For This I Am Grateful

August 22, 2017

“Saying thank-you is more than good manners.  It is good spirituality”     ~ Alfred Painter

Photo Credit:

Truth be told, social media has never really been my thing

Until a year or so ago, when I decided to start promoting The Veggies, I only had a Facebook account, which I used to see cute photos of my grandchildren.  All was well with the world

Now, I’m a bit more committed and honestly?  There are aspects I really do enjoy.  Everything else?  I’ve let fall by the wayside

Some days I take it all in and wonder, have we become a generation that’s blurred the documentation of our lives, with the distribution of our lives?  We trap sacred moments and offer them up for public consumption.  We turn ourselves into broadcasters, talking into tiny screens, to share on YouTube or Instagram stories

Our days, our children, our travels have become regularly scheduled programming.  We’ve replaced contentment with content, and we allow ourselves to get sucked into the culture that calls it a life

— — —

On my nightstand is my gratitude journal and I spend a few minutes writing in it every night, right before I go to sleep.  It’s my way of remembering the happy moments, surveying the days and calling it good.  It’s for noticing and paying attention, for practicing the fine and weighty art of gratitude

The practicing is the good stuff

The publishing?  Entirely optional

Photo Credit: Instagram – @lucialitman

A few rules I’ve committed to?

My list is best written alone.  For me?  That’s in the wee hours of the morning (or the darkest hours of the night).  There’s no thought given to “peak times”  No more than one post per day.  No live footage necessary.  No stealing away from my actual life to capture pseudo-representative words around a virtual one.  It’s just me, my moments, a pencil and a notepad.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll snap a photo (styled, unstyled, or whatever) throughout the day or week and tuck it inside the flap.  No need for more, no need for less

— — —

I was Skyping with my daughter and grandson last week when she noticed a few Squinkies on the kitchen windowsill.  “Why haven’t I seen them online?”  she asked, and my response was the expected one

“What I share is the tiniest fraction of the real”

— — —

#ForThisIAmGrateful is the offering of a few excerpts.  Which is simply my way of being intentional with the 1%, with the hope that I’ll continue to appreciate the remaining 99%.  It’s me, figuring out a way to make an online life work for me, rather than me making my life’s work online

Photo Credit: Instagram – @dallasclayton

Small town diner dates

A 100 lb puppy who chases ground squirrels in his sleep (with his feet pointed toward your hubby)

Saturday mornings at the farmer’s market

Being kind to yourself and feeling your soul exhale in relief

Road trips + solar eclipses

Cinnamon sugar toast on just-out-of-the-oven sourdough 

When you work really hard at being grumpy .. but your husband works even harder at not letting you

Finished crossword puzzles (without hints!)

Love notes tucked in the fold of your computer

The sweetest online friends .. who you’d love to meet in person one day

Fresh cut flowers and kitties in the windowsills

Photo Credit: Instagram – @dallasclayton

The photo at the fair of a combine in the field at dusk.  The memory of being a kid sleeping in the cab, while your father worked late into the night

Fits of giggles and the world’s best salsa running down your chin

The bendy sunflower in last night’s kombucha bottle

Wearing your husband’s favorite t-shirt to bed because you miss him when he’s away

BLT sandwiches and sweet corn for dinner, every night for a week

Sharing breakfast with someone.  I mean, if you can find someone who will order the pancakes, but then let you take one too many bites? I’m pretty sure that’s a love for life

Chocolate dipped frozen bananas

The pug named Petunia who walks the same trail you do.  The kindness of owner who lets you tell stories of the two you miss  (and doesn’t even laugh at you when you cry sometimes)

Sticking with something you committed to


What are you grateful for this week?

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  • Reply Candy August 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

    My mom always says it takes no time at all to smile, say hello and always say thank you for even the little things. Something people need to learn more about today.

  • Reply Jeanette August 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    What a great attitude to have! That is definitely a great way to start the day and end the day. I think I need to focus on what I am grateful for also. One of the biggest things I am grateful for is my husband and my son. It sounds cheesy but I love them so much I would spend all my time with them if I could.

  • Reply Anosa August 22, 2017 at 8:37 am

    It crazy how we’ve definitely become who are obsessed with sharing our lives on social media instead of enjoying the moment. It’s important to spend some time appreciating what we have big or small

  • Reply Holly August 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I’m grateful for laundry and dirty dishes. Sounds odd I know but they mean so much to me at this point. They mean I have the family I’ve always dreamed of, a house to live in and food for our tummies. I used to let them get me down but now when I see the mountain of dirties I think of those who don’t have them and find it a blessing to have.

  • Reply Lisa August 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I love this post. I have noticed lately that I tend to ignore even the camera and live more in the moment. It allows me to really be present and hang on to those special memories.

  • Reply Roger D Willis August 22, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I’m grateful for my family. My grand kids, through their innocence of being little, love me, regardless of my short-comings. To them, I’m papa, the man who loves them and spends time with them when he sees them. I’m grateful for my wife, Becky. She’s my rock, my inspiration, and probably the main reason I got into blogging. I know I can lean on her for advice and encouragement. I could go on and on, but everyone in my family plays a role in my gratefulness

  • Reply Tiara Wilson August 22, 2017 at 10:49 am

    This is such a sweet & sincere read. I cannot agree more with you. My husband & I were talking about that last night. Technology is such an obsessive thing going on right now. I am grateful for one, my husband who works incredibly hard to keep us grounded and my perfect little guy, after several of attempts & miscarriages, we were blessed. <3

  • Reply Franc August 22, 2017 at 11:39 am

    It’s really good to have a journal you get to update regularly on things you are grateful. Social media has also emerged to unite people and keep them connected.

  • Reply Brigette August 22, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I think a gratitude journal is a great idea. It is always a good reminder of the good things we go through. Especially when we need a pick me up!

  • Reply Courtney Blacher August 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I LOVE those words: “Ready to face the world with an open heart.” Open heart and open mind are my favourite qualities.

  • Reply GiGi August 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I hate social media, but I also ADORE IT because I have met some of my best friends on social media and without them I would not be the person I am today!

  • Reply Liz Mays August 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Your list is so sweet. It’s always the little things we tend to overlook! Sometimes it’s good to be able to pull away from social media and remember what we’re missing.

  • Reply Jen S August 22, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    This is such a cute idea! I love it 🙂 I definitely think that social media shouldn’t take over our lives and I often find myself pulling away for a few days here and there even as a millenial.

  • Reply Jenn August 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Your list is sweet. I love how honest this post is, and see so much of myself in it. Only I jumped pretty hard into social media and blogging as a journal in the beginning. Then realized it was too much of “me” being put out there. Over the years, my views have changed. On another note, I’m really thinking of starting a journal of things I am thankful for.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey August 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I have to admit I don’t do social media quite as much as I should, I sometimes find it very hard to get into the zone and down to business. I am glad I’m not 100% alone in that.

  • Reply Melanie August 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    If it were not for blogging, I would probably cancel most of my social media accounts! My husband is a youth minister, and we see on a weekly basis how social media takes its toll on kids. It is not much better on adults, truth be told!

  • Reply Amber Myers August 22, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I just love your list! I love social media, but it can be time consuming that’s for sure.

    That cinnamon sugar toast you mentioned sounds fabulous.

  • Reply Cecilia August 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I hate to admitted but I do spend a lot of time a social medias. And can you belive it, I only started to use a mobile phone just 3 years ago when my cousin gave me her Iphone. Ever since I am hooked! Before people thought I was crazy not having a mobile. Life was kind of easier. I was reading a lot. Now I read other peoples blog which is good but I feel that I need to brinf out the books again.

    I am grateful that I have my daughter and my husband!❤️

  • Reply Lisa Favre August 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I know so many people (mainly relatives) who signed up for Facebook for the sole reason of seeing their grandchildren! I don’t blame ya – if I were on the same boat I’d probably do the same.

  • Reply Nayna Kanabar August 22, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I do love my blog it gives me lots of pleasure and I am grateful as through it I have made an abundance of friends worldwide.

  • Reply Laura August 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I love social media but I too find it sad sometimes that others are living their lives through their computers. So many people interact purely through facebook instead of in person.

  • Reply Chasity L Boatman August 22, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I’m grateful for my health. Huntington’s Disease runs in my father’s family. I’m adopted, so I don’t have a risk of getting it, but this year my father was tested. Thankfully, he doesn’t have the gene. But his test really put my own health into perspective. So I’m grateful to have a working, healthy body.

  • Reply Lisa Lisa August 22, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Love this idea! I know I’m so grateful for so many things, I do feel we are consumed with social media and all this technology. I love when you say: When you work really hard at being grumpy .. but your husband works even harder at not letting you…..that is such a true statement that resonate with me and my husband!

  • Reply Jenny Finney August 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I feel like I spend most of my ‘spare’ time doing some kind of social media and yes, it becomes tiresome at times. I need to remember to slow down and smell the roses!

  • Reply Amanda August 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I love this! Being grateful is so important and I agree with you, social media can really drain you. I’ve been making it a point to step away more from it especially at night. I’m getting more rest and being less stressed!

  • Reply Jana Carrero August 22, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Whenever I read your posts, I smile. Thank you for writing so beautifully and for sharing such positive and uplifting messages. I can’t wait to put into practice some of the things you mentioned like gratitude journaling <3

  • Reply Amanda August 22, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I echo your sentiments, your vulnerability, your intuition. I originally wrote just for my daughters, but as readership grew, I panicked and made my blog private, then open, then private. Still, I wonder. For now, I keep it open, because I offer an alternative that I hope brings inspiration and contemplation.

    As I read your insights, Ali, I even wish you’d write more, because you too offer something different, contemplative, and hopeful.

    I hope there is someone out there who appreciates my life sharing–even if it’s one person, it will have been worth it

  • Reply Maria August 22, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    This is a great sweet post. I agree that social media is one of those things that is both a blessing and curse. In fact, I don’t do it nearly enough, but what I do is for my blog.

  • Reply Censie Sawyer August 22, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    It is funny, sometimes I got a day without posting something on my instagram and I feel bad. It really is crazy how we have started sharing SO much all the time. Puts things in perspective. I am grateful for a great week back to school for my kids.

  • Reply Mimi Green August 22, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I’m grateful for my family. My children just returned home from a 7-day vacation. As excited as I was for them to go I missed them like crazy.

  • Reply Kim August 23, 2017 at 3:52 am

    This gives me the warm an fuzzys. I recently started keeping a gratitude journal too, I realised I needed to be more positive and appreciate things more. It is so important and a great way to keep yourself from getting sucked into the envy of peoples social media personas.

  • Reply Deborah August 23, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Thank you for this! I have such a love/hate relationship with social media and it’s wonderful to see your #forthisiamgrateful list at the beginning of the week. I love seeing your positivity and enjoyment of life’s little moments because that’s truly what living is all about. Thank you for the reminder. xoxo

  • Reply Rhian August 23, 2017 at 5:47 am

    I am grateful for the important people in my life and the opportunities I have. I agree with you about social media it can be a tough one to crack to get the right balance x

  • Reply Jaime Nicole August 23, 2017 at 6:09 am

    You are so right. There is such a pressure to have the perfect life – perfect photos, perfect social media. It’s nice to step away sometimes.

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc August 23, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I like the idea of having a gratitude journal. Sometimes we get so preoccupied with making a living that we forget how it is to live. Listing all the things that made us happy, that deserve gratitude would really help us focus on the more important things in life.

  • Reply Jenell August 23, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I try to start my day with appreciation as well. It keeps me humbled. I was in conversation with a friend of mine the other day, and we were debating on whether or not we’ve become too dependent on technology. He believes text message is great way to communicate; I believe there’s nothing better than face to face communication because you can effectively communicate your emotions and thoughts.

  • Reply Parker August 23, 2017 at 6:54 am

    I will make this into a habit. A gratitude journal will be a great reminder that life is all good. I fail to give thanks in the smallest of things, and this has got to change. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Reply Nikki August 23, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Once upon a time, I used to write things down just for myself. Little notes, lists, even a journal. I made crafts because I wanted to. I tried recipes because they sounded good and I wanted to practice cooking. Then I became a blogger, and suddenly, I stopped making recipes because my food will never be “Instagram-worthy.” My crafts will never get pinned a million times. I looked at life through the lens of a camera instead of with my eyes. I’m making a conscious effort to get back to just doing things for the sake of doing them, of having a life outside of work. It’s hard! It’s great that you’ve managed to keep a good piece of your life just for yourself. 🙂

  • Reply LaShawn August 23, 2017 at 7:46 am

    I love the idea of a gratitude journal. I always mean to start one, but I never follow through. I’m really going to try to start one up again.

  • Reply Chubskulit Rose August 23, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I work with priests when I was in college and after that and one particular priest is a very good friend of mine, he used to tell us that very same quote that Alfred Painter. He said that saying thank you can make the person feel good ALL THE TIME.

  • Reply Sue Tanya McHorgh August 23, 2017 at 10:39 am

    This is a really great attitude to have. I think a gratitude journal is a great idea. Awesome read.

  • Reply Anjali Chawla August 23, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I loved reading your post. I can relate to it on many levels. I sometimes feel that gratitude is a lost art these days. People have become practical. I feel it. It’s not that difficult to be grateful for the little things in our life if only we try to. I loved your idea of gratitude journal. I’ll start one soon 🙂

  • Reply Margarette Puno August 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I am always grateful for having my kids. They are my treasures and Be grateful with the small things in my life even though life is always so tough.

  • Reply Lena Burkut August 23, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Oh, the feast full of flowers – there had to be a twist there! I am very grateful for social media as a way for me to express myself on a whole new level. 19 years ago when I left my country I never could imagine becoming who I am today – with the help of the modern tools

  • Reply Made Adayasa August 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Like a sharp knife it will be useful if we use it in order but if we use for negative things will be harmful. I am very grateful to social media. It’s helped me to connect with people from around the world, introduce my business, and earn a living. I can’t imagine if I had to live without social media and the internet.

  • Reply Cassie Tucker August 23, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Social media really is a double edged sword. We are all connected together, but we have made the exceptional seem mundane and boring.

  • Reply Bethany August 23, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    This! So needed to read it today. I’m being more intentional, but (admittedly) it’s still a battle as to what we share and when we share. Thank you for your transparency, Ali. x

  • Reply Aditi August 23, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Social media is a coin with sides – a good and a bad, the trick is to balance the coin for your good. This post inspires me to do so many things I love, expressing gratitude, sticking with people I love, sharing a breakfast is something I haven’t done in a while, should do that. 🙂

  • Reply Chandres August 23, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    True , Even I need my headphones on to work on anything and peace of late night is true inspiration for writing .

  • Reply Yukti August 24, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Expressing our gratitude is a big gift to nature. Very well said about contentment and content as people really now have have content life but are they having contentment? Sometimes we are adjusted to life so much that we really forget ourselves. Beautifully expressed!

  • Reply Ami Rose August 24, 2017 at 5:19 am

    What a lovely post. You really should value the little things. I love the idea of a gratitude journal.

    Ami xxx

  • Reply GiGi August 24, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I am so beyond thankful for SO MANY different things – I cannot even list them. But I have to obviously mention my husband and my parents. I am so thankful that they’ve stuck by my side REGARDLESS!

  • Reply Tiffany August 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    I think I’ve gotten so caught up with statistics and harsh fact of life where clients just look at statistics and popularity and sometimes forgot to appreciate and notice my life outside social media. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Reply Anna Szoke August 25, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Amen, sister. I’ve been off social media now for about 2 months and it’s been such an awakening process to fully see the sacred around me, fully present, rather than disconnected/distracted through various apps on my phone. I grew weary of (and admittingly, angry with) the time it was stealing from those I love. And now, I have no growling to share my life for the accolades and affirmations of others. 🙂 AND I’ve been able to use that time more meaningfully and intentionally

  • Reply Katy Myers August 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

    This is beautiful, Ali. My thoughts are so similar. I feel like we’re all trying to be mini celebrities or have our own shows. I’ve taken big steps to quiet myself on social media these days, and it feels so good. The sacredness and secretness of life are returning quickly and I love it so much. But now I’m wondering .. how will I do business things without an online platform these days. I guess this is where the trusting God and getting creative comes in. Or entering into the online world with a different perspective. But it’s oh so hard to not get sucked into this virtual reality of sorts. x

  • Reply Kentaro Tanaka August 25, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I personally think it is good to not get too indulged in social media. At many times it seems like it is neverending that you can keep talking and connecting with people. But the truth is use should definitely be limited.

  • Reply Sarah B August 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I just love your blog and I love these thoughts. How to use this incredible and somewhat overwhelming tool called the internet is an ongoing conversation for me. I appreciate your viewpoint so much. xx

  • Reply Courtney August 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    It’s so important to reserve a few moments each day to reflect and recognize the little things that made you smile or brightened your day. Those little moments can pass you by but they add up to such an incredible life if you acknowledge them.

  • Reply Sherri August 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    The timing of this post could not be any more perfect as I am in the middle of a month long sabbatical from Instagram. It started to feel consuming mentally and made me sad when I thought about every memory being forced into a picture. Anyway, I so appreciate your thoughts! Maybe I’ll meet back up with you on those squares in a couple weeks 🙂

  • Reply Sreekar August 25, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Everyone says Life is about living it to the fullest. That is generally understood to mean travel more, spend more, achieve more and do more. But the simplicity and happiness in the smaller things are often over looked. The point made is well taken

  • Reply Nicole Flint August 29, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Social media can definetly be a blessing and a curse. I try not to get too involved with it. I have experienced some social media depression when I was going through a lot in my life and it’s hard to deal with sometimes.

  • Reply Oyinkan August 30, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I love this. Just good to remember the small things can make a big difference and taking time to appreciate them can instantly give an instant boost! Having a catch up with my mum, chocolate Oh and a back massage 🙂 Instant happy feelings abound! X

  • Reply Luci August 30, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Great post. I am grateful this week is that my friends and family that live in Texas are safe from Hurricane Harvey that went through there this week.

  • Reply Kimberly C. September 1, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    What a great idea to write down what you’re grateful for every day. I bet looking bet on what you wrote makes you smile each time. It’s hard to remind ourselves how blessed we are. I don’t write everything down like you, but I do express it all during prayer each night. So. important.

  • Reply Alana September 26, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I have a daily planner that has a space for daily gratitude. It’s not a huge space, but when you’re grateful for something, it doesn’t have to be something huge. Little things can fit the bill, and sometimes they’re the most important.

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