Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 - Gratitude and More

My last post of the year.  It's raining.  It's cold.  We had our bikes all loaded up to take a ride and the skies opened.  Rained like no tomorrow and it's still coming down.  Even heard a thunder clap or two.  I've been thinking about the new year coming up and what changes I'd like to make in my life.  I'm not a great one for making resolutions, but I do like to try to tweak things a little.  Strive for little improvements here and there.  In fact, there are so many areas for improvement that it gets a little overwhelming, so I try to just stick to one or two.
I think, overall, I'd like to be more grateful.  Gratitude for everything.  For the health I do enjoy.  Ignore the little twinges and swollen joints.  Be grateful that there is good help out there to take advantage of.  Be grateful that I can always continue to learn more about healthy living and healthy eating, and incorporate more of both into my life.  No whining that I can't do this, or can't do that.  Be happy that I have my bike, and a biking companion, and mostly blue skies to ride in.
You know what else I'm grateful for?  Good skin.  I know, it's a little thing, and not so very important in the big picture, but it's one less thing I have to stress about.  My mother is 82 and her skin glows.  I'm happy that I tend to take after her in that respect.  I'm learning to take better care of myself, and hopefully, at 82, my skin will glow like hers does.  I got one of those Clarisonic things for Christmas that clean your face with a soft brush, and this girl has NO clogged pores anywhere now!  And it does make you glow a little bit.  My mom gave me a tip to get some Vitamin E.  I did just that yesterday, and it really keeps the skin around your eyes soft and moisturized!  Who knew?  Goodbye, expensive eye creams!  Or, at least sayonara to most of them.
Those two things - health and good skin - are somewhat related.  It's hard to have one without the other.  So I'm thankful that I have an interest in keeping the status quo.  In continuing on with good habits, and learning better ones.
It almost goes without saying that I'm grateful for the awesome husband I have.  He supports me, loves me even when I'm ridiculous, and tries so hard to help me with everything.  He's taught me so much about love and being selfless - and he is far better at it than I am.  But I'm learning, and I try to do something each day that will make his life a little easier or more comfortable, or even just more delicious.
Ditto for the kids.  Each one brings something unique to the table.  Each one has their own special blend of awesome.  Andrew is sweet and easy to be around.  He never rocks the boat, he is never demanding.  He has health issues that are a worry, but he is a young man who doesn't like to be a bother.  You can do anything with him and he is fine with it.  Soothing is the word for Andrew.  The others are opinionated.  They are, each one, strong willed and outspoken.   They have strong spouses who are both delightful and determined in their personalities.  L and I are quiet by nature, and every so often the sheer force of their natures are a little overwhelming, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  They are people who know what they want, and they know how to get it.  I wish I'd had half of their confidence when I was their age.  I would have saved myself a lot of grief, I can tell you that.  So we're proud parents, and we wouldn't change a thing.  I'm grateful for the joy they bring into our lives, and for the pride I feel in the people they've become, and for the lessons they've taught me.  (Sooo many lessons and humbling experiences!)
And then there are the little ones.  Lexi and Mia are 6 and kind, and giggly - lovers of all princesses. Matthew is 5 and actively determined to figure out everything.  Hayden is also determined and announces that she is "a grumpy old troll girl" when things don't go her way (but she has her mother's husky laugh when life is good).  Skylee is 1 and busy learning about the world as only a 1 year old can.  I am so very grateful for each one.  Each one brings a smile and a joie de vive into my boring adult world, as only a small child can.  I always want to snuggle up to such innocence in the hopes that it will rub off like stardust on me, and I can take it home to brighten things up.
And then there are the hundreds and thousands of little miracles that occur each day and every day, all year long.  Those little happenings that we tend to brush off as "coincidences."  I'm not so sure, and in the coming year I want to try to be more aware and more grateful for them, as I'm pretty sure we are watched over more than we think - by angels of a sort, for lack of a better universal term.  I had a near disaster on Christmas Eve.  I'd made two pans of scalloped potatoes for dinner at my brother's house.  We had sliced the potatoes and put everything together in the pans, and all that was left was to pour warm cream over all of it, and pop them into the oven for an hour.  We were going to L's mom's house for an hour and just before leaving I yelled down to L to put them in the oven.  And off we went.  Just as we reached his mom's house (5 minutes away from ours) I had a sudden thought unrelated to anything I had been thinking about: I had forgotten to pour the cream over the potatoes.  I had to go back immediately and do that or they would have been ruined.  Now, you can say it was a coincidence, but I kind of like to think it was my Grandma gently reminding me.  She, who was a champion of family dinners, and serving others wouldn't have wanted my potatoes to be ruined.  I want to notice these things more, and also listen better to promptings I may receive to do for others.  We all get them, but they're easy to brush off, again, as silly ideas - things we may not be comfortable doing.  I want to rise to the occasion, put myself out of my comfort zone, and serve.  Make someone's day with a kind act, a kind word.  Maybe it's anonymous.  Even better.
So that's the kind of year I'd like to have.  Full of gratitude, health, family, friends and service to others. I've not always been good at all of these things, and certainly not all at the same time, and some of them are a stretch, for sure.  We don't always have all aspects under our control.  But as much as possible, I have to ask myself: why not me, and why not now?  Because if not now, never seems a likely possibility, and that would be a life wasted for sure.  Now is the time to try, to give it my best effort.  It starts today.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Wishing you all the best, and hoping that you, too, will discover the things that you need to do and accomplish, starting today.


  1. You surely do have many things for which to be thankful, dear karen. I agree that you have the skin of a 20-something. I also gently urge you to look into Simponi in the hope that it will offer you the same relief that I am experiencing. I love your resolutions for the new year. They are very similar to mine. I'm into random acts of kindness and giving and serving and loving. I believe you should love somebody even when it's hard to love them. Do it not because they are great but because you are great. Happy new year, dear friend, to you and your wonderful family coast to coast!

  2. I am happier simply for having read your thoughtful post. Me too. I want all those things too, so I'll just say "Ditto" and "Amen"!

  3. I'm not fond of making resolutions but I love taking stock of my life to make adjustments. You have much to be grateful for. Thanks for sharing your great family with us through your blog. I hope 2013 brings good health and many visits with your sweet Grandkiddos! Happy New Year!

  4. Great post, Karen. Very similar to what I've been thinking for the new year. Enjoy it, I say.

  5. I love your blog. I love the thoughts and the good writing. I have been m.i.a. in the blog world, but have some extra free time and so using it to do what I like best. Blog reading.

    Happy New Year!

    p.s. I opened up letter e blog and posted..

  6. Once again -- you wrote nearly my thoughts.. mostly the last part of your post.. service etc... same here could do more and more for family and friends at this end!!! I'll be around this new year and will continue coming by.. I soooo enjoyed your blog..
    Have a Most wonderful New Year EVER!!

  7. Good post Karen. The part about striving for little improvements resonated with me.
    I hope 2013 is a great year for you and your family.

  8. Great post Karen and great blog :)

    Then you officially have a new follower :)


  9. It was nice of Grandma to help you remember the cream on the potatoes. I, too, am blessed with nice skin. I use The Body Shop's Vitamin E skincare line. My mother had beautiful skin -- even after she died.


  10. What an inspiring post! Gratitude is indeed a good thing to have and I know I need more of it myself!

    Happy 2013 to you!

  11. What a warm, cozy, real post. Loved it.

    Hope your New Year is all that and more.


  12. I also have a selfless husband, who helps with everything. I rarely write in celebration of that fact, and probably should! Your family stories and the example of a loving, positive attitude really lift me up. I hope your new year continues to be full of all the good stuff!

  13. Happy New Year Karen...All the best to you and your sweet family in 2013!


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