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Teaching Gratitude #5: Grateful for 21 Days of Gratitude

The wonderful 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge from Inspired by Family Magazine has, technically, come and gone with over 1,000 people from around the world taking part in some way or another. I have gained so much from this practice, through focusing on Appreciation rather than I Wants...

...Midway through the challenge, I shared 11 things I was grateful for (in response to the prompts that Mari from Inspired by Family Magazine laid out at the beginning of the challenge). I also shared some of my favorite posts from other bloggers during the challenge. 

Now, I want to come full circle by sharing my responses to her last 13 prompts:

12. An experience you had - This one is really difficult, since I am grateful for so many experiences that I have had, but since I have to pick one, I will select the experience of having lived and studied abroad in Egypt (13 years ago). Though there are many reasons that I am grateful for this experience (which could fill a post or two), I will focus here on just one -- I met my husband there, a fellow American also studying abroad. Very timely, since it was the weekend after Thanksgiving 13 years ago that we shared our first kiss. :) 

13. Something in your room - My books. 

14. Something in your kitchen - My cast iron skillet and cast iron dutch oven, which belonged to my grandmother (and probably to at least her mother and, perhaps, grandmother before that). 

15. Something in your home - My piano, which some wonderful family friends generously gave to me about 4 years ago. 

16. A gift you received - I recently received a wonderful package from my brother, who currently lives in Thailand. He sent a beautiful hand-made silk bag for me that he got in Luang Prabang, Laos, which he knows is one of my favorite places on Earth. That gift is one I will certainly treasure.
You love this bag, right? (And my model...)
17. A defeat that made you stronger - Three distinct losses/defeats came to mind, but I will go with the simplest here (and the first significant defeat that I remember in my life): When I was 12, my passion for basketball began. When I was 13, I played my official first game, and we lost 57-4. That tough loss gave me more motivation than a win would have.

18. The one thing you can't part with - Family would be the obvious answer and really the only answer as there is no material item that I could not live without. 

19. An animal - The beautiful and graceful birds that are in abundance in our tiny, rural town.

20. A trait the person you are closest to possesses - Commitment. 

21. Creation, nature - The answer is the prompt - I am grateful for nature.

22. A book that has been meaningful in your life - I am selecting two because they are related and connected (same author). Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, which was given to me by one of my closest friends and which forever changed the way that I viewed the world, and assessed my place/role in it, and True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart also by Thich Nhat Hanh, which my brother gave to me years before I became a mother, but which is a book that certainly relates more to being a wife and mother than any other book I have read. (Here is a piece I wrote from the book).

23. The one thing that you love most about you - Ugh. Probably, it would be the trait in my children that I love the most that is a trait of mine that I often see reflected back at me through them, which is thoughtfulness and generosity. 

24. Your mom and dad - I am so grateful for my parents for so many reasons, but what I appreciate the most is their unconditional love for me and their unwavering commitment to encouraging me to become my own person and follow my own passion and dreams, even if that journey/path was not always easy for them. (As in the case of say their 21 year-old daughter moving to Egypt and traveling around the Middle East by herself for much of the time she lived there). Now that I have my own children, I truly appreciate how difficult that was. THANKS MOM AND DAD!! 

And, thanks Mari for inspiring this focus on gratitude. I plan to carry gratitude with me into December as I have discovered that by focusing on gratitude and appreciation, I stay grounded and less swayed/influenced by all of the spend-spend-spend, gimme-gimme-gimme that seems to be everywhere at this time of year. 

I invite you to join me in keeping gratitude in your mind as we move toward December and to focus on presence (with your family and loved ones) rather than presents. By December 1st, I plan on sharing some exact ways we will be focusing on presence as a family this year and will invite you to join us for 12 Days of Christmas: An Adventure in Giving Presence. 

parents as teachers
Our experiences with gratitude:

Creating A Daily Practice
Family Dinner {Unplugged}
Moms Connect About Gratitude


  1. Such beautiful responses - I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I have a set of cast iron frying pans that I inherited from my grandmother and I think they are one of the very best items you can pass down. Happy first kiss anniversary!


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