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I Am Grateful For...

I Am Grateful For...

A New Project for the New Year

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It often takes tragedy to wake us up, to make us reevaluate our lives and appreciate what we have. The reason for this is that when tragedy strikes, everything becomes instantaneously prioritized. You realized what matters most and what you care about and anything that is not essential is ignored. Yet when things are going well it can be easy to overlook the blessings in our lives. We can take for granted our health or the relationships we are fortunate enough to have and rather get caught up worrying about our mounting bills or dripping faucet or being stuck in traffic.

Each and every day we are blessed with so many thingsYet each and every day we are blessed with so many things that happen, starting with the fact that we wake up in the morning to another day ahead. And each day, every single one of us has something to be grateful for. Sometimes these things are big, such as getting a wonderful job offer, sometimes they are small, such as the fact that the baby slept through the night. But the more we focus on what we have to be grateful for in our lives, the easier it will be to deal with the challenges and tests that we may face as well.

I want to share a personal story with you, the impetus for creating this section of the site, and a story I am humiliated to have to share. And yet I feel it is essential, for it is the reason I want to start something with a real focus on the positive, and a place for me to share how blessed I feel and how grateful I am.

Yesterday, I had a very close friend come to visit me with her four kids. We decided to take her kids and mine to the zoo for the day. In total this was eight kids, all eight and under, with the youngest just about a year old. She had her nanny with her, but nonetheless, we were quite out-numbered.

It was a long and hot day at the zoo and the kids were exhausted and starving by the time we left. We decided to go straight to our local pizza parlor and I called ahead to make sure that the pizzas would be ready by the time we arrived.

My friend's daughter decided to come in our van and my eldest went with them. In the car ride, my two year old and four year old fell asleep in their car seats. Now I always unbuckle those two from their car seats when we park. But when we arrived, my other daughter and her friend unbuckled my baby and opened the car door and waited for me on the sidewalk. They closed the door and we went in the restaurant.

We got inside and I took all the kids to wash their hands. Fortunately, the pizza was ready and they immediately sat down to eat. I started handing out pizza when the most horrific reality hit me, "Where is Netanel???!!!" I realized immediately that I had left him in the car fast asleep.

I bolted from the restaurant to my van. Fortunately, of all days these entire past few weeks, this particular day had cooled off. Miraculously, he was still sleeping when I opened the door. He was fine. But what an unbelievable miracle.

What if it had been fifteen minutes and not five?I cannot believe I left my child in a car. I cannot believe I forgot about him. It is one of those things that you read about and think, "How does a parent do that? How could someone forget their child?" But I did it. And it was terrifying.

What if he had woken up and realized he was trapped in his car seat and sat there screaming, panicked and hysterical, knowing his mommy had forgotten about him and left him in the car on a busy street? What if someone had called the police and they took away my children from me? What if we had gone home and not to the restaurant? If the kids ran inside and upstairs, how long would it have taken me to realize he was not in the house? What if it had been in the high 90's and not 70's? What if it had been fifteen minutes and not five? What if he was not alright when I found him?

As I write this, I cannot believe how fortunate I am, how blessed I am, that I can share this and say that nothing happened. That he was completely fine. That I woke him up and that he had no recollection that he had been left behind.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am, so I am left with hoping I can do something to show my appreciation. And I hope that starting this column will be an action that screams, "I will not forget what I did. I will not forget the lessons I learned. And I will not forget the miracle I experienced…"

So this section is my place to say "Thank You" and to encourage all of you to share what you have to be grateful for in your life each day. Big or small, it doesn't matter, they are all important to share and important reminders that our lives are filled with blessings and miracles, constantly!

We will post this each week and keep a running list of your submissions. Please use the "Post a Comment" section below to submit what you have to be grateful for in your lives. May we all be blessed to have many, many wonderful gifts in our lives to share with one another!

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a nonprofit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
Photo by Chana Lewis.
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Discussion (40)
August 22, 2013
Grateful for the joy of creating crafts from washi tapes, duct tapes and zip lock bags :)

Also, the joy of giving these crafts to my students :)
Mary Ng Shwu Ling
August 11, 2013
Celebrated a friend's birthday
Yesterday, 11 August 2013, my friend, her sister and her family celebrated her birthday at a restaurant. After lunch, her 7-year old son suggested that we play a card game donkey. It was so fun. Grateful for friends, celebrations, fun, good food and little children.
Mary Ng Shwu Ling
August 11, 2013
Life is Great - a gratitude journal
Thanks Sara for posting my comments.I have also created a gratitude journal - 'Life is Great!' Available at amazon.com and cultivated the habit of counting my blessings every day:)
Mary Ng Shwu Ling
August 9, 2013
Also grateful for knowing people who dont gossip, especially when they were never there to begin with.
Anonymous
Arcadia
chabadpasadena.com
August 9, 2013
I am grateful for family and friends, good health, Singapore, libraries, sunshine, rain, blue sky, education, teachers, schools, my elderly parents, fruits, good food to eat, eyes to see, ears to listen, feet to walk, hands to work, water, electricity, hospitals, doctors, nurses, fresh air, restaurants, chefs, work, colleagues, boss, iPad, comfort, home, air conditioner, light, the joy of counting my blessings.... :)
Mary Ng Shwu Ling
November 3, 2010
You have nothing to be embarassed about
while I have yet to leave either of my children alone in a car, just HAVING two children makes me realize how easy it is, with our busy lives, to forget someone or something. As soon as something out of the ordinary happens (having other people in your car, having to change your routine in any way), something gives. Unfortunately it's sometimes our children. Thank G-d that it was only 5 minutes and a cooler than usual day. This story shows nothing more than the fact that you are human. And Thank G-d, it all turned out fine.

Thank you for the story. It is an important reminder to be grateful for the big AND small things.
Gayla Ber
Maple, Canada
chabad.ca
October 26, 2010
Cont...
All that is... lies within me. I am a treaure box, so are you.

Thanks for this opportunity.
Jacqueline
Greensboro, NC
October 26, 2010
How I came to this place
Each morning I get an e mail to do a search from Publisher's Clearing House. Each day I do my search. I have no idea what I'm searching for, I don't think any of us do, most of the time, I have no idea why we search. I honestly believe that everything we're searching for lies right withing each of us respectively.

So I put into the search- "I am grateful". I've been struggling with so much lately. I was taliking with G-d this morning. Again, I know, for me, that I don't need to reach out to G-d, I am G-d, or better stated, perhaps, G-d is I.

I kept hearing in my mind "I don't know why you worry, I have always been here for you and I will always be with you. Everything will be fine, there are reasons for every tiny thing". I just sat there shaking my head.

Since childhood, I've always known that I don't have to search for happiness. Every tiny thing lies within me,

Each day I awaken to so many things that are challenges. I do all that I can to just remember,...
Jacqueline
Greensboro, NC
August 16, 2010
I'm Thankful For Another Day To Be Alive, And To Get A Chance To Be All That G-d Wants Me To Be! I'm Thankful For My New Apartment And Waking Up In The Morning To The Birds Singing Outside My Window And My 18 Year Old Cat Kelly Laying Peacefully Next To Me!

I'm Thankful For My Mom And My Daughter Jessica And My Good Friends Who Have Made My Lfie What It Is Today! I'm Thankful For G-d's Gifts To Me Big & Small!!!

I'm Thankful For My Health, Though I Blood Disorder And Enlarge Liver And Spleen! I Have Had A Bone Marrow And Liver Bisopy! I Have Great Health Care And Wonderful Doctors That G-d Has Provided For Me To Help Find That Answer To This!

I Bruise Easily And Bleed Under The Skin! I'm Thankful That They Have Me On "Predisone" Helping My Platelets Raise To A More Safe Level! Most Of All I'm Thankful For The Little Book That Saved My Life!, 100 Ways To Be Happy!
DorothyAnne
Rochester, Ny
April 11, 2010
my tikkun
when I first started to learn to daven / pray, I thought I had gotten all the information. Many years later, I somehow realized that I wasn't bowing at the place in "Shmona Esray" where we thank HaShem for all He has given us.
I decided that I would make up for it by adding my thanks silently for the many daily blessings I get, such as seeing my children in the morning, and any nice things that I might take for granted normally.
Anonymous
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