A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

picking Maddie up from school February 28, 2011

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 8:41 pm

After Luke’s nap today, we went outside so he could ride his bike. After a bit of frustrated bike-riding attempts, we ditched the bike and went for a walk. Soon, we started walking toward Maddie’s school, and so, on a whim, I decided to just walk all the way to Maddie’s school to pick her up and then walk home.

It’s a pretty short walk, maybe a little over a half-mile, but I usually drive to pick her up since I’m coming from school, but since today was a Monday, and I don’t teach in the afternoon and it was so incredibly sunny and beautiful outside, I thought a walk would be nice. Plus, it was nice to just saunter down the road after Luke, taking our time and exploring all the dirt, grass, pine cones, and bugs along the way. Because we decided to walk to Maddie’s school on w him, I didn’t take my phone or keys or anything.

I had no idea what time it was and I hoped that we wouldn’t be late picking up Maddie, but I still refused to rush. It felt great to go along as if time (and grading essays and cleaning the house and doing laundry) didn’t exist. When we got to Maddie’s school, she was just getting out, and though she was not pleased to have to walk uphill home with a heavy backpack, after a few minutes walking in the sun and waiting for Luke to catch up, even Maddie couldn’t help but smile.

I’m thankful Luke and I wandered out and took a different path to getting Maddie. I’m thankful that for a small portion of my day I didn’t feel rushed or anxious. I’m thankful Luke got to explore and Maddie got a little sun on her face. Most importantly, I’m thankful for this little bit of family time.


a baptism February 27, 2011

Filed under: friends — courtsbrogno @ 9:20 pm

My friend Colleen and I have been friends since I was 19, and I was fortunate enough to witness her baptism this afternoon: a time where me, the kids, and many other friends celebrated Colleen’s re-birth into Christ’s love and God’s love and support as her body heals from cancer.

In March 2010, at just 33 years old, Colleen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma. Doctors removed a small gland behind Colleen’s left eye, and she underwent radiation treatment in May 2010, which she called, in typical CoCo-fashion, her “Radiance.” For six months Colleen was cancer-free, recovering quickly from the “Radiance,” and making up for lost time with her daughter and husband.

However, her cancer returned in December 2010. Shocked by the news that two tumors had grown in her head in just 6 short months, Colleen underwent an extensive surgery. Both tumors were successfully removed and Colleen went home to recover. Because her cancer is so rare, doctors are not sure of what path to take, and as of now, the cancerous areas are being watched through regularly scheduled PET scans.

Colleen has found a spiritual home in a local church and made the decision to become baptized in this church, surrounded by a community that helps her stay positive and loving and helps her body heal in this difficult time.

I can’t even pretend to understand what Colleen has gone through in the past year, let alone how she has dealt with this and how she continues to deal with an unknown future, but I find great comfort knowing that she has found strength, wisdom, and guidance in a church and in Jesus’ love, and I am incredibly thankful to have been witness to such a wonderful day, a day of such love.


almost snow February 26, 2011

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 7:55 pm

It was forecasted to snow early this morning. Due to a cold pressure front moving  through our area and rain, the whole town was a flurry with thoughts of actual snow landing on our front porches.

We waited through the night and woke up expectantly to….nothing. Nothing but blue skies and sun. Sure it was really cold outside, but not even the roads were wet.

But then, later in the day, I was in my kitchen with my friend Tasha, talking, when she asked, “Does it look like it’s going to rain?”

I looked out the window and said, “maybe.” A minute later, it did start to rain and then the rain turned to hail. Hail isn’t snow, but it is white and incredibly beautiful. As Tasha and I continued out conversation, my gaze kept returning to the window to watch the hail come down. Though this doesn’t make much sense, It was exciting and calming at the same time.

Maddie was at my sister’s house with my Aunt Linda and they got more hail then my house did. And they treated it like it was the greatest event this year, playing and rolling in the hail:

Even though it didn’t snow and we were all a little disappointed, the hail made us just as happy and I’m thankful for that.

I’m also thankful that I got to see and spend time with Tasha and my Aunt Linda this weekend. The hail just made their trip an added bonus to a good weekend.



A chance meeting with friends February 25, 2011

Filed under: friends — courtsbrogno @ 11:00 pm


I’m out with some old friends…an unexpected gathering. I’m so, so, so thankful!


it’s the little things February 24, 2011

Filed under: kindness toward me — courtsbrogno @ 7:59 pm

Today I left the house in a rush. I was late taking Luke to school and I knew I would be pushing getting to the community college on time. To add to that stress, I hadn’t had coffee yet, so I had to stop (or else a serious headache attacks my very being).

I ran into the coffee shop, and was so disappointed to be behind 2 other groups of people. The person at the counter was not only ordering a coffee, but also having a long conversation with the barista. The couple ahead of me where in deep conversation about what they should order, what their baby would like, and whether they should take everything to go.

I started to sweat and say, “shit, shit, shit,” in my head. I thought about leaving and just dealing with the headache when the couple ahead of me said, “Why don’t you go ahead of us. We could take a while.”

I promise I wasn’t acting outwardly annoyed and didn’t even tap my foot in impatience. I gushed, “thank you,” to the couple and explained that I only needed a coffee. Within 2 minutes, I had my coffee and was getting back into my car.

Really, it’s such a small thing, but I’m really thankful this couple allowed me to skip in front of them. It was such a kind gesture, especially since they didn’t know I was already running late and didn’t have to give up their position in the line. I do the same thing in the grocery store when someone behind me only has a couple of items and I have a whole shopping cart full, but in a grocery store, that’s expected. It’s almost grocery store etiquette. But in a coffee shop? Well, I’ve never had that happen before.

I’m sure this couple hasn’t even thought twice about this even, similar to how little I think about letting someone cut in front of me at the grocery store, but sometimes it’s these little moments that resonate so big in our lives. And this small gesture was big to me, in more ways than me just getting to work on time.


friends and dinner February 23, 2011

Filed under: food,friends — courtsbrogno @ 10:07 pm

My friend Jenn set up a dinner tonight for me, the kids, and some friends.

She cooked all afternoon:

And then the friends came–Steve, Colleen, Danny, and Ryan:

And we ate and talked and drank some wine. It was such a fun night.

I’m thankful Jenn planned this dinner because I don’t often have dinner with friends during the week and it was amazing to get together with close friends and share a meal. I’m so thankful Jenn cooked dinner and OH MY GOD, it was an amazing dinner. I didn’t even take any pictures because I was so absorbed in my meal.

I’m so thankful to have such great friends.

Really, life is so good.


Tuesday follows a monday schedule February 22, 2011

Filed under: work — courtsbrogno @ 6:38 pm

The university tries so hard to be clever and fair regarding holidays, and after a few failed attempts in the past to give students a Thursday holiday instead of a Friday or Monday for President’s weekend (because, after all, we also have another Monday holiday this quarter, and it wouldn’t be fair for only MWF classes to suffer), the university just decided to give everyone Monday off and then make all Tuesday classes follow a Monday schedule.

I know, what?

It takes a moment to wrap your mind around this, but basically, today, Tuesday, the university acted like it was Monday and any instructor and student who teaches/takes a Monday class had to show up to their Monday class. Except it’s Tuesday. Weird.

Anyway, what this means is I get an extended weekend. Since I don’t teach at the university on Mondays anyway, I didn’t have to teach today. Sure, I had to teach at the community college, but I was only there for about an hour, and so really, it was almost like I had another entire day off.

To grade. But whatever, I’m just thankful to have had another day off.