On Being Thankful…Again

Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day, and I feel the need to share that for the past few days, I haven’t been feeling very thankful. Truth be told, I’ve been feeling cranky and stressed out. You see, we had a snowstorm here in Seattle on Monday morning, and it kind of interfered with my finely laid plans about what my week would look like. My 6-year-old son’s school closed by noon Monday, and was closed Tuesday and Wednesday. So my few days of work here at home, sitting nice and cozy in my office flanked by Baxter the dog and Alex the cat vanished into thin air. Instead, it’s been a week of sub-freezing temperatures, roads too icy to drive on, and cabin fever, not to mention the fact that until this morning, I hadn’t been able to get out for a run all week. And if you know me, you know that’s not a good thing, since running, for the most part, is what keeps me from turning into what my son calls “mom dementor.”

To top it all off, I feel guilty for not feeling more thankful. I mean, I know I have a ton of things to be thankful for, but I was having trouble getting out of my own head and situation to looking at how wonderful the big picture really is.

So, I decided to look back at a post I wrote here on Smart Girls Know on Thanksgiving three years ago. Here’s what I wrote then:

For many of us, the idea of being “thankful” is a concept we’ve been aware since we were young. And on a day like today, being thankful is very much on our mind.

But how often do you truly experience the notion of thankfulness? It’s almost too easy to get caught up in everyday life and all the little things that go wrong – forgetting to do an important assignment, having a crush say he just wants to “be friends,” getting caught in the middle of a nasty fight between mom and dad, being ostracized by group of friends, feeling for certain that no one on the planet understands who you are or what you’re going through. But it’s times like these that being thankful – acknowledging something or someone in your life that brings you joy, comfort or safety – can actually have the most impact in your life. Here’s why…

Being thankful:

  • shifts your focus away from the negative and towards the positive
  • puts things in perspective by reminding you there is good in your life no matter how bad things get
  • has a positive impact on your emotions and mental state of mind
  • lowers your stress levels

Why not give it a try and see what the results are for you? For the next week, try being thankful for ONE THING every day. Yes, that’s right…ONE THING. And when I say “being thankful,” I’m talking about truly acknowledging and feeling the gratitude. Here are some ideas for things you might be thankful for in case you get stumped:

  • your dog or cat (or other pet)
  • your health
  • your family
  • a teacher
  • your sense of humor
  • your house or apartment
  • your bed or bedroom
  • your love of reading
  • your natural talent (artistic, athletic, etc.)
  • people who love you
  • good friends
  • food on the table
  • movie theatre popcorn
  • your favorite book or television show
  • your ability to read
  • a beautiful day
  • the beach

Remember – even when it seems like there’s nothing to be grateful for, feeling gratitude about even the smallest thing can have a bigger impact than spending your time complaining about what’s missing in your life. You be the judge… let me know how it works for you!

I really do believe in the power of the Thankful exercise, but today, right now, I think I need a little something more than one thing a day for the next week. I think I need to get a little radical. So today, I’m going to write down 100 things I’m thankful for right now, at this moment. Here goes:

  1. My patient, funny, and handsome husband
  2. My smart, quirky, and fascinating son (that’s a picture of him at the top of this post…cute, huh?)
  3. Baxter, the dog
  4. Alex, the cat
  5. My healthy and happy parents, Dale and MaryLou, back in Pennsylvania
  6. My best friend and sister back in Maryland, Michele
  7. My husband’s family in Oregon and California
  8. That my loved ones are all healthy
  9. Running
  10. Running with amazing girlfriends
  11. My amazing girlfriends in Seattle
  12. My dearest friends in NYC (you know who you are)
  13. My hundred-year-old house
  14. Music that transforms me
  15. That I can play the piano
  16. That I can play the guitar
  17. Dancing to Jai Ho with my son in the living room
  18. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in Singing in the Rain
  19. Reading in bed
  20. Twizzlers
  21. Going to the movies
  22. Being part of an amazing community
  23. My son’s incredible school
  24. My agent, Susan Schulman
  25. The mentors I’ve had and have in my life: Sue Heinz, Angela Santomero, Jess Weiner
  26. Being part of an amazing community of women who inspire me every day
  27. Facebook
  28. Twitter
  29. The ability to work on projects that inspire me
  30. My former life coach, Courtney Macavinta
  31. The occupational therapists, parent coaches, and other professionals who help my family work better
  32. My dear friends in Los Angeles
  33. Sun breaks (Seattle-ites know what I’m talking about)
  34. A working fireplace in my house
  35. Fleece
  36. Financially stability
  37. My husband’s job
  38. The musical RENT
  39. The wonderful people I’ve met through Adventx
  40. My Prius
  41. My garden
  42. My neighborhood of progressive, positive, wonderful people
  43. A view of Mt. Rainier
  44. Microwave popcorn
  45. Diet Coke
  46. Michael Cunningham’s The Hours
  47. Nick Hornby
  48. The public library
  49. My iPhone
  50. My cool computer
  51. Old friends who knew me way back when
  52. My Sleep Number mattress
  53. Our babysitter, Molly
  54. Weekly date nights with my husband
  55. Organizations doing amazing work on behalf of girls
  56. Oprah
  57. Massages
  58. My son’s love of reading
  59. Vacations
  60. President Obama
  61. That I get to work from home
  62. Hot showers
  63. Funny videos on YouTube that make me laugh out loud
  64. Living in a city that is beautiful
  65. Hiking in Discovery Park
  66. Office supplies
  67. CFL lightbulbs
  68. Wool socks
  69. Steak Frites
  70. The South of France
  71. The Jersey Shore (very different from the South of France, but still great)
  72. Tastykakes
  73. Roller coasters
  74. My husband’s foot massages
  75. Public transportation
  76. Large orange creme Jamba Juices
  77. Legos
  78. My ex-fiance who, in dumping me, set me on a path to figure out what truly made me happy
  79. That I spent my twenties living in NYC
  80. Good Chinese food
  81. Friends who know all my dark and twisted secrets and still like me
  82. Independent bookstores
  83. Online shopping
  84. My son’s best friend, Sebastian (and his family)
  85. Hand-me-downs
  86. High-quality Egyptian cotton sheets (not that I own any, but I do love them)
  87. The young women and teens who impact my life on a daily basis
  88. Movies that make me think
  89. Summers in Seattle
  90. Jon Stewart and The Daily Show
  91. Skype and Google Video Chat
  92. Peeps (yes, the marshmallow bunnies and chicks)
  93. Showtunes and piano bars
  94. Dancing
  95. Used clothing stores
  96. Surviving high school
  97. Finding the perfect hat
  98. Sleeping in
  99. Spending Thanksgiving with amazing friends
  100. Knowing I’m on the right path in my life

Phew. Okay. That wasn’t easy. But I’ve just finished writing down my list and you know what? It worked. I already feel lighter and happier. Of course I’m also suppressing a pretty strong urge to dance around the living room to Jai Ho with my son while wearing my favorite hat, eating a Tastyake, and drinking a Diet Coke, but that’s okay. Instead, I’m going to head out to my friends’ house for dinner, with my family and sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows of course) in tow.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you are all able to find things in your life to be thankful for today, and if you get stuck, try what I did. It really works. And if you think of it, drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you’re thankful for today!

Peace & Love,



  1. Emily Smucker Said,

    November 25, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    And I am thankful for my nice wonderful editor Debbie who walked me though the treacherous path of writing my first book 🙂

  2. Carol Said,

    November 25, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

    A beautiful niece with beautiful thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Alice Said,

    November 25, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

    YOU! I am thankful for you Deborah Reber!

  4. Elin Stebbins Waldal Said,

    November 25, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

    May I just say…I love this post. It strikes a chord that rests between memory and the present memory. Wishing you lived closer (or I did).

    Thanks for this!

  5. Andrea Owen Said,

    November 26, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

    Love this, Deb! Love #78, I have one of those too 🙂 xo

  6. dreber Said,

    November 29, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    Just another reminder that ‘everything happens for a reason,’ right? 🙂

  7. dreber Said,

    November 29, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    Thanks Elin 🙂 Will have to find to hang at the next gathering of the confidence community!

  8. dreber Said,

    November 29, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    Thanks Aunt Carol 🙂 You too!

  9. dreber Said,

    November 29, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    And I’m thankful I got to know you through Louder Than Words!!

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