Journal of Gratitude

Writing in a journal...
Such an easy concept.
Most of them you can pick up for less than $10.00 in the store,
but how often do people write in a journal? 
when do you write down what you are thankful for?

I've mentioned before that when my Mom passed away, 
I got 4 of her journals (some written to me, some for herself, some to my Dad, etc.), 
well they are surely my most prized possessions. 
She may not be here, but she still inspires me daily. 
How cool is that?
She is still inspiring me in my daily life, thanks to these journals.

The gratitude journal above is one that my Mom and I wrote in together in 1998 (I was 12). 
She made it one of those mommy-daughter bonding times.
While her thankful items mainly consisted of family time, days that she was in good health, hot tea, long walks (and talks) with friends...
Mine consisted of: food, boys, and AOL
Good to know things haven't changed since then. 
Also, my screen name was aNgLbAbyK3, I used the upper and lower case mix of letters, and I took hours to perfect my away messages.

Even though I've read each journal multiple times from front to back cover, 
from time to time I re-read them, like the other day at breakfast.
My Mom's words and soul blow me away.

The above excerpt is from January 1998..
 shortly after she got the news that her most recent MRI showed
 cancer had spread to her spine.

My Mom wrote:
"I am grateful that Tim's love for me is strong enough to see me with his heart; surely his eyes look upon a body scarred and now magic-markered for radiation. I am most grateful for Katie, who I will look cancer for in the face again, and again, and again, and not back down for this child, my gift from God, and I will fight to be here for. I will love her, cry with (and for) her, love with her, and say no when necessary so she becomes the woman she is meant to be - as special as the child she is now. I am so greatly blessed."

Words that could move a mountain (and for me, to tears.)
Here is a woman who, at the time, had been on and off battling cancer
 for just under 10 years. And this is her attitude? 
She is without a doubt my role model. Forever.
Her words got me to thinking,
We are so quick to label "I'm having a bad day", but most of these so called bad days,
 are just average days. Days that we are grumpy, cranky, and that challenge us. 
Those not so bad days make the wonderful days we always rave of.
The next time you are having a "bad day", think to yourself:
"do I have my health?" 
"do I have my family and loved ones around me?"

because our health and family are the things that matter the most.
Today, I'm thankful for these life lessons my Mom is continually teaching me years later.
("being physically able to clean" - Isn't that so true? I hate to clean. But if one day I wasn't physically able to do it, I would go crazy.)

Now, go, and be thankful, for this day you are given
and sorry, for the extra deep Thursday post.

PS-One last favor. 
Hop on over to my girlfriend Stephanie's new blog, Blonde Kitchen.
Steph and I have known each other since we were like 5 years old (and she knew my momma!), and now she lives in California and posts all these amazing pics that I'm jealous of. She blogs some great recipes!
Don't believe me that you will love her blog? 
She has Wine Fridays...
where she shares a favorite bottle of wine and what foods to pair it with.
Yeah, you guys will be friends too. 


  1. What an awesome gift to have from your mom. Such a nice reminder of her love for you! Thanks for sharing.

  2. aww Katie this is so precious. It brought tears to my eyes. Your mama seems like an amazing woman! I know that you have that part of her in you. Hope you have a great day honey! :)

  3. Its so important to be reminded to be thankful. I still have my mom but she has been plagued with serious health problems since I was a baby. Every time I hear people complain about their parents I think of all the times I should have/could have lost her. I look at all she still accomplished even though she was told she would be dead by now. I have NO excuse for slacking ever. Lovely post my dear. :)

  4. AMAZING. Another reason for me to love your blog more. I am so glad you have these. When my dad passed away in May I got his bible. He had a few notes and pages marked.. but I would have killed for his thoughts.

  5. Wow what an amazing woman! Brought me to tears but I'm in awe of her strength. I can't imagine how much you much miss her. Hugs.

  6. I love this. Your mom's words brought tears to my eyes too. Such an amazingly strong woman. I think there is something so everlasting about a person's handwriting. I love rereading old cards from my grandma, and just seeing her handwriting helps me remember her. Thank you for sharing this today Katie! Today I will be thankful & grateful.

  7. My mother like yours, also wrote in several journals. I have a few of them, but most are boxed up at my Grandma's house in her basement. They are so real to me, seeing her handwriting. Helps keep her alive, and remind me that even though she passed away in 95', that she really did exist!

    I was a huge journal writer after she died. I didn't know how else to "vent" my feelings about everything other than writing them down. Most are to painful for me to reread as an adult (those are also sitting boxed up in my G ma's basement too) Writing can be very therapeutic. I haven't touched a journal in a few years now. Haven't felt the need to. Hoping that is a sign that i am healed! :) Great Post Katie as always!

  8. First let me clear the tears from my eyes! Second, you are such a strong lady & the exact person your Mom intended you to be! I think that's so awesome that y'all would journal together & that you have those forever as a memory! After my mom passed my Dad gave me a letter that was from my Mom - for when she passed away. It was one of the best gifts I could have ever gotten! Big hugs to you as I know you miss her so much!

  9. What a beautiful and inspiring post! It is such an amazing gift to have those journals that you and your mom completed together, as well as the ones she completed alone. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

  10. This is beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to share your Mom's wonderful words with us - they inspire you daily, but now those same words are going to inspire us to be a little more thankful every day.

  11. Wow, what a treasured thing to have. You should make copies of them and store them on a hard-drive or something in case (God forbid) something were to happen to them. Even if it was just a drink spilled on them. Unless you've already done this, then forget what I just said ;-)

    You're mom's words brought tears to my eyes, what a strong woman.

    And you're so true, a "bad" day to most people does not even come close to what some people have to go through, day in and day out. I think once you see somebody you love go through what having cancer entails, it really puts things into perspective. My family and our health are always the first two things I thank God for every night, my dad is a survivor of colon/rectal cancer and I know I'm extremely lucky to have him with me every single day.

  12. I am LOVING this. I wish I had something like this from my dad.

    Thanks for going with me this morning, lady! :)

    and so excited about steph's blog!

  13. Such an inspiring post.

    What a lovely thing to have and to be able to read again and again.

  14. I just came to your blog to steal a picture of Rocky for my post today and now, here I sit at my desk bawling crying. Seriously girlfriend this is the most BEAUTIFUL post! Im even more excited to meet your heart of gold next week! LOVE YOU

  15. This is so wonderful! Thank you for sharing! My Mom passed away 10 years ago and I wish I had something like this...

  16. That is so sweet what your mom wrote! Truly amazing. I bought a journal recently to use as a gratitude journal, but I've been slacking on the writing !

  17. What a beautiful, wonderful treasure you have to keep those journals. Her words seriously touched my heart, and your post did too!

    Something J and I always talk about in our lives is being "complaint-free" and it's something we strive for. Because like you said, we have a roof over our head, jobs, health, families, friends, God... SO MUCH to be thankful for. It's easy to complain about silly things like traffic jams and long lines-- but it's our ultimate goal to find joy in every situation. Every.single.one.

    Thanks for an amazing post today, to remind others that we ALL have soooo so much to be thankful for, every day.

    Sorry for the novel of a comment ;)

  18. I think all the comments you've received in less than an hour are a testament to how inspiring both you and your sweet mom are to all of us. I am sitting here at work, in tears. I'm not sure I'll be able to find the words to say this, but I'll try.

    As you know, reading this touches me on such a deep level. First of all, thank you. Never apologize for deep posts - they are your life and we love you for it. Reading the words your mom wrote... wow! She loved you SO much [and still does.] But reading how deeply she cared for you and saw the beauty and potential in you... that is amazing. I am so happy that you have those journals to look back on.

    They have inspired me to write something with my future children. Something that, no matter what happens, they can always look back on with fond memories. As you know, this life is so short. Everything can change in an instant and once that happens, we don't get back what we once had. But, thankfully, we have pictures and journals and memories that keep us remembering.

    I really hope our moms have found each other up there. And if they haven't yet, I know they will :) You continue to inspire me, Katie. Thank you for being such a wonderful example to those of us who have lost our mothers. Love you bunches!!! xoxo

  19. Love this girlfriend! I was an avid diary-writer when I was younger and it's so fun to go back and see what was SO important to me back then...so funny. I really should pick something up and start writing again, especially now that I have a bambino arriving. xo.

  20. I was on the verge of tears while reading this and then I read Chelsea's comment and the tears started flowing. You are both such strong and incredible women. I rely on my Mom A LOT and I don't know what I would do if she wasn't here. You two have such inspiring outlooks on life even after having something terrible happen. I'm so glad you have these journals to be able to keep fresh all of the great things your mom was and how much she loved you! Loved this post Katie, you are wonderful!

  21. Such a beautiful post and reminder--I loved reading a few of your moms words. You could feel the passion and love behind her writing that she had for you and your father. You blessed her life so incredibly much and I love knowing that she continues to bless yours know. This will be such a neat thing to share with your children. Thanks for opening up this part of your life with those of us who stalk you on a daily basis. Love you girl (and miss you--it seems like its been awhile!!) Have a great day pretty lady.

  22. Katie,

    I'm so impressed with your ability to continue to love after the hurt that you've felt in your heart. I am so impressed at your positivity and gratitude, even when your life hasn't been all rainbows and sunshine.

    I have a gratitude journal that I've maintained since January of this year. Frequently when I'm having a bad day, I can open that and realize there is so much to be thankful for. Thank you for reminding me that even in the worst of times, there is still so much amazingness.

    You're an inspiration.

  23. Katie, it is so wonderful that you have these from your mother. I can only imagine how close you must still feel with her to have these words and shared experiences. I love that you have also your thoughts at the time and can see what she was appreciative for as well as how you grew and changed. You should continue writing down things you're thankful for so that you can continue looking back to them.

    PS Love the AOL nickname. Too funny. We were all such nerds growing up! How long did it take you to perfect your away messages?

  24. This is so sweet! It's a great feeling who mommas can do for their babies whether or not they are still around! You are truely blessed by her and her thoughts!

  25. This brought me to tears. Your mom seemed to be an amazing woman & raised an amazing daughter!!

  26. Katie- Thank you so much for sharing these inspiring words from your mom. She sounds like she was a very strong, amazing, and poetic woman and someone who loved so much. How special to have something like this from her and be able to look upon it whenever you feel the need.

    Thank you for the reminder to appreciate what we have. Now that I am pregnant, I try my best to see the good and live my life with positivity and nothing but love. I hope I am half the mother that your mom was.

    Thank you for sharing something so special to you with all of us.

    xoxoxo Michelle

  27. Wow, Katie, that's amazing. What an awesome thing that you were able to share with her. It brought me to tears. So amazing.

  28. I have a thanks Journal too! I count things I'm grateful for, like in the book One Thousand Gifts. What an awesome thing to have. Your mom sounds wonderful.

  29. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm sitting at my desk at work just in tears. I love how your mom thought to do this for you, and I love more that even though she was sick and going through something no one can imagine, she was grateful for things we take for granted. She was grateful she was able to clean. I hate cleaning...but I'm grateful I'm able to do it as well.

    Your mom sounds like a wonderful lady, you are truly blessed to have those journals to look back on and know that your mom loves you forever and always.

  30. I love this so much! My mom wasn't a journal-er, but she gave cards with heartfelt messages all the time, so I have those. I love looking back and remembering every event that the card was for. Such a great way to keep their memory alive!! :) I love these sorts of posts... never apologize for the deep thoughts! Also - do moms automatically get gorgeous handwriting?!?! HAHA

  31. This post gave me chills. What an amazing gift to treasure. Definitely inspired me to be a little more grateful today.

  32. This definitely brought tears to my eyes. So many times we take our parents, siblings, friends for granted. You're so blessed to have these written memories to remind you what a strong woman you had as a mother!

    This is so random, but I've been catching up on blog reading to put off the cleaning I HAVE to do today... I think the little note from your mother "being physically able to clean" was a hint from the Good Lord to get off my behind and get to it! :) Thank you for that :)

  33. Katie....I'm sitting here at work with tears streaming down my face. What a wonderful mother. She loved you with all her heart and is a great example of a strong, powerful, humble woman. Sending you a big fat virtual hug. xoxo!

  34. Reading your mother's words is so touching. I can't imagine what it is like for you, not having your mom here with you. Having her personal thoughts to read has to be so precious for you. HUGS :)

  35. Omgosh, I love this...what a beautiful thing to have. I seriously might be tearing up at work right now!

    ps..and THANK YOU for the shout out Katie! I'm so excited to join you all in the blog world.

  36. I am thankful for you, and our friendship, and Rocky and iced coffee, and I supposed...Billy too. I am also thankful for you punching me in the face via emoticon on a daily basis.

    Love you pookie pants. See you in T-MINUS SIX DAYS!

  37. Katie - I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I'm not sure I've ever commented! Thanks so much for sharing today. Your mom was clearly a special woman and a wonderful mother! I love beeing reminded to keep things in perspective - life could use a lot more of that! Oh, and I'm also eternally thankful for Billy Madison :)

  38. This is beautiful :) thanks for sharing!
    You are so lucky to have these words left behind from your mother. I lost my dad 15 years ago and I would give anything to have a part of him like this. You are truly blessed!

    And thanks for the reminder to be thankful because we all tend to forget a lot! We focus more on what we don't have and can't do that we forget all the wonderful things God's grace have allowed us.

    One quote that I always hold near and dear to my heart is
    "Never regret growing older, it is a priveledge denied to many".

    It helps me be grateful for each day because It's one more day that many other people didn't get to experience.


  39. What an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing such a true and honest reminder that our "bad days" usually are not bad at all. There is so much to be thankful for! Love you're blog, I'm a new reader :)

  40. "Being physically able to clean." Now that resonated with me....how much we take those simple tasks for granted.

    I love your posts like this because (as Steph says) they punch me in the face (emotionally) and make me realize how silly I'm being for thinking for an instant, "what a shitty day i'm having."

    I have my health. My family. My husband. And all that I love have their health as well.

    Nothing is more precious than that!

  41. i love this.... I email myself things that i want to remember and have a folder called "the story of us" things I want to remember... I love this and that your momma done that for you...this is going to sound weird but i would put them in a fireproof safe when your not using them.... You just never know and thats not something you want to lose...

  42. What an incredible keepsake of your mom and what a lovely way to spend time together. I hope you carry on the tradition!

  43. Good gracious, crying at work. What a beautiful woman. You have totally changed my perspective on cleaning the house and bathing the dog tonight when I get home from work.

  44. thank you so much for sharing this, Katie....i can't even tell you how much it touched my heart.

  45. Thank you so much for sharing this post! What a beautiful person your mom was. I know you are blessed by her each day. Thank you for blessing my day!

  46. This is the best thing I've read all day. I've never lost someone very close to me, so I can't imagine what you went through, but what a blessing for you to have these journals. As a mom, I so admire her selflessness.

  47. So beautiful. What an amazing gift from your momma :) It's really just the little things...

  48. I couldn't think of a better message to read today. Thank you thank you for sharing some of your mom's words- what an incredible woman. The way I look at it, if you have health and family, you have everything.

  49. I came across your blog for the first time today. I cried and laughed while reading today's post. Your mother was a beautiful writer and an inspiration!

  50. How sweet!! It must be so great to have these journals to read whenever you want. You must feel so close to her when you read them :)

  51. Love this post! Thankful for you sharing it ... I can only imagine how proud your mom would be of you for touching others people's lives by sharing her words! She sounds like such an amazing woman! Your so blessed to have these writings from her to be with you forever :) XO

  52. these journals are amazing. what an inspiring woman your momma was!! so awesome that you have these to read over and over again.

  53. This just brought me to tears. How beautiful and how amazing it is that you have those awesome words to treasure and remember. Truly touching post. We all have to stop and think sometimes instead of getting so caught up in minor details. Thank you for that reminder.

  54. Reading those excerpts from the journal is just amazing. what a great gift she left behind for you... something for you to remember her by and be able to look at and know how much she loved you.
    I also think it's a great idea to do with my kids in the future... spend some time every day or week and just take a few minutes to keep track of all the things that we have to be thankful for!

  55. oh katie this is TOO PRECIOUS for words. I love so much that you and your mom got to do this. It really makes me want to do this one day with my children :-)

    AngLbabyK3! haha I lol'd reading this and thinking about all those nutty screen names people had! Mine was GymnasticsChic55 forever..Literally I never changed it! haha and I also remember perfecting my away messsage once and all it said was SHOWERING (like people really cared) but i'd make it all different colors and fading colors haha omg.

    the January 1998 excerpt omgosh I got chills. Your mom is a beautiful writer. She is most grateful for you...i lost it! This is seriously so sweet and I am so happy you have these things to look back on forever.

    your Feb 14 entry is adorable! Billy Madison yes :-) And your mom saying she loves having you home all day and night :-)

    love you Baby G and miss u SOO MUCH


  56. that's so awesome your mom wrote so much and that you can keep it to cherish forever. i've kept a journal on and off since i was 8. i need to write more and in more depth than just the surface items.

  57. Thank you for sharing this with us!!! Your Mom's words were so sweet.

  58. Wow!!! How special that you have these!!

    Thank you for the reminder, sometimes it is hard to not sweat the small things!! :)

  59. wow. just wow. the tears floweth. ((is that a word))

    God bless you. travel safe to Texas. It really is the best place on earth.

  60. What a beautiful entry, and an amazing way to put things into perspective.

  61. Wow! THis is truly amazing. I'm soaked in tears, but I think they are happier tears rather than sad. I love your mothers words - truly amazing.

    Katie, you are a wonderful woman & as I believe that the angels in heaven watch us on a daily basis & have exceptional emotion as they did in their earth life - I know your mother is so proud && very happy to see the woman you are today.

    May GOD continue to bless you & your Dad -

    Xo, Jess


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