve led. When you’ve accomplished all that, it’s not so hard to face the fact that you are 40.

Now… on with my day. I’ve taken the day off work to enjoy a little solitude and to fill it with things I love to do: write (done!), draw, go on a photo adventure, meditate, go for a hike, enjoy nature, and spend quality time with Scott, Sophie, Lucy and my pets, Peanut and Patches. I know my introverted self will need this day of introspection, peace and quiet before the amazing chaos that is about to ensue!

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