I’ve been quiet. Well my blog has been quiet. I still have that problem I talked about below. I still yell. My throat still hurts, and it’s only damaged my relationship with my children and my husband even more. It makes my heart ache. So while my blog has been quiet, I’ve not been. I could use a little more quiet in my life. I’m not sure if this will work, but I am going to try something new. Maybe if I start reflecting on those things for which I am grateful then I can turn that around. It certainly can’t hurt.

It might sound trite and overdone, but today what I am most thankful for are my family, my friends, and opportunity.

1. Family – I am lucky to have a very understanding husband. Yes, we fight a ton, more than we should, but we’re both very stubborn people, convinced that we are always right, and it causes fireworks to erupt. But he is incredibly supportive and loves me so very much that it makes it all worth it. My children too are incredibly understanding, and so sweet and funny, that even when they are driving me crazy (say when they wake up at 6:30 AM and fight for 90 minutes straight), I still find joy in them.

2. Friends – I have a really hard time making friends. I mean a really hard time. I find the whole getting to know someone process so uncomfortable and difficult, that more often than not I avoid it. It’s only after living in Pittsburgh for 15 years that I finally feel that I have a good strong core group of friends. Granted, most of them don’t know each other, so I typically socialize with them on a one-on-one basis, but that works best for me.

I do have two groups of women though that I actually typically only socialize with on a group basis, the girls in my parenting group turned book club, and KNOW (Knit Night on Wednesdays). Right now, it’s my knitting friends I am most thankful for and that leads me into opportunity.

3. Opportunity – There is a lot going on in my life. My family is looking for a new home. Our current apartment is just too small and our dog too big for the space. Our lease is up in July, which is a lot sooner than you would think. Add to that, that I finally have the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do every day since I left Kentucky; I am finally going back to college to finish my degree. I start classes on April 28th (my wedding anniversary, so maybe it’s a sign) and I will be working towards a degree in history with a plan to work in the conservation and preservation of historical sites. And while that is a great opportunity for which I am so incredibly thankful, it’s not what I’m actually talking about.

On Friday past, I was invited to a party by one of the girls in KNOW, one of those parties where someone tries to sell you something. To be honest, I usually avoid going to these things. But I just needed to get out and this promised to be relaxing if nothing else. Who can turn down wine, foot soaks, and facials. Another girl in the group just started selling natural skin care and cosmetics, and I have to say I was blown away by the products. I’ve been talking to her all weekend, and her sponsor, and I’m seriously considering selling it myself. Like many families across the US, ours is often strapped for cash and struggle to make ends meet. Yes, I am a stay at home mother and so many people don’t understand that I am actually at home, not because we’re “lucky to be able to afford to have one parent at home,” but because we can’t afford to do otherwise. The costs of putting three children in childcare, even though only two of them would be part-time, are beyond us. I stay at home because we don’t have another viable option. Without a college degree my current income potential in the standard workforce is quite limited. Raising a family today is expensive. We can’t afford to take vacations, buy new cars, take vacations, or even purchase a home now. It’s hard and it’s so incredibly stressful trying to figure out how we’re going to afford the basics, let alone luxuries. I’m aware that there are people out there who will say, but look at the toys you have, you have an iPad, a Kuerig, a computer, etc. What do you mean you can’t afford the luxuries? All of those toys are gifts. We honestly do struggle to pay the bills and put food on our table. But with the schedule we have to keep, me at home with the boys until my husband returns from work, he needing access to our single car on the weekends and some evenings for the kid’s activities, it’s hard to find a job. I’ve even looked at working retail at places like Target for even a small paycheck, but my hours just aren’t compatible with what they need so I never seem to make it past the application stage. Those work at home programs are usually expensive to get started and so often turn out to be scams or pyramid schemes. I don’t have time for that. But doing a few parties a month with the potential to bring in anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand a month selling something I really believe in? That I can do.

I am incredibly thankful that I went that party and that I now have an opportunity to do something that will be really beneficial to my family, and who knows, maybe through this I can improve numbers one and two. If I’m not so stressed about everything in our lives, I may be a calmer and more present wife and mother. If I’m put in a situation where I have to put myself forward, maybe I’ll learn that making friends and talking to others isn’t quite so difficult as I make it out to be. So this isn’t just an opportunity to make money, it’s an opportunity to make changes to every aspect of my life. And for that, I can’t be grateful enough.

So Sunday Gratitude is going to become a weekly fixture here on 3 Boys Plus. I’m hoping to make it a cornerstone to what is a renewed interest in my blog. I’d like to also start participating in Wordless Wednesdays, when I just share a snapshot from my life, no words, just images. I’m also going to start sharing some more items of import in my life, knitting and books. Reading and yarn really do improve my life and it makes sense to share that here too. Even if no one is reading, and I’m not sure how many people do, given my radio silence for the past year or so, writing has always been a release for me, so it can only help my attempt to yell less and love more.