“Today I am thankful for enjoying a cold, fall day by going for a walk.”
“Today I am thankful for a warm, dry house when it is nasty outside.”
“Today I am thankful for an impromptu dinner, with neighbors, celebrating the longest day of the year.”
“Today I am thankful for music.”
“Today I am thankful for corn on the cob.”
The above statements all come from my thankful journal. I try to write in it each night before bed. I started doing this in January, 2013, and have kept it up for two full years. Some nights I had a lot to write, such as when I wrote about the great evening I shared with my husband as we read over our wine journal and reminisced about the special times we spent with friends enjoying a bottle of wine. Other times I wrote of simple pleasures such as being thankful for lip balm! Many entries mention my gratitude for being healthy and being able to exercise and move. I often wrote about how grateful I was for spending time with my family and friends. I also noted times I was appreciative for people who read my blog.
This simple act of writing in a thankful journal each night helps put me in a positive frame of mind to go to sleep. It also forces me to reflect on my day and, no matter how bad I think it was, find something favorable to write. Too often we race though our days and forget to notice a beautiful sunset or take time to enjoy time with loved ones or even to lose ourselves in a good book. Taking a minute or two or five to look for positives in your life can improve your outlook and your attitude. A friend once told me I am “more optimistic than your average bear,” (a phrase that still confuses me). I love that she said that about me! I want to be the person that you can count on to smile and give an encouraging word. I want to be a problem solver, not a problem.
One of my resolutions this January is to continue my journal. I have changed the format a little bit by writing at least one positive from my day. So far I have noticed a beautiful snow fall, been to a good book club discussion and took part in a celebration of life, to name a few. I encourage you to give this a try. You don't have to write something, but try looking back over each day and look for the good that has come your way. Sometimes the best part of my day is having a warm, comfy bed to sleep in and that is the best ending to a long day!
Food is always something to be thankful for. I am truly grateful to be able to have enough food and to be able to buy as much healthy food as we need. I remember a few times in my life when money was tight and peanut butter sandwiches and spaghetti and sauce were staples because they were cheap. Those memories make each delicious meal I am able to make for my husband and I taste better! Today’s recipe is bit time consuming, but not difficult. You can serve them with a side salad or throw a few over pasta.
Spinach Ricotta Dumplings
adapted from Food Network Magazine
2 cups prepared marinara sauce (or homemade)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons whole wheat flour, plus more for rolling
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Fresh basil (optional)