Yes, it is probably a little cliched, but I am doing a 30 day Thankfulness Challenge for the month of November. I think we all can agree after the hand that was dealt for 2020 we could all use a little thankfulness in our lives. I challenge you to do these with me and share what you are thankful for too.
Day 1: What unexpected blessing are you thankful for?
I recently chose to leave my second job, being a waitress at a local pizzeria, for multiple reasons, none of which I’ll discuss here. However, this left me in a bit of a pickle with the holiday season right around the corner and losing that little extra income I depend on. Granted I have my two side businesses, Pampered Chef and Yellow Rose but as much as I love both of them, they are not what you would call a dependable source of steady income. Sales fluctuate and summer time is more of the wedding season in upstate New York. However, my God-mom/second mom messaged me the day after making this decision, saying that there was an opening at the library she works at and that I should put in my application. No, I haven’t gotten the job (yet) or even been called for an interview (again, yet- staying positive!) but I am thankful that an opportunity showed up so quickly for me.
Day 2: What friend(s) are you grateful for?
Someone once said, “Friends come and go, like the waves of the ocean, but the true one stay, like an octopus on your face.” Maybe not the best simile in the world, but it made me laugh. I am fortunate enough to have two octopi in my life: Lindsey and Angie. Although at times distance has separated us, our thoughts and actions tested us, these two ladies have been there for me for 20 years (and counting!). They have seen me at my worst and been there for my best, and we always encourage each other from the sidelines. Days, weeks, and even months can go by without talking or seeing each other, but the moment we do we can pick up right where we left off and be laughing within minutes. That is the true type of friendship that I am grateful for every single day.
Day 3: Which childhood lesson are you thankful for?
Now I couldn’t tell you the time that my parents or even my grandparents taught me a valuable lesson in life. Not that they didn’t, but I just can’t think of one exact moment where a life lesson happened, instead it was over the years.. As many know my parents had me late in life, and so I was a teenager being raised by a 60 year old and therefore I was raised what I like to call “old-school.”
One of those “ways” I learned was to ALWAYS say “thank-you.” It doesn’t matter if it's the man who held the door open for you at the store, or your friend who picked you up a bottle of wine. You. say. Thank You. My other half likes to pick up on me because I write thank you notes for everything; oh you came to our housewarming party- you get a thank you card, oh you sent us a gift card- you get a thank you note, etc. He says “no one does that anymore” and that is exactly the reason why I still do it. Saying “thank you” in person, over text, phone or writing a note is one of the easiest things you can do to make sure that someone knows they are valued. For my Pampered Chef business, every single one of my hosts receives a thank you card after their party and every single person who orders receives a postcard thanking them for their order, on top of the Facebook post I do in their party thanking them. And I do that because they are supporting me, and my business and I appreciate that.
So I am thankful for being thankful. For letting others know that I appreciate them, that I value them and I am thankful for them. And with that I encourage everyone to bring back the practice of writing thank you notes!
Day 4: What hot beverage are you thankful for?
Today I am thankful for coffee. Actually, almost every day I am thankful for coffee. I have the bad habit of having a cup or two every morning, not that coffee is necessarily bad for you, but on the days I don't drink any I get wicked caffeine withdrawal migraines, so I drink my coffee daily to avoid those. However, today I especially was thankful for it because I woke up an hour early, for no apparent reason, and it was chilly outside, and I had back to back English 9 classes today (same lesson, 2x in a row). Therefore, today the coffee was certainly my friend, and kept me awake as we read Black Swan Green.
Day 5: What family member(s) are you grateful for today?
Family isn’t just blood, and I have been tremendously blessed to have an extended or second family outside of my blood relations. However, one person that I am blood related for that I am incredibly grateful for is my dad. Although he and I typically do not see eye to eye, and at times drive each other crazy, I’m not really sure who I’d be without my dad. He has taught me many valuable lessons in my life, including hard work and still to this day, when something happens in my life, good or bad, normally the person I tell is my dad.
Day 6: What provision are you thankful for?
A product that I am thankful for, hmmm. Not going to lie, this one is stumping to me. I’m thankful for food, and thankful for technology, but they are both in general. Is there an item that I particularly and specifically thankful for? I guess if I were to answer truthfully it would be “Suave Kids Detangler Spray” and no, not for my non existent kids. I use that stuff almost daily on my own hair, because it’s thick and long and loves to get knotted. A couple shots of that spray and I can run my brush through my hair without yanking out brain cells. It may be something odd to be thankful of, but it does help my morning routine go a lot smoother.
Day 7: What traditions are you thankful for?
A tradition that I am thankful for is something that began probably six years ago, and it’s doing Christmas with my parents on Christmas Eve. My mother's birthday is the 23rd of December so this allows us to celebrate both on the “middle day.” I’m also thankful for that fact that although my parents are not together, my dad comes to my moms with us and we do Christmas together as a family. When I was younger this wasn’t something that happened, but now as an adult we’ve created our own tradition. We spend Christmas Eve together having dinner and doing presents and usually playing a card game. It’s nothing crazy, but it is special to me.
Day 8: What song are you thankful for?
This one is easy. I am thankful for the song “Take A Back Road” by Rodney Atkins. This is my all time favorite song, and it represents so much to me. First, the first time I heard this song was at a Rodney Atkins concert that I went to with friends at the county fair, and it brings back the memories of being so carefree and happy at the time in my life. It also is all about just driving down back roads and experiencing not having to rush through life or your day. Growing up in a rural area, and even now still living in one, you don’t really get places without taking a back road or two. So it’s something I constantly get to experience but even more on a nice summer day, when you have nothing else to do, it’s enjoyable to grab a drink and put the windows down, turn the music up and just cruise down the back roads completely carefree. (And yes, that is a reference to another country song, do you know which one?) - PS. About 5 minutes after writing this, my song came on the radio.
Day 9: What memory are you grateful for?
Memories are such an odd thing. When you are asked to think of one, your mind comes blank, but at the most random times throughout your day you may be smacked right in the face with one.
I can’t say that there is a particular memory that sticks in my mind that I am grateful for, however with the passing of my grandmother this past year I’d have to say I am thankful for the memories that I got to have with both of my Grandma’s. They both were incredibly special women to me, regardless of how much time they got in my life, they were the glue that held our families together, and with them gone it feels like the family is slowly disintegrating.
One of my fondest memories with my Grandma Trains (Neff) is that she ALWAYS made me French Toast with Strawberry Milk when I was a kid, and I have never had French Toast or Strawberry Milk that tasted like hers. And on weekends when I got to spend that night at her house I always looked forward to that treat. Another treat that she would make often was Cinnamon Toast and her root beer floats with A&W Rootbeer. I also remember all the times we would go to yard sales when I was a kid, and she would always let me pick something out (as long as I was being good). As I got older she would treat me by taking me to the movies, and I remember going to see Ice Princess with her, and she really enjoyed the movie because she loved figure skating. Another time we went to the movies with my cousins Natasha and Ryan, and Natasha and I went and watched Madagascar and Ryan and Grandma went to see Mr & Mrs Smith and we talked about our movies afterwards while eating ice cream.
Today, I am thankful for all those memories that I have with such a wonderful lady, and will treasure them for the rest of my life.
Day 10: What book are you thankful for?
As much as I want to answer this question with a Harry Potter book, because they are my all-time favorites, the real answer to a book that I am thankful for is “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. It’s a self-help/self-care book and not something that you would normally find on my bookshelf (I enjoy reading about fantasy lands and escaping into other characters' lives), but this book I picked up on a whim about two years ago. It really makes you think about yourself and remind yourself who you are, and what you want to do and then encourages you to do it. It is such a motivational piece that I am actually reading it again right now, and I encourage all of you to read it sometime.
Day 11: What talent are you grateful for?
Staying organized, although at the present moment I do feel like I am disorganized. However, being organized and being creative on how to do it is something I have always prided myself in and am always told I am “on top of it” at work. I am thankful that I choose to want to be organized.
Day 12: what part of technology are you grateful for?
I would say most recently, the biggest part of technology that I am thankful for would be the fact that I can have dual screens on my home computer. With having two businesses prominently online, having two screens instead of one is a game changer.
Day 13: What charity or foundation are you thankful for?
I am thankful for a local charity called Superheros in Ripped Jeans out of Oneonta, NY. They are a small pet shelter, with big hearts. It is also where we got our no so little kitten a year ago and I can’t imagine my life without her
Day 14: What silly moment are you thankful for?
Honestly my life is made up of silly moments, many of which I have tried to document on camera. They also are usually encouraged with my snorting when I get laughing too hard. However, one fond silly moment that I always seem to remember is from my senior year in high school when we had the small Gatorade cooler on wheels in our homeroom. I don’t remember why it was in our homeroom, but my two best friends and I were left unsupervised for a few minutes and we decided to shove Jessie in it, because she was the smallest and roll her down the hallway. Which of course the minute we had her in the hallway, we saw Mrs. Piper, also known as Pipes, started walking down the hallway, so Angie and I shoved the cooler, and Jessie, into the stairwell. Of course, Pipes saw us and wanted to know what we were doing, and once she saw Jessie in the cooler all she could do was laugh too!
Day 15: What surprise have you been grateful for?
It’s hard to get a surprise past me. However, a couple years ago when I was working in a medical office I did get surprised on my birthday. My coworkers had decorated my station with balloons and streamers, they had given me gifts and had bought an ice cream cake for the office to help me celebrate my 25th birthday. That was truly a very nice surprise.
Day 16: What location are you thankful for?
It’s probably a little cheesy, but the location that I am most thankful for would be Butternut Valley Golf Course & Restaurant because it is where I met my boyfriend Mike when I was bar tending.
Day 17: What act of kindness are you grateful for?
The other day at school I saw the biggest act of kindness from a student I least expected it from. As this is during COVID, school days are looking a little different than traditional years. At my school students come to school either on Tuesday & Thursday or Wednesday & Friday, which means that class sizes are less than half because students also have the option to do school completely remote from home. This means that in the science class I am in, on certain days there are only 4 or 5 students. On this particular day they were working on one of their labs, and once given instructions the students were “released” to either by themselves, in pairs or in groups. Automatically two of the girls paired up being friends, and then they asked the one male in the class to join them. This left the last student working by herself, and as she is new and foreign she is still very timid. Before I could even say anything, the male came over and asked me quietly if it was okay for her to join the group. This instantly made my heart melt, because this student is normally always joking around, not doing his work, etc. and for him to be the one to realize that they had unintentionally left a classmate out, and ask if it was okay for them to work all together truly did touch my heart. It’s small acts of kindness that I see as an education professional that makes it all worth it.
Day 18: What movie are you grateful for?
At one point in my life I used to be a regular at the movie theater because I loved going and seeing new movies. However, as time went on and movie prices got higher and streaming devices got more popular I can honestly say I have not set foot in a movie theater since January 1, 2019. Going on two years in another month! BUT, that doesn’t mean that I don’t still love watching movies. I’d have to say that as of today I am thankful for the movie Titanic which is a classic and one of my all time favorites. I am grateful for it because I was watching it the other evening when I was home alone, and when Mike got home I intended to pause it and finish it by myself another day. Instead he surprised me by saying, “oh, no I like this movie, we can keep watching it.” So we continued it, and then his kids came over for dinner and again I planned on stopping it, and they both said that they didn’t mind watching it. It seems like a small thing, but I am grateful that all of us could sit and watch a movie together, which isn’t something that we do very often.
Day 19: What teacher are you thankful for?
There is no one particular teacher than I am more thankful for over another. I had several important figures in my years in school. So instead I will just name a few of them, with no explanations. Mrs. Bjorvand (Kindergarten, 4th Grade, Odyssey of the Mind Coach) Mrs. Patrick (5th & 6th Grade, second mom) Mrs. DiBart (7th-9th Grade, Senior Year) Mrs. Huyck (7th Grade, 11th-12th Grade, College Professor) Mrs. Piper (9th-12th Grade, Drama Set Advisor, Senior Class Advisor) Professor Womback (Freshman year) Professor Redinger (Sophomore-Senior year) Chef Marg. (Junior Year)
Day 20: What room in your home are you thankful for?
That is an easy question. I am most thankful for my office. Never in my life did I have a room that was 100% mine for me to work in. At my Dads house it is an open floor plan and therefore I had a corner in a room that I utilized as my office, but I didn’t have a ton of space and had to improvise and share with him. When I lived in my one-bedroom apartment, the living room also contained my desk and played office space. But when we moved into our house, the end bedroom was designated my office. Which also includes a huge “L-shaped” desk, my bookshelves, a reading chair and a double door closet for me to store decorations, Yellow Rose Event items and my Pampered Chef stuff. Oh, and it also is hiding all of the Christmas gifts too!
Day 21: What part of your day are you thankful for?
The other day made me realize that I am most thankful for my half hour in the morning that I set aside for Pampered Chef. It follows me getting up, getting ready, packing my bag for work and making my coffee but is before I actually leave for work. Although I am doing work during the time, I enjoy not having that rushed feeling of getting ready and then running out the door to get to work. It’s almost a buffer time. And even weeks that I don’t have parties going on, I still get and utilize the time for my businesses.
Day 22: What household task are you grateful for?
Now that we live in a house, and I have a dishwasher- my favorite household task is loading the dishwasher and hitting the buttons to start it. I detest doing dishes, and for a brief time when Mike first moved in with me I insisted on using paper plates because I didn’t want to deal with the extra dishes. We compromised with him being in charge of doing the dishes. LOL! But now that I have the dishwasher, I don’t mind loading it and starting it and walking away. Now I just have to start enjoying unloading the dishwasher!
Day 23: What happened today that you are grateful for?
Today I was grateful that there were no students in the building and I could take a half day from work. I took the half day and just came home and relaxed, which was very nice.
Day 24: What ordinary object makes you grateful?
I have a coffee cup that says “Aunt, like a mom, only cooler,” and it makes me grateful because it reminds me that I have two beautiful nieces, even if they aren’t my blood, I love them like they are. It also is the perfect size cup to hold the large button on the Keurig plus my cream and not be overflowing.
Day 25: What trait of your personality are you grateful for?
I would say that I am grateful that I am so organized, and always am trying to find news ways to stay organized. I detest clutter, or at least clutter with no pattern. I enjoy making sure that everything has a place that it belongs. That doesn’t mean that I freak out if it’s not in that place, but as long as everything has a home, I’m good.
Day 26: What change in your life are you thankful for?
I’d say the most recent change in my life of having a home is what I am thankful for. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about and now I finally have it. I am thankful for the spaces I have to decorate and fill with love and treasures.
Day 27: What promise are you thankful for?
I think what promise I am most thankful for is that my best friend and I have stayed close for 20 years. We may have different things going in our lives, but we always find time for each other.
Day 28: What reason for laughter are you grateful for?
I am thankful for laughing last night when the kids, Mike and I all played Left Right Center and Uno for a few hours. We had a great time and many laughs were shared.
Day 29: What meal are you thankful for?
I am thankful for Thanksgiving leftovers!! They are the absolute best!
Day 30: What struggle are you grateful for?
I am thankful for staying on top of this blog post for the month of November. It was a struggle some days, but I managed.