Grat Friday - GO COHEN! EditionWhat would you say if I told you that by making one little change, you could be happier? Well it’s true…and all it involves is incorporating a little gratitude into your life. According to Psychology Today, a study of gratitude journaling showed that people who tracked their gratitude once a week were happier after six weeks. Yup, just by writing down a few things you’re grateful for on a weekly basis, you can increase your happiness. In fact, if you started today, you’d be happier by the end of the year. You don’t have to share what you write with anyone, just do it. I can almost guarantee it’ll be a positive change. 

This year, I’ve chosen to keep a public gratitude journal in hopes that it inspires at least a few others to keep track of sources of gratitude in their lives on a regular basis. Here are a few things I’m grateful for this week:

 Thanks to the diligence and persistence of the guy we’ve been working with at our state’s Department of Education, we were able to get our local school district to comply with the accommodations they had committed to for our son. I’m also grateful that some greater force helped me restrain myself from saying what I really wanted to say at our meeting with the school district this past week for the frustration and anxiety they caused my kid and the enormous, time-consuming aggravation they caused us in advocating for our son’s rights. Words like “dumber than a box of hair,” “incompetent,” “SERIOUSLY???” and “bite me.” Instead, I was magically granted the strength to keep things civil, and continually suggested we move forward in the best interest of our son. Like so many have said, you’d think the school district would have learned by now not to mess with the Reisers. Just don’t. It’s not a winning proposition.

 Such happiness to spend time with my brother last weekend! It was awesome to have him visit overnight and to get to go to Caffeine & Carburetors and check out the hot cars with him and my youngest son. We acted like three 15-year-old boys. And only one of us is legit a 15-year-old boy.

 Grateful for a very productive Monday. I finally got so many things crossed off my list that had been lingering for far too long. Love getting caught up like that—makes for a clearer head.

From a 1978 photo shoot for a Providence Sunday Journal article about celebrating the holidays
My mom lighting the Hanukkah candles in a 1978 photo shoot for a Providence Sunday Journal article about celebrating the holidays. That’s me in the dark shirt.

 If you had the pleasure of knowing my mom, you knew what an incredible lady she was, and I am so grateful this week that she took the time and care to save boxes full of many interesting treasures from her—and my—past. I’m also grateful to my dad for turning these old, smelly, dusty, mildewed boxes over to me a few years ago and for the time to finally sort through and discover the nostalgic miscellany. There are letters that my grandfather wrote to my mom while she was in college (stamps cost 4¢!), letters my dad wrote to her while he was away with the Coast Guard, the typed list of invitees to their wedding (no zip codes or spreadsheets back then!), all my school photos and report cards, catering receipts from parties my parents threw, letters my sister wrote home from camp, random news clippings and more. It’s an amazing experience to revisit things long forgotten and to discover so many sentimental artifacts that were important to my mom. She would be as amused as my siblings, my dad and I have been to uncover these invaluable pieces of the past.

 Can we just talk about how grateful I am to have scored so big in the sister department? My sister and I live 150 miles apart, so we don’t get to see each other that often, but we have a routine where we speak on the phone almost every morning. We are hands-down the two funniest people we know—although there’s no one else on earth who would agree with us, or even have the vaguest idea what the hell is so funny. Our husbands simply shake their heads and roll their eyes when we erupt into one of our outbursts of hilarity because they have no idea what we’re talking about, and can’t understand what we’re saying anyway because we’re laughing so hard. Yesterday afternoon on the phone, we had one such episode. We were talking about farming. Milking cows, overalls,, sharpening the blades on the John Deere. I know, not funny. Except it was uproarious. Milk-coming-out-of-your-nose hilarious. To us. For the limitless laughter—and my sister in general—I am grateful!

What are you grateful for this week?

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