It’s kind of unfair that I am choosing this week to write about gratitude, as I am currently ocean-side, with the next week off of work, and only have plans of eating my weight in seafood on the agenda, but I am — so deal with it. Without a doubt, I have every reason to be grateful, especially today… and, I’m not going to lie, it’s a little easier beachside.

Gratitude is something I work on every day and something I have thought a lot about. Lately, my characterization of moments worthy of gratitude is problematic. I tend to characterize moments of thankfulness as needing to stem from the below:

  • They need to be big moments.
  • They need to be all encompassing.
  • They need to be unconditional.

To be clear, there are things that I am always thankful for; the things I know I am endlessly blessed by:

  • My family’s health and unconditional love
  • Matt’s health and unconditional love (and his family’s health and unconditional love)
  • My friends’ health and unconditional love
  • My dogs and their health and unconditional love
  • A home over my head; a job that provides me with more than enough, a vehicle that works
  • My health, mental and physical
  • Time spent with loved ones
  • Access to healthy food and clean water

These are the big ones, the ones that get added in my prayers every day, and they are generally all encompassing and unconditional (except: my job; that is MOST definitely conditional).

Importantly, I think it is invaluable to have a list of absolute, unconditional, and semi-conventional things for which to be thankful, the ones you can reference day in and day out. Or maybe even, the ones you never reference at all, because it simply goes without saying.

The thing with that list, at least to me, is that it is sort of limiting. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the “well at least my family is healthy” that I forget the little things that I’m grateful for too.

The above list, of the big ticket items, sometimes makes me feel like I can’t have a bad day, or feel unwell, or struggle with my mental health. Why? I have no reason. Reference items 1-8 above. But these things, these big ticket items? They are hard to remember and to value (as well as you should) until you have a reason to value them: a health scare, a car accident, joblessness, a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the truth.. sometimes, these big ticket items get overlooked, and the day in and day out nonsense starts to win, and before you know it (or before I know it), I’m not practicing gratitude at all.

To be fair, I’m human being. I am flawed, I am challenged, I am pushed. I am prone to a bad day as much as the next person, despite my many blessings. Sometimes, when you only think big picture; I think you fail the to recognize the small stuff, the little moments, that are equally as important (or a close second). Because it’s the small stuff that makes you human, and not some super thankful, cherub freak of endless joy, that lives in a naive, and harmless world, without any substantive issues. It’s admitting that I do not always win and that all days are not endless sunshine. It’s embracing the real life, honesty, and the true ups and downs of existence.

I’m always, bad day or good day, thankful for the above list. My thankfulness for those items never changes. Sometimes though, I think I need to break it down even smaller, and really force myself to notice the minute things that make life better. I need to be thankful, and spend more time focusing, on those little things, that just help me get by.

This has where my focus has been, the small stuff, the easily overlooked, day-changers. Things like the sunshine poking through on a rainy day, or even the rain lulling us to sleep. A good book, with characters you can’t help but love. Sharing Oreos with your favorite guy, but letting him drink all the milk. DoorDashing Freddy’s and eating all the curds and ice cream you can manage. An ice cold Mountain Dew to kick off the day and lots of daycare pictures of your babies. Enjoying a walk with your favorite poochies. Playing catch in the backyard. Catching up with an old friend. Bud light, a fired up grill, and the perfect evening. A Sunday nap and comfy sweats. Dateline, but no repeats.

Life is hard enough. Count the little things. I promise you, it’ll help. For me, it’s become a game… how many things can I come up with to be thankful for in any given day? The more you think about it, the more you obsess over it, the more you find to be thankful for. Open your eyes friends, we live a blessed, blessed life. ❤️

Be thankful. Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends. I’m thinking of you!

Published by SunnyDazeAhead

Well... it's happening, due to high demand, and my monstrous ego, I've decided to blog. Simply put, I can't imagine who wouldN'T want to read my crazy antics and get to know the inner-workings of my semi-stable brain. Maybe, you'll laugh (hopefully, WITH me). Maybe you'll cry or maybe you'll get bored. It's really up to you what you take from this, all I can promise is brutal honesty, a heavy dose of sarcasm, some cuss words (I am who I am, sorry dad), and a little insanity. My mom has also recommended I share some of my recipes.. so maybe that too. The face behind the blog is... hard to put into words and words are "kinda" my thing. I am loud, I am outspoken, I am silly, I am sarcastic. I am wildly defensive of my loved ones. I have an anxious mind and I spend a LOT of time trying to keep my brain from spiraling into worst case scenarios. I work hard to keep my mind a happy, optimistic place, which I have come to realize is not my mind's natural habitat. I spend almost all my time with my three dogs: Lucy, Brantley, and Zeppelyn, who I am convinced are the greatest beings on the planet. I probably love my parents TOO much, but I am blessed to share a very close friendship with both and it is REALLY important to me that I never take that for granted. I love a boy, I have loved the same boy for years now, and I moved for him and honestly; home is where he is. Fine, his name is Matt and he is most definitely TAKEN, so back off ladies. I am a KC Native; a Jayhawk by choice, and an Omaha- Transplant. I spent my entire life telling everyone I was going to be a doctor, only to turn out to be an attorney in the scheme of things (I am proud of that, it is just not where I saw my life going). I am often convinced that I should have been born in a small town (John Cougar Mellencamp- Style) and any part of my heart not occupied by the dogs and Matt, is occupied by the late, but no less great Star, my horse/partner/best friend of 15 years. That's right, I am a former "Horse Hottie" and it is one of my favorite things about myself. Otherwise, I try to be a kind, generous, and a good person. Sometimes, I think I am misunderstood, and other times, I am understood a little too well. My face will tell you anything that I SOMEHOW manage to filter my mouth from saying. Oh, and I think I need all baby animals: zoo animals, farm animals, ALL the animals. That should pretty much wrap it up -- I'm Ashley; Enneagram: Whatever. In truth, I don't know what my mission is here. I don't foresee myself saving lives, talking people off the ledge, or providing sage, creative or original life advice. I am not a parent, so parenting-advice shall not be offered. I avoid controversial topics like the plague, I don't have the urge to lead you to the Lord (but he is pretty cool if you are open to the idea), and I have no idea on how to teach, craft, DIY, counsel, or even really advise. But I can repeat what I have learned, I can tell stories, and (sometimes) I can make people laugh. Writing makes me happy. I hope my writing makes you happy. So buckle up, strap in, glue your helmet to your damn head, empty your bladder and do whatever it is that you have to do to prepare for a ride.. a wild ride. A star-studded, bronc bucking, rodeo type of ride... my very favorite type. 💃🏼 Sunny daze ahead friends, probably. ❤️

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