Monday, November 23, 2009

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

Margaret Cousins

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. It is one of my favorite posts because I can clearly see how far God has brought Will. I do want to tell y'all a little more...

That year was one of the hardest years for us as a couple... Dave's Mom was diagnosed with cancer the week (actually the day) Will was born. She died when Will was 8 weeks old and about the time we were finding out about his surgery. I had been a professor and was on leave but had to decide if/when to return to my career. Dave needed back surgery and had it 2 weeks after Will's head surgery. We were newlyweds as we had only been married about 2 years. And in hindsight, I probably had a case of the baby blues that year. I did not see a doctor but I know I was in a sad sort of funk. I was losing myself. You know what got us through all of that?

Certainly a lot of prayer but also, A Gratitude Journal. I had just seen it on Oprah one day and I immediately found a steno book and started writing down 5 things every day that I was grateful for. I asked Dave to do the same. Reading each other's lists opened up some topics of communication for us. And I got to see how grateful Dave was for me and vice versa. In a year filled with death, serious illness, surgeries and depression, we made efforts to focus on all the good things in our lives. Our marriage was so close during that time. I attribute a lot of that to our journal. I still have it.

There were days when there was little to write. For example, I am grateful I got the laundry done today. But by focusing on our blessings, we got through a tough time. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is in a rough patch. You will be amazed at how simply yet powerful it can be. And you must write it down....just thinking about it is not quite as effective.

And this story becomes more amazing. Will was NOT pleased that I posted about his struggles. he is a middle schooler and was feeling a little exposed. I get it. However, I relayed to him how many people it helped. Several people e-mailed me saying it was exactly what they needed to hear this week as they were struggling with something similar in their own lives. AND.....

This morning my dear friend, Diana e-mailed me asking our family to sponsor Baby Ciera. We have been sponsoring a child through Pearl River Outreach but thankfully our girls keep getting adopted:) So, it was time to choose a new one. I saw the list last week but could not decide. Today, Diana tells me that Baby Ciera was born on June 22nd (Will's birthday) and her special need is a protruding head on the back right side! Will's head protruded on the left but still the similarities astounded me. I about fell off my chair. Diana had not read my post about Will and she does not know his birthday. I am sure that God sent little Ciera's file right to our family to sponsor. So, meet our adorable little Bamboo Baby Ciera....


Sweet Little Ciera still needs 2 more sponsors. Go to Pearl River Outreach or email Diana at to sponsor her or another child.

I am so excited to go see The Blindside tonight with a friend. Harry has strep throat so I didn't think I was going to be able to go but Dave is going to takeover so I can go. And I am trying really hard to stick to our healthy menus each week. I did not cook for the 2 weeks I was sick so I am trying to get back on track. If I post our menu, I am so much more accountable to not only buy the ingredients but to actually cook the meals as well. So, here is our menu for the week.

Grilled rib eyes (grilled portobello for me), baked sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus.

Gluten Free Pasta Fagioli Soup (crockpot)

Chicken Stir Fry over rice

Lemon, Garlic & Pepper Shrimp over gluten free pasta (recipe follows)

That should get us to Thanksgiving:)

Lemon , Garlic & Pepper Shrimp

1 pound of shrimp , peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons Lemon, garlic and Pepper Seasoning

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Leek, finely sliced, Discard upper greens (I often used green onions instead)

2 cups uncooked spinach, sliced into strips

4 Italian plum tomatoes

1/4 cup dry white wine (or whatever white you have on hand)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Angel hair pasta (we use gluten free pasta)

Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the seasoning. Preheat a 2 quart saute pan on medium heat. When rim is hot to the touch, add olive oil and heat an additional minute. Saute' leeks about 1 minute, add spinach and continue to saute' for 1 minute. Add shrimp and tomatoes and saute until the shrimp just begin to turn pink. Add remaining seasoning, white wine and lemon juice and cook for 2-3 more minutes (until shrimp are pink throughout). Serve over angel hair pasta.

I have been making this recipe since Dave and I were first married and we all LOVE it. So easy, healthy and delicious!

I am working on my favorite things to post this week too:)


  1. Hi Kim!
    Please give Will a big ol smooch for me and tell him that you sharing his story really helped me to look at my own health struggles with different eyes. Speaking of eyes, he has some pretty ones for sure! Thanks as always for being open and honest!

  2. It is always amazing at how God works and how by sharing a simple story can touch so many lives! I really appreciate your openness! Our little boy that we are adopting from Korea also has had surgery at 3 months for what they are calling a calcification on the right side of his skull. We haven't received any updates but I know that God is in control & our baby will soon be with us. Thanks again for sharing!

    Oh... dinner sounds good :))

  3. Love that journal idea. Love even more that y'all shared them with each other. Hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  4. What a great idea about the journal. It always amazes me how God touches so many different people through one persons story/hardships. Shrimp recipe sounds divine- will try soon. And I could just eat little Ciera up- what a doll!!!!

  5. Can't wait to hear what you think about the movie! I am glad you are getting out!

    I love the idea of the gratitude journal. Some days I spend more time feeling lost than grateful and I have wondered if it would help change my mind set because there is SO much to be grateful for. I'll give it a try! Thanks for sharing the suggestion...

  6. Kim, Thanks for sharing even more and wow the already amazing story got even more inspiring! Thanks for being willing to share so much to help others and for always letting us know about things that have helped your family - the journal is a great idea. Please thank Will for all of us too. Blessings to your wonderful family, Wendy

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I am going through a rough patch with my mom (age 81 w/Parkinson's and dementia). It helps so much when we share each other's struggles. Blessings to you and your family in this season of Thanksgiving.

  8. Hi Kim,
    Thanks so much for sharing. I was thinking when I read your story on Sunday how much our oldest are alike(minus the head surgery). My 10 yr. old has been in OT and PT since 1 yr. of age. Mostly for Sensory issues relating to food. I still cannot get him to eat most all fruits or vegetables even with a ton of OT. Your story about Will has given me new hope that mine will continue to 'grow' in his own way.
    I used to teach high school so I get that Will would feel a little exposed... just tell him it will make a great paper one day for a class in college :) And more importantly that he really is an inspiration to so many moms who look at their kids and sigh 'will everything be okay?' He is one who is more than 'okay' thanks to all his hard work and a great mom and dad :) Much to be 'thankful' for this year.

    Take care,

  9. I love the idea of a journal dedicated specifically to gratitude. Although lately, I haven't had to look far to know what I'm most thankful for. I'm also grateful to you for being so willing to share your personal experiences.

    Gin =)

  10. Thank you Friend!!!
    It has been one big God sized amazing day!!!!


  11. Kim,

    I did a gratitude journal a few years ago, but I love that you did it as a couple! We may need to try that!

  12. Hi Kim- The gratitude journal IS a wonderful tool. I do a modified version in the form of Thankful Thursday on my blog- I was inspired to begin by Denise and then you (and see it all over the blogging world)!

    It does help- and even if the things are seemingly small (or silly), the fact that I have a list and am constantly reminded of my many blessings is really helpful getting through those tough times.

    Hope you, Dave and the peanuts have a wonderful Thanksgiving-

  13. What a sweet baby. She's at ZJ where our first daughter is from.

  14. Wonderful post. I truly need to focus more on my blessings.

  15. Another wonderful post!
    I think we all need more of the attitude of gratude!
    Things are just great when we are more grateful!
    i loved your journal idea though!
    you are so sweeet!


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