Liebster 2

Total Gratitude Thursday – volume IV

Here it is Thursday again already – can you believe it? I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. I definitely have!

So here’s my gratitude list for this week…as always, feel free to share your list in the comments or on my blog’s Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to catch all the latest and share with friends.

Liebster 2

I just found out today that I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award! It’s an award given to newbie bloggers by other bloggers to encourage, honor and get more exposure for their blogs. There will be a longer post on this next week because this weekend I’m going to…


Bloggy Con 2015! Yep – my first blogging conference and I am so excited! I’ve been to other conferences, so I know how enthused and energized it makes me to spend time with other people who are passionate about the same things that I am. I can’t wait to learn more about blogging and find other blogging moms to network with. And it’s at Cedar Point on the first of their Halloweekends, so how cool is that?

I also found out today that I’ll be a contributor to a new blogging newsletter put together by a group of female bloggers! I’m so honored to have been selected to contribute my work. And all of this came about because I decided to take some risks, say “yes” even though I was afraid and take a leap! This is totally how I’m feeling today:


And one little small thing – I am an obsessive list maker. I make lists for everything. I’ve even been known to make lists of lists I need to make. And there are few things in life as satisfying as checking off everything on your to do list. Unfortunately, there are plenty of days when the list grows so long that completely everything on it is unlikely, and that drives me crazy! So here comes Target’s One Spot to save the day with these little pads of awesomeness:

to do pad

What’s even better is they’re small, so you can’t make a list a foot long and disappoint yourself when you can’t get to everything on it. C’est parfait!

embrace the journey journal

Another of my obsessions – blank books. I’ve been in love with them since I was a girl. There’s no way I’ll live long enough to ever fill all of the ones I already have, but I don’t believe there’s such a thing as too many. This particular one was a gift from my daughter and I think it perfectly embodies my attitude and purpose. Love it!

And finally – total gratitude to compassionate and dedicated medical professionals. I had to visit my local Urgent Care this week for a minor health issue, and the nurse practitioner definitely went above and beyond to help me understand what was going on and how to help myself. Even though they were incredibly busy and it was right in the middle of lunch hour, she took her time and showed concern for how I was feeling and that made such a difference. I admire anyone who’s called to help others in the medical field but especially those who have a true passion for it. I do think that emotional care is just as important as physical care, and her demeanor helped on both counts.

So that’s my list for the week! Hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend! – Mama Bear


Total Gratitude Thursday – volume 3

Hey everyone! How was your week? Did you accept the challenge from the last blog post – making a connection with someone this week? How did it go? I had a really good heart-to-heart with one of my oldest friends and it really was the highlight of my week.

And here is my gratitude list for this week…don’t forget to comment with what you’re grateful for!


1. Old friends – There’s something so incredibly comforting about being able to talk to someone without having to explain everything about yourself. It’s that shared connection where someone just understands you and accepts you for precisely who you are.

2. Experts who are willing to share their wisdom – As a new blogger, I’m learning new things every day and without people who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise, it would be much harder. Lately I’ve joined several Facebook groups and the help and camaraderie I’ve received have been such a tremendous help.

dog biscuits

3. Random Acts of Kindness – Yesterday, our pug Sammy nearly made it onboard our UPS driver’s truck. After being kind enough to help me wrangle him back toward the house (and pugs are notoriously hard to wrangle), we got a good laugh out of it. Today, I went out front to see a package with two little dog biscuits laid on top – from our UPS driver. Always keep your eyes open for people committing acts of kindness and never pass up an opportunity to do them yourself when you can. Such small acts can make such a big difference.


4. Live theatre – Just when I was thinking I could *really* use a night out, Fate intervened. I got a call yesterday that I had been picked to win four free tickets to a live sketch comedy show. And as it just so happens, I’m free tomorrow night! Support local theatre whenever you can – they work so hard at what they do and the support means the world to them!

tobacco candle

5. Candles – There’s absolutely nothing like a really good candle to make a home feel cozy. My niece got me one this week that’s scented like tobacco. It takes me back to when I was a little girl and my grandpa would smoke his pipe. Nothing brings up good memories like a favorite scent!

6. This powerful video, which went viral this week.

Leave a comment and let me know what you’re grateful for this week! And have a happy weekend! – Mama Bear


Total Gratitude Thursday – Volume II

Here we are again – it’s Thursday! You know what that means – the work week is almost over and the weekend’s just over the horizon. (And a long weekend, too!) And here on the blog it means it’s time for Total Gratitude Thursday!

This week I gave myself an additional challenge – to use only my own pictures, instead of those I found on the Internet. Now that means that the quality of the images is quite possibly slightly lower, but it also means they’re more meaningful.

When I sat down and thought about what I wanted to include this week, I had a momentary panic attack. I want to do this weekly, but how in the world am I going to find enough stuff to write about? And then it hit me: that’s the entire point! It’s easy enough to come up with the big things – my house, my family, my health. But once you get past those, you start to spend more energy really thinking about your life and you have to notice the little things. And if you are ever having a rough day, or are depressed, sometimes those little things are all you can come up with, and that’s okay! That’s why the practice of writing down things you’re grateful for is so important – it forces you to think hard and really look for the good things in life, even if it’s much harder some days than others! So keep looking, keep writing things down and making yourself aware of all that you have in your life that’s good. Or if you’d rather – just take photos of them!

So have a wonderful weekend! Here’s Total Gratitude Thursday, Part Deux:

  1. Cafe au lait – I never really liked coffee until I went to Paris, and now I’m hooked. It seems strange to say it, but some of the best times we had in Paris were when we just sat at a cafe for hours on end, people watching and sipping a cafe au lait, or hot chocolate or a glass of wine. The French really do know a lot about the importance of savoring life.
  2. Edith Piaf – Her music stirs me on a cellular level. There’s such raw emotion in everything she sings and “La Vie en Rose” never fails to bring me to tears. Such a tragic life but such a wonderful gift.
  3. Flowers – Is there anything better than having flowers sent to you? Such a sweet reminder that someone is thinking of you with love. These were from my childhood friend Val and they’re just perfect.
  4. Grumpy Cat – I loved that little kitten from the moment I saw her. She reminds me that it’s okay to be grumpy sometimes and you can still be cute with a frowny face. (And evidently I look like her when I sleep, so…)
  5. Manicures – Such a simple thing but it gives me so much joy! As women sometimes I think we get so caught up in taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves. Getting my nails done every couple of weeks is how I spoil myself just a little, and I have to say, having beautiful nails can make me feel good even when I’m all sweaty on the treadmill in sweats with my hair in a ponytail. (And my manicurist Sara is the bomb!)
  6. Robin’s eggs – I hadn’t seen one in years, and then this spring my son and I found one outside in the yard. We later discovered we had a robin’s nest in our little tree in the side yard and we got to watch as one of the babies learned to fly. It took him a couple of tries and he had some bumps along the way, but he didn’t give up! There are lessons everywhere we look!
  7. Soba noodle bowl – Panera decided to bring this bowl of awesomeness into my life last winter and I’m completely addicted! It helps me eat healthier and it’s simply the ultimate in comfort food. I love it when something tastes good and is good for you!
  8. Sammy – I mentioned pugs last week, but specifically, this is my Sammy. And I say he’s my Sammy because even though he belongs to our family, he’s a total Mama’s boy. His real name is Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. (If you’ve never seen “Everything is Illuminated” go do that RIGHT now!). We got Sammy from another owner and he came to us with a lot of issues and was very anxious and fearful. But he’s come a long way and now he’s the ultimate cuddle pug (and a total goofball). He’s the very definition of unconditional love.
  9. And then there’s Suki – she’s Sammy’s sister (they’re actual brother and sister from the same litter). We got Suki as a puppy and she’s been an absolute delight from the very beginning. I think she’s possibly the cutest dog I’ve ever seen and she’s also the sassiest. She keeps her big brother in line with just a look (sometimes she’s a bit more forceful about it) but she’s also a total sweetheart.

So tell me – what are you grateful for this week? Look me up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or just let me know in the comments section of the blog. See you soon! – Mama Bear


Total Gratitude Thursday (Inaugural Edition)

Hello again! It’s Thursday – almost the weekend and time for an exercise in gratitude.

Countless studies have shown that an integral part of a happy, peaceful life is being sure to take time to focus on gratitude and I’ve found that it’s very true. It’s hardest when you’re having a rough day, or you’re caught in the middle of a bout with depression but that’s also when you need it most. So, because I think that it’s such an important practice to engage in regularly, I’ve decided to do a weekly post called “Total Gratitude Thursday”. The #TBT hashtag has gotten so popular, I’d like to see if we can get #TGT to catch on! So every week, I’ll post some things that I’m grateful for. I encourage you to comment with your own list, and try to even make it a daily practice. Every day before your feet hit the floor, try to think of at least 3 things you’re grateful for. I promise you it will make a difference. Give it a try and comment below!

So here’s my first list of things I’m grateful for right now:

  1. Sleeping in – seriously is there anything better than not having to wake up to a blaring alarm clock? Answer: NO.
  2. My Pooh Bear-esque body. I’m finally coming to terms with my body and all its quirks. I really am built like Pooh – short legs and arms and round little belly. I’m probably never going to be skinny again, I’m definitely never going to be tall and I’m learning to be okay with that. My body isn’t perfect, but it’s strong and it’s healthy and it’s brought 3 amazing human beings into the world. I think that’s pretty rad.
  3. A glass of really, really good wine. Especially if it’s from France.
  4. Michael Franti and his music. I’ve been lucky enough to see Michael in concert twice and it was absolutely amazing! His music is so positive and powerful and that really affects the audience a lot. His music always puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance – what a gift to give the world! Want to check him out? Start with “Say Hey (I Love You)” and dance your butt off!
  5. Blogging – just the simple act of writing this blog, connecting with readers and getting comments about what I’m writing has made such a profound change in my life – thank you!
  6. Pugs – I’m the proud mama of 2 Chinese pugs. They’re the funniest, sweetest, craziest most loving little dogs ever. You can’t help but smile with a pug around.
  7. The Dalai Lama – I don’t know how it’s possible for so much knowledge, goodness and light to reside in one human body, but he really is a blessing. I am so inspired by him.
  8. Positivity – yep, I’m grateful that I’ve discovered the difference that having a positive attitude can have in a person’s life. It’s affected every aspect of my life.
  9. Down comforters – oh, I’m completely and totally addicted. It’s like being in a fluffy nest of warmth and comfort. I love it!
  10. My husband and kids – they really are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. They’re a constant source of support and love and so much fun to be around. I’m one blessed mama bear.
  11. Glitter – I joke that I bleed glitter, but I’m not so sure it’s not at least a little bit true. I want glitter EVERYTHING!
  12. Sunshine – I think I’m part plant because I really do bloom in sunshine.

Okay, now it’s your turn – tell me what you’re grateful for! Be sure to share the blog with friends. Wishing you happy days ahead!  – Mama Bear