A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

a big surprise January 31, 2011

Filed under: kindness toward me — courtsbrogno @ 10:43 pm

My doorbell rang around 4p.m. today, and when I answered it, there was no one there. But a package. I assume delivered by the post office.

It was addressed to me and the return address had my name and address as well.

“A bomb,” I thought. Damn.

I brought the package inside and spent a good 5 minutes just staring at it, not sure whether I should open it (did it contain poison???)

I finally opened the package and read this note:

Some months ago I finished reading Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff by Richard Carlson. One chapter is titled, “Do something Nice for Something Else–and Don’t Tell Anyone About It.” It inspired me to devise a random act of kindness and carry it out for someone (you); hence, the reason for this package. I hope these reading and viewing materials bring as much joy to you as they did me. May 2011 be filled with many more welcome surprises for you and your family.~~A kindred spirit.

Enclosed in this package were books, a short story (photocopied), an article, and a DVD with a type written note that explained why these materials changed the senders life/perspective. The material was as follows:

The DVD Bright Star

The books, Housekeeping, Life and Death in Shanghai, May All be Fed, Siddhartha, The Secret History.

The short story, Salvatore

The article, “The Disparity between Intellect and Character”

Each one seems so different from the rest and covers a vast array of life and literature, and yet the picks seem just so me. Like the person really knows me. I’m so excited about my new reading and viewing material.

Best yet, I have absolutely NO IDEA who this could be from and of course, I have yet to die from any malicious poisoning or bombing (though after I opened it, my right hand ached, but I’m pretty sure that was psychosomatic.

I’m really thankful for this gift. I’m excited to start reading, but more importantly, it’s just such a nice gesture and it has rekindled that trust in humanity that I often forget (I mean, really, what does it say about me [and society] that I would be so nervous opening a package?)

I love random acts of kindness and unknown gift givers.


Family dinner January 30, 2011

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 9:01 pm

Tonight we had a big family dinner at my house. Me, the kids, my parents, my sister and her kids, my uncle, and some family friends all crammed into my little house to eat and talk together.

Besides the small house we had a wonderful time and I’m thankful we were all able to get together.


a change of plans. January 29, 2011

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 8:42 pm

We were excited all day. We had plans. ‘The band Ozomatli, a Latin inspired funk band, was playing a kids show at a local venue. A friend had told me about it a few days ago, and I couldn’t wait to see Maddie and  Luke (and me) rock out; plus, 3-5 are hard times to fill as a parent. I mean, we can only go to the park, hike, or play with friends for so long.

My parents, who were coming today for a visit, also decided to come. They were also very excited. My mom even said, “I’m going to wear my hoop earrings.”

All of this excitement fizzled in an instant, however, when I called to find out how much the tickets were and the man told me $16.

$16. Per ticket.  Adults and child price. Even for babies.

Are you freaking kidding me? Who in their right mind is going to pay $16 per kid/adult? Who has that kind of money. For me, my parents, and the kids it would have cost $80.

Plans canceled. We all sat around a little depressed, but then my dad suggested walking downtown for frozen yogurt, and so we did just that.

Our mood changed. We walked, ate yogurt, came home and hung around, made dinner, and all ate together. We finished the night by watching Despicable Me.

Even though our plans changed and our afternoon was not full of music and kids dancing, we still had a really good day. A fun day.

Best yet, other than the price of the frozen yogurt and movie rental, a practically free day. I’m thankful for the fun we had the money we saved.


it’s friday January 28, 2011

Filed under: kindness toward me — courtsbrogno @ 10:33 pm

I’m really thankful that it’s Friday and I’ve had some quiet time, sans kids, and that I’m going to bed early.

After a long week, this is a very nice way to end the week.


as I learn January 27, 2011

Filed under: work — courtsbrogno @ 10:02 pm

I just returned from another meeting with my critical thinking group, and I must say, despite the learning goals of our group, I, myself, am learning much more than I ever imagined.

I’ve realized in the past few weeks how little professional development I’ve done. I haven’t really attended classes nor have I kept up on reading about current pedagogues and theories. Mostly this is due to time constraints: there’s just not a whole lot of time to pursue professional growth while working full-time and parenting two kids.

But this group has forced me to read articles about critical thinking, assessment, and researching. And in completing these assigned readings, I’ve gained tools for my own instruction. For instance in my argument and writing course, I have yet to develop a rubric, and rubrics, I believe, are fundamental not only in grading but also in giving students the tools and guidance to understand an assignment and the expectations. The few articles I read for my group, however, have given me model rubrics, which I plan on developing into my own this weekend. It’s like I just struck gold mine.

I’m so incredibly thankful for this group, but I have to admit, I’m more thankful for participating in some true professional growth, the kid that I can use and apply in a very practical way to my classroom.

For me, professionally, it doesn’t get much better than that.



happy town January 26, 2011

Filed under: favorites — courtsbrogno @ 8:21 pm

It’s been made official by Oprah and other media outlets: I live in the happiest place in America.

I totally agree.

I’ve lived here for almost 16 years, longer than any other place in my life. And I must say, I do (mostly) love my town.

Someone even put together a great photo montage of my town in all its beauty.

It feels pretty great to live in such an amazing town, and for that, and the past 16 years that I’ve lived here, I’m infinitely thankful.


blue skies January 25, 2011

Filed under: noticing sweetness — courtsbrogno @ 7:00 pm

I hate to rub it into our friends on the East Coast, but I’m really loving, and am extremely thankful for, the beautiful 75-80 degree weather we’ve been having. I know I should be missing winter, but as I’m sure cold days will soon return, I’m going to lavish for now in our blue skies.