Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks

the gratitude journal.

Last Friday was stressful.

The Moore tornado left me afraid of a single dark cloud in the sky for fear there might be another terrible storm to follow.

Plus the weather anchors promised bad weather pretty much every day the following ten days after it happened.


Last Friday was no different.

Meteorologists warned treacherous weather could mimic events in Moore.

And I suppose the night did not “disappoint.”

Five tornadoes and double digit deaths.

The tornado on Friday was an F5 and the widest tornado on record.

But that’s not what I’m posting about today.

However, it was this event that led me to this post, so allow me to set the scene.

Many businesses allowed their employees to go home early that day to ensure everyone had the opportunity to get to a safe place, mine included.

I left around 3:00 that afternoon and rushed home, trying to do some of the major things I had put off since the Moore tornado:

do a quick video inventory of my house for insurance purposes, and pack a backpack of things I simply did not feel I could live without if the worst happened.

Talk about sobering.

Reducing your entire life to a backpack?


I sped home and immediately started a video inventory of my house. I didn’t do a great job, but figured it would definitely serve its purpose.

And then I got my backpack out and thought to myself, “How in the world am I going to do this!?”

Thankfully most of my pictures are stored online, so although I have lots of important photo albums from the “old days” when you actually had to use a camera with film and take it to MotoPhoto to get developed, I opted not to lug those along.

I will have to deal with those sometime soon.

Anyway, it was really hard to pick what I simply could not bear to lose, because there are lots of things.

I would guess most of you feel the same way about certain things too.

I picked a box full of letters I wrote to “my future husband” when I was a teenager, since they’re freaking ancient now, and also since they were something I made for Will before I even really knew him.

I picked our wedding video, as well as another small box of important “stuff.” There were still two other boxes I was unable to bring, which made me sad. I suppose in hindsight I should have just brought another small bag and found a way to cram it in the shelter with us.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

Anyway- I suppose I should get to the point.

After the dust settled from the five tornadoes that tore through the state that night, I put a couple of my prized possessions in their place the following morning.

It was at that moment I noticed a small little book with the words, “Gratitude Journal” inscribed on the front.

As soon as I saw it I instantly remembered how important this book was to me, and I was surprised how easily I had forgotten about it!

Back in 2004 I started writing little letters to Will in it, capturing some of the funny or sweet things he had done throughout various days that brought me joy or for which I was grateful.

It was funny to look back at all I had written.

I kept this little journal active when I was in Kuwait, and would try to write in it at least once a week, recalling small events that made me appreciate Will.

Although I had seemingly forgotten about it, I sure would have been sad to have lost this book.

It brought me such joy over the years.

I remember at the time thinking how doing something like this really made me appreciate the small stuff, and how absolutely crazy we were about each other. And even when it seemed like Will and I weren’t as absolutely crazy about each other as we were during our newlywed stage, there was certainly a deep love that abounded and something I could certainly see in those little day-to-day recollections.

And it was nice! It was a way to count my blessings, no matter how small, and in doing so my love for Will got stronger.

And it’s so strange how you can be in the habit of doing something, and then all of a sudden stop without any reason, really.

And not only that, but forget about such a treasure altogether.

I wrote sporadically from 2004 to 2007, and it looks like I forgot about the book and picked up once again in 2008.

The last entry was in January, when we were still in Kuwait and had no idea we would soon be moving home. 

And now I am sort of bummed I didn’t keep it up to date with little everyday thoughts of gratitude the last five years. Because I am sure there was enough to fill he book by now!

It’s funny. When we first moved back to America in 2008, I felt like I had so much time on my hands.

It was crazy!

Granted, at the end in KuwaitI was working all week for about 11 hours a day, which left no free time at all. Moving home was like a vacation.

However, it’s interesting how “so much time” can be filled with tons of empty “stuff.”

I have been struggling with how to be a better time manager time lately, and finding this book was a nice reminder that I need to fill my life with more goodness and less meaninglessness.

Do I really need to check social media a million times a day?

Could I find time in my schedule to volunteer once a month?

Can I make my family a bigger priority?

How can I be more efficient on the road, at work, in the morning, during my evening hours?

I saw an interesting quote the other day by someone who said, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”

This statement struck a chord deep within me.

I find myself getting excited about a million things,

wanting a million things,

trying to commit 100% of myself to a million things,

or at least the idea of a million things, which in and of itself can be exhausting.

And before long, I feel like I am on this never-ending hamster wheel of complete insanity.

And I end up exhausting myself and being ineffective.

Seeing this journal.

Reading such simplistic thanks for the most basic of niceties or compliments really refocused me on the richness in enjoying each and every day, free from as much clutter as possible.

I’ll be honest. I don’t have a plan of attack yet, but I am certainly thinking about it.

My first action is to make a daily appointment with God each morning.

So often I hurry myself through my Bible study and make such little time to pray, let alone take time to really seek God or take in His word.

That alone will be a major step to my time management and refocusing.

I also think it will help with the prioritization of so much else. This one act will really help set each day on the right path of less clutter, and I know from firsthand experience.

I have also been thinking about ways to manage my evenings better. There are plenty of things I can do over the course of the week that I leave until the weekend.

I’ve also been thinking about realistic volunteer opportunities. Instead of saying I am going to do something twice a week and then never doing it, how about setting a more attainable goal for myself?

Anyway- you get the picture.

I have so much to be grateful for, and really want to take time to focus on such things.

So the book.

I suppose we should get back to that, since that’s where it all started, right?

The book remains unfinished, with lots of pages left to write.

I decided it would be a fitting ten year anniversary to give to Will next March.

That leaves me plenty of time to fill it full of more day-to-day gratefulness and memories to look back on in another ten years.

It also leaves me with a little time to harness my time and make it count. And who knows, maybe that will end up leading to more gratuitous memories to write to Will?

Would I have liked to have more for him to read between 2008 and today?


But the good thing is that I found it last week and not another five years from now, looking back thinking, “What in the heck have I been doing with my time?”

So here’s to a refocus and rededication of everyday gratefulness in the small stuff.

Because most of the time, that’s the big stuff.

More to come…

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brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at!

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