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Thankful Thursday | So glad it’s not 2020!

As I was writing this post, I was remembering that we started this weekly practice in 2020, when the pandemic was making it very hard to feel cheerful about life.

Kristen wearing a homemade gray fabric mask

For a million and one reasons, that time in my life was very, very challenging. But I got through it and I am thrilled to be here in 2023 instead. My life has improved by leaps and bounds.

Still, thankful lists are a helpful practice for me!

This week, I am thankful:

for a slight reprieve from the humidity

I know…my summer Thankful Thursday posts are basically me reporting on the humidity experience each week. 😉

One morning this week when I went for a walk, it was gloriously cool, with a delightful breeze of dry air.


The day before it had been oppressively humid, so the change was fantastic.

It made me happy to think that in another month and a half, we should have some drier air on a regular basis. I can’t wait!

for beauty everywhere, even in parking lots

I took this picture in the parking lot by one of my walking trails; it’s a reflection in a puddle.

puddle reflection.

This is one of the gifts that habitual photography brings, I think: that your eyes are always looking for beautiful things around you.

I know for sure that I did not notice things like beautiful light or tiny things in nature nearly as much before I got into photography as a hobby.

You know how I always say that paying attention to blessings helps you get into the habit of noticing those things more?

It’s the same with photography; paying attention to beautiful things around you helps you get into the habit of noticing beautiful things around you!

for a trail with a breeze

On Monday, the air was SO thick with humidity, and I decided to drive to a nearby trail that is by the water. Deep in the woods, the air is still, but by the water, there’s almost always a breeze.

rocky coastline.

Breezy humid air is always better than stagnant humid air!

trail in the woods.

for tiny flowers

white flowers.

Large flowers are lovely, of course, but I really love the teeny tiny delicate flowers too.

small purple flowers.

for my industrial fan

Now that we’ve had a long period of non-drought weather, the mosquitoes are back in full force.

So, when I work on furniture in my carport, I always have my big fan blowing on me. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so as long as I stay in the breeze from the fan, I don’t get bitten.

round metal fan.

It requires some careful arranging of the furniture, the fan, and me, so that the fan blows on me but not on my fresh coats of paint.

But it’s worth it to not be eaten alive. 😉

for Chiquita’s antics, always

Every time I think she has explored all the nooks and crannies in this house, she finds more.

This week, she was trying to get behind the microwave!

cat standing on nightstand.

I had brought a nightstand in to help it dry out (the air was so humid out, the wood was feeling kind of wet), so she climbed up on there and really tried to figure out how to jump up there and see what’s behind the microwave.

cat standing up.

for the calmness of Miss Shelly

She is as chill as Chiquita is crazy!

cat in blanket.

for a reliable car (always!)

This isn’t new or different, but sometimes I sit and think about how thankful I am to have a car that has literally never had a mechanical problem.

Of course, it’s needed maintenance and such, but it’s never had something just break.

Three cheers for Toyota Siennas. 🙂

for the availability of free things

The internet is really to thank for this! When I was a kid, the only way to get free stuff was really by word of mouth.

Even secondhand stuff was much harder to come by. You could look at classifieds or search through The Pennysaver magazine, but the whole process was rather clunky.

van loaded with furniture.

But now there are Buy Nothing groups, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Thredup, etc., for free/cheap things.

Without the internet, it would have been way harder to furnish my house on the cheap!

for some extra muscle

I know I’ve mentioned before that when I left my marriage, I was not in a good mental headspace. For quite a few months after that, all I could manage was walking. A LOT of walking.

I’m not naturally a very muscle-y person, so when I wasn’t lifting weights for a long time, I lost a lot of my muscle weight. (BOOOOO.)

But since I got back into the weight-lifting habit this year, I am a good fifteen pounds heavier than I was last summer, and I’m happy about that for multiple reasons.

I mean, it’s good to be physically strong, of course. But the fact that I had the bandwidth to get back into some casual lifting is a good sign that my mental health is getting better.

Kristen in a pink shirt.

Yay for some healing!

I hope that I will be able to keep this up, along with my walking habit, once nursing school starts. We shall see how much physical fitness I still have time for.

for beautiful mushrooms everywhere

chicken of the woods mushroom.

I keep seeing more and more varieties as I walk; it’s a nice result of the wetter weather we’ve been having!

purple mushroom.

Doesn’t this one look rather velvety?

What are you thankful for this week?

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Friday 18th of August 2023

What year is your van? I have a 2000 Toyota Avalon, which I love, but it’s ready for some maintenance repairs that will cost more than it’s worth. So I was thinking it may be time to look around. I've never owned a new vehicle, have no desire to. So in researching there are years that Siennas were good and some not so. (Just like the Avalon) Any advice would be awesome! Thanks!


Friday 11th of August 2023

Thankful for: The beautiful sunrises lately. The very slow week at work. They don't happen often enough. For modern technology, it makes my life easier. For gifts of garden produce. For the grands, love them to pieces. I am always down for playing with Barbies or PlayDoh.


Thursday 10th of August 2023

Nice photos, Kirsten! Thanks for sharing the beauty of your area. My thankfuls this week: * Big storm blew through Ohio last night and our 100 foot tall maple is OK. And our house! If the tree had blown over it could have smashed our house. **My DH was so helpful for the hostess of a potluck for his work group. She is widowed, and he quietly stepped up to help get things done that she had forgotten, since her husband had done them in the past. I was so proud of his generous friendship. ***I took a wonderful sewing class on Monday, how to make patterns to copy clothes without taking them apart, and the teacher was wonderful. I hope to take more of her classes. ****My piano teacher has helped me identify a big stumbling block, and I am improving already! It feels so good to ditch bad old habits! *****I ran into an old friend this week and so enjoyed catching up.

Liz B.

Thursday 10th of August 2023

I just love your photos, Kristen! I have become a hobby photographer, with a special interest in photographing birds. I find it very relaxing to get out with my camera, and look for interesting things to take pics of. ;-) You might know this already, but that white lacy flower might be wild hemlock....which can make you very sick if you touch it, or ingest it in any way. (Several years ago, there was a patient at the hospital where I work who ended up in the ICU after he handled and mowed a bunch of it in his field). It looks very much like Queen Anne's Lace, but QAL has a maroonish "drop" in the middle....that's one way you can tell them apart. I know you're not picking flowers or nibbling on them during your walks, lol, just be careful.

My thankfuls.... 1. That I have some good friends I can talk to about anything. A good friend recently hurt my feelings, and has chosen to have very limited contact with me. My other friends have rallied around me during this difficult time, and I am so thankful.

2. That my family was able to take an extended summer vacation this year. Not particularly frugal, but many memories were made, and we saw some amazingly beautiful parts of the US.

3. That my special (non-frugal) 'Dark Side of the Moon' astilbe plants survived being ignored while we were away. I still need to plant them, but I'm waiting for a less-hot and humid day.

4. For A/C, plenty of food to eat, the comforts of home, and my adorable furrballs (three cats and a dog).

5. My husband, who comforts me when I'm down, and cheers me on when I try something new (like photography 3 years ago).


Thursday 10th of August 2023

At this point of writing my thankfuls, I have just read the 73 comments (included Kristen's) and am so blessed. Our weather: horrible drought conditions, then LOTS of rain. Tornado in nearby town flattened everything! I've prayed specifically that our town and neighbors would step up physically, financially, and mentally. God has abundantly answered. The power company army descended on Monday and were done in one day. That was after much was cleaned up the day before and since. It makes one emotional to see what happens when people come together for a common cause to help others during this mostly self-centered time. Rebuilding has already begun. The power of a compliment: yesterday was a visit with my nephrology nurse practitioner. She assured me that my kidney function is stable. We were able to discuss life style changes that another Dr. had instructed me to do for GERD and she was in agreement that moderation was beneficial. I cannot live in a world without tomatoes or tea, but I can time consumption and modify amounts to enjoy and not suffer the consequences. It was a dreary, rainy day and I had chosen a light yellow top with jeans to wear and my hair curly from showering and letting it air dry. She said I looked "pretty" and looked "good." I take "good" from her to mean healthy. I'm still beaming. Thankful someone has bought the house to the north of me. I have not met the new owners, but at least the waiting is over. Thankful my new spice jars have arrived. I enjoy sorting and organizing. I have varying containers and bags (the bags are ones I dried) that are falling out of the cabinet. Several are the little plastic tub like containers from the Mennonite bulk market. I do try to keep fresh ones in stock. Caption for Chiquita: "Hummm, I haven't been up there yet." I picked a Queen Anne's lace stem yesterday, and put the individual branches into a mini five bud vase in the bathroom. Not big, but sweet nonetheless.

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