My very first blog post I ever attempted to write was based on a book I was reading at the time called 1000 Gifts. It was life changing for me. Until I was done with it. That’s the problem sometimes with me and books. He becomes my best friend, my confidant, my wise teacher, and then I get pulled back into this whirlwind called life, and I forget all about him. This book was no different, until now. I didn’t dust him off in spite of personal desire or motivation, it was a beautiful group of women that forced me to read it again. I was reluctant at first, because of my crazy life, but I am so thankful that I did. It has changed my life once again, and I am only in the second chapter. A little about my life at the moment… the past three months have felt like a year. I found out I was pregnant (don’t get me wrong, this is a tremendous joy, however it is by no means stress free), started my first full semester of graduate school, am still teaching high school math (….freshmen), still trying to be a great wife to a wonderful man who is also in school and has stresses all his own, trying to keep up with friends who have made their way onto the back-burner, all the while trying to take care of myself in this very tender, vulnerable space of time. I can’t say enough how hard this has been (just ask my coworkers). It is BY FAR the hardest thing I have ever done in life. However this is not a blog to complain or gripe, it is much more than that. It is meant to share with you something amazing that is happening in my life that I apparently couldn’t wait until the sun came up this morning to blog about. This book is all about being grateful and physically writing down those things every single day. When I first read the book, I started a gratitude journal and it was good, but it didn’t last long and it didn’t sustain me. I realize now that I was doing it all wrong. I was jotting down things like: my family, my husband, my friends, my dogs, etc. Of course I am thankful for those things and we should all count our blessings now and then, but this gratitude journal, I’m realizing, was made for deeper things. Things much more powerful than those. Things like: the first breeze of the fall season causing me to catch my breath in delight, the fire I lit in a student who I took the time to encourage because she looked so scared when she realized she was failing my class and is now making A’s on her tests, pine cones I found on my afternoon walk that I just had to have to decorate my house for fall, cute clothes that I bought for next to nothing that I can’t wait to wear, rediscovering my Alanis Morisette cd and almost driving off the road because I am so into it I suddenly become her on stage in front of thousands of people, cuddling with my dogs and my husband on a crisp Saturday morning with the sound of lawn mowers and kids playing in the background, laughing so hard I really can not breathe because my husband can be that ridiculously funny, unpacking a box full of my childhood books and tearing up in excitement to share them with my little one. Those… those are the things that are changing my life. It is amazing how I feel nothing when I write them down, yet the side effects are so powerful. I don’t look any different, my frown is still there when I am at work and my stressed out expression is unmistakeably present. I don’t talk any different, as I am ranting and raving to my coworkers or whining to my husband about poor pitiful me. But I feel incredibly different. Not always. Not even close to always. But enough. There is a bud inside of me and it is growing. It reminds me of a book I once read (we obviously had a good relationship this one and I) about the transformations we go through in life that parallel to the transformation a caterpillar goes through in a cocoon. That’s where I am right now, in my cocoon (yes another one, those who know me know this isn’t my first go round in these things). It is painful. It is exhausting. Yet the hope of what is to come gives me great peace. I can do this and I am going to do this. And it is going to be amazing. I am thankful for that.