Gratitude

  1. Recording the little, joyful things about life.
  2. The cat ensconced in the blankets draped over my legs.
  3. Our new (to us) bikes with their ram-like handlebars.
  4. New birdseed and the backyard-wide party it has incited in our winged neighbors.
  5. The bread rising on our counter.
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  7. Chara’s fancy twirl when I ask her to switch sides on a walk.
  8. Our new grocery shopping method that leaves us with fresh fruit and veggies all week long.
  9. Grocery shopping with Jordan (which is way more fun than it has any right to be).
  10. Virginia Woolf’s superb words.
  11. The saturated red of the cardinal on our back fence as his feathers catch morning sun.
  12. Shakshuka–continually the most delicious thing we make.
  13. The dog twitching with dreams at my feet.
  14. Our immersion blender (thanks Loyce and Jon!)
  15. Anticipation of the coconut-lime soup we’re having tonight.
  16. Soup in general.
  17. The weight of Chara’s head on my foot.
  18. Leftover Christmas candy.
  19. The ability to work from home. Even further, the ability to work from bed.
  20. Long walks to sort my thoughts.
  21. Moist, spring air.
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  24. Laughing so hard that you cry.
  25. Books that make you feel lucky.
  26. The slowness of life right now; the time to sit and reflect, to sip tea, to just be.
  27. Thunderstorms so loud they make our bed feel extra warm and safe.
  28. Homemade bread with butter.
  29. Sunshine in January.
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  31. The fact that Jordan’s there to hold me when I have nightmares.
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  33. Also his abdominal muscles.
  34. Dinners with the Deer lab, where we all curl up on the couch and eat delicious cheese and talk about whatever comes to our minds.
  35. Precious minutes spent with international friends.
  36. The luxurious feeling of watching a symphony.
  37. Vardaman sweet potatoes in gnocchi.
  38. A new furniture arrangement that makes the living room cozy.
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  40. Sitting in the living room after dinner, with Jordan strumming away on the guitar, and Minerva squirming with glee at the music.
  41. The fact that our cat loves music so much.
  42. Beautiful spirals of ratatouille.
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  44. Kind words when I write about scary topics.
  45. The outright encouragement I get from people who owe me none.
  46. A warm mug of tea in my hands on a cold January morning.
  47. Chara’s patience with her busy humans.
  48. Friends who read my work.
  49. Jordan’s willingness to go along with my hair-brained ideas.
  50. A landlord who not only rents our house to us, but welcome us into his home.
  51. Kids who love their dads, and dads who love their kids.
  52. Our cozy little room.
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  54. A clean house.
  55. A husband who is nice to every person he comes across.
  56. Jordan’s boyish excitement over his new toy.
  57. The fact that I can always count on my mom to be outraged on my behalf.
  58. The snuggle-factor of our Youngbuck blankets.
  59. Charles Dickens’ laugh-out-loud hilarious writing.
  60. Friends who keep in touch.
  61. The opportunity to visit new places and see how things are made.
  62. The cozy sweater that Sim and Icia gave us.
  63. Relatives who stand up for what they believe in–even in difficult situations.
  64. The fact that Chara has gotten suddenly snuggly each night–even if it means I can’t lie in a straight line and Jordan has no covers.
  65. Also the fact that she’s curled next to me right now, sleeping.
  66. A husband who makes me tea in the morning without me asking first.
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  68. Banana pecan pancakes–with pecans from our yard!
  69. Jordan’s excitement over food.
  70. Our walks n’ talks as Chara and I walk Jordan into the office each morning.
  71. A husband who carries me to bed when I’m not feeling well.
  72. Vermont maple syrup.
  73. Our music loving cat.
  74. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
  75. Long emails from my best friend.
  76. Beautiful mugs to drink tea from.
  77. The fragile, green sprouts of arugula and lettuce growing on our front porch.
  78. The moments when Chara and I stop at a light, and she leans her whole body against my leg and looks up at me.
  79. Endless reading material about babies on the internet.
  80. A husband who cares about the world–and who is willing to fight for what he believes in.
  81. A community that values diversity, even in the deep South.
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  83. Ten minutes of head space each morning.
  84. When Jordan and I say the same thing at the same time and then slyly grin at each other.
  85. Making my parents laugh over Facetime.
  86. Jordan and I feeling united over our goals.
  87. Our Sunday morning relationship chit-chats.
  88. My Sunday evening talks with Semira.
  89. The way the morning light sparkles through our curtains.
  90. New glasses on their way!
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  92. A solid eight hours of sleep.
  93. Delicious Valentine’s Day falafel.
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  95. Jordan letting me be bossy while we build our fort.
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  97. Finding my dream job.
  98. Having cars that run–but not needing to use them.
  99. Two legs that work properly, and carry me all the way across town with ease.
  100. Open-minded bosses.
  101. Also prankster bosses.
  102. The noises Minerva makes at the reflections on the wall.
  103. Chara’s complete and utter sweetness.
  104. A nice, white, freshly-scrubbed sink.
  105. The little green sprouts of arugula and lettuce on our front steps.
  106. The red cabbage and broccoli plants awaiting transplant on our windowsill.
  107. The crackle of our cinnamon scented candle.
  108. Also, again, the crackle of bread cooling, because that’s the most gratitude inducing sound ever.
  109. Our cozy, newly cleaned home.
  110. Hot tea in a handmade mug.
  111. Fresh pesto in February–courtesy of windowsill basil.
  112. Foods that taste like colors.
  113. The somber color palette of Chara’s black against our brown Pendleton, with the blue and gold map rising above them.
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  115. Learning how to think strategically via chess.
  116. A new route across campus, with much more greenery and fewer people.
  117. Rainy days when I don’t have to go anywhere.
  118. Cozy sweaters.
  119. Jordan’s shirtless workout regime.
  120. Blue checkered cloths.
  121. The buttery richness of pecans picked up from our front yard.
  122. Our peach tree’s first pink blossoms.
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  124. Bonfires so big that the warmth is all-encompassing.
  125. The combination of strategy and patience that is roasting a marshmallow.
  126. Incredibly sweet, patient shelter dogs.
  127. The sight of Jordan holding a little kid’s hand as he’s towed around the woods.
  128. The first curly leaves of our arugula.
  129. My camera, which continues to click through all conditions.
  130. Riding on the back of a truck, with my dog pressed against my legs and Jordan’s hand in mine.
  131. People who love dogs.
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  133. Political chats while watching softball.
  134. The quiet sweetness of having your husband cut your hair.
  135. And realizing afterwards that not only did he do a great job, but that your self-value doesn’t reside in your hair.
  136. Sweet spring air.
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  138. New glasses.
  139. Seeing the world more vividly than I have in eight years.
  140. Sunlight mornings snuggled in Jordan’s arms, with Chara snug against our legs and Minerva draped across my chest.
  141. The beginnings of a garden.
  142. Minerva’s adorableness.
  143. Meditation.
  144. Making my parents laugh.
  145. Salted caramel ice cream and beer on the porch on a sunny Friday afternoon.
  146. The freedom to go out to eat, and really savor it.
  147. Nice waiters, who are excited by Jordan’s food choices.
  148. Stolen sips of Jordan’s beer–which are always better than sanctioned sips of beer.
  149. The moment when you’re hungry and are trying to think about what to make for lunch and then realize you have the most delicious leftovers waiting for you in the fridge.
  150. The fancy box my glasses came in.
  151. Photo editing tools that will hopefully help get animals adopted.
  152. Friends who take the time to give me feedback when I ask for it.
  153. The infinite ways to win chess.
  154. A husband willing to ferry our cat around in a backpack, like a baby in a papoose.
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  156. Roasting weenies over a fire with friends.
  157. Sunny mornings and sunny afternoons.
  158. Three legged puppies.
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  160. Whole, blissful weekends with my parents.
  161. Laughing with my mom at Dave’s Dark Horse.
  162. My dad’s quirky fascination with fire ants.
  163. Mentors who take the time out of their busy lives to meet my parents.
  164. Showing my parents the tangled Mississippi woods I’ve grown to love.
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  167. Warm puppy bellies.
  168. Chara’s patience with my new schedule.
  169. New work friends.
  170. People who are passionate about animal rescue.
  171. Doing new things–like being on TV!
  172. The feeling of being the only one on the highway early in the morning.
  173. The creamy thickness of overnight oats.
  174. My incredibly supportive husband.
  175. Clean kitchens.
  176. Two fresh loaves of bread.
  177. And a slice slathered in peanut butter and jelly for a pre-bed snack.
  178. The comfort of re-exploring familiar old worlds in books.
  179. When Chara sleeps on my feet, and Minerva sleeps on my stomach.
  180. Smart dogs. They’re so fun to work with!
  181. Bosses who let me run with my ideas.
  182. A job that incorporates photography–and forces me to grow at a skill I love.
  183. Freshly tire-d bikes!
  184. Jordan’s shaggy haired look.
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  186. The ability of stories to make people fall in love with animals they’ve never met.
  187. Catching a whiff of Jordan’s beard oil as we kiss goodbye.
  188. Watering the garden each morning in the humid Mississippi air.
  189. The fact that it’s no longer cold when I wake up.
  190. The silky kitty tail brushing my leg.
  191. Chara letting me lay all over her.
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  193. Being snug in our house when the wind is howling eerily outside.
  194. People who want to spend time with us.
  195. Harry Potter.
  196. The little sprouts of green and purple that is my garden currently.
  197. Zucchini and summer squash sprouts!
  198. The solid wall of leaves out our back door.
  199. The wildflowers blooming in our backyard.
  200. Those moments when you can’t stop laughing.
  201. Because your ridiculous husband is trying to poke you with the toothpaste.
  202. Watering the garden.
  203. The satisfaction of wiping down the cabinets and seeing how much it brightens the kitchen.
  204. Coworkers who are also friends.
  205. Bosses who laugh at your accidental innuendo-text, instead of getting offended.
  206. Photography.
  207. And the fact that I have the rest of my life to hone my abilities.
  208. My supportive husband.
  209. Jordan’s square, masculine wrist stretching out of his flannel.
  210. The concept of heart dogs and soul dogs, and the fact that I’m lucky enough to have both in my life.
  211. Afternoons with Wren.
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  213. North farm walks where the light is mellow and melting.
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  215. Coyote poops.
  216. Knowing you can drive all night if need be.
  217. Quiet mornings with a mug of green tea.
  218. And meditation, for reminding me to not let life pass me by.
  219. My flourishing garden.
  220. New opportunities with old friends.
  221. Good people, who fill our lives even from afar.
  222. Discovering that Wren hates peanut butter–which is such a marker of her personality that it cracks me up.
  223. Runs with Chara.
  224. A calm mind in a scary situation.
  225. The sweetness of a cat curled in the crook of your arm.
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  227. And the fact that she seeks me out no matter what part of the house I’m in.
  228. (Like for example, I’m on the toilet, and she’s exploring the bathtub).
  229. Wireless computers, which enable me to type from the toilet.
  230. Sunshine on a clean sink.
  231. Proofing bread on the counter.
  232. A return to routine.
  233. The thrill of knowing you’ve bettered an animal’s life.
  234. Conversations with Jordan about Jane Austen and villains and what it is to be good.
  235. A silky cat twining a good morning greeting around my legs.
  236. Oversized flannels.
  237. Editing photos of shelter pets with a shelter cat at your side.
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  239. A new house and a new dog.
  240. The rain pattering outside.
  241. Waking up at 5:30 am and actually feeling awake.
  242. “Goodnight, I miss you” texts from Jordan.
  243. The three legged dog shuffle, audible from every room.
  244. The sweet ache of longing for someone who isn’t there.
  245. More space.
  246. A nice, shiny, clean bathtub.
  247. The ability to blog without wifi.
  248. Modern science.
  249. A new baby 🙂
  250. BabyHeartbeat
  251. A healthy pregnancy
  252. A new job, a new house, a new town to explore
  253. Routine
  254. A lunch I’m looking forward to
  255. Feeling Baby L move
  256. Slowly having our house transform into a home
  257. Packages on the doorstep each day
  258. A community of friends and family who have helped make sure Baby L will be well-dressed and carried in style
  259. The meadow out back
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  261. The fact that gatorade makes my contractions stop
  262. Beans n’ rice
  263. New work friends!!!
  264. A really cool boss
  265. Being inducted into the world of moms
  266. In-laws who take the time to stay in touch
  267. Jordan, always Jordan
  268. But specifically how yesterday he went out of his way to help me carry heavy silverware
  269. And also how he always cooks us dinner
  270. And how he’s nice to me even when I’m grumpy
  271. And how he does his best to make my life the way I’d like it to be, even if he wants something different
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  273. Long walks with the dogs
  274. Nox snuggles
  275. Jordan’s and my daily commute together
  276. Especially walking together the last couple of blocks to/from the car, and being able to unwind and talk about the day to come or how things went
  277. The bus stop right outside our house
  278. The people on the bus, and getting to know people I never would’ve talked to otherwise
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  280. The #OneUGA project, and being able to work on it/play a part in it
  281. The incredible stories people have told me through the project
  282. Cameras
  283. Back massages
  284. Our birth class, and getting to know the other couples in it
  285. When Jordan and I crack each other up
  286. My writing group, and all the kind and helpful things they have to say
  287. The fact that Baby L would likely be healthy if he was born at this point
  288. Heartburn medicine
  289. Cheesy beans and rice for lunch
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  291. Linden Daniel Youngmann
  292. A healthy baby
  293. A relatively easy delivery
  294. Family (and friends who are family) who rally around us when we need it
  295. Plenty of breast milk
  296. A supportive husband
  297. Walks with the dogs
  298. Baths
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  300. Chubby cheeks
  301. Chubby hands
  302. Rolls on rolls
  303. The squeaks he makes when he nurses
  304. The way his eyes crinkle when he smiles
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  306. And how he keeps his mouth open–ready for the next opportunity to giggle
  307. A private place to pump
  308. Women in the workplace who get it
  309. Marie Kondo
  310. And the piles of stuff that served us well (and now it’s time to give away)
  311. Dates with Jordan where everything goes wrong, but we have a ball
  312. Food in the break room
  313. Good nights of sleep
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  315. Cloth diapers, and the fact that they’re actually working for us
  316. A sister who is willing to upend her life to be there for me
  317. New opportunities
  318. Good habits
  319. Feeling like a productive member of the household
  320. Sleeeeep
  321. Lunch time dates with Jordan
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  323. Empowered women
  324. Real talk about leadership
  325. Realizing what an awesome community I’ve begun to form
  326. Book clubs
  327. Exciting new reads
  328. Dinner with people who appreciate my kid
  329. Linden’s full-faced smiles
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  331. And the way he hugged me the other day when I got home
  332. How he pats things with a flat, open hand
  333. How he tries to taste everything, and then crinkles his face up when it doesn’t taste great
  334. His fluffy head
  335. His excitement and pride when he masters a new skill, like pushing himself into a sitting position or standing while holding onto something
  336. Delicious cubanos
  337. A best friend who just continues to be the best human on the planet
  338. And travels all this way to visit me
  339. Over and over and over again
  340. And who loves my kid like they’re blood related
  341. 5:00PM on a weekday
  342. Whole afternoons spent reading in bed
  343. Two new raised bed gardens!
  344. Coming home from work to find my boys out behind the house, their faces smeared with charcoal, looking rather feral
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  346. The Office prank my boss pulled on April Fools (Seriously. So great. Still internally giggling)
  347. Garden plans ❤ ❤ ❤
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  349. In-season asparagus
  350. Photoshop
  351. My pump
  352. Being able to feed Linden breastmilk
  353. Clothes that are new to me
  354. Tea with a new friend
  355. Long conversations about everything and nothing
  356. Rocking out to music with Linden in my office
  357. When he sits, completely rapt, for the entirety of one of my favorite songs
  358. That I’ve finally started my new job!
  359. Bosses who bring kittens to work
  360. An aunt who supports my horsie-dreams
  361. Warm baby snuggles in the middle of the night
  362. A ginormous, fancy new work computer to create on
  363. My garden!
  364. Burgeoning basil
  365. Fragrant, enthusiastic tomatoes
  366. Curly-vined cucumbers
  367. Elephantine summer squash leaves
  368. Delicate carrot tops
  369. Spiky successful onions
  370. Tender kale
  371. Meals that include kale I grew, in my own garden
  372. Jordan–for making my first mother’s day sweet and savory
  373. And for taking me hiking
  374. And for being an incredible father
  375. Also for making me a mother
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