My seven year old ran away on Sunday. We were at my parents’ house and he realized he’d forgotten his Star Wars helmet at home. When I refused to drive a half hour to retrieve it, he stormed off with his “jet pack” filled with necessities. A light saber, for instance. And some crackers.

He made it to the end of their fairly long driveway and just stood there, probably realizing the error of his ways (like not having anything to drink or a place to go). Eventually, he turned back. Halfway up the driveway, he caught me watching him at the front door. That made him more mad, so he bolted up the driveway and ducked inside our minivan.

I joined him in there and tried to talk him off the ledge. I reminded him that the more we focus on bad stuff (like forgetting our helmet), the worse we feel and the more bad stuff seems to happen. But when we focus on what’s good, we feel so much better and start to notice more and more great stuff happening. So, I challenged him to think of 10 things that made him happy right in that moment. At first, it was really hard. He couldn’t think of anything good and continued to scowl. I asked, “Who’s one person you’re happy to be with today?” He shrugged and then named his little brother. Whew. One down, nine to go. With each one, it got a little easier and I could see his attitude shifting right before my eyes. He liked being old enough to stay up while his brother took a nap. He liked that he might lose his front tooth soon (in fact, it came out a half hour later!). He liked that he had a root beer waiting for him inside. By the end, he was like a different kid – happy and ready to take on the world.

I think it might be impossible to feel awful after making a gratitude list. I’ve had times in my life when I’ve made one every day (with something as basic as “having a comfortable bed to sleep in” making the list on particularly rough days). Here are some of the current items earning a place on my list today:

1. I gave our laundry/boot room a makeover. Matching mauve and black baskets for laundry, hats & mittens, dog leashes. There’s a new shelf system, hooks on the wall for the kids’ stuff and my purses, even magenta hangers for all of our coats. It’s so pretty in there now and I no longer dread walking in. Oh – and it makes me happy to see my own art in there!

2. We had just enough coffee beans this morning to make a pot for the hubby and me. This is crucial, people. And now I must go add “coffee” to the grocery list.

3. The way my toddler gleefully says “Hi (pause) Mama” every few minutes, so proud he can put two words together and make perfect sense!

4. Watching my boys play last night after ice cream by Lake Minnetonka. I’m so thankful they get along and love hearing them giggle together.

5. Reading my friend Rachel’s article in the autumn issue of Artful Blogging. My heart swelled for her!

6. Having my family living close by – my parents, my brother, even my grandmas. My husband’s family lives over 800 miles away and we only get to see them a couple of times a year. Sometimes I take for granted that I can just swing by and say hi to my parents or go shopping with my Nana at any time.

So, dear friends, what is on your gratitude list today? I would love to know and celebrate what’s good with you.