train tracks

On gratitude

As you start this week, remember as you watch the other parents in your co-op or the carpool line who seem to have their act together that they, too, have their own little human insecurities. When your old oven misbehaves, or the butt in your jeans is just a little too tight, remember that new and shiny doesn’t equal happy.

When you’re tempted to wish your house was on a quieter street, or a few bedrooms larger, or basked in more afternoon sunlight, remember that your home, no matter if it’s a farmhouse in the country or a efficiency in a crowded complex, is a gift. All things in our lives are gifts.

And remember that when your kids are using their outside voices in and then smearing their fingerprints on the doors, that these things are reminders that the ones you’re rearing are living, breathing, changing, soul-filled beings that will not remember the streak-free windows as much as the late-night storytimes and the shared conversations while you chop the salad for dinner.

And if life’s just not going how you want at all—the car has broken down again, your parents hurt your feelings, you got another negative pregnancy test—that it’s okay to cry. And be frustrated. And not understand.

Remember that there is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

But remember, too, that there is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Take a scratch of paper and a pen, and scribble down one thing for which you’re grateful. And then two. And then maybe three. And display it somewhere obvious today. Be reminded.

This was first published in April 2013, but I needed this reminder today.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. It is said time and time again that it is the little things in life that make a life worth living. Be grateful for those moments, it means that you are truly alive!

  2. Thank you – I needed a reminder this morning! 🙂

  3. Beautiful!

  4. I am thankful for 3 healthly children, a roof over my head, and a pretty nice vehicle to drive. Love the new look of your site.

  5. I find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal. Each week I try to write reminders of the blessings in my life. It helps to go back and read it on a particularly trying day.


  6. Good one for this morning. As they say, “Never compare your inside to someone else’s outside.” Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Perfect reminder for this Monday morning. I’m coming back down to earth after a weekend away and am determined not to let the domestic disasters get to me. 😉

  8. Beautiful. Thank you.

  9. Tiffany Bicksler says:

    Love this post !!I just put a free app on my phone the other week called (1000 gifts) an you can write your blessing everyday.

  10. Love this! Thank you!

  11. I’m thankful that my children are healthy, that we have farm fresh eggs for breakfast, and that the weather has warmed up to the 50s! (Hooray for virtual paper! 😉 )

    I really appreciated this post because a lot of things have happened lately that are significantly morale-reducing. You lifted my chin to gaze at the beautiful sunrise rather than the shadowed ground around my feet. Thank you!

    • “You lifted my chin to gaze at the beautiful sunrise rather than the shadowed ground around my feet.”

      Oh, that’s beautiful, and something I need to hear today, too, Jamie. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  12. Love, love, love these beautiful reminders at the beginning of each week. Thank you for your thoughtful and spiritual reflections. I’m so grateful for them today.

  13. Awesome thoughts, thank you! I love this inspirational post on Mondays, and I LOVE the look of the new site!

  14. Beautiful reminder on a beautiful Monday morning. I’m grateful for spring, and that we’ve got our taxes done! ~~~

  15. C ara Steele says:

    You have such a gentle way of writing…as if we are sipping coffee and you are sharing your secrets. Thank you for sharing with the world. I had a short conversation with some women from church yesterday about this very thing…it is still with me and this post was icing on the cake!

  16. In everything giving thanks. This is so true! Intentionally shifting our thoughts from mulling over the things we wish were different to the things we are grateful for will truly turn a day around. Thank you for this reminder.

    And also a great reminder to not compare ourselves to others. I once heard someone explain how it’s bound to be a no-win situation. You’ll end up feeling either really rotten about yourself or smug, depending on how you think you stack up. Comparing to others is just downright toxic. It’s a tough (but worthwhile) habit to break.

  17. Thanks, Tsh. It is always good to be reminded of how MUCH we have. Yeah, we can worry about money and messy bedrooms and table manners, but we SHOULD be thinking about our healthy kids, their goofy grins, and the fact that we can feed and clothe and love them.

  18. Tsh, I’ve spent the last two weeks away from my husband and kids in PA as I help care for my mother in OH. She’s been fighting breast cancer for the last 4 years and she’s no longer winning. My pastor husband is helping the kids with homeschool and visiting people in the hospital between times. He’s dealing with the vehicle that blew its transmission. We suffer the pain of separation. Gratefulness? Yes!! Grateful that Mom isn’t in pain. Grateful for the purple martins nesting in the house out back. Grateful for the bouquets of flowers that arrive every few days and the meals brought over by caring friends. Grateful for email and computers and phones and texting to stay in touch. Grateful my kids are old enough to do a whole lot of school on their own. Grateful for the older girls who are helping school the younger kids (“Mama, we’ve been through all this curriculum before! We can teach it!”). Grateful for times of tears and then crazy laughter at my brothers jokes. Grateful that my three siblings and I can spend these days together as adults (We live in PA, VA, SC, and AK.). Grateful that Jesus is carrying us and his spirit is filling our days. Grateful for the prayers of so many who love us. Grateful for the larger story and that this is just a few moments of time. Grateful that the Next Kingdom is coming. Just grateful.

    • Carol, I just had to reply to you as my father is also losing his battle with cancer. My parents live out of state but they have been living with us since January so I could help care for both of them. I have two young boys and a very modest home. It has been challenging to say the least. But, I am grateful to be able to care for my dad during his last days. I am grateful for a husband who is fully supportive and helps me care for my parents and our children. I am grateful to be in my own house so I can also care for my children and keep their lives operating as normally as possible. I’m grateful to be near my in-laws who have cooked almost all the meals I’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

      “Grateful for the larger story and that this is just a few moments of time. Grateful that the Next Kingdom is coming.” These words of yours will stay with me today. I’ll keep your family in my prayers.

  19. Thanks! I needed that!

  20. Cassandra says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I love the new posting format of your blog- I find myself coming to SimpleMom first on Mondays for these wonderful words!!

  21. Great reminder! Sometime you need to stop worrying about hat is wrong or what you don’t have but just remember all that you DO have.

  22. I’m amazed at how my general perspective changes when I choose to notice daily gifts–and speak them out loud. Thanks for the reminder.

  23. It is so important to remember to be grateful. Aspirational living can make you very ungrateful for the wealth of things that we do have. And just because life is tough at times, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to count our blessings and even try to think of ways os improving someone else’s life as there are countless who are worse off.

  24. Thanks for sharing! I really believe that staying in gratitude blesses everyone. I try to keep a gratitude journal daily. I find that one’s life will change forever when doing this.

    Have a beautiful week!

  25. So, so true. Thank you for this. I have set aside Mondays for the past several weeks to intentionally be thankful for some things-it has been such a good thing for me.

  26. Oh, Tsh, this is a timely post in an uncanny sort of way. I’m just thankful to be breathing in and out and have my family safe and close today.

  27. perfect<3!

  28. Perfect! I read your post while waiting for my husband getting a new starter for the car. The car was running because if I turned it off it would have died. In the middle of our busy errand day. Thank you Lord he was with me. Thank you that we have a car and that my husband can fix it for $60 instead paying the autoshop $200. Thank you for my family. Thank you Tsh for reminding us all! Love the new design.

  29. Thank you! Some how you manage to touch on all the insecurities. The things we don’t want to be grateful for, and you remind us all, that everything is truly a gift!

  30. just what i needed to read today.

  31. Thanks for the reminder. I’m in the process of yet another 1,000 gifts list. And your mention of housing reminded me to be thankful that I have a warm place with heat and a roof and people who love me – even if it’s two bedrooms and shared space with another family who has graciously let us take over part of their basement for awhile. And it’s ok to be sad about my “real” house in another state where I can’t live right now (or ever) and be sad about all the things I did in and dreamed for that house. I’m here, I’m warm in spite of the snow, I have two families with moms, dads and kids who all are learning more about loving and living together. I am blessed.

  32. Is it okay to cry when it’s another positive pregnancy test? 🙂

  33. A great reminder for a Monday morning. I often do my gratitude journal in the evening, but I can see the beauty of starting the day this way, too. Right now, I am thankful for Spring Break and not having anywhere to be today!

  34. I saw that someone said you have a gentle way of writing and I totally agree. Thank you for sharing this again.

    We have been working on The Gratitude Project in my house, as well as The New Habits Project, and have seen tremendous changes in our two young daughters (ages 9 & 7) but it can’t be like that 100% of the time. We all have hard days. We all need some room to breathe, parents included. We all deserve a break and I thank you for writing it out loud.

    All the best,

  35. We’re in the midst of a road trip where success may look a lot like a dirty wrappers on the floor of a car and too many DVDs. It’s good to remember to be grateful even when it’s messy and noisy !

    • You’re definitely picking a rough environment to start with haha! I’d be grateful that you have money to take a road-trip though, that’s exciting. Are you guys on vacation or visiting family?

  36. Totally needed this reminder – I feel a lot of these things often, but focusing on the blessings is so important

  37. Great reminder today Tsh!

  38. Yes, yes! Gratitude is the spoonful of sugar that sweetens marriage and all of our relationships.
    Taken at least one time a day, it can work miracles. 🙂

  39. I read this post not 10 minutes after scouring Craigslist for a house in the country. You’re so right. While this may not be my dream home, our family has a roof over our head, a great church, and family nearby. I should count my blessings.

  40. Thank you for speaking the words I needed to hear, and reminding me why I’m doing the 100HappyDays challenge. There are so many little everyday blessings that are so easy to miss!

  41. I plan to print this out to stick in my ‘special things’ book – it’s such a good reminder, thank you.

    I’m currently working my way through all your past podcasts Tsh, but I’m starting to get sad, as I’m nearly back to the beginning! (I think my husband will be glad for me to stop quoting you everyday though. ;o))

  42. Great reminder. I needed this today. Thanks!

  43. I can’t tell you how much I needed that!

  44. I try to start each day by simply being grateful that I woke up — many people are denied that privilege. I am especially thankful for my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters who asked me to share their home last year, and that we all have had the patience to work through the challenges of living in each others’ pockets. I am grateful, also, for my son and the rest of my extended family who are each very dear to me. And I thank you, too, Tsh, for this reminder. – Fawn

  45. Thank you! I need to read this every morning!

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