January has been a very long month: bronchitis, a 19-day $2k repair of our van, colds shared by the entire family, stomach flu, snow days, sinus infection, more stomach flu.

    This is the kind of month that sends depression spiraling downward if you let it. But all I have to do is think back one year. I never want to end up there again, so I’m battling back. I’m practicing thankfulness and working out my gratitude muscles. No matter how discouraging life gets, there are always things I can be thankful for.

    61. Little Boy finally decided to poop in the potty

    62. A string of accident-free days the last two weeks

    63. The flexibility to work from home when snow and illness interferes

    64. Another step forward towards openness in our marriage

    65. A patient husband who is simultaneously and appropriately discontent with the status quo and willing to work with me to gain new ground

    66. A birthday celebration in the midst of illness

    67. Our van is running again!

    68. The many friends who helped us with rides while we were stuck with five people and four seatbelts

    69. Snow-sledding with my kids

    girl sledding

    me and our dog

    boy sledding

    70. Racing my son down the hill and laughing with him about how freezing cold our buns were

    71. The joyful grin on my daughter’s face after a roll in the snow. I had so missed it when she was sick.

    72. Hearing my youngest cackle as he raced by on a runner sled, cheeks crimson from the cold, as I remember him in the cath lab just 4 weeks ago.

    73. Long snuggles with children sleeping off fevers and belly aches

    74. Long snuggles with my husband after the day’s work is done, even when we are racked with coughs and sniffles (they were right… it really is “in sickness and in health”)

    75. Letting go and allowing the play-dough and paints to come out for days at a time

    toddler painting

    girl painting

    76. New works of art for my refrigerator

    77. Bedtime stories out of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “On the Banks of Plum Creek”

    78. Belly laughs with friends in the Twitter #coffeeclub each morning (come join us! All are welcome)

    79. The encouragement of reading wisdom and grace from friends new and old

    80. An outing to the grocery store and the cabin fever it took to make me grateful for this errand

    Has it been a tough month for you? What can you be thankful for this past week, even in the midst of that? Will you encourage all of us with some of your thanks? Feel free to leave a link in the comments if you wrote a similar post, or just write them there for us to share together.