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Adoption Blog: Improv Mom

Looking Back and Giving Grats

I’m a big believer in giving gratitude or giving “grats,” as I’ve come to call it.

I used to fill my journal with rantings of my tortured heart. And while I’ll confess that there was an initial, pleasing payoff when pen first hit paper, revisiting these entries didn’t exactly inspire me to think or feel any differently in the weeks, months, or years that followed.

Truth be told, reading back through my journal, cringing all the way I might add, would do nothing more than land me back into the pain and ugliness of that past moment. Bleh, bleh, and more bleh. Who needs that? I sure don’t. And neither do you.

I have found that keeping a journal filled with statements of gratitude has been very powerful for me – as in “helping me stop taking antidepressants” kind of powerful. I’ve been writing grat lists for more than 15 years now and this simple action of writing what I am grateful for has been, well, gratifying. I find it especially helpful when I’m feeling out of sorts or steeped-deep in struggles. 

Being able to express what I am grateful for during periods of upheaval and uncertainty, such as going through the adoption process, has been nothing less than a godsend. Even if the sentiment is “I am grateful this day is over” or “I am grateful I had a container of ice cream in the house and glad I ate the whole damn thing,” expressing it allows a little space for personal healing.  

When I read back through my gratitude journal nowadays, it makes my heart feel downright good. GOOD I tell you. So when I came across this Gratitude Challenge hosted by Dawn, who writes the blog Tales from the Motherland, I thought, now that’s the kind of Internet chain-mail challenge I’m up for.

If you’re up for it, I’ve include all the how-tos below after my grat list. And even if you don’t want to share your grats, take the challenge and keep it up for the next month. You don’t have to write 50 things; just do five every day, and you see if you don’t notice a positive shift in your well being. And please feel free to share a grat or two that made your 2015 list in the comments below. 

Okay, here’s my 50…  

2015 Gratitude

1.      I am grateful to be my daughter’s mom.

2.      I am grateful for the sound of her hearty laugh.

3.      I am grateful for her big personality and fearlessness.

4.      I am grateful to have my husband by my side in all things.

5.      I am grateful for the life we are continuously creating together.

6.      I am grateful for all the love, laughter, and support that surrounds me daily.

7.      I am grateful for my parents!

8.      I am grateful for my parents!

9.      I am grateful for my parents!

10.  I am grateful how they are always ready to help me and my little family any way they can.

11.  I am grateful to be the Momma of the Birth Family Relationship.

12.  I am grateful to keep these connections alive and well for my daughter (and for me and my husband too).

13.  I am grateful for my excellent health and the health of those closest to me.

14.  I am grateful to always do my best.

15.  I am grateful to be Class Mom.

16.  I am grateful to be a writer.

17.  I am grateful to write about things I care about.

18.  I am grateful I belong to a select-few online communities, including AFC.

19.  I am grateful to pull back from all things social media when I need to, which I find kinda funny for a blogger.

20.  I am grateful for hair color – yay, I am young again!

21.  I am grateful to ask for help when I need it.

22.  I am grateful my writing is reaching more people.

23.  I am grateful for my voice.

24.  I am grateful to be part of Listen To Your Mother NYC.

25.  I am grateful to speak up, even though sometimes it scares the sh%$ out of me.

26.  I am grateful to hear my cat snore, makes me laugh every time.

27.  I am grateful to remind myself that I accomplish something every day, even if it’s throwing in the laundry and making the bed.

28.  I am grateful for hot baths (I love me a hot bath).

29.  I am grateful for the sound of the coffee maker.

30.  I am grateful to be conscious of creating financial serenity.

31.  I am grateful for the major top-to-bottom, leaving-no-drawer-unopened home de-cluttering that happened a mere few weeks ago. (I am grateful for my parents!)

32.  I am grateful to declare THIS IS THE YEAR OF MY BODY and actually make some time to work out.

33.  I am grateful to spend time with my best friend Dawn.

34.  I am grateful for mom friends who are girlfriends.

35.  I am grateful for my Platinum Inner-Circle of Friends (you know who you are).

36.  I am grateful for misty, foggy, rainy days, especially with a hot cup of green tea.

37.   I am grateful my husband and I actually WENT OUT TO DINNER several times this year (just like we’ve been saying we would these past few years).

38.  I am grateful for my computer and the Internet.

39.  I am grateful for my car which gets me where I need to go.

40.  I am grateful for my quirky home and all the quirky pictures and things that make me smile.

41.  I am grateful for my personal style.

42.  I am grateful to putter around the house.

43.  I am grateful to rest.

44.  I am grateful for family time.

45.  I am grateful to breathe deeply and Be.

46.  I am grateful to get back into reading books.

47.  I am grateful to rediscover how much I love reading books.

48.  I am grateful to have actually read three books this year. 

49.  I am grateful for the many impromptu get-togethers with family and friends that happened throughout the year.

50.  I am grateful for writing and sharing grats with all of you.                         


The Rules:

If you’d like to join the Gratitude Challenge, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 things that you feel grateful for.

Do not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s okay. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of Dawn’s post HERE. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

That’s it! Again, if you don’t wish to share your list, well, that’s okay too. The most important thing is that you did it.

Wishing you a 2016 filled with gratitude! ~ Barbara

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


Wow!  Sounds awesome!  No I just have to find 10 minutes… wink

By jszmom on Wednesday, January 06, 2016 at 12:48 pm.

Hah! Seriously… Happy New Year jszmom!

By Barbara Herel on Thursday, January 07, 2016 at 7:24 pm.

Great idea and inspiration!

By britobin90 on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 8:42 am.

Great one!  I am grateful to you, along with my team that you gave such a wonderful and inspirational idea.

By Judith Bell on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 3:21 am.

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Meet the Author

Barbara Herel

Barbara Herel

New York

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn

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