Currently Grateful For

This year has, obviously, been a rollercoaster. While I felt like I had settled into somewhat of a routine and a “new normal,” summer has brought a new set of challenges. I feel like in a lot of ways, things are amazing personally and then in other ways, I’m really struggling. Often it’s two sides of the same coin… for example, spending time again with Mike’s family has been wonderful but it also makes me deeply miss my family even more than I already was. I feel like I’m constantly going up and down a rollercoaster at the same time.

One thing that has helped me the most throughout the entire pandemic has been to keep an eye towards gratefulness. Some days it’s easy and other days it’s more of a challenge– it’s been such a rewarding practice though.

I thought I’d share some of the things that I’m grateful for recently and maybe you can share some of your own things too!

First sleepover! We just had a sleepover with Mike’s sister, brother in law, and nieces. It was the first time his oldest niece got to use the trundle bed that I bought last year dreaming of the day we could do “sleepovers.” Seeing her fly onto the trundle bed and immediately start doing snow angels on it just about did me in it was so cute.

Volunteering! I signed up to volunteer at our local food bank (Interfaith Food Pantry if you’re in the area– they are amazing) back in the winter. I went through the training and got my weekly shift on the calendar… and then COVID hit. Since I was new and they changed the procedures for safety, I wasn’t able to actually volunteer until recently. Very grateful to be able to serve members of the community and give back in a meaningful way.

Backyard lights! Mike and I finally got around to hanging lights for our backyard and, wow, it really transformed the backyard. Well I guess it’s not super dramatic, but it does make it feel a bit more magical, especially now that the fireflies are back.

Safe getaways! We are being as careful as possible when it comes to travel. We did spend a week at Mike’s family’s lake house (safe driving distance + remote house!) and it felt so good to get out of our routine. (I will say I fully recognize this as a major privilege.) There was so much to celebrate (our engagement, anniversaries, birthdays) so it felt extra special in that way too.

All things crafting! Oh man have I been grateful for everything crafting related. It’s the very best distraction. A bit meditative and creative. Productive and satisfying.

Grocery shopping! I am so grateful that going to the grocery store is less “scary” now. I’ll never take going into a grocery store for granted ever again. I just did a trip this week where I wandered the aisles a little bit (we’re kind of forced to now that aisles are only one direction– so you have to weave through the store like a maze) and I was thinking how grateful I was that I wasn’t as anxious about being in the store as I had been a couple of months ago.

New Brothers & Sisters! While I’m first and foremost over the moon to marry Mike, getting more sisters and brothers out of the deal is a huge bonus. I’m thrilled and so, so excited. I know a lot of people who struggle with “in law” relationships, and Mike and I both feel so lucky that each other’s families feel like family. I can’t wait to make it official with marriage!

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I love that you and Mike are having such a good experience combining your families. I’m an only child so I do kind of hope whoever I end up with one day has siblings so I can have siblings too 😂 I am grateful to have so much free time to read since I’m on summer break from college. It’s been a great way to pass all the time I suddenly have to spare.


I have been keeping a joy journal for years, which is a spin on making a gratitude list each day. I got the idea from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Option B. Every night I write down at least three things that brought me joy during the day. It’s amazing how quickly I started looking for joyful things over the course of a day. I have always had a positive outlook, but this practice has increased it tenfold and has taught me to savor moments. I tell everyone in my life to try it. My list is often much longer than three things, from simple (chocolate) to profound (the sound of a chorus of laughter when my friends and I are laughing about something on our weekly Zooms).


Such a wonderful post! I’m in TN, where unfortunately things are taking a scary and bad turn, so it’s hard to remember to be grateful. Here’s my list –

1. A secure and stable job – My husband and I are both lucky to have secure and stable jobs that haven’t been effected by the pandemic or economy. That doesn’t mean that won’t/can’t change down the road, but for right now, I’m grateful that our jobs are ok.

2. Books. Reading has been my safe place through all of this. I’ve always been a reader, but I’ve really been devouring books since March. And buying books have been a relatively inexpensive treat for myself. I even bought a new bookcase!

3. Technology – I’ve only been able to see my mom once since mid-March. I’ve not see the rest of my family at all. Or my closest group of girlfriends. Technology has kept me sane. I’m able to text and talk to everyone everyday, so it makes things a little easier.

4. Puzzles! OMG, I am a pandemic meme and have fallen hard for puzzles. I’ve had one going on our kitchen table since early April. As soon as I finish one, I take it apart and start another. It’s been a good way to unstress each night.


Beautiful post. You deserve all these amazing things you have in life.

I’m grateful for this summer!

Dana Mannarino

I’m definitely grateful for the time I’m spending with my boyfriend during this time. I pretty much accidentally moved into his apartment when we decided to quarantine together. It’s been SUCH a learning curve for our relationship and I think we’ve been so much stronger because of COVID. Also been appreciating little things SO much more now that we’re allowed to do a little more than before.

Dana | It’s Casual Blog 


Carly, thanks for this post. The way you describe how you feel, like going up and down a rollercoaster at the same time, this is EXACTLY how I have been feeling for the last months (!months! It has been MONTHS now…it feels soooo odd). My mood switches from being super grateful to be safe and luckily being personally unaffected by COVID until now and being super anxious about nearly everything. I guess we just have to accept it the way it is and focus on the things that we *can* do. Like (in my case) going shopping for the elderly in our neighbourhood, supporting local businesses and artists and generally connecting with friends and family members on a regular basis. Even if it can only be done safely by zoom or phone.

It is really refreshing to read about how responsible you handle these tough times and I really really hope that you influence people in a positive way to do the same. We´re all in this together and we can only beat this if we act responsible and look after each other.


I am really grateful for my aunt and uncle who have let me stay with them for the past 4 months 🙂 I initially came to there house in PA because the only April MCAT date I could get was in PA, but three cancelled exams, and one virtual med school interview and I am still here! Fingers crossed for a smooth exam next weekend!


Is this your garden? The flowers look so gorgeous!! Backyard lights do sound magical. So heartwarming to hear signs of gratefulness like this during these times right now. <3

Stay well!
Jo | With Risa