My friend Ashley is kicking off a new blog carnival/blog series dedicated to self-discovery and building a healthy life — appropriately titled Self-Discovery, Word by Word. The inaugural theme is Gratitude, and I thought I’d use that as a springboard to talk about a few things that have been on my mind lately.

I am in the perfect position to pursue and fulfill my dreams. I have the support of my parents, boyfriend, friends, and even workplace. I’ve had to make some small personal sacrifices (sleep, free time, and frivolous spending) but all the big picture things that are important to me (writing, loved ones, world travel) are present and thriving.

In general, people express gratitude for things pretty freely. “I don’t know what I’d do without my computer.” “Grey’s Anatomy is amazing.” “I love mac and cheese!”

So why aren’t we just as vocal when it comes to appreciating people? “You look lovely today.” “Thanks for listening.” “You’re the best mom ever.”

It’s obvious who benefits from the kind words more.

I used to be a lot better about this sort of thing. I would write people random notes, hand out compliments like they were going out of style, and constantly tell my friends and family how much I love them. For whatever reason — insert lame excuse here, probably tiredness/lack of time — I’ve slacked on this quite a bit. Well, I’m trying to get back into my old good habit. Because it’s a nice, easy thing to do, and it feels good to make other people feel good. Everybody wins.

What on earth am I going to write for my first book dedication?! There are so many people to thank, so many people who have helped me. Do I choose one per book? But then how would I pick the order? Will people take offense?

Well, it’s definitely better to have this problem, of too many choices, than the opposite.

(In the shower the other night, I drafted what I think my first ever dedication will be… but I still have to write the book it goes in, hahaha.)

Last but not least, I’d like to say how grateful I am that this city councilman in Fort Worth, TX spoke out to gay teens with a personal, heartfelt message: It gets better.

The recent spate of teen “bullicides” has really hurt my heart. I wish I could find every kid who doubts their self-worth and get to know them, so I could point out what makes them special and wonderful and worthwhile. But I can’t. So I’ll do my best to watch out for the kids in my life; will you please watch out for the ones in yours?

23 responses to “Gratitude”

  1. Kimberly Franklin Avatar

    I like how you finish the “important” stuff first. Dedication of a book is very important. And compliments are the easiest thing to give, I’m going to start handing them out more often!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul Avatar

    So glad you participated in the series, Kristan! I always love reading your “take” on things. And I love your reference Fort Worth councilman. I’m also grateful for individuals like him.

  3. Sonja Avatar

    1. Years ago in a psychology course, I learned that the older we get, the less likely we are to say, “I like you,” to someone else. So I try to make a point of saying it when it occurs to me – which granted isn’t very often.

    2. You are one of the nicest, most complimentary people I know.

    3. OMG at the zendo on Wednesday night, rather than emptying my mind, I was busy composing my acknowledgments page!

  4. Shari Avatar

    I love everything about this entry. It sounds so cliche, but the people we bring along for the journey are really the ones who make it worth taking. It’s amazing what a quick compliment or even just a smile can do for someone’s day. If everyone remembered the things you mention in this entry, the world would truly be a happier, better place :-)

  5. Sarah Avatar

    I am grateful for your return to old habits…you are so inspiring. And positivity, genuine good feelings, are contagious. You can’t help but want to be around that.

  6. Katie Avatar

    I’m on a ministry team and our “rule” is to build each other up as often as we make sport of one another. Does it happen? Nope. But it’s a great reminder to give affirmation.


  7. Kristan Avatar

    Haha, yup, ALWAYS the important things first. … {halo}

    Thanks for asking me! I look forward to reading the other entries.

    1. Interesting. I wonder why as we get older? (More social inhibitions? But why against a good/polite thing?)

    2. Aww, thanks. (Also, I see what you did there!)

    3. HAHAHA. I’ve never tried to actually compose it until a couple nights ago in the shower. Usually I just stress about whose name to put first, and what my mother will think, etc.

    {nods} Gotta love those people. Thanks for your kind words. :)

    They ARE contagious! But in the best possible way. Like if rainbows were a disease, lol.

    I agree: it’s not something we’re *always* going to remember, no matter what, but if we at least try to, then we’re bound to do it more often!

  8. Joelle Avatar

    Wonderful post. ” Because it’s a nice, easy thing to do, and it feels good to make other people feel good. Everybody wins.” Very true and so simple. Thanks you for the reminder of how simplicity can have such an impact.

  9. Ingrid Avatar

    Once again, you have highlighted some really important and inspiring issues. I do think as we get older (and busier) we forget to acknowledge the important people in our life (or maybe we just assume they know it). I’m grateful for your reminder! And the recent teen bullicides you brought up have hurt my heart too. The cool thing is, as writers we do have the opportunity to reach out to young people and hopefully make a positive impact on their lives. Thanks for the post and the inspiration.

  10. Trisha Avatar


  11. Trisha Avatar

    The Secret. Have an attitude of gratitude.

  12. Kristan Avatar

    Exactly. I actually was inspired with a new story idea (or rather, a new take on an old story idea) this weekend as a result of all these bullicides. I’ll talk it with you soon. :)

    Oh, is that part of what she says in that book? Haha, go me! I’m a genius and I didn’t even know it. So where’s my cut of her fortune?

  13. Jon Avatar

    Great post. I think being kind is a karma thing too. The nicer you are, the nicer people will be to you.

    Of course, as my dad used to say, no good deed goes unpunished. I just hope that’s not true!

  14. Liz Czukas Avatar

    Well said, Kristan. And thanks for putting the Fort Worth Councilman’s speech in here. I’m so proud to know there are people in the world who are still willing to put themselves out there to help others. It does my heart good.

    I’m grateful to you for being a faithful blog reader and commenter, and always answering my e-mails when I send them.

    – Liz

  15. Sherrie Petersen Avatar

    Great post, Kristan. I’ve fantasized about my first book dedication, too :) Now if I could just get the dang thing published!

  16. Kristan Avatar

    Yep, I’m a BIG believer in karma.

    He was amazing. :)

    Right back at ya, hon!

    Someday we’ll have more dedications than we know what to do with! ;)

  17. Christa Avatar

    Thanks for highlighting the video – one of the bravest things I have seen!

    What a great blog idea – thanks to you…

  18. Kristan Avatar

    Aw, thanks, Christa!

  19. Taron Avatar

    Hi! I really enjoyed reading your gratitude post and also checking out your blog in general (that’s the great thing about these collaborative series). Good luck with pursuing your writing — I will enjoy reading about how things go.

  20. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, Taron!

  21. Maria Avatar

    Hi there! Nice post. Just reading you back. ;) Nice blog, too. Wish I had my life in such a sweet spot, but I am grateful for who I am, where I am, and where I am headed.

  22. Kristan Avatar

    And that’s the best place to be, Maria. :)