Gratitude Challenge Days 22-30

Day 22: Who helped you during a trying time?

My family will be there to help me during any trying time.  They've proven it over and over again.  They'll show up.  They'll lend a hand.  Send a card, share a hug, let me cry on their shoulders.  Offer up time or money when asked, and sometimes even when I don't ask.  When I pushed them away, they waited for me to come back and never gave up on me.  From the death of pets and loved ones to medical emergencies and bad boyfriends, through all the family has been there for me.

I hate to admit that I used to take this for granted.  As I saw more of the world and met people without this foundation of unconditional love and support I had to be humbled.  What a blessing!  I am so grateful.  I did nothing to deserve it.  It was the good fortune of my birth.  That's just what this family does.  

Day 23: What is a personality trait you're grateful for?

I am grateful for people who are funny.  An easygoing sense of humor has to be my favorite personality trait.  It is the recurring thread in basically all of my favorite humans.  Being funny and/or being a music lover, that is.  

I like to laugh.  I like people that make me laugh.  Life is too short not to laugh.  It is as easy as that.

Day 24: What is an item of clothing you're grateful for?

I am grateful for my wedding dress.  My grandma made it for my mom back in the 1970s.  My mom and I altered it slightly--at a sewing retreat-- in the 2010s.  It is simple and lovely and sentimental.  I love every bit of that.  It suits me just as well as the dress does.

Day 25: Who do you consider family?

I'm with David Sedaris a bit on this one.   

David says, “There’s a lot of talk lately about “the family you choose.” It’s a phrase often used by people who were rejected by their parents or siblings and so formed a group of supportive, kindred spirits. I think it’s great they’re part of a tight-knit circle, but I wouldn’t call it a family. Essential to that word is that the people you’re surrounded by were not chosen. They were assigned by fate, and now you must deal with them in one way or another until you die.”

Don't misunderstand.  I value my friends with every ounce of my soul, but it isn't the same as family.  That doesn't make it less, just different.  I trust it goes without saying that I hope anyone who has felt rejected by their family finds their place to belong and people who value and love them.   Regardless of what we label it.

Day 26:  What service are you grateful for?

I am grateful for the National Park Service.  We buy an annual pass each year and think it is one of the greatest bargains around.  I am forever grateful that our society set these places aside for the benefit of current and future generations.  It took some real foresight, collaboration, and persistence.  Every national park I have been to has something unique and astonishing to offer.  They always give me so much more than I hope or expect.    

I am particularly thankful for the rangers who keep everything running.  They do it all:  staff the entrances and visitor's centers, lead hikes, study and monitor the flora and fauna, empty garbage cans, direct traffic, and beyond.  What a job!

Day 27: What little things about your significant other are you grateful for?

I could make a list miles long of the things I admire and am grateful for when it comes to Matt.  I couldn't imagine a more perfectly suited partner--big things AND little things.  

He not only puts the toilet seat down--he cleans the toilet!  He orders for me at the bar when we got out.  He cooks a yummy hot breakfast every weekend.  He rocks the mustache-less beard because that's my preference.  He remembers to change the furnace filter.  He encourages my sewing, embroidery, and crafting projects--and lets me show them off every step of the way.  He listens when I'm rattling on about books he hasn't read.  He likes to dance.  He enjoys playing games.  He scoops the litter boxes.  He watches football, but he's not a "fan."  He has coffee ready for me when I wake up.  He points out birds along the roadside while we drive.  He participates in holiday and family traditions.  He vacuums.  He cranks up the hot water heater for my baths.  He reads.  He bakes bread.  He's a good cook.  He handles all of our motor vehicle upkeep.  He's funny.  He does our grocery shopping.  He has a soft ponytail and a wooly beard.  He chauffeurs me around because he knows I hate to drive.  He likes dressing up for Halloween and theme parties.  He's crafty and resourceful.  He has a pretty smile and twinkly eyes.  He buys me flowers for no reason.  He established Pizza Friday at our house and he only puts olives on his side of the pizza. He never speeds while driving. He researches stuff before he buys it.  He listens to YPR.  He's a cat person.  He reads my blog.  

Are these little things?!

Day 28: What do you like about your job?

I like that my job is about learning.  I learn something new every day.  I'm pretty sure the students using the library do, too.  I thoroughly enjoy--which is an understatement--working in academia.  I get such a kick out of the campus community.  I love being a part of it.  Likewise, I am so thrilled to have fallen into the amazing Montana library community.   Make that the library community, full stop. 

Being surrounded by books and periodicals all-day-every-day at work is such a gift.  Sometimes I can't believe it is what I get paid to do.  Having reliable sources and databases instantly at my fingertips is pretty freaking great.  Over the last almost twenty years (how can that be right?!?) of working in libraries I have honed my information-seeking methods.  I love going on "treasure hunts" looking for the perfect nugget of knowledge--be it on behalf of a student or faculty researcher, my in-laws, or myself! 

Interlibrary Loan--a primary facet of my job--is one of the coolest things ever!  It opens up the whole world to our library users in a way that is humbling and awe-inspiring.  I love being the facilitator of this magic.  Need an old Soviet newspaper on microfilm? Sure, no problem!  Want every single book in a mystery series in order--and in Large Print?   Sure thing!  How about a collection of Victorian death photography?  Not a problem!  You got it!  What about a copy of census reports from 1880?  We can do that!  

I love watching the students mature and spread their wings, trite as that may sound.  It is pretty amazing the transformation that occurs from when they arrive as freshmen to when they're walking across to get their diplomas as graduates.  I enjoy being a part of that process.  

Plus, I've been on the academic calendar for too long now to do anything else.   --Wait.  Everyone doesn't get better hours in the summer?  And two weeks off at Christmas?  Etc.--

Day 29: What public figure are you grateful for?

I am grateful for Jeanette Rankin.  The fact that she was the first woman elected to serve in the US Congress is admirable enough.  What grit and bravery to elbow her way into that literal boy's club!  That fact my homestate was the one to elect her is just icing on the cake.  Plus, it was before women had even been guaranteed the right to vote!  Can you imagine?!?!  

I most admire Jeanett Rankin's steadfast passion for peace.  Even when she was ridiculed, even when she was treated with open hostility and derision...she remained true to her beliefs that diplomacy, not war, was the answer.  Again, what bravery.  She was still raising her voice in dissent when the US was at war in Vietnam decades later.  She never gave up advocating for peace.

Of course, she also championed women's suffrage, education, healthcare, and equality.  She helped pave the way for so many women to do the same.  She advocated safer working conditions for working-class folks, here and abroad.  So, there's a lot about Rankin's legacy that makes me grateful she took charge and let her voice be heard.  She was quite the powerhouse.

Day 30: What is something that you find magical about the universe?

I think that water is one of the most magical forces in the universe.  Water is life.  It is the essential essence.  It is the universal solvent. Water comprises the majority of our body and our planet.  Given time, it carves canyons and changes the faces of the earth.  Under pressure, it creates places like Yellowstone.  From waterfalls to deserts the presence or absence of water is a defining characteristic of most landscapes.  

Water not only nourishes life--be it plant, animal, or fungus--but it also just makes living more fun and enjoyable.  I love to swim or take a nice soak in a hot spring.  I happily read in the bathtub for hours.  A walk in the rain can be so pleasant.  Nothing beats an ice-cold drink of water on a hot day or a shower after a week on the trail.  

Water is so adaptable, valuable, useful, satisfying, and enjoyable.  And occasionally terrifying...which, in its way, can be a useful reminder of its power and centrality in our lives.

My Thanksgiving Feast was certainly something to be grateful for!  A belly full of lovingly made favorites shared around a beautiful table with people that I love.


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...I've finally (FINALLY) found that I can post comments again...I loved your thankful posts...that is a seriously loaded plate of vegan food you're thankful for there...haha...and I absolutely loved your link to your wedding post...that dress is AWESOME!...I asked my Mom and my Grandma both for their gowns when we were about to marry...and Grandma had cut hers up to make a bassinette cover for her newborn son...which I must agree is an awesome use for a wedding dress...I've seen photos of it of course and would have loved to have it...but it's a sweet recycle...and Mom and Daddy eloped...and she wore a pretty grey Mom sweetly made my wedding dress...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. I know we get what we pay for and all that...but Blogger has been a pest this year, off and on. Commenting and subscribing, especially.

      Thank you for sharing your wedding dress story. I love that. I really should find something to transform my dress into (though not a bassinette cover, of course) because I don't have a vision for passing it down. I should mull on that.

      Matt and his mama do me a serious SOLID with their holiday food spreads. I am SO blessed.


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