Monday, August 17, 2009

TinyPrints Gratitude Challenge: Off to Rocky Start

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As I veteran blogger I receive no shortage of invitations to write on behalf of other companies and sites...for free. And I'm done with that. I've had enough exposure and link love. If I'm asked to write, I want to get paid.

That said, when I was approached by TinyPrints to take part in their Gratitude Challenge- 21 Days of not just rosey-eyed blogging and vlogging, but real-life gratitude for the people around me- I jumped on it. It feels less like an onerous task than it does a divine intervention.

I've been grumpy lately. About DH's continued unemployment and a whole lot of other stressful issues. And my boys. My bright, beautiful boys, they cannot be in the same room with each other for more than 10 seconds without one of them starting a fight. We've got about ten days before the start of school, which. Ugh. School. Don't get me started.

So all this anger and bitterness has been building inside me (Therapy? Who can afford that?) and the chance to step back for three weeks and recognize, name and feel grateful for the positive things in my life is welcome. And a challenge.

For example, I got a wonderful little goody bag from the TinyPrints folks (photos here on Jessica's blog and Kimberle's blog) last Friday, but we where in the midst of setting up for our garage sale. Multi-minded me had the good sense to put it aside until I could savor whatever was treasures were inside. So when things were running smoothly, I sent one of my boys to fetch the box. Moments later, out came to boys holding various items that had been tucked inside. And I yelled (not YELLED, but still) at them for opening the box instead of bringing it to me.

And now I sit here with the lights low and my children quiet. I return to my box and see a note reminding me to spend a few minutes each day counting my blessings. (Gah! note to self: remember to pick up desserts for Friday night services as we're hosting Kiddush in honor of our anniversary event though we won't be at services. Or should I go late to my book group and attend services even though DH can't, which makes the anniversary nod a potentially awkward situation even though our absences are a matter of timing. But if I want to goof with people's minds I can change my Facebook relationship status, too. Just for fun.)

Oh, where was I? Yes, take a deep breath with me. Cleansed are we?

Day 1 challenge, which I'm meeting just in the nick of time, is to sign the contract making a public commitment to participating in the full 21 day challenge (which will be so much easier once school starts, if you forget about homework fights and carpools, that is).

I will blog, vlog or post photos about my progress 2-3 a week for the next three weeks. Heck, I've even got a Cluttercast, I'm going to work into this!

Okay, for real. Today I am thankful for our bounty. If the garage sale made one thing clear, it's that we can do with so much less than we have.

I am grateful for my boys even though raising highly gifted children provides unique challenges (see items 6 and 7 from the link).

I am grateful for my husband and the chance to escape with him for a night in Chicago without our fabulous boys.

Will you join me on this journey? When you slow down and close your eyes (and, erm, your laptop) what are you most grateful for?

The fine print: All Gratitude Challenge posts will be on this blog or the blog of my choosing, given that I write on several sites. My participation in this project is voluntary. I am not getting paid for my participation, though I did receive a box with a t-shirt, personalized note cards (cute!) and a book of inspiring quotes and two mystery gifts ("another book," my boys assure me). I am free to mention or link to the brand as I see fit; there is no requirement to do so. I provide this information not only in the name of disclosure, but also because I'm often curious to know how different types of brand outreach work. If I show you mine, maybe you'll show me yours, so to speak. I especially hope that as I share my gratitude and good fortune, you'll share yours, as well!

5 comments:

celebrateholiday said...

Hi! You know I just got my son's (also gifted) Star tests from their old school (we are moving and so they will go to new schools in Sept.) and they are ridiculously off the charts. I told my older boy not to ge ta big head about it- lol.

If you ask me, I would often take tidy and attentive over gifted, but that is another subject... I will be reading and probably researching your blog because of this, and of course, The Gratitude Challenge. Have a good day!

Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig said...

I kind of have to laugh, because I'm thinking I could use this same kind of "divine intervention" around here. I volunteer a ton in our school district, and it seems like the administrators at my kids' three schools just don't make it very easy to serve them. BUT, if I'm grateful for anything today, it's my ability to serve. I have the time, the resources, and the support from my family to be away from them. Minus all the politics and bureaucracy, I'm grateful for the difference I can make.

Rock and Roll Mama said...

What a great reminder that even for those who "have it all", having it all can seem like too darn much. But, as my grandmother used to say about growing old, "It sure beats the alternative!" LOL.
(She's since passed on, but was OK with it by then, mostly.)

I also appreciate the thoughtfulness of your disclosure, as, in these muddied waters, a little clarity goes a long way. Looking forward to reading your gratitude posts, I'm sure they'll lift us all up a bit.

Bonggamom said...

I love garage sales, they're a great way to purge, and yes, a great reminder that we can do with so much less -- and be grateful for it. I look forward to doing the Gratitude Challenge with you!

Kenn said...

OK, 21 days in a row of anything is way too much for me, but I'm wowed by your commitment. I think I'll try one gratitude post and see how that goes.

And here's a comment filled with gratitude — I am grateful to Tiny Prints, because I won our holiday cards from them last year — complete with 50 customized photo cards and matching envelopes, custom return address labels and matching custom stamps! They were the coolest cards ever. (Fine print — this is an unpaid testimonial.)