50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

When my friend Dawn from Tales from the Motherland emailed me earlier this week with the idea to flood the blogosphere with notes of gratitude, I honestly got a little nervous. Me? Find time the week of Christmas to blog?

This week, I barely have time to breathe. But then I remembered that, y’know, taking stock of all the things that I am thankful for is good for my soul. Dawn’s challenge was simple: take a timer out, set it to 10 minutes, and write down 50 things I’m thankful for.

And I realized: amidst all the chaos, I can spare 10 or 15 minutes for mindfulness. While I didn’t made it to 50 – I’m a pretty slow writer, truth be told – I did come up with 20 things I am immensely grateful for this Christmas.

  1. My precious girl has transformed my life.

    My precious girl has transformed my life.

    I am grateful for my daughter, who teaches me patience, love, and new things about the world every day.
  2. My husband. Nine years into marriage and 11 years into our relationship, he challenges me and inspires me in so many ways. His love is the definition of unconditional.
  3. My mother. Through my own motherhood, I’m learning to appreciate her more because of the sacrifices she made for me.
  4. My mother-in-law. The depths of her love and compassion inspire me daily.
  5. My job. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to something bigger than me.
  6. My friends, both new and old. This year I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with my best friend Cameron who lives in California three times (!), and each time I’ve been reminded how even though we’re not the same girls we were when we met as teenagers, our relationship is still strong.
  7. My home. I love that I have a place I can return to each day. I’m blessed that that is something I don’t have to question.
  8. Target. Yes. I am grateful for Target. Sue me.
  9. Twitter. It’s my place to be funny, honest, angry, and off-beat.
  10. Writing. I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I know that eventually when life gets a little less crazy, I will be able to return to writing the way I want to. Writing waits. It’s cool like that.
  11. Therapy. This has been the year that I’ve had to face the truth of my depression and anxiety. Therapy has been a huge boon to this.
  12. As well as meds. Meds are good, too.
  13. Stress. Yes, I’m thankful for stress. I learned that my life was off-kilter by the unhealthy way I responded to stress. If it weren’t for that kick in the butt, I would probably still be in the depths of depression.
  14. Memphis. I love my city, and I’m grateful to be back here after a 10-year absence. We’re more than barbeque and Elvis, y’all.
  15. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child. As C has gotten older, I’ve been given the opportunity to reexperience all the things I loved as a little girl. This weekend, she watched The Sound of Music for the first time and I cried happy tears through every song.
  16. Talking. Really, our ability to communicate is so underrated. Last week I had drinks after work with Alison, my work bestie, and our conversation invigorated me and made me feel so grateful that there are people all around us who can identify with our happinesses and struggles.
  17. The world is getting better. The world is fraught with pain, injustices, fear; all you have to do is get on Twitter to realize that. But there is so much good here, too. This world and everyone within it is worth fighting for. I’m thankful that I seem to remember that when I am most in need of that reassurance.
  18. The small things. Coffee at my local shop. The mural of Johnny Cash I pass when I drive to work. The handwritten Christmas card from a kindergarten we’re touring this January. When C falls asleep in my lap at church. All these give me a nudge to get through the day.
  19. Human touch. Family hugs are my favorite. Ever since she was a small toddler, whenever B and I have hugged, C will wedge herself between us and say, “It’s time for Clifford hot dog!” We have absolutely no idea what this means, but we love our Clifford hot dogs.
  20. God’s graciousness. I don’t usually get religious on my blog, but I firmly believe that all goodness, kindness, inclusiveness, and hope comes from something much larger than me. God has created a world worth loving and the safety I feel in prayer is one of the most authentic sensations I have in my life. I am thankful to be good enough for God, no matter how much I dislike myself.
If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes (or, in my case 20…I’m a slow writer :); timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! 

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project, click here for full instructions from our gracious hostess, Dawn from Tales from the Motherland


  1. teresarpate · · Reply

    Wonderful, wonderful. I am so proud and Dad is ‘strutting’ in heaven. We love and adore our Emily.

  2. Yay gratitude; yay happiness! I am finding that despite a horrendous lack of sleep last night–– went to bed at 5am today, was up by 9:15… I feel like a giddy kid, reading all of these great posts! I love your 20 heart felt thoughts. Number 3. Yes! I left off therapy (I’ve written so much about it), but man it’s changed my life! Right now, the physical therapy I’m doing is kicking my butt, in all the best ways. As I read each list, I think of several more I wish I’d thought of… in my then tired, frazzled state. I’m grateful that I have today free, to wrap gifts, and fall apart from exhaustion. And read all this gratitude. It just feels good. All the best in 2016, Emily. I hope we’ll manage to connect face to face, yet again. Thanks so much for pausing to join in! I hope some of your blogging buds will do the same. :-) xox

    1. I am just so grateful you got me to do this, Dawn! A little encouragement goes a long way. Please put Memphis on your to-visit list for 2016 so I can see you! Alton Brown from the Food Network just named it the best foodie city in the USA…now we need you to give us the taste test! Xoxo

      1. I am a mad fan of Memphis, seriously, and Jennifer B lives there too. We are making a connection in 2016, come hell or high water. I’d come for Graceland, Civll Rights museum and dry rub ribs, but you two make it a must do! oxo

  3. Aaaah, 15. We’re just starting to get there with D. Lately, we come downstairs and the first thing he does is sign “lights” at the Christmas tree. I turn them on, and we continue with our day. Weee!
    I loved reading your list.

  4. Dude, so much yes. I’m so proud of our city. I moved away after college and said I would never return. When I *did* return, though, I found a place that was transforming. So excited for Overton Square, revamped Shelby Farms, and probably most of all Crosstown and the support everyone has for that massive undertaking. It’s a great time to be in Memphis!

  5. I’m so happy to see you here!

    I feel like we bonded the same way I did with Dawn – briefly but intensely, like a “we-would-totally-hang-out-all-the-time-if-we-lived-near-one-another” way.
    Do you really say y’all?

    I love Target. I found a backpack there today that I love. For $29!

  6. #17. Truth. *clinks glass to screen* Merry Christmas, Emily. <3

  7. I am really enjoying these lists! Must try this too. I especially liked ‘the small things’.

  8. […] I stumbled on a picture of Emily’s […]

  9. […] you know Nate? If not, stop by his world and say hey.  Or at least check out his recent TedX […]

  10. Very nice! Like you, I’d probably take my time and thoughtfully get as far as I could in the predetermined (allotted) time. Your first and last are wonderful bookends to a lovely list of gratitude. Have a very Merry Christmas and may 2016 bring you deeper, closer relationships with friends and family, a realization that you’re wiser, stronger and capable of loving more, good health, sound mind and spirit and prosperity!

  11. I like number 10. You should write more often because I like the way you’re expressing it all in written words. Grateful to have discovered your site. I’d be one of your newest followers. Happy New Year!

  12. […] amazing ride so far, and especially grateful to: Jen, Jen, Pam, Susan, Cathy, Louise, Rara, Darla, Emily, Mike, Rochelle, Björn, Loré, Lisa, Darla, Erin, Samara, Amy, James, Lisa–– who all jumped […]

  13. clifford hot dogs. just awesome. my son calls them sandwich hugs, but i think that’s because i used to call them that when i was the cheese and parents were the bread. glad to have stumbled upon your cool blog.

  14. This is wonderful. And funny and soooo normal things that we sometimes forget to be thankful for. Great post

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