Reflections of Gratitude

By the SSWAA Staff

Several months ago, I was in the check out lane in Kroger. Often, I breeze in and out of the

grocery store and often race through the self-check lane. On this particular day, I was in a lane that was staffed by a young, early-20s, employee. I greeted him with a common phrase, “How are you today?” He simply replied, “I can’t complain.”

I don’t know why, but those 3 words struck a chord with me. Immediately, a thought jumped into my head. That thought has stuck with me for many months. The thought was that this young man probably could complain, but he chose not to. What a great attitude! Since no one’s life is perfect, I suspect this young man could have complained. He could have complained about some annoying behavior of a co-worker or friend. He could have complained about struggles or challenges in his life. But, he chose gratitude.

As the end of semester grows near and the holiday season approaches, the SSWAA staff would enjoy sharing our reflections of gratitude with you.

“Gratitude makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie



A lot has changed since early 2020 and as I reflect on the last 2 years, my gratitude list continues to grow.

Health – of course I am so grateful for my family’s health. Of course, we’ve had our scares and still have things that take our focus, but I think of all of those around us who have lost a loved one and my heart breaks. Taking Covid out of the picture, there is just so much out there and it’s terrifying as a parent. I pray that my children, family, and friends remain in good health.

Time – there’s just never enough of it! I’ve got 3 young boys (8, 6, and 1) and I literally spend my days running around as a taxi driver or chasing them around trying to get them to eat, do their homework, go to sleep, etc. It feels as though we’ve hit the “play at normal speed” button instead of fast forward. Things were happening way too fast – I always felt like I was missing out on so much. Now, I feel like I can stop, breathe, and take a moment to enjoy—definitely not all the time though.

Spotify – you may be rolling your eyes at this one, but I’m serious! I can play “pump it up” music for my boys on the way to school to get them energized and focused on having a good day. Then after dropping them off, play The Wiggles for my 1-year-old because that always calms him down. And finally, after I drop him off, I get to pick out my playlist. What’s my mood for that time or day? Whatever my mood, I’ve got my go to music on Spotify to help calm me down (Acoustic Covers or Classical) or pump me up and get me going for a busy day (1990s Hits – but more specific Spice Girls :)). It’s amazing how therapeutic music is and how quick it can help your mood.

We all have so much to be thankful for and should not wait until the holidays to reflect on it! Our gratitude lists don’t have to be fancy, but they should remind us of everything we have been blessed with – even if it’s been a challenge that has made us stronger or brought someone new to our lives. Encourage others to participate in a gratitude list as well – especially the kids! While the focus this time of year is on the presents under the tree, it’s important to remember the everyday gifts we receive and may often take for granted. Cherish each other and the new day we’ve been blessed with.

Happy holidays to you and yours!



Did you know practicing gratitude daily is one of the few things that can measurably increase happiness? It is also linked to healthy blood pressure, better sleep and a stronger immune system. I’m all about research-based self-care, so I have a gratitude journal to record all the small, daily things I am grateful for. Something I have yet to turn into a habit but that some friends do is share their daily gratitude with family at the dinner table every night. I just love that idea! Having an attitude of gratitude should be a priority year-round, but during this season, here are some of the things I am most grateful for…

Books – Did you know historically books have struggled with sales, but the industry is seeing a boost as more people find ways to escapism and education! Books have always been my escape as well as my way to learn about other life experiences and parts of the world. My local library is my favorite spot to visit for new books – I wouldn’t be able to afford the amount of books I read otherwise! I also love visiting my local bookstores to pick up a copy of my favorites from the year. There’s just something so comforting and routine to this experience that I absolutely love.