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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.

Chosen Family – I live far from my family, so this time of year I am especially grateful for my chosen family who open their house to me for the holidays each year.

My mugs – This one might seem silly but hear me out. When I first started practicing daily gratitude it was a difficult time in my life and I really struggled to find things to be grateful for each day. At the time I had a phenomenal mentor who suggested I start small… really small. And one day I simply practiced gratitude for my mug. To this day, picking out my mug out of the bunch of funky, bright mugs is something I look forward to each morning. Usually my mug is a good reflection of how I’m feeling that morning. If it’s my handmade one from Mexico, then I am probably in a sleepy, cozy mood. My bright yellow mug? I am ready to conquer the day!



The Holidays are always an exciting time. The joy of getting to see family and friends. I enjoy the fast-paced time of the year, as there is always something going on. It is also important to take some time to spend it with your family and friends and not let the holiday bustle get in the way.

The other week my family was putting together a holiday lego train set. We had ordered this a while back and did not anticipate that it was going to take so long to build. My son was building it, but had lost a piece so we became stuck on it for a while. We became wrapped up in finding this one lego, but once we slowed down we were able to find it. It makes me think about slowing down and enjoying the holiday season.

What can you enjoy this holiday season? Are you able to enjoy the cup of hot cocoa? Can you enjoy a good book while sitting by the fire? Are you able to go and see holiday lights in your neighborhood or a parade with friends and family? Are you able to write a note to someone that you haven’t seen in a while? Can you stop and enjoy what you are doing? Remember to slow down and take some time for yourself during this busy time of the year! Happy Holidays!



It has been a busy and unpredictable year. What’s new, right? But, I have come to realize that busy does not have to be a negative. When I choose to reframe “busyness” and see it in light of “fullness” my attitude changes and I am filled with gratitude!

New Activities and Staff – SSWAA has grown and flourished this year with new activities! It has been thrilling to work on new projects and find ways to support our members and promote the profession. I am equally grateful that SSWAA has been able to build capacity with staff including a new staff member. Working with this team of staff and our SSWAA Board is truly a privilege and joy!

Focus on Balance – I recently read a quote that said that balance is having time and energy for obligations and pleasures. Like so many in helping professions, it is easy to neglect our self-care and work ourselves to exhaustion with little time for pleasures. I am so grateful for the discipline needed to develop a plan for balance! I am grateful to a friend for her encouragement and introduction to a women’s fitness studio so that I can prioritize exercise and self-care. I am also grateful for those “binge” shows that I watch with my husband to wind down and enjoy some simple pleasures.

Family & Friends – As challenges come, I am so grateful for my family and friends. They always seem to know when to reach out and what to say! During the holiday season it is especially difficult as I am physically removed from many of my family and friends. But, I am so grateful that they are only a text or FaceTime or phone call away! What a blessing it is that we can connect with family who are not in the same area or state.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop

From the SSWAA Staff to you … we wish you a wonderful holiday season and hearts overflowing with gratitude!

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SSWAA's "Reflections of Gratitude" emphasizes the importance of recognizing and appreciating the positive impacts in our lives, especially during vacation. It’s a thoughtful reminder to practice gratitude, fostering a more positive and resilient mindset. Cannobio Lago Maggiore

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