Saturday, December 24, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 24- Being Full!

I'm going to make this as quick as possible because that phrase "Put a fork in me, I'm done," is pretty much where I'm at right now. Yes, I'm tired but my fatigue comes with gratitude. My stomach is full and I am so incredibly thankful for all the food that I was able to cook for my family today when so many go without. My legs are tired from standing all day in the kitchen but so very thankful that I have a kitchen and that I have food to cook for my family. I am physically tired from getting to bed late and then getting up early for family events, yet I am so very thankful for my family and being able to share these times with them. Yes my plate is full. Full of blessings. Full of Hope. Full of Love. Full of food. And most of all, full of gratitude... I'm jus' sayin'!

Say good night GirlGoneGrits! (Good Night GirlGoneGrits!)

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur

"When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.
~ Anthony Robbins

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~ Author Unknown

Friday, December 23, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 23 - Silent Nights

Silent nights don't come every night, so when we have them we relish them. I remember the first time I recognized a "silent night" - our first born slept through the night for the first time and it was such a blessing. Now I am feeling the emptiness of our first silent Christmas Eve without him here. It's bittersweet but certainly something to be grateful for as he begins to make his own way in the world.

So many silent things to be grateful for this year that my list would run on forever if I let it. When we were little my Mom would tell us the story of the birth of baby Jesus and then she would play Silent Night on the piano. I would pretend that the angels created that song when our Savior was born. Now amongst all of the commercialism of the holidays it's hard to find silence. Always the optimist, I believe it's out there - you just have to look a little harder these days to find it. It might be the silent smile you see in a child's eyes when they see a tree light up for the first time. Maybe the grateful silent sigh from the homeless man you just gave a hot cup of coffee and a couple dollars to. Perhaps it's the silent thank you on that person's face that you just let go ahead of you at the stop light. These are all kind-hearted gestures that cause us to pause and silently reflect upon.

Tonight at 11:00 o'clock, I will go with my family to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church where I will again be reminded of that Savior when we sing Silent Night and that hush comes across the congregation when we blow out the candles. I'll come home with my family and before the last light is turned off, I will relish with my husband the silence of this night. I will lean in to kiss him goodnight and I will say a prayer of gratitude for all the silent blessings that the Savior has given us this year... I'm jus' sayin'!

"Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "

~ Joseph Mohr

Thursday, December 22, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 22 - Ghost Writers

Sometimes we get really hurried and forget our commitments. Today was one of those days. I was so busy running errands and getting last minute things together that I totally forgot about my blog. We had a wonderful dinner with our neighbors next door and then when we came home I realized that I had forgotten my blog. I was kind of tired but did not want to break my commitment to carry on my posts for the 30 Days of Gratitude. That's when my lovely daughter piped up and said "How about letting me write it tonight?" How could I refuse an offer like that? So tonight I am grateful for my ghost writer, my sweet girl.

I am grateful for my wonderful neighbors. I love when families can come together and have a nice dinner and talk. I also love when the family is so nice and have awesome children. The greatest time is when the parents can have a conversation and the children can just play and play and play. Something really cool about my neighbors house is the secret passage in their coat closet that leads to a fun club room and the parents let them write and paint on all those walls. Today, when I went over for dinner, I was given the chance to name that area, which I called "Sala" (which is a combination of the two girls names) . I also enjoyed having a delicious dinner, even though my father antagonized me on how I should have the steak instead of the vegetarian dishes. After dinner the neighbor came over to our house for a bit. We talked some more and he told me how I was a huge impact in their children's lives and what a great family we have. It makes me grateful that other's see what I already know about my family I am jus' sayin'!

"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.
~ Eva Burrows

The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day.
~ M. Grundler

Of course if you like your kids, if you love them from the moment they begin, you yourself begin all over again, in them, with them, and so there is something more to the world again.
~ William Saroyan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 21 - Helping Hands

Sometimes all we need is a helping hand. Today I experienced a lot of helping hands. The first thing this morning my daughter got up and started helping me with the house-cleaning. She dusted, vacuumed and mopped the floors for me. This was such a huge help and it gave me a moment to work on the baking for the day. She also went grocery shopping with me. When we were finished and I was leaving the parking lot, traffic was heavy enough that I had to wait for what seemed like forever for someone to let me in. That friendly wave from a stranger telling me to go in front of them was such a welcome relief. When we went to pick up lunch someone gave up there spot in line to open the door for us. Because I had so much help today I noticed I was able to really slow down and not feel so rushed with my "to do" list. I had time to watch a movie with my daughter, took time to watch her create a gingerbread house and dinner was not rushed. It's amazing how much you can get done when you're in the right frame of mind. Being grateful for helping hands seems to be something I tend to take for granted. I got so much done for others today because of those helping hands early on. When I was thinking about what to write tonight I realized It was earlier than usual for me to be sitting down behind the computer. Seems like all those helping hands today really gave me time to use my hands and type this up early... I'm jus' sayin'!

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.
~ Flora Edwards

"The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
~ Swedish Proverb

“Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.”
~Jesse Jackson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 20 - Friends with Lemons

Every year at Christmas we start preparing for the making of our annual batch of Limoncello. Unfortunately, our beloved Meyer lemon tree that usually provides us with more than enough lemons did not fair well from a couple of winter freezes this year. That cold snap kept our tree from producing a crop this year but I have no doubt it will be stock full of blossoms again next spring. For now, though, we have to think outside of the box. One year, we had a limited crop and my lovely brother shipped us some of his Meyers from his tree in California. We were not exactly sure how we were going to do it this year. The price of these precious lemons can be ridiculous at local stores - especially when we are used to picking them from our own tree. This is where my gratitude comes in. Earlier today I noticed my friend Kate the very talented author behind "The Hip Girls Guide To Homemaking" post on facebook that she was excited to have gotten her Meyer lemons from her local farm. Curious, I asked her where the farm was. Not only did she tell me, but she offered me some of her beautiful organic stash. So tonight we drove over (with J singing carols and observing all the lovely lights along the way) to her lovely little casa. With a ton of thanks and gratitude to Kate, we will be making our limoncello this year and bottling it for our annual SXSW party. Funny how thinking outside of the box led us to a friend's box... I'm jus' sayin'!

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend in need is a friend indeed."
~ Latin Proverb

"I get by with a little help from my friends."
~ John Lennon

Monday, December 19, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 19 - Dates

On any given night out, my husband and I normally love having our darling little teenage daughter tag along with us. She is fun to hang out with and the plus side is that she loves our friends and they love her so it's never a burden on either end. However, once in a while, we get the opportunity to just be adults and go out alone. We get to go have adult conversations and even see movies that don't include talking animals or vampires (not that I don't have Team Jacob spirit!). Tonight was one of those nights. J is off with her friends and Grandma and we get the night to ourselves. I am thankful for these moments to catch up with the one I love without having to use a filter. Dates have always been important to us and I am thankful that we have collectively agreed on this for over 22 years. We, or should I say I, don't have the stamina to stay out as late as I used to and curling up by the fire to watch a movie has almost the same appeal on a "date night" as a night out on the town. So tonight I have gratitude for Grandma (hanging out with J) as well as for that handsome guy who still wants to hang out with me... I'm jus' sayin'!

"Always do something that requires you and your date to talk."
~ Steven Hill

"I would say that the surest measure of a man's or a woman's maturity is the harmony, style, joy, and dignity he creates in his marriage, and the pleasure and inspiration he provides for his spouse."
~ Benjamin McLane Spock

"When a wife has a good husband it is easily seen in her face."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, December 18, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 18 - Food Swaps

I know I have mentioned this before but one of the coolest food events that I attend roughly once a month is the ATXSwappers food swap. I've met some really good friends through this group and always, always come home with a basket of unique and delicious homemade goods. It's because of this that I jumped at the opportunity this past November to be a part of a super-cool food blogger swap set up by Jodi Bart of Tasty Touring, a friend and fellow Austin-based food blogger. She asked members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance if they were interested in swapping with local Boston food bloggers. She then set those of us that were interested up with a swap partner in Boston. I could not have been set up with a cooler, hipper blogger. Pam from Cave Cibum has good taste and this is how I know – she is a regular shopper at Trader Joe's, something I used to do weekly in California ten-plus years ago and now only get occasionally when my husband goes on business trips. She loves to read and in fact, she actually has three blogs and works in a book store. You can check out her reading blog here. It's funny, between the two of us and only exchanging a couple of e-mails, we somehow basically put the same types of items in our swap boxes. She sent local honey, I sent local honey. She sent local chocolate, I sent local chocolate. She sent a copy of Edible Boston and I sent a copy of Edible Austin. I swear, neither of us knew what we were putting in each other's package. I think this is just how food lovers think. We only need to know preferences and allergies and we can pretty much take off with the task from there. So tonight, as I am continuing to munch on some of the local Boston goodies from Pam, I am grateful for the opportunity to trade food and to meet new friends. Or maybe I should instead simply say I'm grateful for a food blogger's version of a pen pal, the food pal... I'm jus' sayin'!