A hodgepodge of gratitude

Last week, I got the urge to decorate. Not for Christmas, although I understand that people are already doing that. I wanted to decorate for Thanksgiving. I wanted to create some centerpieces, a thankful tree, and some silly clay turkeys. 

Silly me. Who knew that I'd go to the craft store 10 days before Thanksgiving and find not one shred of fall? 

To be clear, I'm not complaining about the rows and rows of Christmas things. I was simply confused. I mean, it was 10 DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING and I couldn't find anything. Not one stem, not one leaf.

Maybe I was missing something. When I asked the sales associate she said, "We sold out of everything last month. Right around Halloween."

"Wow," I said.

Apparently I need to get with the whole seasonal decor program. 

A few minutes later, I overheard another lady ask, "Do you have anything for Thanksgiving?" 

Yes! I thought. I'm not the only one. 

Now I was on a mission. Despite the promise I'd made to myself to keep it simple, I decided to drive across town to another craft store. There wasn't much left. After explaining my situation—This is my first time here, and I'm obviously late to the Thanksgiving party. Can you please help me?—the sales associate pointed me to the remains, which was all marked down 50%. She even gave me some ideas about ways to put it all together. 

After that, gathering the rest of the supplies was easy. Turns out, there's no shortage of googly eyes, construction paper, and turkey feathers. 

And, the kids were willing participants:


I did all of this, knowing that once Santa arrives on the Macy's parade float, it will be officially Christmastime in our house. 

But here's the thing: It doesn't matter what's in stock or out of stock, what's on sale, or the fact that Christmas music has been playing in the background since October. 

It's never too early, or too late, for gratitude. It's not seasonal. (click to tweet)

It's more than a holiday. 

We can be make a decision to be thankful, all year round. 


Did you know that many of us have a limited tolerance for feeling good? In my latest post for Best Kept Self, I admit that I have an upper limit problem. Do you? Read the full article here. 

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A day in the life

I had a meeting with a marketing client recently, and when I opened my Google calendar to set up our next meeting, he took a look at it and said, "That's your schedule?"

Not only does my calendar appear pretty full, but blocks of time are also color-coded by category: work, exercise, the kids' schedules, and my shared calendar with my husband. I like the colors because it takes a full day and turns it into a candy rainbow.

The colors help me visualize time. They help me prioritize and focus. I've finally accepted that multitasking and I can never be friends. My brain and my sanity can't handle it. 

I've worked hard over the past year to create a weekly routine that feels manageable. Truth? I've been working on this for almost a decade, for as long as I've been a parent and the kids have been throwing wild cards. But they're a little bit older now, and so this past year was the year I really fought for that damn candy rainbow. 

Last week, I was invited to take over Best Kept Self's Instagram account for a day to show them a day in my life as a writer and a mom of three. Although Instagram is its own special brand of candy rainbow with its filters and stylized photos, my photo diary was a pretty accurate illustration of a day in my life. 

Consistency is a discipline for me, it's something I have to work at. When I worked as a television journalist, the daily deadlines dictated my day. The clock was a countdown to "live", ready or not. After that, freelance work and children dictated my day. But these days, I'm less inclined to let outside forces control me. I'm less willing to let my day happen to me. I'm doing my part to co-create it. 

Being the co-creator of my own day has really helped me keep all of the unexpected things that happen (which is still quite often) in perspective. 

And, as I write this, I look ahead to the holiday season. I respect and accept that in the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, I'll have to temporarily redraw the lines on my candy rainbow calendar. 

Having a framework, a place to return, keeps me grounded.

What about you? What does a typical day look like for you? Will the upcoming holidays impact your flow? How do you manage it? 

You might also like Best Kept Self Founder Shauna Mackenzie's thoughts about how daily inconveniences can actually be a gift of time. Click here to watch the video.

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On feeling like a grown-up

October was a month of traveling on planes...

and traveling birthday tiaras.

October was a month of going back to my alma mater to watch a game. And making the Jumbtron. 

It was a time to celebrate a win (in a season of not many wins) and have fond flashbacks of college days and my young adult life, memories that still feel close, and realizing that was 15 years ago. 

October was a time for "Back to the Future Day" and reconnecting with my love for Michael J. Fox (and Huey Lewis). 

It was a time to carve pumpkins...

and a time to channel the 1980s. (I need more big hair, fake eyelashes, and leg warmers in my life).  

And, October was a time to realize, in the grocery store parking lot of all places, that I officially feel like a grown-up. I don't always act like a grown-up. But there's something about the way 41 sounds when I say it out loud that makes me realize I've officially crossed over. 

To finally feel like a grown-up is more than handling all of the adult responsibilities that I've been managing for two decades. Feeling like a grown-up is discovering, over time, that my husband and I are not the young neighbors, I'm not the young professional at the networking event, I'm not the young mom in the school pickup line. Quite often, I'm older than my children's teachers, my doctors, my personal trainer. How is that possible?

It's an interesting place to be, recognizing that my position on the spectrum has shifted. To me, it feels like an understanding. An agreement.

An acceptance. 

And now, October is gone. It was a good month. 

When I looked at the calendar this morning I realized that in three weeks, my children will be out of school for Thanksgiving. (Sorry, I didn't mean to stress you out about that. But yes, the holidays are coming.) 

I won't resist the end-the-year happenings, with all of its hustle and bustle. I'm sure it will be a mix of running around, and standing still. Cramming too many things into one day, and ditching the to-do list to create some space. Overachieving, and settling for good enough. So, I'll close with this:

Dear November, 



The grown-up. 

Have you crossed over? If so, when did it happen?


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