The 2018 Grateful Challenge

I've heard a lot of people talk about their gratitude journal. Every night, they make note of one thing from their day they appreciated. Could be a kind gesture someone extended. Could be a good dinner made for them.

Yea, the journal didn't work for me.

I'd look back at my entries a few weeks later and wonder why on earth I was grateful for sweet potato casserole or for new mini blinds. (I probably should have provided some kind of context. But that wasn't part of the "instructions" I received.)

So, when I first read about Gini's Personal Grateful Challenge a few years ago, I was skeptical.

You set a timer for 10 minutes and list everything you are thankful for. I told myself there was no way I could work for that long. But I did it. And by the end, I realized what the challenge brings that the daily gratitude journal doesn't.


It's not the sweet potato casserole that I'm grateful for. I'm thankful for my mother-in-law who makes the delicious dish. (One, I know she's not my mother-in-law per se. That's semantics. And two, yes, the casserole is that good. Like damn good.)

It's a few days after Thanksgiving, but not quite the new year. So I'm still going to take the Challenge for 2018.

The clock's ticking...
  1. Amara
  2. Tim
  3. Bella
  4. My in-laws
  5. My sister
  6. My uncle and his family
  7. Lisa, my soul sister
  8. Molly, my partner in crime
  9. Amanda, my work partner
  10. Carrie, my Disney sister
  11. Tara, one of my closest friends
  12. My therapist
  13. My doctors
  14. My sobriety
  15. Second chances
  16. My meetings
  17. The opportunity to sit on the Recovery Resources Associate Board
  18. My church
  19. My two dogs
  20. The people who still remember my Mom
  21. The moms in Avon that I have met
  22. Amara's commitment to lacrosse
  23. Cavs basketball 
  24. Loyola basketball
  25. My job
  26. Cathy, my boss
  27. Erika and Martin, friends I've met because of my job
  28. wifi so I can do my job
  29. Social media, because it led me to the job I have now
  30. My iPhone
  31. My apartment, because after moving so much the last few years, I finally feel like I'm home
  32. My steam cleaner, because I'm a germaphobe 
  33. The cold side of my pillow, because it means I'm sleeping through the night
  34. Mary Margaret, my car
  35. Coffee to get me through my day
  36. Galley Boys at Swenson's
  37. Egg Foo Yung, one of my mom's favorites, is still served at a local restaurant
  38. Pecan pie
  39. Brown rice
  40. Sesame oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce
  41. Tuna fish sandwiches at Joe's Deli
  42. Bread pudding pancakes at Southport Grocer
  43. Lumpia
  44. Goat cheese, mozzarella, and kale flatbreads
  45. Roasted zucchini, because they made me more of a vegetable-type-of-gal
  46. Walt Disney World
  47. Madonna della Strada
  48. Krissy, my workout partner
  49. 9Round
  50. College friends
  51. Grandma's IRA that paid for Amara's trip to China
  52. Apple Music
  53. Musicals
  54. Concerts
  55. Hoodies, because that means I don't have to dress up for work
  56. Leggings
  57. Knee high boots, because they dress up my leggings on days I have to leave the house
  58. Persil detergent, because it means we have clothes that need to be cleaned
  59. Birthdays, 
  60. Half birthdays
  61. The TV show 911, my guilty pleasure
  62. The movie Crazy Rich Asians, because #RepresentationMatters
I am surrounded by some amazing women in my life, and I met with a few this morning. I left feeling particularly content. Maybe it was the company. Maybe it was the holiday spirit in the air. Maybe it was the coffee. 

But I arrived home and found dirty dishes were mistakenly placed back in the cupboards. And man, I was angry. Feel-it-in-my-cheeks angry. That peace and joy I felt earlier - it was gone. So there was no better time for me to tackle the challenge.

Ten minutes later, that serenity is back. 


And for that, I am truly grateful.