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Why I’m not Thankful

Nothing has gone as planned today.

You know the day.

I set my alarm early to get some kid-free work done and then they woke up before my alarm - (HOW do they know?!) I didn’t eat the nutritious breakfast I was planning because I was feeding a crabby baby and I felt munchy. (#oops) I didn’t stretch, exercise, or gather my thoughts this morning because #littlepeople. Now they’re pulling me in 100 whiny directions because - surprise - they woke up too early…



I don’t FEEL thankful today. I FEEL a little frustrated. I had a plan, and the plan isn’t working. I’m guessing you’ve been here before.

I'm going to take a breath... want to join me? .... ... Thanks. That was nice. I have a Gratitude Reset Recipe below. You can join me for that too. You'll need some tea, sugar and instant coffee. Let's take back today.



This week I did some mindset coaching for an online class I’m taking. The coach was showing us that every feeling comes from a corresponding thought. Essentially, feelings are constructs of thoughts. ...And this is why I'm not thankful. If I "simply" practiced different thoughts - I would experience different feelings. But my goodness - wouldn't it be nice if 'done' was as easy as 'said'!??


Every morning, we wake up with a choice. Whether it’s half full or empty, the fact is, there’s something in the glass.

The thoughts we have about that ‘something’ are extremely important. It is our CHOICE to see what’s in the glass.


What’s in your glass? Have you stopped to look? What does it look like?




Mine looks like a tractor “brrrrrrooooming” 1 year old with a bed head mop top that frames sparkling eyes and dimples still wearing pajamas as he toddles around the sunshine on my ankles… (YES - he's not supposed to be awake)


Mine looks like a sleepy-faced 4 year old bursting with giggles as she climbed on my lap on this unplanned morning and explained how her sister was “snorkling” LOUDLY in her sleep. (and no, I’m not going to correct her)





Mine looks like endless amounts of the cleanest, filtered drinking water.


Mine looks like the most delicious breakfast smoothie you’ve ever tasted from milk that could be no fresher lest I drink it from the cow.


Mine looks like a porch swing and the cooing morning dove that my 4 year old imitates and then breathlessly waits for the reply before exploding into wonder when it answers back.


But I'm not thankful if I don't pause to look in my glass.







Did you know that gratitude actually changes the makeup of your brain? Psychology today cites 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude including better relationships, improved physical & mental health, enhanced empathy, reduced aggression, improved sleep, improved mental strength and better self esteem.*


Where do I sign up? That sounds like something I want. Can we just sign up every mom everywhere? I want that. I want a thankful brain.


It’s pretty hard to be thankful at 100 miles per hour though. You can never see a blade of grass from a bird’s eye view. We have to get low.

We have to get low and slow because:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” (Atomic Habits: James Clear)


Last year I read Clear’s book and it’s still ringing in my ears. I bucked his “systems” approach for much of the 320 pages.

Surely my goals weren’t as fickle as he exposed them to be. Surely I was stronger than that.


But I’m *slowly* learning that systems aren't constraints. Systems are like the track for a train. They don’t inhibit it - they actually mobilize it. My system for doing one load of laundry every day mobilizes my success of never ever ever ever being overwhelmed by laundry. It’s terrific.


Funny thing is - James Clear isn’t the first author of systems. The same ideas about gratitude were written 2,000 years ago. Look at these systems: “but in every situation…..”; “do it all….”; “....overflowing with thankfulness”; “...Devote yourselves; Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances”*


Sound familiar? These quotes are from the best selling book of all time. They are tested by time - and proven by the latest brain science. However - as my pastor explained this week, un-applied truths are worthless.



If the desire for change is not accompanied by action, it remains just that: a desire.

I don't want to get stuck in desire. I want to take action. I want to be thankful.


So how do we get thankful?


Here’s what we did for a gratitude reset.

Pause Everything. If you haven’t made Dalgona Whipped Coffee, today is your day.



Dalgona Whipped Coffee Recipe

1. Take equal parts of instant coffee, sugar, and boiling water. Put it in a stand mixer and let it whip on high until it’s stiff. (Make sure you watch it because it is the coolest thing I’ve seen all week!!!)


2. Then decide if you’re feelin’ like warm coffee or iced

If warm: Heat a cup of milk

If cold: Throw some ice in your milk!

  • Farm Wife milk Fact: Did you know whole milk is 96.5% Fat Free? Yep. It's not as evil as some think and man-oh-MAN is it creamier in your coffee! For this thankfulness exercise, if you like creamy things, you might as well go for the whole ;)

  • Want fresh milk?


3. Top your milk with a generous amount of your whipped coffee dream - stir in as needed.



For your kids? You can make tea. (or Hot Chocolate - you do you.)


Gratitude Recipe

As you drink your [insert beverage choice], purposefully use and discuss the 5 senses with your kids.

Look at the tea

Feel the warm cup

Can you hear the tea?

Smell the tea.

Taste the tea.

Be thankful for the tea.

Be thankful for your senses

Be thankful for your kids

See who can take the slowest, biggest breath.


Need more?

We brought this same concept outside.

It’s actually really fun, and it’s good for you --- and your kids.



6 Minute Outdoor Thankfulness Reset

1. Set a timer on your phone for at least 1 minute.

  • Close your eyes and focus on hearing. Be SILENT. (You may have to try a few times or make a game out of it if you have little kids) What can you hear that your eyes can’t see?

  • Name something you heard

  • Be thankful


2. Set your timer again -

  • Open our eyes and plug your ears. What can you see that your ears can’t hear?

  • Name something you saw

  • Be thankful


3. Set your timer again -

  • What can you touch in 60 seconds? Wind? Soft Grass? Prickly pine cones? Poky Burdock? Bumpy Tree Bark? Warm pavement?

  • Name something you felt

  • Be thankful


4. Set your timer again -

  • What can you smell? Does it smell like the city? Or the country? Do you smell spring? Can you find a flower?

  • Discuss what you smelled

  • Be thankful


5. Set your timer again -

  • Can you taste anything? I suppose you could eat some grass. What else?

  • Discuss how amazing it is that we can enjoy the taste of food and don’t have to eat pine cones

  • Be thankful


6. One more time - Set your timer

  • And to the One who gave us these gifts - be thankful.


So there's my recipe - What's yours? Log in below and leave me a comment. Hearing from you is my favorite!

*Cited Articles: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude


*Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 2:6-7; Colossians 3:15-17; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Caledonia, MN 

612-619-3256

elisabeth.gerdes@gmail.com

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