Posts tagged ‘Gratitude’

December 21, 2011

Gets Me Every Time

Okay, so I know I’ve written about this before, but I forgot what I’d planned to write about today. Better luck tomorrow.


In the meantime, here’s the thing: I love The Biggest Loser. I watch it on Hulu while I eat lunch if Jacob’s napping or dinner if John’s not home. The irony is not lost on me.


I don’t cry very much at books, movies, etc. I considered crying during Titanic. I guess The Notebook made me tear up (book and movie). Oh, don’t get me started on Where the Red Fern Grows. But every time a contestant on The Biggest Loser talks about his or her family, or sees his or her spouse or loved one after weeks away, I lose it. It’s like flipping a switch. I’m fine one second, and the next I’m totally blubbering.


I recognize that most “reality” TV is a lot of drama, and not an honest representation of real life. It is atypical to have twelve weeks—and three professional trainers—to get yourself healthy. But apparently, if you have the opportunity, it works.


What I loved about what I watched from this season was that it seems that more people came to the show ready to make a change. There was plenty of emotional breakthrough and enough struggle, for sure, but not a boatload of drama.


At the end of the day, it seems to me at least, this is a show about doing something positive for yourself, your family, and your community. It’s about being healthy inside and out and having a positive self-image—not because you’re skinny, but because you believe you’re worth it. And you can see it in their smiles and in the way so many of them point to the heavens in gratitude for their success.


There’s not a whole lot on TV that does that, and I’m grateful for a show that seems to be doing something right. And that gives me a good cry when I need it!

December 14, 2011

Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me

Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot of tough news in our circles. Friends have lost a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather, and just yesterday we learned that friends of friends lost their two-year-old son. He went to sleep Sunday night and didn’t wake up Monday morning. What grief, what pain.


As we remember these families in our rosary each evening, I am struck by how fleeting life can be, how quickly it can end. Since Jacob was born, this sort of news, and the idea of our family without John or Jacob—or me—can frighten me so much I am almost paralyzed. We need to make the most of every moment. Should I have been cross with Jacob when he didn’t listen earlier? Should I have spent the afternoon working and only occasionally reading to or playing with him?  Was it really more important that dinner was made than that I gave Jacob an extra eight million hugs?


But living lodged in fear that way means not living at all. Jacob needs to be disciplined, because we have the hope of his living a long and happy life. I need to do my work, because I have been blessed with a fruitful business and it is my responsibility to help it to grow. And let’s be honest, we need to eat.


When I think of someone ill or passing, I can’t help but think of the moment that person was born and the moments that person’s children were born, if they were a parent, too. How little we can think of the end of life when it is so new, and rightfully so, of course. But when you have the perspective to look back on a whole life like that—wow. It brings you to your knees.


In considering this and reflecting on what the season of Advent means during a walk around the park yesterday, I could only think of how much more I need to live the joy in my life. Being mired in the fear of what could happen, what someday will happen, means not being truly grateful for what is before me, in my home, in my arms, in my heart.


To make that more tangible for me, the other side of the coin is making itself known in our prayer intentions as well. Our list of families who are expecting children is approaching the status of litany.  And while this is no comfort for those who have lost loved ones recently, there is a very important breed of hope embedded in there.


A couple of lines from a hymn have stuck with me this Advent: “How silent all rebellion! / How loud the angels’ praise!” In the end, there is God and there is love, and all the rest will pass away, so I’d better praise what is worth being praised every chance I get.


If you’re interested in helping out the family who lost their little boy, here’s a link to a fundraising effort through the end of the year:

November 23, 2011


I did the math, and 21.3% of my posts are labeled with the “Gratitude” tag. Honestly, I’m a little surprised at how low that number is. My goal with this blog is to express the reality of being a mother with an emphasis on the positive aspects, and when that’s tough, to learn something positive from what’s challenging me. I’m grateful for everything the journey has brought me thus far and for all that I know is still in store.


Clearly, though, I haven’t been explicitly grateful enough, so in light of this season of thankfulness, here’s what I’m grateful for this week:


  1. My family: John, Jacob, our parents, brothers and sisters, my grandma, our aunts and uncles and cousins
  2. My friends, especially those—both new and old—with whom I’ve been able to share Jacob and this new chapter of my life
  3. My faith. I don’t know how I, personally, could have gotten this far into motherhood without a belief in something larger than myself at work. Blessed Mary’s example as a perfect mother also continues to be an incredible comfort. (Do you ever wonder if Jesus had food allergies? Now I do.)
  4. My blog readers, who have offered me lots of encouragement and love this past year
  5. Stuffing and pumpkin pie, which are, to my mind, a complete Thanksgiving meal
  6. The fact that Jacob can eat stuffing this year and I can share my passion with him
  7. The fact that Jacob can not eat pumpkin pie this year and I will have to eat his slice, with whipped cream on top, if he’s asleep already
  8. Jacob’s belly
  9. Jacob’s dancing
  10. Jacob’s smile
  11. Jacob’s snuggles
  12. Jacob’s tantrums. Wait. No. Okay, yes: Jacob’s tantrums. I’m grateful that he’s growing up and I get to have an influential role in how he learns to handle the mystery of human emotion. Even if it does give me a headache.
  13. Advent starting on Sunday, which justifies watching Elf this weekend!


I could go on, but everything else I thought of involves pumpkin pie, so I’ll stop here.


What are YOU thankful for?

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