Grateful and Authentic: A Work In Progress


I recently celebrated another birthday; this one carried very little pomp and circumstance. However, it encouraged me to take a step back and to look at the big picture…to celebrate all of the experiences that have brought me to this point and to ask myself, where do I want to go from here?

During the past year, living a grateful and authentic life has become my personal mission statement. While I clearly have not mastered the art, I have learned a few things along the way:

  1. Be thankful and ask for help. Last January, I began keeping a prayer journal. Each morning, I try to take a minute to document my blessings; I celebrate everything from my strong cup of coffee to the sweet freckles on my daughter’s nose. Then, I pray for help… This simple ritual starts my day off on the right foot, with a thankful perspective and a calm heart.
  1. Collect authentic friends. I hear myself telling my kids to fill up their lives with friends who lift them up, make them happy and like them unconditionally.  Lately, I’ve had to remind myself to follow this advice, too.  Life is simply too short and too busy for “friends” that add stress and subtract joy.
  1. “No” is not a bad word. I’ve learned that saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. There are only so many minutes in each day. And, we all have a limited number of days. So, I have become more selective about how I fill up my calendar. Just because I think that I have time to take on another volunteer project or other commitment, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for me (or my family).
  1. Each day is a gift. Ever since my birthday, my enthusiastic five-year-old (who loves everything birthday-related) keeps asking me, “Are you 41? Are you still 41?” Each, innocent question connects me to my aunt, who passed away at 41. It reminds me not to take anything or anyone for granted…
  1. Be brave and try new things. Writing this blog is completely outside my “box.” Putting my thoughts out into the “Universe” for others to read and judge is terrifying. Whenever someone mentions that they are following me, it makes me feel a little self-conscious (like I forgot to wear my cover-up to the pool). But, I appreciate the encouragement; it’s much more fun to have an audience than to write for myself.

So, thank you for joining me on my journey. I encourage you to take a step back and to admire your life…If you’re inspired to create your own “mission statement,” I’d love  for you to share it, too.

xo Kara

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Happiness or Thankfulness, Which Comes First?



My daughter brought this piece of artwork home from school last year. I still love it.  On days when happiness eludes me, it cheerily reminds me that I am in control — it’s all about perspective.

For example:

•When my precious children fight like cats and dogs, I remind myself how hard I prayed for children and how lucky I am to experience motherhood, even if it’s not always exactly how I imagined it.

•When I sort the twelve piles of laundry that need to be done today, I remind myself that I am blessed to care for three active children and a husband . . . and to own laundry machines.

•When I’m unloading and filling my dishwasher for the third time since 6:30 a.m., I remind myself that I am blessed to have enough food to feed a healthy, growing family. . .and a dishwasher, too.

•When I wearily pick up all of the evidence of my family’s loud, messy life at the end of the day, I remind myself that it’s my privilege.

Life is all about perspective and making the choice to be thankful.  I choose to be thankful — again and again and again.