We all know that focusing on what we’re thankful for can make us feel happier.  Many of us have written lists of 5 things we’re grateful for, or 20, or 50…but have you ever made a list of 500 things you appreciate?

I decided to create this list of 500 things because I wanted to dive deeper.  I didn’t want to focus on just the obvious 10 or 20 things.

I wanted to reallyyyyyy go in-depth and challenge myself to think of 500 things…because I’m sure it’s possible.

There are three reasons why I’m sharing this list:

  • To prove to myself that I have hundreds of reasons (if not thousands) to be thankful, even during the most difficult times in life.
  • To keep things in perspective when I’m feeling like life sucks.
  • To give YOU 500 ideas of things you can be thankful for in your own life.

So, let’s get to it.

To make this list more organized, I’ve broken it up into multiple categories, each with 25 items.  Feel free to skip around to whichever categories you’d like to read.

Thanks for reading and I hope this post gives you some ideas for your own gratitude list!

This is a personal finance blog after all, so let’s start with…

MONEY

  1. Neva lending me The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey…which led to the creation of this blog.
  2. Financial Peace University, which helped my husband to get on board with Dave Ramsey’s crazy money plan.
  3. Paying off our $117,000 of student loan debt (plus a $10,000 car loan) in just four years.
  4. My parents for allowing us to live with them, which made it possible to pay off our loans so quickly.
  5. Millennial Money Man’s blog, which inspired us to live with my parents (he lived with his in-laws and paid off $40k in student loan debt in less than two years).
  6. Having money set aside for emergencies, so it doesn’t need to be a disaster every time something unexpected happens (because stuff breaks! This is not a surprise, people!).
  7. The knowledge that credit cards are not for emergencies. Credit cards are for building credit and that is all (I know Dave wouldn’t approve, but that’s okay :) ).
  8. My student loan debt…because it was the kick in the butt that I needed to start making more intentional decisions with money.
  9. The cash envelope system, which makes the budgeting process so much simpler.
  10. All of the amazing personal finance blogs out there that inspire me and motivate me.
  11. Personal finance books and podcasts.
  12. My four year spending ban, which showed me that I can do crazy things :)
  13. Having more room in our budget for fun stuff now that our student loans are paid off.
  14. Being on baby step #3 and knowing that we’ll be done with this step in less than a year! Can’t wait!
  15. The knowledge that completing baby step #3 means we’ll have $1,500 more back in our budget each month…which we can use for traveling, minor home renovations, and saving for retirement.
  16. That my husband has an employer match on his Roth.
  17. That we both earn good incomes and have stable employment.
  18. The benefits we receive through work (especially the benefits my husband has…like great medical insurance).
  19. Growing up in a middle class area, which gave me opportunities I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.
  20. Being born in a first world country, which also gave me opportunities I wouldn’t have had somewhere else.
  21. Being raised by a frugal step dad who modeled smart money habits for me.
  22. Always having a roof over our heads and enough food to eat, even during the most difficult times financially.
  23. That my parents taught me how to earn money and manage it.
  24. That my parents didn’t do everything for me (so I had to learn how to manage my money).
  25. The knowledge that money mindset is important.

MY HUSBAND

  1. His eyes and his smile.
  2. How good he is at fixing so many things.
  3. His knowledge of cars, computers, and everything technology-related.
  4. How much work he has put into this blog.
  5. How hard he works at his job.
  6. How smart and talented he is, even though he doesn’t see it.
  7. How much he adores our pug and animals in general.
  8. How caring he was when I was recovering after surgery. How he helped me out of bed when I was in too much pain to lie down, and how he tried to sleep in a ridiculous position with a makeshift furniture setup so I wouldn’t be myself in the living room.
  9. How he supports me in whatever I do.
  10. That he goes to church with me even though he isn’t religious. That he made this decision on his own and I didn’t even have to ask.
  11. How he took Financial Peace University with me and goes along with Dave Ramsey’s plan even though Ben is a spender and it’s all a little nuts to him.
  12. His love of photography.
  13. The cute nicknames he has for me.
  14. How often he tells me that I’m cute or pretty.
  15. His sense of humor and how he makes me laugh all the time.
  16. How he’s my best friend.
  17. That he can apologize and admit when he’s wrong.
  18. How he forgives me when I’m at my worst.
  19. How he sees the best in me even when I can’t see it.
  20. That he buys me gifts for no reason.
  21. How generous he is with money (something I struggle with myself).
  22. How his brain works in a completely different way than mine does. How creative he is and the way he understands how things work.
  23. The way he gets me to communicate and be more open.
  24. How spontaneous he is and how he inspires me to be more spontaneous and flexible. Like that time when we decided to add Chicago to our road trip at the last minute…and I’m so glad we did!  It was amazing.
  25. His love.

OTHER PEOPLE

  1. My mom – for always being there, for always listening, for not judging and just understanding. For being able to tell her ANYTHING and knowing that her love for me will never change.
  2. My step dad –for showing me how to be frugal and save money, for helping me with my math homework, for teaching me how to drive, for helping me pay for college, and most importantly, for always being there.
  3. My dad and brothers – for always wanting the best for me and always wanting to protect me.
  4. My in-laws for loving me like a daughter and welcoming me into their family. For being kind and generous.
  5. My grandmother-in-law Alice for being so incredibly generous. She makes Christmas so much fun and I really appreciate that.
  6. My grandmother-in-law Lois, aunt-in-law (is that a word?) Angie, and brother-in-law Jake. I love you all!
  7. N – for always wanting to help, always being there, and for introducing me to Dave Ramsey’s money plan, which started this crazy journey to financial freedom.
  8. H – for always being a kind, good person and for inspiring me to be a minimalist and to live a life that’s aligned with my values.
  9. J – for always being compassionate, nonjudgmental, and hilarious.
  10. E – for understanding who I am and allowing me to be myself. Never needing to pretend to be more extraverted or more positive than I am when I’m around her.
  11. L – for always caring, always being there, and inspiring me to live a healthy lifestyle.
  12. C – for being like a sister to me. Even though we aren’t as close as we used to be, I’ll always love her like a sister.
  13. M – for still being my friend even though she moved to another state over 20 years ago. That she had the opportunity to attend my wedding and that I was able to be there for hers as well.
  14. S – for always being kind and nonjudgmental. For always praying for everyone.
  15. All of my graduate school friends who exposed me to so many new cultures, ideas, and things I never would’ve known about if we hadn’t become friends.
  16. All of my friends and family members who have touched my life in so many unique ways.
  17. My parents’ neighbor across the street who is the sweetest woman. She remembers our dog’s birthday, brings him treats for every holiday, and brings us homemade chocolate truffles too.  She is so generous and kind.
  18. My kind, friendly neighbors and being able to spend time with their dogs :)
  19. Employees who do their jobs well and deliver amazing customer service. We spend a lot of time complaining about the bad experiences with service, but there are so many examples of wonderful service too.
  20. The professors and teachers I’ve had who have taught me so much…particularly my University Writing professor. After I took her class, writing became so much easier and more enjoyable for me.  When I was in high school, I HATED writing with a passion.  It’s definitely not something that comes naturally to me…but now I love it!
  21. All of the many bloggers, authors, and podcast hosts who have taught me so much about money, anxiety, minimalism, and life.
  22. Brooke Castillo (host of The Life Coach School podcast) and her willingness to share her story and what she’s learned. How much she has taught me and how she “gets” so many of the things that I struggle with.  Her advice on relationships, money, emotions, anxiety, and weight loss has truly changed my life in many ways.
  23. Coworkers who are kind and hardworking.
  24. Strangers and their random acts of kindness.
  25. Kind words from unexpected places.

ANIMALS

  1. My pug, Herbie. How sweet, cuddly, and loving he is.  He’s laying on my lap as I type this :)
  2. How excited he gets when I come home.
  3. Snuggling with the pug and watching Netflix.
  4. Herbie’s silly cinnamon roll shaped tail, and his adorable wrinkles and rolls.
  5. His snorts, other bizarre noises, and goofy “clown” personality.
  6. How he makes me laugh every single day.
  7. Herbie’s odd quirks – how he occasionally gets afraid of his own toys, hates certain textures (linoleum floors), and makes the most bizarre noises I’ve ever heard a dog make.
  8. How cute it is when he and Buddy (my parents’ Chihuahua) play together.
  9. How much Buddy adores Herbie even though Buddy is so grouchy.
  10. Buddy’s sweet (misleadingly so) little face.
  11. All pugs, bulldogs, and other flat nosed breeds…and the goofy snorting noises they make.
  12. Corgis, dachshunds, and all dogs with bellies than hang low to the ground…and how hilarious they look when they walk.
  13. Pomeranians, who look like little cotton balls that are constantly smiling.
  14. Dogs in general – their unconditional love for their humans and their desire to say hello to everyone.
  15. Cats and their sweet natures (despite what some people think!).
  16. Bunny – the gray and white tabby I had for years. Her snuggles, following me around constantly, acting like a dog, doing weird stuff (such as standing on two feet like a penguin and unscrewing lightbulbs with her paws).
  17. Katie – the chatty tortoise shell kitty I had growing up. Her loving and always gentle (yet tough) personality.
  18. Kevin – the 30 pound orange and white tabby I had growing up. How adorable he was and his love of taking naps right next to my boom box (yes, I’m old).
  19. Duck – for being my first dog and slowly changing me from a cat person to a dog person. Her silly quirks like hiding in the bathtub during fireworks.
  20. Sami – my in-laws’ cat. Her sweet little meow that masks her fierce personality.
  21. Izzy – their other cat. His beautiful blue eyes and how he’s just a fluffy ball of fur that resembles a burnt marshmallow.
  22. Penguins – how cute they are and how goofy they look when they waddle around.
  23. Sea otters and how they hold hands while sleeping.
  24. Giraffes and how much my mother-in-law loves them.
  25. Rabbits, ducks, koala bears, quokkas, and all of the many other adorable creatures out there. How we live a world filled with animals and pets.

TRAVEL

  1. The opportunity to go to Hawaii (Kauai and The Big Island) in college.
  2. Kissing my husband (then my boyfriend) on top of a mountain at sunset in Hawaii. What could be more romantic than that?
  3. Visiting the beautiful black sand beach on The Big Island.
  4. The chance to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the unbelievably gorgeous hotel we stayed at (made possible by my in-laws’ timeshare). We were right on the ocean and the view was breathtaking.  The hotel was designed exactly the way I would choose to design a home (with crown molding, neutral walls, and gray laminate flooring).  If I could live anywhere in the world, I’d live in this hotel J Being there was the type of experience that made me keep asking “is this real life?”
  5. Visiting historic Charleston and touring the mansion where the movie The Notebook was filmed.
  6. Arizona – the desert’s unique beauty with its mountains, cacti, and unusual looking plants.
  7. How much Ben loved Arizona when he went there for the first time on our honeymoon.
  8. That my in-laws have a timeshare and how this allows us to go on amazing vacations and stay in hotels that are way nicer than anywhere we’ve stayed at on our own.
  9. Cave Creek, Arizona and Fountain Hills, AZ – two of my favorite places in AZ.
  10. DJ’s Bagel Café with its amazing cannoli and Salad & Go with its cheap prices and delicious, healthy food.
  11. The view from the roof of my step grandparents’ house in Arizona.
  12. Being able to travel to Missouri for my childhood best friend’s wedding.
  13. The opportunity to go on a cruise while I was in high school – I left the country for the first (and only) time (to go to Mexico) and saw Florida for the first time (Fort Lauderdale and Key West).
  14. Being within driving distance of Canada (hoping to take a trip there sometime within the next few years).
  15. Our trip to Chicago last year – seeing the bean for the first time and The Field Museum.
  16. Enjoying walking along Lake Michigan at peaceful Calument Park. This was actually my favorite part of our Chicago trip because it was so beautiful, quiet, and relaxing (unlike the crowded city).
  17. That our hotel in Dubuque, Iowa had a ping pong table and we played quite a few games. It’s the little things in life J
  18. The many cute, interesting shops we explored in Galena, Illinois (part 1 of our road trip to Chicago).
  19. Walking along the peaceful, pretty Mississippi River in Dubuque.
  20. Living just a few hours away (driving distance) from a Great Lake.
  21. The stunning beauty of Lake Superior and the town of Duluth.
  22. The scenic North Shore drive we’ll take from Duluth to Canada at some point.
  23. All of the opportunities we’ll have to travel in the future, thanks to learning how to manage money better and being 100% free of all non-mortgage debt (so glad those student loans are gone!).
  24. All of the unbelievable beauty in this world.
  25. Being able to get paid without working (PTO).

PHYSICAL HEALTH

  1. That I have all four limbs and they all work well.
  2. That I’m able to use all five of my senses.
  3. Having access to surgeries for my lazy eye when I was a little kid… and that these surgeries went well and my eye no longer drifts.
  4. Having good teeth, thanks to access to sealants and regular dental care.
  5. Being able to have medical, dental, and vision insurance.
  6. Having a successful gall bladder removal surgery a few months ago. Life is so much better without a gall bladder!  Now I can have occasional cheat days and I no longer have to endure periodic episodes of excruciating pain.
  7. Having a blood transfusion that went well (because I have a bleeding disorder, I am at risk for excessive bleeding during surgery). Living in a time when blood transfusions are possible and safe.  Being able to have this precaution taken prior to surgeries.
  8. Finally having a diagnosis for my bleeding disorder (Factor V Deficiency) after 29 years.
  9. All of the people who donate blood! It’s because of YOU that people with bleeding disorders are able to have surgery safely.
  10. Pain…which indicates that something is wrong. If I hadn’t experienced pain during gall bladder episodes, I never would’ve known that I had gall stones or that I needed to stop eating high fat foods.
  11. The ability to breathe easily and deeply. I especially appreciate this one after having a cold!
  12. Organs that all function property…including my brain.
  13. That I have literally no desire at all for pop or alcohol (which would have seemed crazy at one point in my life).
  14. Being able to lose 35 pounds.
  15. The ability to walk, run (not that I ever do that, haha!), and do yoga.
  16. Access to treatments for my chronic neck pain…like physical therapy, exercise, and massages.
  17. Living in a time when there are so many effective treatment options available for many different conditions.
  18. Having a strong immune system.
  19. Access to vaccines…which don’t cause autism, by the way.
  20. Living in a country where I have access to quality healthcare.
  21. The doctors who genuinely care about helping people.
  22. Having braces as a kid (and my step dad for paying for those braces) and no longer having a gap between my two front teeth.
  23. Finally having a diagnosis for my step dad’s cognitive issues.
  24. My mom being in good health at the age of 65 despite 50 years of being a smoker.
  25. Most of my friends and family members being in good health.

MENTAL HEALTH

  1. Having the ability to use my mind to plan, problem solve, comprehend and produce speech, remember things, and do so many things on autopilot without even thinking about it.
  2. Having good mental health (aside from my anxiety).
  3. Endorphins, the best natural mood booster.
  4. Classes like yoga and Zumba, and the impact they have on my mood.
  5. The peaceful effects of walking outside in nature, or on the treadmill while listening to a podcast.
  6. The impact of Vitamin D on mood during a sunny day.
  7. My anxiety for what it has taught to me. How I’ve learned to stop trying to control everything, to surrender, and to have faith.
  8. Learning to accept my anxiety (and other negative emotions) instead of resisting it or escaping it with bad habits like overeating.
  9. The Life Coach School podcast for teaching me how to do #8.
  10. The knowledge that thoughts create feelings and I can decide with thoughts I want to think (to some extent).
  11. Being able to practice creating the emotions I want to create with my thoughts.
  12. How my OCD motivated me to learn to genuinely accept my anxiety.
  13. How my own struggles with anxiety and OCD give me more compassion for other people.
  14. How I can use my story and experiences to help other people who have anxiety.
  15. Books, websites, and resources that have helped me with my anxiety more than therapy ever has.
  16. The knowledge that true peace comes from acceptance.
  17. How I can talk to my mom about anxiety and she gets it. How understanding and nonjudgmental she is about it.
  18. Self-care.
  19. The calming effect of massages, yoga, beauty, nature, and so many other things.
  20. Yoga, how difficult it is, and the confidence that comes from knowing that I can do hard things.
  21. How yoga teaches us to be comfortable being uncomfortable – a skill that can be used in many areas of life.
  22. Our yoga instructors and how the things that they say always hit home.
  23. The calming effect of deep breathing.
  24. The decreasing stigma around mental health. How we talk about it more openly now.
  25. Living in a time when treatments (therapy, medications) are available for mental health conditions.

MYSELF

  1. My ability to plan ahead and prepare for the future.
  2. How organized I am.
  3. My attention to detail.
  4. My ability to spell…yes, I was in spelling bees as a kid. #nerd
  5. How strongly I commit to things.  My dedication and persistence.
  6. My ability to work hard.
  7. My discipline.
  8. My ability to focus.
  9. The way I can see multiple points of view.
  10. How I’ve been able to question deeply held beliefs that I’ve had a for a long time and change my opinions on some things.
  11. My ability to empathize with other people.
  12. My loyalty.
  13. How easy it is for me to budget.
  14. How skilled I am at saving and managing money.
  15. My ability to work with numbers.
  16. Being able to think logically and analytically.
  17. My ability to do hard things.
  18. Being able to make peace with my anxiety and OCD.
  19. Every time I’ve given a presentation (and survived :) ) despite severe anxiety.
  20. My body, for everything that it’s able to do.
  21. How much I’ve been able to improve my balance and flexibility with yoga.
  22. My eye color.
  23. My desire to contribute to the world in a positive and meaningful way.
  24. Being able to have compassion and forgiveness for other people.
  25. My ability to have compassion and forgiveness for myself.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

  1. White crown molding, gray walls, and gray laminate flooring.
  2. White cabinets + stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.
  3. Flowers that are red, purple, or hot pink.
  4. The many beautiful colors in the world…especially red, purple, turquoise, and blue.
  5. French manicures.
  6. Red nail polish.
  7. Dark red hair dye.
  8. The ability to dye my hair.
  9. My iPhone.
  10. My laptop.
  11. Floating shelves and their minimalist look.
  12. Pug paintings.
  13. Wall art in general.
  14. Browsing through wall art at Home Goods.
  15. Wood signs with quotes on them.
  16. My label maker, organizing bins, drawer organizers, and everything else that organizes stuff.
  17. Reclining chairs and how comfortable they are.
  18. Blue tooth speakers and the sound quality.
  19. Planners, schedules, calendars, spreadsheets, and other tools to help me plan.
  20. That Etsy exists and that I can order custom made, personalized things.
  21. My bed.
  22. Yoga pants and how they’re in style right now (I hope that doesn’t change!).
  23. Dog toys that my pug has so much fun with.
  24. Dog sweaters that he hates but that look so adorable on him!
  25. Dog Halloween costumes.

PLACES 

  1. Living in the land of 10,000 lakes.
  2. The state of Minnesota (minus winter).
  3. The Great Lakes and their stunning beauty.
  4. The ocean and how it makes me feel so peaceful.
  5. Walking trails in scenic areas.
  6. Leash-free dog parks.
  7. Being so close to so many parks.
  8. Outdoor yoga classes.
  9. Gazebos.
  10. Going to the pool (or hot tub) and just relaxing.
  11. Being so close to so many malls.
  12. The ability to mall walk in the winter when it’s -20 degrees outside.
  13. My favorite stores: The Container Store, Home Goods, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  14. Fast food and my favorite fast food restaurants.
  15. Healthy organic restaurants.
  16. The concept of healthy fast food places (like Salad and Go in AZ).
  17. How the rocks look against the water on Lake Superior.
  18. The beautiful hilly farm land along the drive from Dubuque, Iowa to Chicago.  I had never seen such pretty farms in my life.
  19. Art museums.
  20. Mini golf courses.
  21. Movie theaters with comfy reclining chairs.
  22. City lights.
  23. Seeing new places.
  24. Budget-friendly stores.
  25. The peaceful atmosphere at yoga studios, spas, and massage studios.

FOOD

  1. Domino’s pepperoni pizza.  (Favorite food ever)
  2. Caribou Coffee’s vanilla coolers.
  3. Starbucks’ chai tea lattes.
  4. Sundried tomato bagels and cinnamon sugar bagels.
  5. Blondie blasts (chocolate chip cookie bar with M&M’s).
  6. Coconut M&M’s (which they no longer make).
  7. Coke Blak (also no longer in existence).
  8. Strawberry cheesecake.
  9. Lemon bundt cake.
  10. Brownie cookies.
  11. Brownies.
  12. Cookies.
  13. Spaghetti.
  14. Turkey burgers.
  15. Chicken Caesar wraps (and wraps in general).
  16. My mom’s chocolate chip cookie bars.
  17. My mother-in-law’s chicken and noodles.
  18. My grandmother-in-law’s pumpkin pie (and pretty much everything she cooks).
  19. Buttered noodles.
  20. Cannoli.
  21. Chinese food.
  22. French fries.
  23. Watermelon.
  24. Strawberry banana smoothies.
  25. Peanut butter.

MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY

  1.  Netflix.
  2. TV shows – especially a few of my favorites, such as Gilmore Girls, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, and Wentworth.
  3. Movies – including my favorites: Bridesmaids, It’s Complicated, and Easy A.
  4. Books – especially historical fiction, true crime, psychological thrillers, romance, chick lit, non-fiction, personal finance (of course!), memoirs, and most importantly, the Bible.
  5. Living in a time when we have easy access to so much technology and entertainment.
  6. Spotify.
  7. Being able to listen to music on my phone with my bluetooth speaker.
  8. Music, music, more music.
  9. The relaxing effect of music.
  10. The way some music just speaks to your soul.
  11. The way that music expresses things words simply can’t.
  12. All of my favorite types of music: rock, pop, indie pop, indie rock, and Christian.
  13. The way we can remember the lyrics to thousands of songs…even ones we haven’t heard in years.  It’s crazy.
  14. Social media and its ability to keep us connected with our friends and family members.
  15. Instagram and how much better it is than Facebook or Twitter.
  16. Taking silly Snap chat pictures with my hubby and our nieces and nephews.  So fun :)
  17. Blogs – especially personal finance, organizing blogs, and wellness blogs.
  18. Being able to find all sorts of freebies on the internet thanks to blogs.
  19. Headphones.
  20. Google and the ridiculous amount of information right at our fingertips all the time.
  21. Being able to watch Netflix all day when I’m sick.
  22. That Netflix only costs about $13 per month.
  23. Podcasts, especially the Life Coach School podcast and Natalie Bacon’s Design Your Dream Life podcast.
  24. The Dave Ramsey (radio) show.
  25. Debt-free screams!

HOBBIES & FUN

  1. Being able to document life with scrapbooking and photography.
  2. The Project Life scrapbooks – how organized and neat they look.  How this project simplifies scrapbooking and makes it easy.
  3. The #1SE (one second every day) app and how fun it is to document my days through video (something I never used to do much).
  4. Living in a time when digital cameras exist and we no longer have to roll film in bags (which I’m terrible at!) and develop our pictures in darkrooms.
  5. The crazy good quality pictures you can get shooting (even in auto) with a DSLR camera.
  6. The pictures we’ll always have even when the memories have faded.
  7. Sharing picture collages on Facebook and social media.
  8. Picture frames, photo albums, and canvas prints.
  9. Living in a time when blogs exist and being able to share my story (and help others) through this blog.
  10. Being able to make money online!
  11. The money I’ve earned with this blog via ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and freelance writing.
  12. That there are people who earn six figures every year (and some who make that each MONTH!).  How crazy is that?  So inspiring!  What an amazing time to be alive.
  13. 5k walks and runs (I’ll always be walking :) )
  14. The charities and wonderful causes these “marathons” support (it has been pointed out to me that 5k’s are not marathons).
  15. The Color Run – the world’s happiest 5k.  So much fun!
  16. 5k’s that include animals – those are definitely my favorite!
  17. That there are people talented and creative enough to create beautiful ice castles we all can tour in the winter.
  18. Being willing and able to try new things, even things I completely suck at.
  19. Going outside of my comfort zone and doing something challenging.
  20. Board games – especially my favorites: Telestrations, Scattergories, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
  21. Having game nights with friends and laughing all night.
  22. All of the board games and card games I played as a kid.  Monopoly and Mancala, anyone?
  23. Escape rooms.
  24. Going for walks with friends and just chatting.
  25. Pool days with friends in the summer.

WORK

  1. The years I spent working in a bagel shop.  It wasn’t my favorite job (for sure), but they were always flexible with my school schedule.
  2. Jobs that kept me busy (not just standing around bored out of my mind).
  3. Every food service or retail job I’ve had, for showing me why I want to work in an office.
  4. Every job I’ve disliked for showing me exactly what I don’t want in a job.
  5. All of the Research Assistant gigs I had during college and how interesting they were.
  6. Being laid off from the HR Assistant job I had during the summer after college…because it allowed me to land a job that paid 3x as much…
  7. The Research Assistant job I had in grad school, for showing me that it’s possible to make more money than I had ever imagined (at the time).  And also for reimbursing most of my tuition during my first year of grad school.
  8. My first paid HR internship because I learned SO much about multiple different areas of HR and it was an awesome experience.
  9. Giving two hour presentations and interviewing people regularly at said internship…because this pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone and showed me that I’m capable of more than I realize.
  10. My major interview anxiety…because it gives me sympathy and compassion for people who are nervous when I interview them.
  11. Landing my current job and the incredible learning opportunity it has provided for me.
  12. How much I’ve learned at work and grown during the past few years.
  13. The perks I enjoy at my current job, like a free gym membership and a dog-friendly office.
  14. All of the dogs I get to see regularly at work.
  15. Working for a company that appreciates its employees.
  16. Having the best boss I’ve ever had…who shows me everything I want to be when I become a boss in the future.
  17. Being in a job that I’m good at and that’s a good fit for my personality and skill set.
  18. Having coworkers who are friendly and passionate about their jobs.
  19. Working for a company with a meaningful mission.
  20. Being employed by an organization that values health and wellness so much.
  21. Having a good amount of responsibility, independence, and autonomy at work.
  22. Being able to work hard and the satisfaction that comes from that.
  23. Knowing that my job is important because people rely on their paychecks being accurate and on time, every time.
  24. Going out to eat for special occasions or once in a while just because..
  25. For earning an income that helps to provide for me, my pug :), and my husband.

SCHOOL AND EDUCATION

  1. The educational opportunities I had because I was born in a first world country and grew up in a middle class neighborhood.
  2. Getting a quality education at a “good” high school.
  3. Access to AP classes, honors classes, PSEO/college classes, an ACT prep class, and all sorts of different electives.
  4. Being in Badminton Club.
  5. Graduating with a 3.9 GPA.
  6. Doing well on the ACT.
  7. Being accepted into the University of Minnesota and completing my bachelor’s degree.  Did you know that only 6.7% of the world’s population holds a college degree?  Crazy!  Education is a privilege.
  8. All of the amazing professors I had in college.  Seriously, 90% of them were incredible.
  9. Going to a university with an excellent psychology program.
  10. Attending a college with a strong focus on research.
  11. My favorite psychology classes: Abnormal Psych, Child Psych, and Industrial/Organizational Psych (my all-time fave).
  12. Being a psychology major and getting to take so many fascinating classes.
  13. My other favorite classes: French, English, and Sociology.
  14. Somehow passing my Astronomy class even though I literally had no idea what was going on the entire time.
  15. The same thing for Microeconomics.
  16. Lectures…just being able to listen and passively absorb information.
  17. Classes that were 100% lecture-based.
  18. Being able to leave class in college after finishing a test (instead of just sitting there doing nothing like we did in high school).
  19. The ability to learn and entertain new ideas.
  20. Being able to take a lot of classes that I was actually interested in.
  21. That I wasn’t required to take very many math or science classes as a psych major.
  22. Doing well on the GRE.
  23. Being accepted into a competitive business school for my master’s degree in HR.
  24. My favorite HR classes: Organizational Behavior and Staffing/Training/Development.
  25. Finishing grad school with a 3.75 GPA.

THE BASICS

  1. Clean drinking water.
  2. Always having enough food.
  3. Access to healthy food.
  4. Being raised in a middle class neighborhood in a first world country.
  5. The rights and freedoms I have as a US citizen.
  6. Living in a country where we believe that all people are equal and worthy of basic human rights.
  7. The opportunity to live in “safe” neighborhoods.
  8. Always having a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.
  9. A comfortable bed.
  10. Blankets and pillows.
  11. Using my husband’s Ugg blanket (a Christmas gift from my parents) on cold winter days.
  12. Clean air to breathe.
  13. Living somewhere that isn’t incredibly overpopulated.
  14. Having the freedom and opportunity to do whatever I want with my life – to pursue any type of education, attain any career, enjoy any hobbies, etc.
  15. Residing in a country where it’s possible to change your financial situation.
  16. The ability to read, speak, write, and listen.
  17. The money in my savings account and checking account.
  18. My health and the 30 years I’ve lived on this planet.
  19. Always having enough clothes.
  20. Hats, gloves, scarves, coats, and boots to keep warm in the winter.
  21. Having a functioning car.
  22. The CD player in said car.
  23. Air conditioning and heat.
  24. Electricity.
  25. Modern appliances (washer/dryer, oven, microwave).

FAITH

  1. Our wonderful non-denominational church.
  2. The pastor at our church, and how he makes sermons interesting and funny.
  3. The many people who work for our church and make the services possible.
  4. The incredible generosity, kindness, and faith I see in these people.
  5. How loving Christians are when they actually behave like Christians.
  6. Christian music – especially Casting Crowns and Beckah Shae.
  7. The Bible.
  8. That there is a Bible available in so many different languages.
  9. The ability to read the Bible and understand it.
  10. People who understand the Bible more than I do.
  11. Talented teachers and pastors who explain things clearly.
  12. The person of Jesus Christ.
  13. His sacrifice on the cross, which washed away our sins.
  14. Knowing that I don’t have to be perfect or “good enough”.  We are saved by grace through faith…not because of anything that we do but because of who Jesus is.
  15. The knowledge that no sin is too big to be forgiven.
  16. Knowing that I cannot control everything and being able to surrender control to God.
  17. The incredible peace that comes from that.
  18. The knowledge that there is life after death.
  19. Prayer.
  20. The knowledge that all people have value… not because of anything they do (or don’t do) but because we were created by God.
  21. Apps and tools online that help us to study the Bible.
  22. The knowledge that materialism is empty and stuff will never make us happy.  Knowing that there’s so much more to this life (and the next).
  23. God’s mercy and forgiveness.
  24. God’s grace.
  25. God’s love.

EXPERIENCES

  1.  5K walks and the charities they support.
  2. The Walk for Animals (my favorite 5k).
  3. Run or Dye and how much fun that was.
  4. Going for long walks with friends and just talking.
  5. Every outing I’ve ever experienced with friends.
  6. Hanging out with Neva’s horse, Charlie.
  7. Taking pictures with friends…and my friends for putting up with endless photos.
  8. All of the dates I’ve been on with my husband.
  9. Mini golfing with friends and family.
  10. Bowling (even though I’m terrible!).
  11. Playing foosball and ping pong (my favorites).
  12. Roller skating as a kid.
  13. All those childhood years I spent enjoying the monkey bars, parallel bars, rings, and gliders on the playground.
  14. Playing with bead animals and beanie babies in elementary school.
  15. Sleepovers with DVD binge watching (this was before Netflix), ridiculous makeup and clothes, hanging out in the hot tub, and playing pool.
  16. The movies we watched at sleepovers so many times we memorized the lines.
  17. Finally passing my driver’s license test after failing it twice (I still can’t parallel park to save my life).
  18. Nights at First Avenue when I was in college.
  19. Getting Chinese food at Village Wok (which sadly is no longer there) so many times in college.  Their crazy hours, which made it possible to get food in the middle of the night.
  20. My bachelorette party…dinner, the photo shoot, and game night.  So fun!
  21. My bridal shower and my lovely family for throwing that shower.
  22. Being married at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
  23. Enjoying the open photo booth at our wedding reception and seeing the fun photos afterward.
  24. Going to art museums and sculpture gardens.
  25. Long walks with my husband and our sweet pug.

WISDOM & MISC.

  1. The ability to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  2. The knowledge that it’s okay to feel negative emotions sometimes.
  3. Our imaginations and the infinite number of possibilities that exist.
  4. The idea that every result we have in our lives began as a sentence in our minds. (Thanks, Brooke Castillo for teaching me this one.)
  5. The knowledge that we can create whatever we want in our lives.
  6. Byron Katie’s quote: “When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100% of the time.”
  7. Minimalism and its emphasis on living a meaningful life.
  8. The idea that stuff won’t make us happy and that we don’t need to keep up with the Joneses.
  9. People who had the courage to be “weird” and go against what “normal” people were doing.
  10. Individuals who didn’t doubt themselves even though the things they wanted to do had never been done before.
  11. Trailblazers and the amazing things they’ve created (electricity, the internet, computers, smartphones, etc).
  12. People who have been willing to share their knowledge and make an incredible contribution to the world.
  13. People who fought for the freedoms that I enjoy today…as an American, as a woman, and as a person.
  14. Ted Talks.
  15. How the internet allows us so many people to share their stories and the incredible impact that has.
  16. Every blog I’ve read, and the bloggers who had the courage to share their stories and put themselves out there.
  17. Susan Cain’s idea that introversion is not a “disease” that needs to be cured, but instead a valuable personality trait that we should embrace.
  18. Psychology and the ability to learn about ourselves and how our brains work.
  19. Sociology.
  20. Philosophy.
  21. Language.
  22. Metaphors.
  23. The human ability to reason and use logic.
  24. Statistics and the knowledge that correlation does not equal causation.
  25. That we’re able to theorize, do experiments, conduct research, draw conclusions, and learn.

THE HARD STUFF

  1. All of the difficult people in my life…because they’ve shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.
  2. People who only see things in black and white…because it shows me the importance of being able to see the shades of gray.
  3. People who can’t see other points of view…because this has taught me that I always want to be able to consider another viewpoint (even if I don’t agree with it).
  4. A friendship that ended (badly) years ago…because without that friendship, I never would’ve met my husband.
  5. All of the bad friends I’ve had…because they’ve made me appreciate the good friends so much more.
  6. Losing the first two houses we put offers on…because we ended up with a better house.  This location is perfect for us and I love it here!  When one door closes, another (often better) one opens.
  7. Every job I’ve been turned down for…because losing these meant being able to say “yes” to other job opportunities.
  8. Having divorced parents…because eventually my mom married my step dad, and he’s one of my favorite people in the world.
  9. My massive student loan debt…because it motivated me to change my mindset and make smarter financial choices.  It caused me to question (and eventually abandon) my belief that debt is a “normal” and necessary part of life.
  10. The difficult times we’ve had financially…because those times make me appreciate how much easier things are now that we’re debt-free aside from our mortgage.
  11. That my brother was found after he went missing (for a week) five years ago.  We all thought that he was dead, and our prayers were answered when he was found.
  12. Finally having a diagnosis for my step dad’s cognitive issues.  I wish it wasn’t dementia, but I’m glad we finally know.
  13. Every time I’ve been sick…because it makes me appreciate being healthy and feeling well.
  14. My flaws and the flaws of other people…because they’re a reminder that we’re all human and no one is perfect.
  15. How there are so many things that don’t come easily to me…because this motivates me to work hard.
  16. Being in a long-distance relationship with my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) for 4 years…because it made us appreciate our limited time together so much more.
  17. My anxiety…because it motivated me to find faith in something larger than myself.
  18. The times when I feel like my anxiety is so big because it’s a reminder that God is bigger.  Knowing that I don’t need to be strong because I can rely on His strength to get me through.
  19. The hard classes I’ve taken…for motivating me to work my ass off and for keeping me humble.
  20. Every terrible boss I’ve had…because they’ve made me appreciate my current boss (who’s awesome) so much!
  21. The ability to practice gratitude even during the most challenging times.
  22. The times in life when it has felt like there is no one I can truly rely on…because this is a reminder that the only one I can ALWAYS count on is God.
  23. The knowledge that I am never alone and that God is always there, collecting my tears.
  24. The hard times in life…because without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the good times.
  25. The negative emotions we all experience…because without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the amazing positive emotions like joy, gratitude, happiness, excitement, and peace.

AND I’m thankful for YOU for reading this entire list!

Have a gratitude filled day!

What are you thankful for?

 

 

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