50 Thank-Yous For Mom On Her 50th Birthday

Whether she is taking care of my sibling and me, working hard to provide for our family, or making sure to help anyone and everyone we love, my mom is on top of her game 100% of the time.

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You’ve always been there for me, and I am so grateful for that.

This article was originally published with The Odyssey on July 4, 2017.

My mom is the greatest mom there has ever been, and no, I’m not biased. (Well, maybe a little). Whether she is taking care of my sibling and me, working hard to provide for our family, or making sure to help anyone and everyone we love, my mom is on top of her game 100% of the time. Even when she’s not on her game, my family makes up for it because we’re a team. Mom, you’ve done so much for me, and I cannot thank you enough. I’m going to try though. Happy birthday! Thank you for:

1. Believing in me.

Even when I feel that I’m at my worst, you’re always there to not only encourage me but help me to see me at my best.

2. Encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

3. Letting me vent to you.

Even if I feel as if I am a burden to everyone I know, I know I’ll never be a burden to you.

4. Taking me to concerts.

5. Allowing my friends to seek comfort at our house.

Our house has always been that house where our friends can come to escape. Thank you for creating such a friendly and thoughtful environment.

6. Comforting me when I’m down.

7. Helping me pay for college.

Seriously – I am so grateful that you and dad are helping me as much as you are.

8. Having movie marathons with me.

9. Taking care of me when I’m sick.

(Especially in the past few months – no idea what I would have done without you).

10. Teaching me right from wrong.

11. Listening to my music in the car even if you don’t like it.

12. Singing with me.

13. Instilling morals within me.

I am very happy to credit you with the fact that I know right from wrong.

14. Baking and cooking with me.

15. Dancing with me.

Whether it be at the dinner theater, concerts, parties or our living room – I am thankful for all the smooth moves you have taught me all these years.

16. Always looking out for my best interests.

17. Telling dad not to wake me up when I nap.

Seriously – this one is a godsend.

18. Teaching me how to be honest.

19. Listening to me talk about my day.

Especially my crazy work stories!

20. Holding my hand when I’m scared.

21. Warning me about shady friends.

Your mom always knows best when it comes to shady friends – my mom always has my back – it’s amazing.

22. Confiding in me.

23. Collecting seashells with me on the beach.

We always have the best time on the beach!

24. Skyping me at college

25. Letting me make my own decisions.

It’s important to me that you allow me to be independent without forcing me to announce my full independence. Like, I want to decide what to study in college but I also want to live in your house and have you drive me places.

26. Making me food.

27. Teaching me the importance of earning money.

I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without my sense of frugality and earning money. Thank you for this.

28. Calling me out when I’m wrong.

29. Treating me to a meal out.

I always ask if you want money or if you want me to tip and you always refuse me.

30. Calming me down when I’m panicking.

31. Understanding my mental illness.

Thank you for never asking me “why” I have anxiety or “how” I can fix it.

32. Sending me care packages at college.

33. Pushing me to work harder, but not over-pressuring me.

I appreciate the incentive to work in order to gain success. I also appreciate that if I fall short of my goal, I’m not punished, but encouraged to try again. (Yes that is us with Howard Jones!)

34. Continuing to teach me every single day.

35. Teaching me to believe in myself.

Without you and Dad working hard to reassure me that my best is what’s expected, I would have never had the gall to believe in my abilities.

36. Helping me with important paperwork.

37. Tucking me in at night.

There’s just something about being tucked in that makes the sleep 10 times better.

38. Knowing I’m not okay even when I say I am.

39. Waking me up for work.

Yes, I’m capable of setting an alarm, but there’s something about waking up to a soothing voice that makes everything ten times better.

40. Driving me places.

41. Massaging my shoulders when I’m tense.

You seriously have no idea how tense I can be.

42. Bringing me on bus trips.

43. Cleaning up after me even when you don’t have to.

You are always looking out for me and my cleanliness. Even when it’s not the most important to me, you’re always willing to help me tidy up.

44. Teaching me the importance of teamwork in a family.

45. Looking at the stars with me.

Some of my most blissful memories lie on the back patio with you looking up at the stars.

46. Helping me to treat my friends and family to gifts and meals.

47. Never giving up on me.

I will always do the same for you.

48. Helping me clean.

49. Being a mom to my friends, too.

I will be forever grateful for all that you do for me.

50. Being the best mom I could ever hope for.

Count Your Blessings Daily

We can be thankful for anything.

Tomorrow will rise and so will you.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on December 26, 2016.

I’m not a religious person. I’m not someone who prays. I put more faith in the universe than I do a being. That doesn’t mean I can’t count my blessings. When sitting at the table during Thanksgiving, some think it tradition to go around and ask everyone what they are thankful for. Why don’t we do this every day? Giving thanks isn’t something we do once a year, it’s something we do every day.

We can be thankful for anything. We can be thankful for shelter, food or something more specific, like ranch dressing, or the concept of the ‘buy one get one free’ deal. We can be thankful for our well-being; we can even be thankful for being who we are.

Giving thanks requires us to express positivity. We cannot be truly thankful until we are content with what we have. We cannot be content if we are always asking for more.

Be thankful for the opportunities given, be thankful for potential, for the future, the past and the present. Be thankful for life, for nature, for weather and the sky. Be thankful for the ups and downs of life; be thankful for mistakes. Be thankful for the consequences that follow those mistakes.

If you are having trouble seeing your blessings and seeing what exactly you’re thankful for, try being positive. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. Even if you cannot benefit from your own positive vibes, someone else always can. Smile at people, wish everyone well, try your best not to hate or neglect.

Donate when you have enough. Keep giving to others who don’t. Make sure your neighbors have someone to shovel their driveways, to mow their lawns, to water their flowers. Make sure your neighbor always has enough to eat.

Keep your head up, allow yourself to regenerate after a lousy day. Know that the sun will rise tomorrow and that tomorrow will be better, all because of you. Tomorrow will rise and so will you.

Work hard and don’t expect anything in return. Give thanks to those who work hard so you don’t have to. Give thanks to those who work hard to protect you.

Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be so complex, so difficult or so heavy. Simply saying “thank you” is enough to spread positivity. Hold the door open, pick up what others have dropped, wish everyone a good day. Talk to your cashiers, ask them how they are. Wave at the children on the school bus. Beep at the people wearing costumes and spinning signs for their businesses. Give a quarter to the kids raising money for charity.

Charity doesn’t need to be an inconvenient. Charity doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply giving what you can when you can will make the world a little brighter.

We live in a dark world these days and it doesn’t have to be that way. Be proactive, spend the day doing something that makes a difference, change the world. Even if you make a difference in one person’s life, you have effectively changed someone’s world. Conquer change by embracing change. Embrace change by being change.

Tomorrow will rise and so will you. Let’s rise together. Let’s smile so bright they can see us from space. Let’s make tomorrow better for everyone. Together we can give thanks for anything and everything. Today, our smile may cause another’s and a chain reaction will form. Radiate positivity for yourself and for others.

Give thanks every day, count your blessings everyday and be content everyday. Life is short. Leave a positive and happy mark on the world.

Stop counting down the days. Embrace the potential of each and every day. Count your blessings daily and be thankful.