A Good Day.

Last night when I looked at the to-do list I wrote out Tuesday night and saw how many things I didn’t get around to, I had a moment of panic. Especially because I knew I wouldn’t be home much today. And now as I’m watching the 2nd half of the BYU-Belmont basketball game, I’m really quite grateful for my busy Saturday.

8-10 a.m.: made a casserole for dinners this week and rolls for lunches. Grateful for an able body to be on my feet for that long, for a great kitchen, and for plenty of ingredients to make a variety of food.

11:30 a.m.: taught my niece a piano lesson. Grateful for her musical talent and for the fun of music in general.

1-3 p.m.: Book signing at a local indie bookstore. Grateful for a publisher who thought my book was worthwhile, for friends who unwittingly tag-teamed the entire two hours I was there so I was not without company for long, grateful for a lovely bouquet of flowers and the thoughtful box of Candy Cane Joe Joes some friends brought me, and grateful for writing in general.

4-9 p.m.: Star Wars marathon for journalism kids. Last night we watched Episode 4; tonight we watched Episodes 5 and 2. Grateful for fun students, for DVDs, and I’m grateful that George Lucas didn’t write the screenplays to ALL of the Star Wars films…

I worked a little here and there during the movies, chipping away at the looming to-do list. After the game is over, I’ll pick up a book I’ve been reading over break (and hope to finish it), and go to bed content with a Thanksgiving break that actually felt like a break. Truly grateful for that.

Sleep.

Today I am grateful for sleep.

As I get older…and older…and older…I have a lower tolerance for staying up late and sleeping in late. Even on weekends and holidays, I am usually in bed no later than 11 p.m., and awake before 8 a.m.

The part of me that still feels 20 is bothered by this; I want to be able to sleep until 9 or 10 a.m.! But still, I’m grateful for the sleep I get, in between flannel sheets on cold nights, in a giant bed, and at least for tomorrow, with no set alarm.

G’night.

The Abode.

I am really quite grateful for my living space. It is comfortable, sunny, and warm.

My couch, though old and faded, was the perfect resting place last week when I was sick. My kitchen has enough counter space to cool dozens of cookies and cakes. My bedroom has a giant east-facing window that lets in plenty of sunshine throughout the day. I have more than enough room for a Christmas tree, a piano, bookshelves, and my nana’s kitchen table.

I try to catch myself in moments I take for granted how much I love my home, and remember how lucky I am to live where I do.

Music.

Every now and then, my friend A.J. picks a Christmas song with a four-hand accompaniment for his choir, and he asks me to play two of the hands. I hate to admit, but some years, I triage my part. I make sure the parts where I can be heard clearly are really good, but everything else is hit-or-miss.

This year, I’ve dedicated more time to practicing than ever before, and I’m feeling really good about this year’s song. Tonight I ran up to school at 5:45 to run through the 3-minute song twice. Well worth the trip, as it gave me a chance to see how playing with the singers would mess me up (because they always do) and get a sense of the tempo I need to be practicing at.

I’m grateful for all kinds of music–the kind I play on the piano, the kind I sing, the kind I listen to. I often underestimate the power of music in my life. I need to be more grateful for it more often.

The Mundane.

I’ve spent every November for the past seven years blogging about something I’m grateful for nearly every day. Two years I made it every day. Most years I end up with 21 or so posts. This year is shaping up to be just that.

I read this article from the New York Times that validates my focus on gratitude, though I’m certain the author is saying I need to be grateful more often than just November. He’s right. He included a poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins about being grateful for the mundane, those “small, useless things you experience,” and I realized this year, as in years past, I try to look for something grand each day, a gratitude epiphany, if you will.

Instead of looking for something grand, today I’m grateful for sunshine streaming in my windows, for time to practice the piano, for comfy clothes to change into after church, for brownies made from scratch.

This week, I plan to revel in the mundane and be grateful for it. Because (and here’s the epiphany) if I’m finding I’m grateful for the mundane, chances are life is pretty good.