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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

One Grateful Moment at a Time

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I couldn’t believe how sad I was to say goodbye to the place I had complained about for so long: there is no privacy, it is so dark in here, it is so small and there is no yard for the kids to play in. My list of complaints was long. Who would have thought I would be crying as I closed the door behind me for the final time? I took a picture of the condo we were leaving, packed up the U-Haul and departed for a new adventure in our new home just a few miles away.

I have moved a lot in my life, both as a child and an adult. In the last 7 years alone, I have occupied 5 different homes with my 3 children. I am a renter and probably will be for years to come; divorce took its toll on my credit. Renting has come with a sense of instability, a home commitment that is offered in year-long increments and when the lease is up, sometimes you are ready for a change and other times you are told, it is time to move. Again. Moving is fun and exciting and it also kind of sucks. Rumor has it is listed (somewhere in Google-land) as being among the top 3 most stressful experiences in life, surpassed only by divorce and death of a loved one. But as the saying goes, in stress (pain) there is growth. Here is what I have learned through my most recent moving adventure…

Kindness is Everywhere

People are thoughtful, kind and generous. My neighbor Diane, who I lived next door to for one, short, year left me a parting gift on my door step: a wicker basket full of a plethora of cleaning supplies for my new home. I literally jumped for joy at the thoughtful gift and kind, unexpected gesture. My landlords? They, too, were kind and warm-hearted as they took a chance on my and my less-than-stellar credit, relying more on intuition than numbers when they approved me as their tenant. Let’s not forget my new neighbors who welcomed me with open arms and bags of homegrown vegetables; one neighbor even mowed my lawn without being asked during my first week in my new home. Kindness was everywhere and I was breathing it in with a huge smile and heart full of gratitude.

Bells and Whistles Are Nice

My current home is by far my favorite of all! The walls are painted in cheery colors. We have a large yard. And hardwood floors. The countertops are a pretty butcherblock, stained in cherry and the fridge is an aesthetically-pleasing, but hard to clean, stainless steel. We have the most amazing recess lighting and pretty windows and curtains. Not just any curtains, beautiful ones! I now do my laundry in a front load washer and I never knew I could love a washing machine so much. The bells and whistles are nice. I have a new pride in my living my space and I work extra hard to keep it clean and homey. I feel very spoiled and take time to appreciate all the bells and whistles that I still can’t believe are part of our home!

Less is More

In downsizing with this last move, my belongings underwent a massive purge. I was so set on keeping my new home uncluttered and very organized, that I wanted to bring only the bare minimum. It was hard for me, too, but I remember my wise mother’s piece of advise- If in doubt, throw it out. And throw it out I did. As it turns out, I miss nothing and so far, the kid’s haven’t asked where that McDonald’s Happy Meal toy from 3 years ago went. Things are just things, and they are replaceable. As a family, we have benefited from living a more minimalistic life. I have dedicated one bookshelf as the designated miscellaneous collection area in our new home. When that bookshelf is full, I purge.

Home is Where the Heart Is

Every single time I have moved, I have been sad to say goodbye to our home. We left each home with a heart full of memories that we will cherish forever. We often drive by our old homes and reminisce about the good ole days. We don’t remember the window treatments or the floors or if the living room was dark and the bathroom was big. We don’t remember how the beds were set up or what clothes were hanging in the closets. We remember what we did, how we felt, and the traditions that we created in each home. When we drive by our previous homes, we are overwhelmed by a sense of home that will always stay with us because where there are memories, there is a sense of home.

As we settle in to our new home, the kids have begun to ask, how long do you think wel'l be here mom? It is one of the many questions that I just don’t have the answer to, but it gives me the opportunity to teach one more important lesson to my children: let’s just enjoy and appreciate our new home while it is ours- one grateful moment at a time.

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