On 14 August 2013 I started a fantastic practice. Nearly every night before I go to sleep, I write down at least 3 things I am grateful for that day. I’ve also explained this as writing down at least 3 things that showed me God, or beauty, or love that day. I am convinced this practice has been beneficial in my YAGM journey, and I sincerely hope that more people will start it! (Want research evidence of how cool it is? Check out the many publications of Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Michael McCullough, or Dr. Martin Seligman).

With all the changes in my life recently, this practice has become even more essential. One of the best ways to not sit and stew in icky feelings is to spend time thinking of everything going right or all the good stuff. I’d love to share with you some tidbits and tidings of thankfulness since my move.

Tidbit #1: I was able to unpack. I mean wholly and fully unpack. I’ve been living partially out of suitcases since mid-August, so this was just incredible.

Tidbit #2: I was able to “nest.” I’m a nester. I move into new spaces and try to make them feel more like home by hanging things on the walls, putting things on shelves, and generally making it clear that I live there. I’ve done quite a bit of nesting in this new room.

Tidbit #3: The Bellville Lutheran Church has welcomed me with open arms. And they somehow got me to agree to teach Sunday School… I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Tidbit #4: When I went to the Athlone Lutheran Church for a service after nearly a month away from that congregation, I was greeted with “Welcome home, Abby.” What powerful words.

Tidbit #5: Living among college students is great. Many of them are first-year students, which makes me all sorts of nostalgic. I love getting to know them. There might be a serious shortage of sleep, but there is no shortage of laughter.

Tidbit #6: I started at a job that feels… right.  I don’t know how else to explain it, other than to say I am feeling like I am right where I need to be. Not to mention the fact that I no longer have an hour commute, my supervisor is beyond incredible, and my coworkers are lovely. More on all of this later!

Tidbit #7: I have Wi-Fi. That’s right- I have daily access to internet. This is… insane. After four months of paying at an internet café once every other week or borrowing a USB stick and attempting to do all my communicating in under 30 minutes, I am blown away by the blessing of technology. Keeping in touch with my family in Arizona, my YAGMs around the world, and all my other loved ones is something I am thankful for all the time.

Tidbit #8: Sweat. I know- this sounds ridiculous and I will likely regret ever listing this. But this desert girl has been waiting patiently for summer to come to Cape Town. The weather still never gets above 35 degrees, but I could sit in that hot sunshine for days.

Tidbit #9: Things aren’t perfect. In fact, they are hard and I get lonely and weary and there is so much about Cape Town that is hard to love. But I try to love the daily imperfections-to see them as opportunities for growth. Some days, I succeed at this. Other days, I sit down before bed and write down three things I am thankful for anyways.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.”

– Maya Angelou