365 Grateful blog

Guest Post - Amy - The Shoebox

Hailey Bartholomew - Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I love this wonderful blog post from our regular guest poster Amy.  

The Shoebox

Snap. I have taken my first photo and my 365 journey has officially begun.

Snap. I have taken my 50th photo and I am starting to feel change.

Snap. 104 photos in my album and I am beginning to heal.

Snap. 223 and I am definitely feeling happy with so much to be grateful for.

Snap.  Up to 300 and I now feel alive.

Snap. 365 - Time to start living!

My 365 Grateful Project was in many ways just the beginning for me. The first step in renovating my life. Since completing my project I have started to repair some of the cracks, clean up the areas in my life where grime had begun to build and polish the areas that I know used to shine and could again.

Doing this also meant that I had to open a shoebox that I had stored in the darkest place and for so long I had chosen to ignore. In this box I had placed memories that I hadn’t been able to face for over 10 years.

You are probably thinking, “Man, what horrific trauma did this girl endure?”.

I am not sure I can call it a horrific trauma, but I am pretty sure that is what my later teenage years felt like at the time. Yes, that’s right… my later teenage years filled with endless emotion, loads of dramatic tension, heartbreak and bad decisions.

Such a profound effect did this time have on me that I was unsure whether I could lift the lid on the box. I thought I had filled the box with regret and pain, but when I finally summoned up the courage to open it I found it was filled with love, friendship, excitement of things to come, life’s biggest lessons and the foundations on which I was built. I could see the mistakes I had made but I could also see they were lined with hope. Hope that one day I would know what to do with them.

And I do.

“Get closure. Heal all the rifts in your life. Apologize if it’s overdue. Release anything or anyone that’s hanging over your head. Speak to someone who’s not speaking to you or to whom you are not speaking. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Any unresolved issues, fallings out or grudges can hinder progress and render you incapable of flying high through life.” (Anthea Paul, Girlosophy).

I am grateful for those years in my life where I had the chance to make mistakes.

I am grateful to that boy in my biology class that taught me how to love.

I am grateful for my friend Joanna who held my hand through those years and who welcomed me back in her life just last week with open arms and forgiveness.

I am grateful for the power of enduring friendship and the gift of kindred spirits. (Thank you Mel and Cath.)

But most of all, I am grateful that I survived!

That shoebox is part of who I am and instead of continuing to hide those memories away, I am going to leave the lid open and embrace them.  

365 Grateful - a documentary about the extraordinary power of gratitude

Guest Post from a Crazed Mother

Hailey Bartholomew - Thursday, July 28, 2011

This post is by  Sara van Bentum

Sarah a mother who was inspired by the 365 Project and shares about being a mum.

From a crazed mother… who is grateful.

Being a mummy is wonderful work. But it is also challenging and exhausting. Especially when one of the kids you are mum to is a high-spirited, energetic and creative 3 year old who gets up before the sun. Always. And yes, by high-spirited I do mean slightly crazy.

Amongst the nappies, tantrums and sleep deprivation, a battle with postnatal depression and the general madness that is life with two little people, I felt like I had lost myself. Life was going on in the strange way that it does. And I was too exhausted and overwhelmed to really enjoy it.

So when a wonderful friend mentioned a 365 Grateful project that she had read about in her fave magazine, I was encouraged, inspired and challenged. But could I really find one thing per day to be grateful for? For a whole year?

More than 100 days later I have found that indeed I could.  Surprisingly enough, I began to see all the little, crazy parts of my day in a new light. And I was actually grateful for them! I guess it is true. If you seek, you will find.

Sure there are days that are hard. And all I am grateful for is that my loves are (finally!) asleep. Or for any few moments I can grab for myself.

But most of the time there is an array of “grateful moments” throughout any given day...

Moments of hilarity or joy created by my little ones. All of a sudden, I wasn’t frustrated at my son turning his cheesy toast into a guitar. And a boat. AND a number 6! I was instead reminded of the awesome gift of creativity and imagination.

Moments when I’m reminded of the many people whom I cherish. And those who make my world brighter by simply being in it. Like my husband bringing home flowers. Or easing my Mondayitis by getting both kids up and dressed. And cooking me breakfast!

Moments when the littlest things seem to happen at just the right time. Like a red light. While mostly annoying, every now and then you get one just when you need it. To relocate a dummy for a restless baby. Or pick up a toy for a hyper toddler. Or take a much needed sip of coffee.

Moments that bring me back to earth and remind me of what is good and true in my life. Freedom, faith, family and love.

Yes, it is hard work raising my minis. And yes, sometimes I get lost along the way. But in my journey of gratefulness I am realising that despite the many challenges faced daily, I actually wouldn’t change my hectic, wonderful life with my little loves for anything. And for that realisation, I am truly grateful.

But while being a mum is a huge part of who I am, and everything I do revolves around it, I’m beginning to remember that it’s not all that I am. Somehow, through all these wonderful moments, I am finding myself again. I’m remembering what it is I love. To write and create. I love words and stories. And I want to make the world better because I was here. Even if that is simply by impacting and encouraging those I’m blessed to have in my world.

Strangely enough, this little project is doing that in the most unexpected way. I could never have expected how many friends would be encouraged by my simple daily stories. And now people in my world, both near and far, have embarked on their own journey of gratefulness. Each day, I look forward to seeing all the different and creative things they have to be grateful for. It almost feels like a revolution of gratefulness. And I love it!

“Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” (Melody Beattie)


To see my 365 Grateful project, visit  here

365 Grateful - a documentary about the extraordinary power of gratitude.

Guest Post - Amy - My beautiful Pumpkin Girl

Hailey Bartholomew - Monday, July 11, 2011

This week my oldest daughter Annabelle is turning 5. I thought I would share with you a letter I have written for her.

My Darling Annabelle,

Happy 5th birthday!

Five years ago, you came into this world the way you wanted – feet first. You didn’t cry. You just looked around with your big blue eyes ready to start this adventure we call life. I took you in my arms, kissed your little head and in this moment my heart exploded. I didn’t know it was possible to feel so much love, to feel so alive. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart on the day that we met.

Since that day I have learnt a lot from you. In many ways you have been my greatest teacher.

You taught me to be a mother.

You have loved me unconditionally, which has helped me to love myself.

You have shown me that laughter is the best medicine and that dancing in rain awakens the soul.

You have taught me to look for ladybirds and to say goodnight to the moon. 

And when you say “I love you mum”, my heart sings.

To you, my darling girl, I will be forever grateful. You are the sprinkles on my cupcake, my rainbow in the sky, my beautiful pumpkin girl and I love you.

I will love you forever and always.


365 Grateful - a documentary about the extraordinary power of gratitude

Guest Post - Amy - The Perfect Autumn Day

Hailey Bartholomew - Monday, May 30, 2011

 This week Amy Gill is our guest blogger.  You can find out some of Amy's inspiring story in this article:

Qweekend PDF

The Perfect Autumn Day

The weather impacts on how we feel, what we do, what we wear and what we eat. Each season has different qualities, gifts to us as human beings, and I am immensely grateful for these gifts. I must say though, no season affects my mood as much as autumn. I love autumn, and this is my tribute to the season of change.


Nothing beats a perfect autumn day. When I first step out in that chilly morning air I feel alive. The crisp breeze awakens my senses. I pull my scarf around me and breathe in the smell of a wood fire fading away from the cold night before.


Then I see it. Clear blue skies and the many colours of the trees and plants that surround the area in which I live. These colours are warm colours – oranges, browns, reds and yellows. They, as Toni and Hailey would say, warm my heart.


I step out into the sun. It cuts through the cold air and rests on my shoulder like the hand of God reaching down to embrace me. I am afraid to move. I want that perfect feeling to last forever. I close my eyes, breath deeply, and give thanks.


My girls run past me giggling excitedly. We are going on a picnic. They love autumn picnics.


Reluctantly I step away from the hand on my shoulder and we bundle ourselves into the car. Songs are sung all the way to our favourite park. When we are there we play in the leaves looking for the prettiest colours and shapes on the ground around us. We lie in the sun, feed the ducks, and fly our beautiful kite.  It is soul nurturing at it’s best. It is perfect.


As I lay on the grass, while Andrew pushes the girls on the swings, I feel the hand on my shoulder again and autumn memories shimmer before me.


My birthday is an autumn. I see my family around me and remember each celebration. I remember feeling loved.


The final months of my pregnancy with Annabelle were in autumn. I remember the wonder I felt at each tiny kick from within.


Easter is an autumn, rich with memories of my short time with my beautiful butterfly Rosie, our special time together. I remember feeling needed.


Then I am showered with a handful of autumn leaves, two bounding little girls, and a kiss from my husband.  It has been a perfect autumn day. I close my eyes, breath deeply, and give thanks.


Annabelle thinks that autumn is when all the fairies come out with their paint pots and cover the leaves in every tone they can imagine. I believe it is our gift from God, letting us know that change is ok. Whether it is the fairies, or God, mother earth or pure magic… it is perfect.


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365 Grateful - A Documentary about the extraordinary power of Gratitude