With The World At My Feet

Hello Internet!

Happy holidays to those that celebrate. Otherwise, I hope you are enjoying your spring weekend in fun and inventive ways. Yesterday was a big day for me. After what has been two years of graduate school, one semester of writing, and months upon weeks of planning my presentation, I have successfully completed and presented my Integrative Thesis Recommendations. This assignment has loomed over me and consumed my time and energy for far too long now and I’m grateful to be done.


I couldn’t have done it without these people among many others. Something I have learned through this process is the importance of asking for help. This project was a culmination of long nights and worried weekends. The support and encouragement given to me was the fuel I needed to march on.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Elliot

My hope is that with the conclusion of my research I can propel myself into whatever comes next. Uncertainty continues to mark my visions of the future. Maybe I learn to poorly play the violin, the instrument’s strings wailing under the pressure of my practice. Maybe learning a new language would be most fulfilling. Exploring new corners of the Earth I have yet to consider simply by listening. Whatever comes next, it is time I am most eager to learn about.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

I’m not interested in easy and I detest the idea of being average. I hope to change the world in extraordinary imperfect ways with time as my accomplice. One day at a time.

My Next Project!

Thanks for watching! Still trying to master video but I’m excited to share this first installment. Now that I have completed 365 days of gratitude, I’m ready for what comes next.

Follow The Gratitude Journal for bi-weekly videos and posts in-between about living life with positivity. I want to hear your story!

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

Turn & Return (#361)

This community post was written by Julie Van. A published writer in the Seattle Times, an exceptionally talented poet, and a long time supporter of The Gratitude Journal. 

I am constantly reminded of two important facts: change will happen and growth is a choice. The uncertainty and surprises of life often converge into a sweet whirlwind of learning. And when I think I have things figured out, I am humbled by all that I do not know. I’ve also learned to not be afraid of what I do not know.

The turns of our lives is a result of choice and decisions made. What we choose to do is not only a reflection of ourselves and our values, but the circumstances that have pulled us to the moment. Each choice then weaves into the larger fabric of who we are – and also who we wish to be.

The challenge with choice is the courage needed to make a decision. How do we continue to nurture and care for that seed of confidence that is within us all? Especially on days when it feels as if every movement is a constant wallow through doubt and hesitation.

We remember to look inwards and return to ourselves. We remind ourselves of the strength within and look at our values as a guide. And sometimes we look outwards. During times when I feel myself loosing control, I feel myself pulled tighter to the kind universe and I know that I will be okay.

Whatever we decide to do, we trust ourselves to make the right choice and remain grateful for the chance.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Fresh flowers to brighten my apartment
  2. Loved ones in different time zones
  3. Dancing and confidence in motion
  4. The last bite of ice cream, every single time
  5. Home videos and photo albums
  6. Dawg Saturdays
  7. Catching up over a shared meal
  8. Serendipity and things unexplainable
  9. Getting handwritten letters in the mail
  10. Cooking and trying new recipes together
  11. Hiking and time outside
  12. Sunsets while canoeing on Lake Washington
  13. Crisp air on early morning runs
  14. Poetry, both to read and write
  15. Pear-picking in the garden with my grandparents in the summers
  16. The mountains, evergreens, the ocean, and all reminders of the PNW
  17. My parents and siblings
  18. Both cheesy jokes and witty jokes
  19. Picnics and frisbee at Gas Works Park
  20. Trust and hope in the unknown
  21. The smell of fresh coffee in the morning
  22. Cross country moves and having multiple places to call home
  23. My loving and supportive boyfriend, JA
  24. All that has led me to right now
  25. This very moment
Link to my blog: julievvan.wordpress.com
Featured photo of the Cascade Mountains in Washington at sunset

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Promise Yourself (#354)

“To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.” 
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Shared laughter
  2. Late night ice cream
  3. Game Of Thrones marathons
  4. Real running marathons
  5. Productive time
  6. Trips to Chipotle
  7. Hanging out with Ned
  8. A clean apartment
  9. Painted skies
  10. Time at the gym
  11. Handwritten notes and letters
  12. A moment to breathe
  13. Signs from the Universe
  14. A cool breeze on a warm day
  15. People who inspire
  16. Local bagels in the morning
  17. My family
  18. The little things
  19. Teachers, mentors, and coaches
  20. Basketball in the driveway
  21. Coming home
  22. Hot soup on a cold day
  23. A good book to read
  24. Lessons learned
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.


If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Featured image from Judas Tree

I can win this day (#310)

An exciting and new opportunity I want to start with the Gratitude Journal is to invite guest bloggers to contribute. It is with great pleasure that people can connect through gratitude and hopefully inspire others to share and reflect on their own.

Our first submission is below ~

Gratitude Journal #1

The world is complex and overwhelming, but I am strong, I have people who support me and I can win this one day.

Today I am thankful:

  • A very hot shower on a very cold day.
  • Clean laundry because my husband took care of it.
  • Cookies for breakfast, just because.
  • Time to meditate.
  • Time to relax and just breathe.
  • Warm boots.
  • Warm coat.
  • It was 11 degrees and my truck started on the first try.
  • My husband started a new job Monday and things are going great.
  • I had a problem at work and both my bosses supported me 100%.
  • I brought my 5 lb dog to work which brought me lots of happy visitors.
  • Gas is very affordable this week.
  • My freezer is full so I don’t have to go shopping.
  • My favorite show is on tonight.
  • I am halfway through holiday shopping.
  • I have enough money to be able to donate to charity.
  • My children and grandson are healthy and doing fine.
  • My younger daughter is almost finished with her thesis.
  • My older daughter has achieved work-life balance.
  • I am looking forward to my grandson’s 3rd birthday in a January.
  • There is a free holiday party at work!
  • My dog, Kylo is making so many people smile today.
  • I am busy, but I put all my obligations on a list and it feels good to mark them off.
  • I turn 57 tomorrow and I feel good about that.
  • I miss my parents but I know they live within me.


As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!


Take It To Another Level (#306)

The work will get done.

I have to keep reminding myself of this as the fall semester comes to an end and I still have so much to take care of.

The work will get done, I keep saying. 

Each breath acts as an anchor, knowing I have goals I am working towards. Planning only gets us so far – and similarly – so does writing lists. I want to live out loud when it comes to gratitude and positivity. I want to take those next steps and live each moment and use each action to demonstrate gratitude. This looks like patience. This looks like empathy and encouragement.

Ultimately reminding myself, I need to take life one day at a time. The best is yet to come. The work will get done but saying it isn’t enough. Taking action brings life to another level.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time for photography
  2. Support from Julie
  3. Handwritten cards of encouragement
  4. Sharing stories and laughter
  5. Summer bonfires and s’mores
  6. Camping in Acadia
  7. An empty email inbox
  8. My family
  9. New Weekend Music
  10. A little support from my friends
  11. My summer in the UK
  12. Being cozy and warm when it’s cold
  13. Great teachers and mentors
  14. Time to journal
  15. Inspiration from others
  16. Clean water
  17. Making my bed in the morning
  18. Basketball with my dad and brother
  19. Getting back into my routine
  20. A good night’s rest
  21. Positive people
  22. Exercising for my mental health
  23. Late night ice cream
  24. A clean apartment
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

bridge clouds cloudy dark clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

True To Yourself (#290)

In life, we are bound to our individual journeys. Each taking us somewhere different and unique. Each path strewn with challenges we must overcome. The answers we seek have been inside of us all along.

Andrew Forsthoefel’s Walking To Listen, is a literary masterpiece. Andrew’s true story documents his travels Walking from Philadelphia to California. Every word written is both honest and vulnerable. His thoughts and fears echoed my own and this coming of age story is worth the read.

Andrew studied up and lived by famous writers and poets, Whitman and Rilke. He let their words guide him on his walk but ultimately made the choices for himself. Be true to yourself. Learn what it is you need to continue and prosper on your journey.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My introvert time
  2. Finishing my book, Walking To Listen
  3. Home cooked food
  4. My family
  5. Local pizza
  6. Working towards my goals
  7. Good documentaries
  8. A job well done
  9. Time at the gym
  10. Hanging out with my cat
  11. A clean apartment
  12. Rides on the bike trail
  13. My peer mentors
  14. Clean water
  15. What patience brings
  16. Safe travels
  17. A good foam roller for stretching
  18. Watching Moana with friends
  19. Sunscreen
  20. Embracing change
  21. Signs from the Universe
  22. Premier League weekends
  23. Working appliances, running water, and a safe place to live
  24. Late night ice cream with Julie
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image isn’t my own, just a big fan of Frank Ocean

Happy Birthday, Ned! (#264)


The old man turns 11. One year again today, I adopted Eddard Stark Ames but I like to call him Ned for short. He’s not the friendliest but he sure knows how to cuddle. He’s an old man set in his ways but has brought love and affection to my family and me. When I adopted Ned, I wasn’t sure how my parents would react. They weren’t thrilled about the idea but I think they realize how special Ned is. He’s always around to listen and can appreciate a good piece of ham. Looking forward to spending many more birthdays with my cat Ned.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time with my cat
  2. Rainy days inside
  3. Sleeping in
  4. Snow days off from work
  5. Mellow music and rain mixes
  6. Time at the gym
  7. Clean water
  8. My mom for watching Ned all summer
  9. Safe travels
  10. Time to journal and reflect
  11. Talking things out
  12. The feeling after you brush your teeth
  13. A clean apartment
  14. Visiting family in California
  15. Honesty
  16. Time for photography
  17. Nighttime stretches
  18. Gratitude
  19. Warm water with lemon
  20. Making new friends
  21. Having new experiences
  22. The community of bloggers on WordPress
  23. Good directions
  24. Chipotle
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image of the birthday boy

A Fresh Start (#229)

Today, I drove back to UMass. As much as I loved my time in the UK, I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite a while. Fittingly, my supervisor Adam was one of the first people I got to see after arriving which made me happy.

It’s hard to believe I’m in my last year of graduate school. A year away from my degree, a year away from no more homework, a year away from the unknown. There are a lot of changes occurring and I feel the gravity of each of them. I’ll be working with a new staff, in a new area, with new responsibilities and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m grateful for the training and support I receive because without it, I wouldn’t be here.

I am fortunate to continue my education and I’m grateful it will allow me to help people in so many different ways.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Starting over
  2. My new apartment balcony
  3. Getting help unpacking
  4. Ice cream and staff bonding
  5. Walking meditation
  6. Advil and eye drops
  7. Cindy pillows
  8. Eggs for breakfast
  9. Working in OSIL and walking through the RCC saying hi to everyone
  10. Silent heat lightning in the sky
  11. Being back at UMass
  12. Time to journal
  13. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!
  14. Good song recommendations
  15. The sound of rain on my window
  16. The support from my parents
  17. When I have time to read other blogs
  18. The freedom to choose my destiny
  19. Summer audiobooks
  20. Anything from the grill
  21. New opportunities
  22. Free lunch from work
  23. Morning yoga stretches
  24. Positive people
  25. The here and now
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

  • Featured image of a very foggy view from my apartment. Looking forward to a new year.
  • A Day Well Spent (#150)

    After more than 25,000 steps with my friend Stenie we navigated our way from Brixton to London and had ourselves a fantastic day. We caught up, laughed, enjoyed the sun and did the most American thing ever by getting fish and chips by the London eye. It was marvelous.

    I’ve been doing more research on gratitude and found some really interesting stuff. The science behind “positive psychology” is still evolving but something I’m hoping to incorporate more into the blog going forward. There are leading researchers and experts on gratitude I would love to interview and exchange thoughts with that I’ll post here as well! I would love to make this more interactive because I know for me, Gratitude isn’t just about the individual, it’s about the culmination of feeling.

    With 150 lists now under my belt, I’m feeling motivated with June right around the corner.


    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. Stenie Simon, one of my best friends
    2. The London bustle and hustle
    3. The sunshine
    4. Getting my steps in
    5. Catching up
    6. Delicious street food
    7. Help from home, using my phone and the Internet has been a struggle here
    8. Learning about different languages
    9. Comfy pillows
    10. Shea 2 friends from my first year at BSU
    11. Clean water
    12. Fresh fruit and vegetable markets
    13. Videos and pictures of my cat
    14. A little direction
    15. The feeling of clean teeth
    16. Just being here in England
    17. My family
    18. Opportunities of all kinds
    19. Going with the flow
    20. Vibrant sunrises and sunsets
    21. Getting involved at BSU
    22. A reminder to be patient
    23. My time in Cambodia
    24. People who volunteer their time
    25. Right here, right now

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of a faraway shot of Big Ben overlooking the Thames (I believe lol).