She Gets That.

People have been sending me quotes from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are for awhile now. An excerpt in an email here, a meme or two tagged on Instagram there. I received the book for Christmas and I wasn’t brave enough to open the spine. Until the book, sitting on my coffee table for weeks, began to whisper at me. I started reading slowly, in January, feeling the weight of such honest words in the pages.

Ann calls us to share in her practice of giving thanks. Much like what I do here, she was desperate to see the good in an aching world. Her list of 1000 things carried me through big questions and the small details in routines, laundry and mess. I’d digest a chapter each morning, while sipping my coffee and watching the sun rise.

Her beautiful prose made me stop, think, ache, and praise. Praise God for all of the good that is granted to us when we just lift our chins to the sun. Or the rain. Or the trauma lingering in our hearts. What happens when we say thank you to God for the experiences we have been given – no matter how painful.

Nothing new here. Not a new concept. Just a radical practice we must do every single day.

The weekend of my birthday I was so caught up in the message of chapter two that I brought the ingredients of communion to my birthday dinner.

On a snowy Sunday I wept into these pages, Ann’s words – Eucharisto – causing me to remember my dad delivering the communion message in front of congregations. Me sitting in the front pew as a five year old, legs dangling from the church bench scratching on old upholstery. The same girl turned teenager, new church, now cold metal chairs, same bread and grape juice. Same version of the last supper. Gospel of Luke. Same truth.

How long had it been since we broke bread and drank from the cup in remembrance of him? In remembrance of the promises that Jesus brings to our lives? Too long. I’m still wrestling with a Jesus who would choose to take good and holy things away from us. Away from me. Ann gets that.

Now grown woman, near thirty, sitting at the kitchen table dotted with turquoise plates. Same bread. Now wine. No father. He’s gone, but the memories remain, my voice picking up where he left off, taking over the verses with less command and familiarity than he. Practice, it will require. Still Luke.

I finished the book this week. And so, inspired again, I have been giving thanks.

Thanks for another birthday. For my health and my dreams of what I want to accomplish this year. For a list of 29 things to do before I turn 30. Gulp. What a privilege.

Whispered thanks in the grocery store that we have an amazing bounty of food to choose from. Thanks for the resources in my bank account to fill a cart without concern.

Thanks for Cara Cara oranges and for lunch with my husband at an overflowing Whole Foods. For the holes made in Ciabatta bread. For thick slices of cheese.

Thanks for friends who come to watch a Super Bowl. For my mom who opened up her house to us. For buffalo chicken dip and celery crunches and puppies staring curiously at the t.v.

Thanks for the woman who wanted to get rid of her piano and the man who daringly saved the beautiful instrument in a warehouse for twenty years.  For the dusty tarp protecting the instrument. For the father-in-law and friends who take time out of their day to move the music into my home.

Thankful for boxed cake mix turning to batter, swirling red, mixing chocolate, cold golden egg yolks pooling in a bowl.

Thanks for white cream cheese frosting on knives licked clean.

Thanks for the brilliant creators of This is Us and the reminder that we, my family, that me, that I, have come so far in this process of grief. Thankful for healing and hope and tears.

New music. Old memories. Thanks to raw writers who inspire and breath life into the aching areas of my bones. For the chin tilt that prompts a smile. Thanks for the reminder and choice to delight in the magic of suds in my sink.

The keys, just waiting to be played.


Thanks that we get to play on.  How beautiful.



Is Your Glass Half Full?

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Because I believe in looking for the good.

Because I believe in feeling thankful for what we DO have.

Because I believe there is always, always, something to be grateful for.

In a world where all kinds of voices tell us to be scared, that we are not enough, that doom and gloom are coming or present, let’s take a moment to jot down what we are thankful for.

Send me your list between now and Thanksgiving and I’ll publish it here. Feel free to send in whatever format you’d like – a list – a poem – a song. Include a picture and your social media handles – or if you prefer to just include your name that works great. The important thing is to take a moment for gratitude and encourage ripples of gratitude.

Can’t wait to see what you have to share.

November Favorite Things

Put that down! October is over. You can’t eat candy corn anymore. The window has passed. Ok, ok, you can finish the bag you have in your cupboard, but no more candy corn purchases. I’ve got a hard rule.

Unless its a candy corn dog toy. Like this one which I just bought for my dog. I mean come on. I’m a sucker, but it’s cute. So that’s my first Favorite Thing for November. Technically, still a purchase in October, but hey, maybe they are on sale now since Halloween has passed.

Here’s the rest of my list for the month. Enjoy!

2. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

I can’t stop thinking about this book. It’s brilliant. I wrote about my initial thoughts here and the book has inspired me. What moments am I working to create?

So worth a read.

3. Isle of Skye Board Game

We have a lot of complicated, interesting, and creative board games at our house. This is my husband’s latest purchase. If you like learning new games, thinking outside of the box, and the idea of taking over as a Scottish man, check it out.

4. Lollia In Love Shea Butter Handcreme

I’ve had this handcreme awhile, but I’m starting to realize not many other brands compare. Delightful scents that replace my need for perfume and soft hands. For a low maintenance beauty girl like me, this stuff is a win-win.

5. Gratitude

It’s that time of year. Growing up at Thanksgiving we always went around the table and had to share what we were thankful for that year. I still make my family do this and I’m starting to realize how rare it is to stop and say thanks. I’m encouraging you to make a list, write your thoughts in a journal, share what you are thankful for here.  In fact – if you send me a list of your top 5 things you are thankful for this year – I’ll post it on Thanksgiving!

Need more fun ideas to share your gratitude with loved ones around the Thanksgiving table? Pinterest has tons, but I liked this idea below.

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Hey friends – yeah those coming over for Friendsgiving – I’m going to make you do this at my house. Use that Sharpie Permanent Marker on a white pumpkin.

Everyone, yes everyone, has something to be thankful for.

May this month be full of gratitude, good reads, good eats, and love. 

I’ll share my list of my 2017 52 Thankfuls on Thanksgiving Day as well.

Past year’s lists are here:      2016            2015 

Make Your List and Pick One

Don’t forget!

There is one day left to enter the Short & Sweet Giveaway.

Take a moment. Grab a pen, a real pen, and some paper.

Maybe it has lines on it, maybe it’s the back of your receipt from the grocery store.

Doesn’t matter.

Jot down a list of the beautiful things in your life right now.

Start with one. Add a few more. Maybe you can get to ten. Beauty and gratitude go hand in hand.

Then pick your favorite.


Photo by Idella Maeland

Log on to Twitter.

Send me a tweet of your favorite beautiful thing in your life right now and you will be entered to win some of my Favorite Things.

You must be ok with your tweet being shared in a compilation post at the end of the contest.

The Twitter handle is @52Beautiful.

Winners will be notified via Direct Message on Twitter.

I can’t wait to hear from you.



52 Thankfuls


52 Beautiful Things to Be Thankful For (in no particular order)

  1. My husband
  2. It’s snowing!
  3. My mom, my dad, my brother
  4. My in-laws
  5. The big front window in our living room that lets in light while we watch the world go by
  6. I was taught to cook
  7. I have a job
  8. Coloring books and Prismacolor Pencils
  9. Coffee – always, always coffee
  10. Slippers
  11. Growing Opportunities – even when they are so uncomfortable you think you might burst
  12. Our new house
  13. Old friends – the ones you’ve known since braces and pimples and your future was predicted in a game of MASH
  14. New friends – the people ushering you in to the next stage of who you are meant to be in the world.
  15. White wine
  16. I live in Colorado
  17. I have a college degree – Go Buffs!
  18. Essie Nail Polish
  19. Rest Days
  20. Yoga
  21. Sunshine
  22. Do-Overs
  23. Biscotti
  24. The Mountains
  25. Fireplaces
  26. Heat
  27. People who write books
  28. Books
  29. People who read my blog
  30. I was born in America
  31. Fancy breakfast – Eggs Benedict Please
  32. I can still hang out in the house I grew up in
  33. Bicycles
  34. Hard Work – it means our efforts matter
  35. Mentors
  36. Craft Beer
  37. The Internet
  38. Family Traditions
  39. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  40. Clean, running water
  41. Fresh Flowers
  42. Prayer
  43. Creatives
  44. Roots & Wings
  45. Crock Pots
  46. Modern Medicine
  47. Writing
  48. Pens – fine point, black ink
  49. Dylan’s handyman skills
  50. Happy Hour
  51. Lifelong Learning
  52. New Beginnings

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours. I hope you find something to be thankful for today!

Thank You Notes

Inspired by my on-line friend Chelsea, I am following in her footsteps, or rather her blog steps, and writing a thank you note to the things currently sustaining me. You can check out the post that I’m copy catting right here.  Do you watch Jimmy Fallon? Imagine I’m writing these thank you blurbs, Tonight Show style. Can The Roots come play the “Thank you Note” tune?

Thank you Dylan, for embarking on this journey called life with me, for always making me laugh, for dancing, for being the person who I can binge watch “Friends” with, without judgement.

Thank you Mom and Dad, for being a continuous stream of support for my venting, my processesing, my laughter, my sustenance.

Thank you Mike and Cathy, for embracing me as your own, for lots of wonderful dinners, and access to cable football. Go Seahawks.

Thank you coffee, for being my constant comfort in a cup. Whether served up Starbucks style, or out of my fancy miracle coffee maker mentioned here, you always know what to do to make me feel so much better. Add a little vanilla please.

Thank you friends, Tegan, Maile, Ashley, Katie – for walking through these 20 something days with honesty, accountability and trust. I’m lucky to continue to have sustained relationships with those who know my heart.

Thank you slippers, for keeping my feet warm during these frigid winter months. Even when it is not frigid I love me some slippers.

Thank you sunrise, for reminding me that the world spins madly on.

Thank you January, my birthday month, for reason to celebrate and love myself.

Jimmy Fallon is a bit more funny in his delivery, but these are the things that are keeping me grounded this week.

There is beauty in the practice of gratitude. The exercise of focusing on the good and what we have, rather than the bad and what we want to change. What are you thankful for?

“Thermal Shock and Die”

I have a brother who is three years younger than me. When we were growing up, say oh, he was in middle school and I was in the beginning of high school, he and my dad would go off to Boy Scout camp. The trips ran Friday afternoon through Sunday mid-day. Overnights, tents, farting – you know the drill. I don’t; I wasn’t there.

While the boys were away the girls would play. And when I say “play” I mean my mom and I would camp out on the couch watching whole seasons of Gilmore Girls and eat entire pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. The boys would be building snow forts, and chopping wood and starting fires and the girls would be snuggling under blankets and drinking hot chocolate and sleeping in.  These activities were never fully disclosed to the other parties upon return to family dinner on Monday nights. My mom and I would communicate with a smile about how sluggish we were and the boys would laugh and laugh about their adventures, keeping their inside jokes to one-liners, never letting us in to each others secrets.

However, there must have been one spectacular Boy Scout lesson that my brother had to share that is really coming to mind tonight. Before I get there, though, I feel I’ve got to give you some background info. For those of you who know my brother, it’s pretty obvious that we are polar opposites. He is loud and really funny and personable – hates being at home on any evening of the week. I, on the other hand, love me some quiet time, a cup of soup, a mug of tea, and hanging with my mom (nothing new here – did you read what I just wrote above?)

One weekend, in the winter, my brother came running through our house after tearing open the front door, leaving the freezing air to seep into our front room, clomping ever so loudly down the stairs to our basement abode. He had to share his Boy Scout preparedness lesson – all that one could do too prevent thermal shock. Skills, I imagine, that are incredibly necessary for winter survival. Something my fourteen year old self was NOT concerned about, as I did not plan on ever going camping in any weather below 55 degrees at night. Too be honest, I still do not.

I don’t remember the story, exactly, all I remember is the punch line of his story – that weekend, he was SO concerned, that he was going to “Get Thermal Shock and Die.” If you know my brother, ask him to say those five words because his tone is wonderfully threatening, wise and sarcastic. I can not get a recording here, but I do know that one-liner became my mom’s go to for reminding us to get gloves, wear coats, and bring a hat as the weather got colder. You MUST prepare for any weather, because you do not want to “Get Thermal Shock and Die.” It’s a family line now, a lesson imparted, and a reminder that my brother and I handle things ever so differently.

Tonight, I sit in my apartment and am full of gratitude as the weather drops below zero. November morphed into freezing weather and snow in 4 hours, as it often does in Colorado, and I seem to have forgotten what snow actually feels like. Yesterday, as the temperature dropped so did our thermostat. The little machine stopped working and before bed it was 59 degrees. It was a night of flannel sheets, and two comforters, and hoodies. I am so thankful for a responsive landlord who drove up quickly to fix it. Mostly, though, I was struck by the simple beauty of a bed, and extra blankets, and responsive problem solvers who care to take care of us.

I was channeling my mom as I got dressed to leave this morning. Gloves, check. Hat, check. Coat, check. No thermal shock here, not yet. I went about my day, warm at work, and nestled into routine. I got home, made soup, and could take a warm shower. Our thermostat was running. However, as I sat down to write, our pilot light went out on our fireplace right before I turned on the computer. There goes the idyllic writing in front of the fire place experience. Maybe I should stop shooting for idyllic writing sessions? Instead, I’m focusing on the beauty of a bountiful box of  hats and gloves to choose from. Not everyone is so lucky. Not to get morbid here, but I am thankful that I can just joke about “Thermal Shock” in jest, because I know, all too much, that not everyone can laugh that concern off.

I’m cleaning out my closet and donating my extra coats to Homeless Gear, because they need it. People, my friends, are cold and freezing and trying to stay warm, and I am so fortunate, that I can just turn that one-liner into a funny voice in my head. So, here is my PSA, donate your unused coats and warm clothes to those that need it. Do some research, find a place, help a person, warm some hands. I’ve got a big heart, I think about these things and want you to think about them too.

This week I’m settling into the beauty of bundling up, snow flakes and the cold, quiet that snow creates. I’m loving the twinkle lights that got lit for the holiday season downtown. They make my slow drive home much more enjoyable.


I’m setting into the beauty of gratitude this season and asking myself how can I give back what I have been given. And how can I stay warm? Do you have any family one-liners that you can laugh about? What about things you take for granted? How do you like to give back during this time of the year?