Monday, January 26, 2015


I just shared a positive NIP story, & it has emboldened me to share something else positive that I have been considering for a year. 

I have not done it yet for a couple of reasons. First, most of what I share here is about breastfeeding advocacy. It's evolved over time, but every time I branch out I feel a little nervous that what I'm sharing is something people won't be receptive to, or that's incongruous with what I started - like maybe I'm breaking some unwritten rule.

Second, what I'm going to share is very personal, in a way, and it makes me feel strangely vulnerable, even when I share it on my personal profile with just friends.

So what is it?

A list of things I am grateful for.

Every day (or at least that's the goal), I express gratitude.

Because what you appreciate appreciates.

Where you put your energy - you'll get more of that.

I have had chronic depression my whole life. It come and goes. Sometimes it's a big deal, but mostly it's just been... normal.

When I had my negative NIP incident over two years ago, and the stakes of getting AISD to adopt a law-abiding NIP policy felt so high, and then the stakes of working on breastfeeding legislation felt even higher - then, oh my word, did the anxiety kick in. I'd been anxious before, to be sure, but not so chronically as I was "just" depressed. The anxiety that started the day I was told to go to a private room sometimes made it hard just to function. I don't even have words to describe its intensity.

Over the past year, my depression and especially my anxiety have dissipated. I don't think I'll never be depressed or anxious again, but I'm amazed at how much happier and calmer I am. And I'm certain that focusing on the positive, on the things I'm thankful for, has made all the difference in the world.

You've heard it before, maybe. Expressing gratitude is a key to happiness. I had. For years - but I didn't do it. Then I joined Carrie Contey, PhD.'s Evolve group, & made it a habit.

It's had such an impact that I've thought about doing it here, because I'd like to share this tool with others, because it is a game changer.

So I'll go first, and if you feel moved to do so, comment with your gratitudes below - or do it on your private social media page or in a journal or even just close your eyes for a moment and list them to yourself.

There are no rules to this #gratitudechallenge. You aren't limited to just the month of November or a list of five things per day for five days. Just think of at least one thing - or maybe 100 - and take a moment to appreciate!

One thought - this isn't about bragging and being "Facebook Fake." I complain about my kids on fb, I whine about my messy house. My *real* life is definitely on my personal Facebook profile. But this is about focusing on the awesome, so yes, it's all good stuff.

Here goes:

I'm thankful to Jessie Warren for letting me share her positive NIP story, and for the amazing gentleman who was encouraging to her. I'm thankful my sick husband is starting to feel better; thankful my big kid has had a breakthrough about how he wants to interact with his family, and he's working hard to be respectful and to stay calm when he's frustrated; thankful for watching Bellybean put train tracks together - he's amazing! So grateful for the opportunity to homeschool Sweet Pea for kindergarten, and for doing so with a friend on Mondays and Wednesdays. Super thankful for an impromptu science experiment during today's co-op, which made me feel like I'm getting it right! Grateful for watching Sweet Pea learn to read, and be fascinated by addition and subtraction and counting, and that he's learning so much even when I don't feel like I'm doing 15% of what I want to do for him.  Thankful I said yes when Sweet Pea wanted to do Legos together, instead of telling him I had to make dinner.  It was worth bedtime being a little later than intended.  Thankful our garage is finally organized enough to feel like a playroom, that art is coming in for the breastfeeding art exhibit in February, that we'll have a House resolution marking the 20th anniversary of Health & Safety Code 165. Thankful for Health & Safety Code 165, even if it does need strengthening. For representatives and senators who stand behind moms ready to support their choice to breastfeed. That I'm warm in my (mostly) clean house on this cold night, and that tomorrow I'll get to take my middle son to a fun acting class and my big kid to a great new school that is a much better fit for him than public school was this year. I'm thankful to be leading such a blessed life!

I don't know how long I'll keep this up. I don't know why it feels vulnerable. So let me know if it's something you enjoy - something that moves you to express gratitude yourself. Because if it is, it'll be worth it to me to keep going with it here each evening. It really has been a game changer for me - I hope it will be or you, too!

My Little Lego Maniac

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