A week ago, my friend Sue Caulfield asked me to participate in a five-day gratitude challenge on Facebook. Instead of posting on social media, I did what any writer would do: I scribbled nightly in my journal about some of the things I’m most thankful for. In combining that concept with a little DIY decorating magic, I thought I’d make a post about the little things that are bringing me joy in a pretty stressful time of year. Shoutout to my fellow educators out there: teachers, administrators, librarians, and others who are just taking it day by day! I have to be honest, I am working my butt off at home just to handle chores and general upkeep of my life. The bigger projects in the works will just need to wait. Join me as I share some of the little things that I am grateful for on this crazy DIY journey.
First things first: my lifetime partner-in-crime (aka my PIC), Dan. He’s my other half, and by that, I mean he can do so many things that I cannot. He jokes (not always joking!) that when I have a project, it means he has a project too. Not only is he my DIY guru, but he spoils me every day and takes care of so many little things when I’m working long days. I get mashed potatoes any time I want and I never get judged. I love him for that. I thought it would be fun to remind him of how great he is, so I took our homemade chalkboard and wrote a little message. Cue the “awws”. When you’re busy, it’s hard to take a few minutes to thank someone for being great, but it’s worth it.
Of course, I’m grateful to have finally picked up a hobby after 28 years! Having a creative outlet through DIY projects has changed my life in so many ways, but it has really given my life meaning outside of my work. It helps me to feel more like a person and less like a full-time professional, if that makes sense. I’m just grateful to have the financial ability to own a home, let alone decorate it! Along those lines, I was in my element this weekend at the new World Market that recently opened. Feast your eyes on the incredibly unique bowls that we found for just $5 each! Stars in my eyes. Now to figure out what to do with them…
Lately, I’ve been getting more and more inspired by so many different types of art: fun quotes, bright colors, unique shapes and patterns, and more. I recently came across KensieKate designs on Etsy and fell in immediate love with everything she’s designing. I could have gotten my hands dirty and made some similar prints of my own through Photoshop, but I thought it would be worth it to support a small business, so I made a purchase of three prints: all quotes from one of my all-time favorite authors, Roald Dahl. She’s selling three prints for just $19.50. That’s only $6.50 each!
Speaking of grateful, who doesn’t appreciate an amazing clearance sale? I for one was happy to discover some nice Target frames on clearance for $3.48 to suit these adorable designs. I held it together and only bought three of them, though I was tempted to go a little overboard.
Put two and two together, and you have a really sweet piece of art for just $10. It seems like the more design projects I work on, the easier it gets for me to make decisions that look appealing and really help to make our house a home. This helps me feel proud and productive, even when I’m not able to dedicate time to a bigger project.
Aside from all the fun DIY gratitude, I did actually write about some other things in my life that I’m grateful for. Here’s the rundown:
- The best dudes ever, Mom and Dad. They have given me everything I have ever needed. I jokingly say that I am a spoiled child, but it’s really because I had a great childhood and I owe everything to them.
- My bestie since age 1, Ruffles! There is something about a tightknit sibling bond that can’t be described. We are so weird together and that rules.
- The cuteness and sweetness of my kitties: Wallace and Wasabi! They remind me to take time out of my day and to not get wrapped up in being busy. Plus, they relax, soothe, and always love me.
- I’m grateful to be able to do meaningful work every day and believe that it is truly making a difference. Even when progress or gains toward goals is slow, I feel fulfilled.
- I’m grateful for my personal and professional support team: my friends all over the country (having coast-to-coast relationships can be hard, but it makes our time together even more valuable!), my colleagues at Rutgers, all of my inspiring students (past and present), and my Jazzercise ladies. Having so many groups of people to lean on is truly lucky, and I am grateful for that.
What are you grateful for? How is gratitude inspiring you? I’d love to hear about it!