On Gratitude {and another great Etsy giveaway}

So last week I marked one year of blogging with a little look back at my favorite posts and a few highlights.  I mentioned that I wrote one entry that totally changed blogging for me.

When I started this site, I had been immersed in a million different awesome mommy blogs that give you ideas and inspiration and little tips for fun things to do with your kids and ways to enhance your family.  I was itching for a space to write as I embarked on a new journey for my own life, and I envisioned that one day my blog would grow to be that handy-mommy-blog prototype.  I’d be so awesome sharing my oh-so-valuable recipes and tips about home and baby and whatnot. (Ha!)  I started participating in the occasional linky lists and gaining a few readers, but somehow I just wasn’t always feeling it.  I’d record what happened here or there, link to a new recipe, post a photo, and hit publish and only sometimes like what was on the screen in front of me.

Then one night last August, I got the baby in bed and sat down at the computer with an overwhelming urge to write down the details of the day, knowing they were probably only interesting to me but not caring so much about what made it publication-worthy.  I just wanted to write, and I did.  And this post felt so good to me that I continued a trend.  Soon came this one. And this one. And this one. And somehow gratitude kind of began to multiply and the funniest thing happened: I began to notice these tiny moments in my day that were aching to be recorded.  And although I still sometimes share a tip or recipe every now and then, it is these entries of thankfulness that feel the most real to me and leave me feeling like this little journal is worthwhile.  Sometimes it’s such a great day that I won’t let myself finish without recording the details, and sometimes it’s just that I write about gratitude so that I can remember the good over the bad, no matter how much the bad was screaming to be noticed.   Other times still, I honestly have no main idea to write about, but there are tiny details asking to be remembered.

Gratitude is valuable for lots of reasons.  The most significant of which is that it leaves you feeling more and more grace and finding a million things to be thankful for.  If it weren’t for this journal and what I write here, I know I would sometimes finish the day feeling exhausted and defeated, but by actually looking at this space as a log of my days, I ask myself,  what do I really want to remember?  Recognizing the beauty in the everyday is a spiritual exercise, and I think months ago, I didn’t fully predict how that would affect my perspective.  When I take out all the whining and complaining, the good always outweighs the bad. Always.

So in many ways, that’s what this space has become for me: a place to be thankful, to record the happy, however simple that might be. It makes the day take on a brighter hue and tomorrow seem a little more full of possibilities.

Speaking of bright and beautiful, how lovely is this?

It’s a gift sponsored by The Shady Hollow, and it could be yours if you do something simple.

Tell me what you are grateful for today. One thing.  No matter how small.  Just one little note of gratitude.

For an additional entry, you can do the following and leave me an additional comment saying you did:

  1. Visit The Shady Hollow and take a look around, tell me what your favorite item is.  There are so many beautiful choices; it’s hard to pick!  They have a number of different colors of the bird’s nest jewelry and some lovely natural glass earrings as well as wonderful sculptures.
  2. Spread the word about this giveaway through Facebook, Twitter, or blog, and leave me a comment telling me so.

So there you have it.  One moment of gratitude for your day and two more ways to get extra entries for a sweet little handcrafted sterling silver set.  Easy-peasy!  [And seriously lovely jewelry!  Thank you, Shady Hollow!]

** Winner will be chosen by comment number with random.org this Friday (the 25th) at noon.


“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”- John Milton

Happy Birthday, little blog! {And an Etsy Giveaway}

{Giveaway Closed}  The winner is comment #2 from Kreative Karing.  Congrats!


As the calendar flips to March, I realize it’s been a year since I’ve started this little journal, and I didn’t want the anniversary to go by without something special to commemorate the occasion.  A few facts:

  1. I’ve written 87 posts so far, averaging 1.6 entries a week.
  2. My most commented-on post is What I Wish I’d Known About Breastfeeding .
  3. My most visited post is this simple one on inspiration for a carnival birthday party followed closely by this one on my freezer cooking extravaganza and this one on the things I don’t miss about my old job.
  4. The posts most landed on by random search engines are my posts on our circus birthday party last October.
  5. The weirdest searches that landed someone here were vagina in the potty and teacher won’t let me use the bathroom what should I do.  Those are so bizarre that I can’t believe I even admitted them to you. (I think I maybe mention “vaginal” in my birth story??)  I’ve got no idea how that gets someone here, but I’m guessing they didn’t find what they were searching for.   [As a side note, someone landed here once by searching for “boobs,” and I think that’s kind of hilarious considering a post on breastfeeding isn’t really what was expected, I assume.]
  6. The most common category for my posts is Gratitude with 23 entries.
  7. The one entry that changed blogging for me was this one, which I’ll expand on a little next week.  (With another Etsy giveaway!) I wrote it late one night on a whim, and I feel like my entire blog totally changed direction after that.
  8. My most favorite entry is this one; it still makes me happy to go back and read it.  My birthday letter to Jude is a close second.  His birth story is also close to my heart for obvious reasons, and I love these entries as well.  It’s funny how the posts that mean so much to the writer aren’t necessarily the most commented on or most viewed posts.
  9. My most favorite thing about this little blog? It makes me notice the things I would have missed otherwise and give thanks when I need to. My gratitude category has opened up a whole new practice for me that is really worthwhile, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it has honestly made a difference in my daily life and my perspective.
  10. My most unexpected happy thing about blogging?  All of you! I love hearing from you whether in a comment or an email, and I’ve been surprised at the sense of community and friendship that can happen in front of a computer screen.

So thank you, little blog for showing me how take notice of my own life.  And thank you, reader, for listening and talking.



And now for the fun part!  In honor of the first birthday of Mama the Reader, Bookish Charm Etsy Shop is kindly giving one of my readers this adorable necklace.

How sweet is that?  And let’s be honest that most of the time I end up rambling about a million different topics from food to crafts to parties to toddler tantrums, but a thirst for knowledge and a love of words are still the foundation of what drives me here at Mama the Reader, and I know my readers are bookish, too!

So this is how you enter:

Hop over to Bookish Charm.

Take a look around.

Leave me a comment about what your favorite item is.

It’s as easy as that!  Personally, I’d love to wear one of these.


A quote from Pride and Prejudice! Oh, Mr. Darcy!

or this

or this

Seriously cute stuff!  All comments should be completed by  Friday, March 18th at noon when I use random.org to choose a random number to be our winner.

If you’re not a subscriber here, don’t forget to drop by next week for some words on the value of gratitude and another Etsy giveaway as well. [Or head to the side bar to click and subscribe. ]

Thanks for reading, y’all!  And happy birthday little blog!

**Linked to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.

**Etsy jewelry, free or otherwise, is definitely a thing I love!  This post linked to Things I Love Thursday as well.