Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
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There are countless things to appreciate, you need only look.
"Are we almost home yet?" came the question every parent hears with dread.

"We have more than an hour to go, so get comfortable," I replied. We were returning from a day at the Simon Pearce hand-blown glass and pottery workshop.

Rather than get infuriated over the inevitable whining that ensued soon thereafter, I decided to start a little activity, which turned out not only good for them, but for me as well. While my husband drove along, we had to create a list of all the things we could think of that we appreciated in life. Boy, did the griping really start then.

"Let's just do it for five minutes, ok?" I figured that would be long enough to distract them from their current whining session.

Five minutes turned into ten, then twenty, then forty-five minutes. In fact, it became a contest of who could find more things they appreciated. It was wonderful, again, not only for them, but for me. Here is the list of things I appreciate that I wrote while on that eye-opening drive with my family:

      1. Going on rides with my family 2. The sun on my face 3. Reading to my
      children  4. Reflections of the sun on lakes and rivers 5. A full tank of gas 
      6. Ice-cream  7. Autumn leaves 8. When my husband hugs me 9. When 
        someone makes me a cup of tea 10. Making pancakes for my kids 11.
          Ice-cold lemonade on a hot day 12. Music 13. Mountain ranges 14. 
          Waterfalls 15. Flowers 16. All types of bridges 17. Crawling into bed
          when I'm exhausted 18. When Shannon (my daughter) makes me
            "egg in a boat" 19. Writing 20. A good review 21. Going downhill
              on a bike  22. Hitting a baseball 23. Kisses & hugs from my
                kids 24. Smell of freshly cut grass 25. Soft grass under my
                feet 26. Grandma's Magnolia tree in bloom 27. Rainbows
                  28. When birds come close 29. Sunrises and sunsets
                    30. Full moons 31. Having a job 32. Ability to read 33.
                        Good books 34. Going to the movies 35. Clean
                            streets 36. Spaghetti with lots of sauce 37.
                                  Being told I can leave work early 38.
                                  Watching snowstorms 39. Thunder
                                    storms 40. Swings 41. Pictures
                                          of my friends & family 42.
                                                  Dishwashers 43.
                                                      Talking to
                                                      my mom
                                                        on the
                                                        44. Sit-
                                                        ting on
                                                        the third
                                                      base line
                                                  at Fenway Park
                                                  45. Green lights
                                            when I'm late 46. Pizza
                                          with soda 47. Buy 1, Get 2
                                        Free grocery sales 48. Good
                                      brakes 49. The wondrous smell
                                    of our Butterfly Bush 50.Hot showers
                                51. Bubble baths 52. When I have to ask
                            my kids to do or no to do something only once
                          53. American flags blowing in the breeze 54. When
                        someone offers to scratch my back 55. Going on vaca-
                      tions with my family 56. Surprising my kids 57. No traffic
                    58. Clean car inside & out 59. Orange-spotted newts 60. Hot
                chocolate after shoveling snow 61. Coming home to a clean house
              62. Fountains  63. Hot air balloons 64. Comedians 65. Circular drive-
            ways 66. Good health and the good health of my friends and family 67.
          hikes in the woods 68. Reading on the beach 69. Seatbelts  70. Dr. Seuss
        books 71. Museums 72. Candles 73. Campfires 74. Toasting marshmallows 
          75. Singing Neil Diamond songs in the car with the kids (don't laugh, it's a
      blast, trust me) 76. Taking off my bra at night (this is a big one) 77. When my 
        kids don't whine 78. When my kids are laughing/being silly 79. Cloud gazing 
      80.Stargazing 81. Fires in the fireplace 82. Exploring caves 83. Treehouses 84.
    Catching a fish 5. Saltwater fishtanks 86. Bookstores & libraries 87. All kinds of 
      sports 88.Our new home 89. Fast Lane speed pass for tollbooths 90. Making 
      Clover (our Golden Retriever) wag her tail like mad 91. Playing  guitar 92.Sun- 
    glasses 93. Being born American 94. Ability to vote 95. Free time with my hus- 
  band 96. Gorges 97. Dams 98. When my children treat each other as friends 99. 
      Making my kids laugh when I change the words in books while I read to them

How do you fill up your hourglass of time? We have all heard at some point in our lives that life wasn't meant to be easy, yet we live in a society where people seem to think satisfaction should be thrust upon them through no efforts of their own. Beauty in the everyday is all around us. We must merely lift the veils of our many imagined plights to see it.

The next time you find your children, or even yourself, incessantly complaining, try finding the things you appreciate and make your own list. It will probably be longer than you expected.
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