The single life is rarely easy. We have to be tough and rely on ourselves to get things done. We also have to develop a thick skin against the comments of others, well-meaning or otherwise. While extra free time is a great bonus, even that can feel like a weighted blessing.
One way I try to combat depression and frustration is through finding little things to be thankful for. All this week on my Instagram feed I’ve been posting about small ways to find joy in your life. Once I start making lists I’m usually surprised by how many extra blessings are present. They may be small, but they go a long way to making my life better.
Today I want to encourage you to stop and take stock of some of the little blessings in your life. Let’s share! I’ll go first:
I love them. Sunflowers just make me happy. Right now I have some growing in the backyard and others that have been cut and in vases around the house. I also have sunflower paintings, a sunflower face mask (yeah), and even a sunflower pin on my purse. The second blog post I ever wrote was about sunflowers and the ways they point me toward God. May our lives be just as bright and happy as they are!
Yes, I still have an iPod. Clearly I’m not a high-tech person. But I’ve carried it around faithfully for years and I can’t imagine life without it. My iPod and its music have accompanied me through a lot, including all of my travels. It provides the soundtrack to my life and keeps me mentally balanced.
- Rose water moisturizer
This was a wonderful new discovery this year. One of my kindergarten parents makes the moisturizer and I LOVE it! It smells great, moisturizers so well, and is completely natural. This is a product I want to have with me always.
- My car
Speed. It’s all about the speed. Windows down, music blasting, driving down the freeway. Enough said.
TOMS is a shoe brand. They make other items now, but they started with shoes. TOMS has a one-to-one policy: if you buy a pair of shoes then they donate a pair. These shoes look weird because they’re hand-stitched, but they’re my favorite shoes to wear for teaching. TOMS are typically flat, which is great since I’m tall, and always super-comfortable. I can teach all day with no problems.
- Confectionary Cupboard cupcakes
My infatuation with the Confectionary Cupboard started three years ago when one of my students brought them in for her birthday. Alas, she started an addiction that I am yet to kick. The irony of it all? The cupcake shop is on the way to my gym. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped and gotten a cupcake before working out. I try not to go too often, but their cupcakes definitely make life better.
- Books and audiobooks
When I was four years old my mom started taking us to story hour at the library. Looking back, those are my earliest clear childhood memories. Books have always been a large part of my life (we didn’t watch a lot of television). I love the way books can take you anywhere- I was an armchair traveler long before I had a chance to travel for real. Once I added audiobooks to the mix, it was even better.
- Lake Erie
Yes, I can hear you snickering. All of you who are fortunate enough to live close to an ocean and think the Great Lakes are gross and polluted. I once got in a fight with a college roommate from Florida who snidely said, “You don’t have beaches, you have shores.” Whatever you want to call it, I love being by the lake. There are beaches (there’s sand, ok?), hiking trails, dunes, wildlife, lighthouses, and great sunsets. There is something very calming about the water; I do my best thinking and praying by the lake.
- Nieces and nephews
I have five nieces and nephews (and another on the way). They are at the very top of my favorite things list- even above my sunflowers. I could write pages on how great they are, but for now just know that they bring life, laughter, joy, and fun to our family and I consistently thank God for them.
- Cleaning products
I’m serious! It’s not just cleaning products but actually cleaning itself that’s among my favorite things. I love cleaning- washing dishes, ironing, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing. Cleaning has helped me fill up many lonely nights. I would turn on my iPod (see?), start cleaning, and have a dance party- Voila! Potentially tough nights were transformed into cleaning celebrations.
That’s my list! We ALL have so many things to be thankful for. I’m not trying to sound flippant; I really mean it: God has given us so much. He shows Himself in the little things that make life better. He uses them to lift me up on the days when being single, or being a kindergarten teacher, or slogging through the COVID pandemic, feels like too much to handle. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?
Remember, “A joyful heart is good medicine!” Proverbs 17:22
This week, I’m thankful for the little joys in life. Together, let’s celebrate every single blessing!