Gratitude · Grief · On My Heart · Uncategorized


Gratitude 30: Day 1, Home

I’m grateful for Home and the safety of it in this season where our lives have been forever changed.Home is haven.Home is family.Home is connection.Home is healing.

Home is peace and rest.

Home is sacred.


Gratitude 30, day 2, Inspiration

This boy, my inspiration.
He inspires me to love well, live compassionately, dream big, and breathe deeply.

I’m grateful for every single day that his joy-filled body filled my arms, and I am grateful still for he honor of carrying his spirit.
I’m grateful that forever I will be “Mattie’s Mom”.


Gratitude 30, Day 3, LOVE

Today I am grateful to be ridiculously rich in LOVE. I feel like a flipping millionaire. Some days I don’t even know how it’s possible for one human heart to contain so much love, to give so much love, and to have so much love poured into it.Love.
The greatest of these is LOVE.


Gratitude 30, Day 4, “Color”

Color inspires me, moves me, calms me, and energizes me. Color can trigger memories and emotions. Color can give words where other language falls short.

I’m grateful for a world filled with color.


Gratitude 30, Day 5, Happiness

For a mother who has lost a child #findinghappinessduring the sadest season of my life has not been easy. Rising up out of the cloud of sadness and depression takes a conscious work of the heart and mind.But I am finding it.
And because it has been such a journey, I am more grateful than ever for moments, hours, and days that are happy. I don’t take happiness for granted. I work hard to find it. I look deeply to uncover it.
Feeling happy feels strange some days, but I am learning to welcome that stranger into my heart and allow her to do her work.
Thank you , Happiness.
Ps. Thank you Kansas City Royals, you’ve made this Momma smile a lot.



Gratitude 30, Day 6, “Words”

Words. I am so grateful for the gift of words. Words heal. Words empower. Words release. Words strengthen. Words express. Words energize. Words empathize.I’m grateful for the ability to string words together to tell a story. My story.I’m grateful for the words of other writers that allow me to feel understood because they tell their own story with vulnerability.I’m grateful for the words of countless authors that allow me to escape into another world. Someone else’s story.And I am reminded every day to guard and protect my words. They are powerful. I’m challenged daily to used words that heal, challenge and strengthen.


Gratitude 30, Day 7, Keepsake

I am grateful for many many keepsakes that are gentle and beautiful reminders of love. It was hard to choose one.

This is the most recent treasure that I am grateful for. My mother handed this to me this summer along with a pair of opal earring, both belonged to my grandmother.

While that alone is meaningful and worth treasuring, the preciousness of the gift was intensified because the stone is Mattie’s birthstone.

I need to take this to a jeweler locally and get it cleaned and talk about replacing the center stone. I have a special stone in mind for the center.

Any jeweler friends out there???


Gratitude 30, Day 8, “Nature”

I’m grateful for the beauty of nature that has always spoken deeply to my soul. There’s something uniquely special about the nature surrounding my childhood home.

Along with the beauty, come a string of memories and feelings. Moments that catapult my heart into gratitude after gratitude after gratitude.


Gratitude 30, Day 9, Laughter

I’m grateful for Laughter.According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter may stimulate organs, increase endorphins, relieve stress, soothe tension, improve immune system, relieve pain, improve mood, help cope with stress, and increase personal connection.This boy had the best laugh on the planet. He could hardly hold his head up when he was laughing super hard. He often laughed for no apparent reason, especially late at night as he looked to a specific corner of his room. We know he saw and experienced things that we cannot even imagine.I miss his laughter so much, but I’m grateful to be learning to connect to his spirit through moments of laughter and joy.———————

Gratitude 30, Day 10, “Music”

I am part of a family who lives and breathes music. Music is everywhere. I hear it pouring out from behind closed bedroom doors as songwriters create. It’s almost always on in the van, except when I’m alone. The turntable in the dining room spins many evenings.I’m grateful most of all for music because it gives language to the heart cry of so many. A good songwriter, much like a good painter, spins a tale that can be translated and absorbed by the individual listener.I love music that makes my family get up and dance or sing at the top of their lungs.I love music that makes me cry. (Which lately is about all music).But most of all, I love the music that pours out of the hearts of my family because it tells our story, and it’s a story worth telling.


Gratitude 30, Day 11, “Gift”
I recieved many beautiful gifts in my life time, but this morning I woke up with my heart full because of a gift someone else recieved yesterday.I decided to turn this “Secret Sister” thing going around on Facebook back around and round up a few “Secret Sisters” to send gifts to two special people who needed encouragement, willing to give with no return.One of the recipients is sweet friend Kelsey who has a very serious autoimmune disease with chronic lung issues as well. Her words of thanks say it all.To see her delight over this gift was the best gift I could have recieved yesterday. And the secret giver was equally blessed.The true beauty in any gift is the joy of giving.

If you want to be part of my Secret Giving campaign, please message me and I’ll send you the name of a dear one who could use encouragement through giving.


Gratitude30, day 11, “Wisdom”


Today I am grateful for the wisdom exemplified in my beautiful parents.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17

Wisdom is not something to be flaunted or blasted. Knowledge that is loudly proclaimed is simply Arrogance. It’s like handing someone rotten fruit.

Wisdom is something that can be observed by the onlooker. Seen in actions and felt in through merciful and loving words spoken. Wisdom is the ripe fruit plucked off a tree with deep roots.

Ps. This is their first ever selfie!!



Gratitude 30, Day 13, “Art”
I’m grateful for a mother who taped large pieces of butcher’s paper to the refrigerator and had paint always available. I’m grateful for a mother who let me paint the nativity scene on the picture window every Christmas.

I’m grateful for an aunt who taught me that art was bigger than her classroom. Art was life and nature. Art was to be found in flower gardens and in treasures found in the woods.

I’m grateful for a six week art class that made me realize that I truly was an artist.

I’m grateful for years of study under brilliant artists. For hours tucked away in a little white house “The Art Haus”, living and breathing art with my friends.

I’m grateful for many years or teaching art and being inspired by students.

I’m grateful for the art of making a home beautiful and throwing parties that make the celebrated one feel special.

I’m grateful that I discovered that words can be art.

But at this moment, I’m grateful for finding the courage to pick up a paint brush again and put color on paper for no other purpose than to be happy.

I’m grateful today for finding the courage to create.

Ps. I once had a beautiful cat named Matisse



Gratitude 30, Day 14, “Routine”
Grateful for all that grounds us and keeps us safe. The steady, beat of love. The routine, in the sense of “being performed as a regular procedure and not for a special reason.”

We gather together because it’s our routine, the thing that keeps us steady and centered in love. When chaos tries to creep in, we cling to the routine of family time, the sound of music, the rhythm of easy conversation, a baby’s laughter, or the ease of saying nothing at all.

Hold close those you love. Let love be your routine.


Gratitude 30, Day 15, ” Clothes”

In light of all that’s going on in our world, it matters very little what I am wearing today, yet it matters greatly how my heart is dressed.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Col. 3:12-14


Gratitude 30, Day 16, “New”

This one is harder for me. Part of me doesn’t want NEW things. I liked what I had before, my life when my son was alive. I want to dig my heels into the earth and cry out, “No, I’m not moving!”

But here it is. Every day that has followed 8/21/14 was a NEW day. And here I am, living, doing the hard work of expressing gratitude and seeking joy, even when some days it’s like a tug of war.

So today I’m choosing to be grateful that things in life are being made new because I am allowing it to happen. I’ve loosened my grip and I am leaning into newness, waiting for the mystery to unfold.


Gratitude30, Day 17, “Weather”

I went to bed last night during a thunderstorm. I love thunderstorms with all my heart. That meant waking up to drizzling rain and grey skies. Wet leaves on the ground shimmered.

I’m thankful for weather that evokes feelings. The peace and calm of a rainy day, the slow down pace a grey sky, the comfort of a warm scarf and layers of clothes.

Rain to nourish. Grey skies for rest.
All of it slowing me down.


Gratitude 30, Day 18, “Food”

I’m super grateful for food! I just did a 2 day nutritional cleanse to reset my body. A huge part of my lifestyle for the past 2 years.

But man oh man did that shake taste good this morning!! And I can’t wait to get home and have my favorite turkey burger with roasted veggies and southwest sauce!!

I’m also grateful that I’ve grown so much and no longer use food to medicate but to energize and fuel me!!


Gratitude 30, Day 19, “Beauty”


I have very few words tonight. He was beauty. And I’m grateful that he was mine.

He IS mine.
His beauty everywhere.


Gratitude 30, Day 20, “Friendship”

I have never in 25 years been more grateful for the friendship side of marriage. Marriage is not all hearts and roses. And during the last 15 months, it is unconditional love and true friendship that has held us together. He listens, he knows without words when I have none, he’s like a fierce guard dog when it comes to my heart and protecting me, he tries his darndest to get me to rest and take care of myself. At times when it’s been the hardest this past year we often say to each other, “Remember, we’re friends.”He’s going out of town for less than 48 hours, and I’m so sad. We honestly haven’t been apart for more than half a day in the last 15 months.Last night I was talking about what I would do while he was gone. I suggested that I get our bedroom painted to which he slapped his forehead and shook his head. I just thought it might be nice to get it done before shoulder surgery, but apparently I’m supposed to spend time learning how to take a proper nap.
Gratitude 30, Day 21, “Technology”

I don’t consider myself technologically savy, but I am beyond grateful for technology. Technology allows me to stay connected to family and friends in real and meaningful ways. It has given me the gift of some of the most treasured friendships I have ever had.

Technology allows me to work from home, connecting with people all over the world, helping them reach their goals.

Technology has taken my writing from journals to blogging, allowing me to share my heart, my story with the world. (Blog link in profile)

Technology has allowed me to share this little boy with the world. Thousands of people knew “Mattie Loux” and fell in love. He changed us all.

Gratitude 30, Day 22, “Scent”

Day 3 of being in bed due to pain. I’m so grateful for scents like these three that help calm me and alleviate tension.I also sent some scents on a special blanket to a very sick friend to comfort her.

Gratitude 30, Day 23 “Time”











I got my days mixed up. How ironic!

I am grateful for the precious gift of time and refuse to take it for granted. I’m learning this lesson. I have not mastered it. I want to use my time courageously.


Gratitude 30, Day 24, “Knowledge”












I am grateful for knowledge gained from the place of walking, living and experiencing life.

My work as an educator though forged a university classroom, was really given to me through having the experience of being the student of many wonderful teachers and though being raised by two teacher parents.

My work in the field of adoption was born out of the experience of adopting our first child. That knowledge depth has grown over the years as we adopted 3 more and as I worked with nearly 200 families on their adoptions.

My work in the field of health and wellness was born out of my own experience of making a life style change that dramatically impacted my health and the health of my family.

My medical/special needs knowledge was born in the school of hard knocks advocating for the care of my sweet boy. I know things I never dreamed of knowing.

My knowledge of grief was forced up on me through the experience of losing a child. I would give it back in a moment. I don’t want it. But since I have it, sharing it is the only thing that makes sense to me.

We learn every day if our eyes and hearts are open. Knowledge is found in every experience, every conversation, every step of the walk.


Gratitude 30, Day 25, “Comfort”

12273746_10153264572723595_3424961890633197664_oLet’s face it, I’m not very comfortable physically these days. It take a lot of pillows, many ice packs, oils and ointments, etc to get me comfortable.
BUT, I take great comfort in the peacefulness of my home, in the love and safety of my family, in the devotion of my husband, and the kindness of friends.

This vase of birchwood and gold pinecones is a symbol of comfort to me. I had grand plans for both, and my plans failed due to my own discomfort. Pinecones that I meant to bleach were angrily spray painted gold. Birch circles that I meant to create beautiful wood burnt ornaments with simply didn’t happen because of pain.

So now they comfort me with the imperfection of what they are. Beautifully imperfect. Much like me.

Learning to lay my grand plans aside in exchange for this beautiful imperfection.


Gratitude 30, Day 26, “Family”



These people are my heart. I burst with joy at the simple thought that they are mine. We ache deeply over the absence of one very magical boy with his head of brown curls and a smile that hugged our hearts. We each hold him within.

We seek to be more grateful, more kind, more loving, more intentional because of his fingerprint on our hearts.

For these who hold my heart, for these whose hearts fill every crevice of my soul, I am grateful.


Gratitude30, Day 27, “Luxury”


I love beautiful things, going on a fun outing, having a great dinner out from time to time, getting a pedicure…..

But ultimately most of my life is a luxury. My home is warm, we have two vehicles that run well, there is food in our refrigerator and we get a paycheck every Monday.

We live what many around me would call a modest life. If we look outside our neighborhood, our city, even beyond the walls of our nation, it is impossible not to look at our lives and call them luxurious.

In spite of the challenges we face, the days we come up short, or have an unexpected emergency, we sit in the lap of luxury.

I am grateful and humbled by it. If I long for more, it is simply so that I am able to give more freely and help others with greater ability.


Gratitude 30, Day 28, “Work”










I am grateful that I have always done work that I truly love(d). I’m grateful that the work of my hands is an extension of the work of my heart.

I give and serve and love others through my work.


Gratitude 30, Day 29, “Creativity”










I’m grateful to be learning what it means to live a truly creative life. It’s far more than paint and paper. It’s about a mindset that leads to both grand adventure and contented rest.


Gratitude 30, Day 30, “Self-love”

“Dear Self,
Be kind. You are full of love and compassion. You walk in strength. You are faithful and steadfast in the love that you extend every day to your family. You are beautiful and you are brave and you are strong. Go easy on yourself, extend grace, learn to rest- you deserve it.

Success is not measured by speed or numbers. You succeed every day because you get up and walk in love. Success is not measured by perfection, in fact, the failures and obstacles have far more to teach you than the moments of creative perfection ever will. Watch, Listen, Learn.

You matter. There is no one who can touch the world with a finger print that is just like yours. No one can replace the love that you were intended to deposit on your journey. You are not a commodity, you are an irreplaceable gift.

You are loved.”

Full post on blog
“Dear Self, Be Kind” 9/30/15


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