jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

My family is in town, my sister and her husband, my brother, my mother. Right now my children are running around outside playing with my sister’s dog (because I plan to never get us a dog, thank you very much) and they are showing my brother the huge widow-maker tree that leans precariously about thirty feet above the ground and that they climb up every single day (because as children my siblings and I never really climbed any trees to speak of.) And later this week my in-laws will join us, Santa will come in all his wrapping-festooned glory. Wine will be drunk, stories will be told and I will yell at everyone to stay away from me when I’m in the kitchen.

But before that, or in the midst of that, or because of all that, or as a remedy to that, I am joining some blogger friends dear and far in a celebration of happy and grace and gratitude and beauty. I am setting a timer and letting the love flow. I am inviting you into my ten minutes of joy. Because we all need joy. We all have things to be joyful. Because you reap what you sow and I need to sow joy. (Timer begins… now.)

1. I am thankful for the skin that wraps my children’s bodies, for it’s soft peach-fuzziness and how it is pearly in the light, how it tastes and smells.

2. The fact that they still let me kiss them and rub my face in their hair. Even in the school lunchroom, even my oldest one.

Summer 2015

Summer 2015

3. The things they can do like play the piano and read a book and ride a bike and swim across a pool. When did this all happen? Why did I want them to mature so badly? Because a tiny bit I miss their neediness, too.

4. And for their good health.

5. And the strength of their little muscled bodies.

6. And the crazy amazing things that come from their brains like Minion drawings and princess drawings and sculptures made from trash.


A hard-working artist
September 2015

7. For my husband and the velvety skin of his shoulders and the heft of his arm when we spoon at night and the way he cares for the family and suggests we have a dance party even when I’m lousy with tired and in the end sometimes I even smile despite my better judgement.

8. My mother and her voice in my head even when we are not together and the way she gets excited for my little accomplishments even when she doesn’t understand them. And my mother-in-law and her best rabbit who parent me when I need a parent in my zip code.

mom and me wlking

Two old birds
November 2015

9. And my siblings and the way they love me enough that I feel like the treasured baby sister still.

10. I am thankful for my friends who stand by me when I need them, who sit in the front seat of my car with me as we spew words of complaint or wonder or mourning or celebration over hastily eaten soup before we rush off to our next great adventure.

11. For friends who teach me things, who celebrate me and let me celebrate the amazing things they do.

12. And for new friends, too.

13. And friends far away who know me better than I know my hand because they knew my hand when it was wrinkle-free and holding a lacrosse stick.

14. For college roommates who I only see every once in awhile but who see me as this powerful thing I don’t see myself as.

15. And for people who care for my children, mostly amazing young women and one cool dude (you all know who you are) who teach my kids and cuddle them and read to them and drive them to soccer practice or do crafts with them when I can’t. Who are more patient than I am on most days.

16. I am thankful for Maine, the whole damn state, the ocean parts especially, and the salt air and the bridges that span pine trees and inlets.

Getting ready for the next step August 2015

Getting ready for the next step
August 2015

17. My paddle board and the freedom that comes when my mind opens up and releases.

18. I am thankful for running (even though I can’t right now) and that feeling of flying.

19. Harry Potter. I am so very thankful for Harry Potter and the voices I get to do while my children pile around me in my son’s bed listening in wonder as magic unfurls.

20. And the Penderwicks that we listen to in the car, so thankful for these amazing authors who I share with my children.

21. I am thankful for red wine, too,

22. and chocolate

23. and bacon

24. and NPR.

25. I am thankful for Pandora solo piano radio

26. and NaNoWriMo

27. and the people at Mabel’s Label who picked me to win their contest so now I’m one of their writers in 2016. (Also Mamalode and Scary Mommy for publishing me, too.)

28. And actually, I’m thankful for Mabel’s Labels, the actual tags that help me not lose stuff

29. at my kids’ school, which I love.

girl walking on play rug

Another journey around the sun
October 2015

30. I am grateful for amazing teachers who love my kids more wholly than I could imagine possible.

31. And I am so thankful for the people my husband works with, for this place that has welcomed our crazy family.

32. For our minivan which is so dirty and disgusting, and the sliding door doesn’t work, but I love that damn thing anyway.

33. I am grateful for art in the world.

34. and art I get to make

35. and people around me who are artists and writers (like Jenny and Dawn who invented this magic.)

36. I am grateful for the bird sanctuary,

37. the playgrounds,

38. the pool,

39. the places my kids ride their bikes with me,

40. soccer seasons

41. (but not Little League. I was never grateful for Little League.)

42. I am so thankful for my crockpot

43. and that when I go to the grocery store I get to fill my cart with whatever my kids need or want. This is a miracle in this day and age.

44. That I live in a place where we get to choose, where we can get what we need and also, what we want.

45. That I am free to practice religion as I choose (or not)

46. and free to love people who live their lives like they want to, too.

47. I am grateful for clean water,

48. comfortable beds,

49. that I can send my children outside to play on their own (or with their Aunty and Uncle) and know that they will run around wild and free and be safe and sound except for an occasional cut or scrape or otherwise minor flesh wound. That they will imagine anything for themselves and their future. That anything is possible for them.

So grateful December 2015

So grateful
December 2015


(Moment of honesty. I gave myself three extra minutes of writing because I was interrupted four times. I had to stop the timer four ding-dang times. So I stood up and jumped up and down like a three-year-old in frustration because is ten minutes so much to ask for? Ten minutes?!

50. So I am thankful that you all will forgive me for giving myself three extra minutes to get back into the groove. Plus a moment to spell check. And also, that my family forgave me for the temper tantrum. It happens.)


If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

18 comments on “50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

  1. Dawn Quyle Landau
    December 21, 2015

    Jen, I so love you and your chaotic, beautifully delicious world! I’m grateful for your grace with words, and the way I feel each and every time I read one of your posts. I’m so grateful that you took the time to write this and join in the Gratitude party… but, your post isn’t on the link! I came a searchin’! Let me know if I can help you add it. It should be there, because many people should read this wonderful post and see one of the many reasons I love you madly.

    I am so grateful we got to share a few hours of connection this summer. It was truly one of the highlights of my year, and when I’m feeling overwhelmed… I sometimes drift back to that bean patch or those adirondacks. Happy Christmas and all the best in 2016 friend. oxxo

    • jgroeber
      December 21, 2015

      The blue frog said my URL is too long and the fact that I couldn’t get ten consecutive minutes of quiet today left me feeling downtrodden. You adding it would be amazing or explaining how I shorten the URL when it has such a long title. Sigh. But thank you for your kind words. This thing we do with reaching out and connecting is important. It’s nourishing. It’s just a shame I have to do it from the bathroom if I don’t want to be… Oops, someone’s calling my name. See what I mean?
      Missing the coziness of those Adirondacks right about now, too. 😘

      • Dawn Quyle Landau
        December 21, 2015

        I just added you. Jen B let me know that the link up is a bit screwy sometimes. You have to stick with it. I have grown kids, who simply own my space and leave their dishes. Hence, more time to figure these things out. And, well, I love you and want everyone to read your wonderful, wonderful words. Messaging from the bathroom… I remember those days! I guess this is “potty talk?” 😉 Your link is up, and I’m happy to help. Having only slept from 5:30am-9:15am today (yes, up all night!) it may be the last thing I do before I crash and burn! xox

  2. Samara
    December 21, 2015

    I love this list.
    This list is so YOU, Jen. So filled with love and warmth and creativity and energy.
    Of course, now I want to go back and rewrite mine, and make the first ten things all about my kid, instead of about orgasms and Kurt Cobain.
    You’re a beautiful shinybright soul. xoxoxoxo

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      HA! You never fail to entertain. And there is nothing not to be grateful for about KC and orgasms, except for the absence of either. (See what I did there? So grateful!)
      And you are thunder lightning electric soul. Boom! Flash! Sigh. xo

  3. Burns the Fire
    December 21, 2015

    I am grateful for you. xo

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      Oh, me, you too, grateful for. xo

  4. rarasaur
    December 22, 2015

    Those pictures. The energy and warmth of every word. The sneaky happiness of even the three extra minutes. Yes, this is the joy in you that spills over into all your writing — and it is a joy I am incredibly honored and grateful to recognize. ❤

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      Ah, thank you. Don’t forget the temper tantrum. So grateful for temper tantrums (mine or yours anyway. No one else’s.) Rawr!
      Wishing you three extra minutes any time you need it in 2016 and beyond. xo

  5. Amy Reese
    December 22, 2015

    Beautiful, Jen. I always enjoy your eloquence, such beautiful writing. I feel the love and joy you have and share with your loved ones and your kids. This is magic! Congrats on your publishing achievements, too. Great job.

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      Thank you, Amy. So grateful for amazing blogger friends like you (and your lovely 50 list, too.)

  6. Pingback: 50 Happy Things: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude | Prayers and Piazzas

  7. CarolBarrel
    December 23, 2015

    What a beautiful blog, Jen as always! — Bunny and I are so happy to be on your list, and you are always on ours! xoxoxoxoxo lots of love always!

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      You are the best, my Carol Barrel, and your lovin’ Bunny, too!

  8. Pingback: And A Gratitude Miracle Happened! | TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

What? I'm totally listening. Tell me. No, really, tell me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 21, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,315 other subscribers
Follow jen groeber: mama art on
%d bloggers like this: