Attitude of Gratitude at Our Little House

This is the time of the winter that it really starts to get to me. We’re far enough out of the  holidays and still eons from the beginning of spring that I start getting the winter blues, cabin fever or whatever you want to call it.

I was speaking to one of our Living Large community the other day, interviewing her for an article on living in a small space and I asked her if the winter wears on her too and she gave me an unequivocal “Yes,” as she began talking about spring and her plans for her garden.

This winter has seemed worse for some reason, we haven’t had the deep snows most parts of the country have experienced, but it does seem like it has been cloudy and dreary more and that makes the short days of light seem even shorter.

Extra expenses with the heating unit, another cut of hours for Dale, the loss of a steady gig for me due to budget cuts, well you get the idea.

On top of it, my two favorite television shows were cancelled suddenly. “Life Unexpected” ended abruptly, the writers seemed rushed as they wound up in two minutes what easily could have went into two more seasons. “Medium” was also cancelled and viewers were rewarded with one of the most depressing series endings I’ve ever watched.

So much for network television for me, there’s nothing on now that I watch. We hate reality television (I didn’t even know who “Snookie” was during an early morning news show interview until they explained she is some party girl on a reality show about the Jersey shore) and sports, so we’ve been ordering old, but good HBO series from Netflix. We’ve seen “Deadwood,” but it keeps Dale entertained while I read so….

This week, I did see a story about a new book, “365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed my Life.” The author, John Kralik, decides to be thankful for what he has in his life by setting a goal of writing 365 thank you notes.  At the end of the year, everything he found wasn’t going well in his life before turned around.

I haven’t read the book yet, but Kralik’s premise isn’t unlike what I blogged about last February when I did a series on the Law of Attraction. I do a gratitude list each day, noting things I am thankful for, but this book reminded me that I haven’t written an actual thank you note in awhile. Besides, I thought, if someone is listed on my gratitude list, shouldn’t they know about it!?

So, I shook things up and by the end of the exercise on the first day, I was feeling much better about life, mostly because I know these notes will help brighten the day for the recipients. I don’t know if I will do 365 of them, but sending thank yous will certainly become a part of my gratitude ritual.

Thank you again, to our Living Large community for reading and interacting here, which is really what makes it a community rather than just another blog.

Now I really feel good and spring is not that far away, only 52 days and even less for Daylight Savings, which will bring even more light into our lives!

Do you do a gratitude list or write thank yous to people? Does it make you feel better?

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22 Responses

  1. Hi. We are a family of 6 and live in about 1000 square feet. I think if I am just able to get out of this tiny house once every couple days it helps fight off the winter blues. I love my little home currently, but you can only be cramped in here for so long before you do get cabin fever :). Also, working on projects like painting a room I think will help carry me thru the rest of the winter by keeping me busy, but that is easier said than done with 4 little ones.

    • kerri says:

      Those are great winter projects, for sure, Nydia. Good luck. I know how hard it is with 5 dogs in the house and I’m sure having 4 little ones underfoot is harder! 🙂

  2. Kim says:

    Hope: I puttered a bit in the yard this weekend and spied the very tip of the hyacinths, poking their tiny green tips out of the ground in my beds. Spring is coming!

    Great TV series for you to try on Netflix:
    Ken Burns’ Civil War series (seriously fascinating.)
    Battlestar Galactica (I hate scifi. I loved this.)
    American Pickers (reality, but not your typical reality show)
    Band of Brothers (my husband loves this one and has watched it through several times)
    …I know there are more; we live on Netflix offerings these days too, since we don’t have cable and can’t get the free stations via antenna. I’ll come back to give you more suggestions as I remember them.

  3. I have the book you mentioned. I think it’s time to pull it out and read it. I really like the thank you note concept and love reading about it especially during gray overcast days, which stretch on into oblivion here in the Northwest.

  4. It is good to cultivate even more gratitude than usual during the dark time of the year. Hang in there.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Roxanne. We’re actually having one of those winter warm ups now. But I think bad weather is predicted again for next week.

  5. I learned the value of thank you notes far too late in life. I really didn’t become good at sending them until I was in the corporate world, where it was more a part of business protocol than anything else.

    But, because of doing it for work, I began to realize the power of a simple thank you, handwritten, put in an envelope, stamped and addressed and dropped in the mailbox. An e-mail isn’t the same.

    I landed a job once that I really wanted and my boss told me (after I was hired) that I was the only applicant who sent a thank you note after our interview. You wouldn’t think such a small gesture would mean that much to people, but it does. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

    As for cancelled TV shows, I feel your pain. A little quirky series on Fox, that I LOVED, was dropped mid-season. It was called Raising Hope and it was so clever and funny and unique. Had a couple of mega-stars in it too, Chloris Leachman and Martha Plimpton. It was so utterly different from anything on TV that I knew it wouldn’t last though. Too many people would rather watch The Bachelor or some other stupid “reality” show and I knew it probably wasn’t getting great ratings. There are too many stupid people and teenagers controlling what we watch on TV.

    • kerri says:

      It’s never too late, Kathleen! 🙂
      On the television, when I go to the fan boards of shows I like that have been cancelled, I see other people saying the same thing as you just did! I guess there just aren’t enough of us that appreciate real actors performing from real scripts written by real writers. I think the networks have found that they can get away with hiring “Snookies” off of the street to be themselves (idiots) and people tune in to watch. If one has any questions about the dumbing down of America, they only have to turn on the TV.

  6. Virginia says:

    Thank you for the lovely blog, I stumbled upon you googling about small house plans… I want to self build a holiday house for the family, but less a holiday than a 2nd home in the country.

    Yours is fantastic, it looks more than livable, it looks lovely and cosy and neat.

    For Winter (when funds allow) could you attempt to build a little outbuilding, heavy on the glass, and plant lots of bushy green things around it, so you have somewhere to go and marvel on a blue day? A holiday house in your back yard 🙂

    • kerri says:

      Welcome to Living Large, Virginia, I hope you’ll keep coming back to our little community of small house lovers!
      Thanks for the suggestion. I do have a writer’s studio that is heavy on the glass with lots of trees around. I’m good now as we’re having one of those winter warms ups, which will get me through the next round of winter!

      • Virginia says:

        that sounds lovely 🙂

        Glad to hear of the warm up… I am eagerly anticipating our cool down, as here in Australia February is the season of burning hot days, and slow-to-cool nights! We have just had our first 40degree day in a while, with more to come I am sure.

  7. NoPotCooking says:

    Writing Thank you notes is a really good idea. I think I will try to do more of it. I can’t tell you when I got one myself – it’s literally been years and years.

  8. Olivia says:

    A good posting to have today while we are having what feels like the one thousandth nor’easter this winter. Can’t even see out the windows the blizzard is so bad. Again -*sigh*.

    I do write notes of gratitude frequently but my note of gratitude today is to you for your lovely blog. You share your life in such a gentle manner (unlike too many bloggers who seem to be always on the warpath about something or other) and you always take the time to respond to the comments. I always look forward to your posts.

    So – thank you, Kerri.

    • kerri says:

      Thank YOU, Olivia, for taking the time to comment too! I feel this is a true community and enjoy seeing all of the feedback. I’ve been watching the storm and hearing a lot of complaints about it from my friends in the NE. Here’s to hoping for an early spring!

  9. kerri says:

    Thanks, Mary!

  10. Feb 2 Ground Hog Day is half way between Winter & Spring. March 20th first day of Spring. February trimming and cleaning up flower beds and trimming.

    There are lots of acorns on the grounds. The squirrels & birds didn’t store them last Fall; to me this is a sign of an early Spring. Hang in there!