365 days have passed since I started this project, and I’ve reached the end (a Day 366 or 500 or 780 just doesn’t seem right on a blog with “365” in the title). I wasn’t sure where this year of my journey would take me, and I didn’t imagine anyone would want to walk alongside me. To the folks that followed this project, “liked” certain days special to them, and even left comments: Thank You. I started this blog to grow, as a means to learn to appreciate something (often many things) that each day brought, despite whatever circumstances tried to suppress gratitude. More than a year ago, I convinced myself of a major lie — that some days were just “bad” days and needed to be wished away as quick as possible. This was incredibly dumb of me. Admittedly, through this project there were many days that were difficult and that contained challenges and snares to depress my mindset. At the same time, I could always find at least one thing for which I had gratitude. Sometimes, I was struck by the beauty of nature (so often taken for granted); other times, the compassion towards me from friends new and old was obvious. Each day, Caden and Callan do wondrous things, and Marnie never ceases to amaze me with her sacrificial love for our family. There are so many things and people around us for which to have gratitude.
I miss Mom every day. This project didn’t change that. It did teach me to be thankful for what is here now and to look with thankfulness to what is to come. I hope these postings have brought some encouragement or challenged outlooks similar to what I had more than a year ago. I do not believe anyone is immune to sorrow, and many folks may face situations similar to what happened to us two years ago. Train your mind to consciously seek out the blessings in front of you each day — they are there — and learn to give thanks in all circumstances. You will be amazed at how often loved ones now gone show up in these blessings and how your gratitude will become contagious.
Day 365: I have gratitude for this day. One of the realities I’ve learned in the last two years is that today isn’t guaranteed — nowhere is it written that we will awaken in the morning or watch the sun set in the evening. If we don’t know what today will bring, how could we truly know tomorrow then? I am thankful each day that I have been given one more day.
Day 364: I have gratitude for the unexpected beauty of a tree that is blooming again. I had no idea our one tree would produce these beautiful blooms again, but it did. This is one of my favorite plants in our yard, and I think the contrast between the green and deep pink-purple is striking. It is awesome that we are gifted with its beauty a second time this year.
Day 363: I have gratitude for the ways in which our children surprise us. I was working outside this afternoon, and I had both boys with me. Being in the high 80’s with 100% humidity, the weather was ridiculous for doing yardwork. I was drenched but needed to finish the job…Callan wanted to go inside, Mattie was tangled in her leash, and Caden kept running off. To my surprise, Caden went to the refrigerator in the garage, climbed shelves, fished out a cold drink, and brought it to me. He wanted nothing to do with it himself…I tried giving him some and he refused…so I truly believe he sensed my exhaustion and brought this to help. I’m shocked at both his thoughtfulness and my underestimation of his understanding and awareness. Our boys are amazing.
Day 362: I have gratitude for the fun times and evoked memories that the Dayton airshow brought today. We used to travel to this airshow as a family years ago. Being only an hour away now, we invited Dad to relive memories and create new ones with the boys. He along with Autumn and Kenny made the trip in. It was an incredibly fun day…seeing Caden so engaged was awesome…most of all, it was great doing something together as a family and creating new memories.
Day 361: I have gratitude for the overwhelming joy that the uncontrolled laughter of a child can bring. I have no idea why Callan was laughing so hard, but he was laughing in the car during a trip to the store. Caden started laughing as well, and they kept feeding into one another. It made me smile so much to hear such joy.
Day 360: I have gratitude for the fun and unexpected reminders of home. I saw this plate on my way to work…an Ohio plate referencing the Steelers with a frame about the Steelers. Love them or hate them, the Steelers have an impressive fan base that spreads the country. Even here where pride for the Bengals is high, one can find a fun reminder of the Steelers. The little memory of home was a blessing this morning.
Day 359: I have gratitude for the attentiveness to the boys that Marnie has. For Callan’s birthday, she found a great push car that Callan not only enjoys but that also makes it easier for us to walk outside with both boys. Great find Marnie!
Day 358: I have gratitude for the great news that Callan is no longer sensitive to dairy or soy! This has been a struggle for the last nine months… Callan has had a bad reaction to any dairy or soy, even if Marnie ate it. After his year checkup and an appointment with an allergist (and some tests to confirm), he is officially cleared to eat dairy and soy. I am thankful for the sacrifice Marnie made to eliminate such foods from her diet and protect Callan. I know she is excited to bring these foods back and to give Callan the chance to try them.
Day 357: I have gratitude for a fun new gift from Dad for the boys. As a first birthday gift, my Dad gave Callan some special items and fun toys. This, the latter, is a toy to which he has been drawn and has been enjoying greatly. Thanks Dad!