Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. While YBC was compensated for the post, all opinions - as always, my friends - are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support YBC.
For the longest time, gratitude wasn't a daily part of my life.
What's weird about gratitude - at least for me - is that I never really noticed my blessings until I was in the midst of some crisis. I mean, when I was sick with Lyme Disease, I realized how I had taken my health for granted for all those years prior when I was healthy.
It was really during those five years of battling the disease and the aftermath of the treatment that I realized how important feeling grateful was, and how it had the power to impact how I physically felt. That's when I started looking for things to be thankful for on a daily basis, no matter the situation or how bad things seemed. (It's also one of the reasons I started that series The Little Things, last year when I was having a hard time adjusting in the Czech Republic.)
So I try to be grateful often, but one time in particular really stands out as I time I felt so incredibly grateful.
Two years ago, on a beautiful September day, I was in Germany working on the blog. Greg was playing a hockey game, and I didn't expect to hear from him until around 9:30pm. At 7:45pm, my phone rang and his number popped up.
Immediately I knew something was wrong. Hockey is a dangerous sport, and we know people who have had career-ending injuries - with the most terrifying being major concussions that they just aren't able to recover from. Years prior, Greg had suffered a bad concussion, and so immediately as I reached for the phone my heart dropped and I felt sick to my stomach remembering how scary that was.
"Hello? What happened?!" I answered, not sure if he would be on the line or a medical guy.
"Ha, you knew something wasn't right, huh? I tore my ACL," he said. "I'll be out the rest of the season."
Immediately, I felt relief.
"Oh, man. I'm so sorry. But hey, at least it's not a concussion," I said, because nothing is more terrifying to me than a traumatic brain injury.
"No kidding," he said.
Now, obviously it was disappointing that he tore his ACL, but we were both just so thankful it wasn't something worse.
When we said those exact words to friends and family, many were surprised by how we felt about it. In my mind, though, it was simple. An ACL can be repaired - it's unfortunately a common injury, but one that many surgeons know how to handle and there's a set procedure to heal. With a brain injury, it's complicated and scary and there's a lot of uncertainty. Sure, we could've been angry about the injury, but it wouldn't have done us any good. It's not always easy to find the silver lining, but there is always, always something to be thankful for. I truly believe that.
This month is Gratitude Month, so to celebrate, we're offering up a great giveaway to help inspire gratitude daily. Here's what we've got:
1. The Gratitude Diaries (an autographed copy) by Janice Kaplan. This book is fantastic and it found me at a time when I needed a reminder for how powerful gratitude is and how much it can make a difference in our lives. $15
2. Gratitude bracelet from DrishtiHandmade. This beautiful handmade bracelet will be the perfect reminder to be thankful every time you look at your wrist. $24+
3. Gratitude Journal from Live.Run.Organize. This gratitude journal is so cute, and is broken down by days so you can list a few things you're thankful for every day. I also love that it has inspirational quotes throughout for added inspiration. $7
4. Thankful tank from Montana Blues. This tank is the perfect reminder to you and the ones who read it to be thankful every day. $33* One international reader will receive this.
The giveaway is open to everyone. One international reader will receive the tank, and one US reader will receive the other three items. To enter, tell us a time when you distinctly remember feeling grateful for something or someone in your life. It can be a funny story, a touching story - whatever you like! We just love to get to know you and hear your stories. Leave a comment telling us your story and use the Rafflecopter widget to let us know you did so. If you have an email address you use for promotions, feel free to use that, because by entering the giveaway you agree to share that email with the sponsors and to opt-in to receive news about authors, books and more from Penguin Random House (our Gratitude Diaries sponsor). The giveaway will close next Tuesday.