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30 Days of Gratitude

October was a challenging month for me, personally. World events, personal illness, and things just not going as planned.

Seeking a way to shift my mindset as well as aiming to add some positivity to the world (and my life) and to intentionally recognize good, I fully embraced November as US National Gratitude Month and committed to publicly sharing a note of gratitude each day.

Here's a roundup of my daily posts...


November 1

I am so grateful for my brother Tom. While we didn't always get along when growing up (I literally grew out my nails so that it would hurt more when I pinched him), I really love our relationship now and how we've been able to support and engage with each other -- from when our mom died to career and relationship transitions to just catching up at a Rockies game.

I also really love how close my kiddos are with "Funcle" Tom. My kids love when Tom comes for dinner (and not just when he takes them to Target for birthday gifts). And I love that he has a special relationship with each one of them.

And while I will always be older (as he likes to remind me) and taller (as I like to pretend to be true)...Tom will always be cooler


November 2

Today, I am grateful for mornings.

I've always been a morning person. I love the quiet and sense of potential. I love watching the sunrise and feeling empowered to set my intentions for the day. I love the fresh start and possibility. And it's just pretty.

I am grateful that each day comes with a new morning.


November 3

Today I am grateful for pumpkin spice.

I love fall, and pumpkin spice, to me, is the flavor of fall -- warm, homey, and nuanced -- the

perfect transition!

Personally, I think the pumpkin spice season should extend through Thanksgiving (rather than the commercial mentality of changing everything to winter/Christmas scents and flavors the day after Thanksgiving).

I'll just be over here, holding onto my pumpkin spice a little longer.

(my kids' dentist gives out pumpkins during these beauties will become pumpkin bread!)


November 4

Today I am grateful for time with my kiddos, individually and in smaller grouping.

I have four kids (ages 8, 9, 11, 13), and I really love when we're all together, AND I love that in October, I got a Shabbat with just Batya and a Shabbat with just Itai, and last week I got a day and a half with just Ori and Margalit, and next week I get a half day with just Batya and Itai.

Getting to spend time like that gives me an opportunity to get to get to know my kids as individuals on a deeper level...and gives them the opportunity to truly be individual (not just one of the "Levy kids."


November 5

Today I'm grateful for the extra hour with these tiny humans (though Itai is almost my height, so maybe not-so-tiny).

We used the extra hour to rake 13 bags of leaves...which barely made a dent. But we made sure to take full advantage by jumping in the piles, noticing the different colors (one tree made red leaves while another made yellow), and just enjoying a beautiful morning! Of course followed by cinnamon french toast and fresh blueberry muffins!


November 6

Today I am grateful that I get to walk my kids to school most days.

We live an easy 15-minute walk from the school, and I love the time when my kids have almost no option but to talk to me. My boys usually walk about 20 paces ahead of us, but the girls humor me and let me walk them to school.

I especially love the walk this time of year... When it's a little brisk, and the tree colors are changing by the day.

I know that soon it'll be winter, and I'll have to cave in and drive to school. But for now, I am grateful for this routine!


November 7

Today I am grateful for flowers.

I made the decision about a year ago to always have fresh flowers in my house, in both my bedroom and on my dining room table (I used to put some in the girls' rooms, but Batya built Lego flowers, and Margalit now has dried lavender and roses).

I made this decision simply because it brings me joy.

I am a little weird about my flowers; I hate carnations and baby's breath and like my flowers to match the mood or tone I am trying to create. And I love being able to choose the exact flowers I want at that moment...and then smile every time I see them.


November 8

Today I am grateful for the television show Friends.

I was a little young to truly appreciate this show when it first came out and didn't really get into it until the later seasons.

At this point, though, it's probably safe to say that I've seen every episode at least 10 times.

My kids mock me at how often I am able to relate something happening in our lives to an episode of Friends. I'll start with, "There's an episode of Friends..." and Itai will interject with, "Of course there is."

But I think that's what makes this series so special to me. It's funny and entertaining and all of that...and so very relatable. I know that it will make me laugh and smile in a very predictable way, and sometimes that's all I need.

I really don't watch much television these days -- but when I do, it's very often rewatching this show (including my own tradition of watching some of the Thanksgiving episodes while I prepare Thanksgiving dinner...before I am forced to switch over to football).


November 9

Today I am grateful for books.

While my tastes have certainly changed, I have always loved reading. I love getting wrapped up in stories (though I read almost no fiction these days) and learning new things. I love that I can get pretty much any book from the library and take it anywhere with me. I love that I can read for five minutes or five hours, and I always fin

d it a good use of time.

I read about three books a week right now and love bringing what I'm reading into conversation or my work or just, in general, my thoughts.

It also brings me so much joy to see that my kids also love reading (recognizing, of course, that it's all about finding the right book -- or, more likely, graphic novel -- for them).

I am so grateful that I adopted a love of reading early, and that continues today, and I've been able to pass that along to my kids.

(and, yes, this is a photo of a very young Itai)


November 10

Today I am grateful for the people with whom I have the honor of working.

One of my favorite parts about Sarah Rubinson Consulting and Contracting is gettin

g to work with a variety of thoughtful, passionate, inspiring people.

When making the decision a little over a year ago to go the independent route rather than joining an organization full-time, one of the biggest opportunities/potential challenges I envisioned was fulfilling my need for intellectual stimulation and meaningful partnership with colleagues.

And I am so grateful to have found that through each project and each team.

Pictured -- Planning team for Pritzat Derech, for which I am serving as Project Coordinator. Each of the members of this team brings such unique expertise and experience, and we are all able to unite around a common goal while still making space for disagreement and pushback. Grateful for the opportunity to work with them!


November 11

Today I am grateful for my health.

That may sound generic, but, for me, it's not to be taken for granted.

Three of my four grandparents died of cancer. My mom died of cancer at the age of 51. Every single time I go to the doctor, a voice inside of me says, "Today's the day... Today they tell you that they found something."

And instead of just living in fear, I've committed to taking control where I can. I go to every appointment and follow through on every recommended test. I eat well (usually) and stay active. I actively take steps to safeguard and protect my health.

And I am so grateful that I am healthy today.


November 12

Today I am grateful for 90's music.

I was so excited to go to a 90's dance party recently. And it was so much fun! I knew every song within the first three notes and sang every word without shame.

I wouldn't say I'm a music appreciator in general and certainly can't speak to any specific elements that relate to the quality of a song. For me, 90's music is just fun and makes anything fun - whether it be going for a run, cleaning my house, and dancing like no one is watching.

At least once a day, I try to encourage my kids into an impromptu dance party, almost always with a 90's soundtrack.

And the 90's station on satellite radio is my preferred choice for driving soundtrack.

I'm so grateful for the joy this music brings to my life!

(Picture from a concert in 1999 with high school friends before I realized I don't actually like concerts)


November 13

Today I am grateful for the Colorado mountains.

I grew up here and have been back here for over 10 years, and, still, this view doesn't get old.

Admittedly, the mountains look so much farther away from Denver than they did growing up in Colorado Springs, and I still pause to take in the beauty when I have a clear view.

I also love skiing and hiking and just being in the mountains. Certainly my happy place. And I've been so happy to share this love with my kids!


November 14

Today I am grateful for yoga.

Since I was in high school, I have wanted to like yoga, and for years I tried and struggled to connect in this way. And then, about seven years ago, I started taking a restorative yoga class, and it was the perfect entry point to my current appreciation for yoga.

I generally practice yoga three times a week in a group setting, each day with a different teacher who takes a slightly different approach. I also have yoga mats at home, and Margalit and I will do yoga together in the mornings for a few minutes before the others kids wake up.

For me, yoga requires just enough thought that it calms and centers my mind, but still provides the space for my mind to be still, almost in a meditative state.

I am so grateful to have yoga as part of my weekly self-care routine, allowing me to show up as my best self for those around me.

(pictured Batya's "Look, I'm doing tree pose!").


November 15

Today, I am grateful for all things Colorado.

I love that I can honestly say that I love where I live and wouldn't rather live anywhere else.

From the opportunity to catch a game (we love the Rockies, even when they are

terrible) to the many days of sun to the 70 degree weather in the middle of winter to the proximity to the mountains to the cultural events and museums, it's truly an amazing place to live.

I also really love that my brothers, dad, aunt and uncles and other family members live nearby. It's been so amazing for my kiddos to live close to family. and I am so grateful they get that experience.


November 16

Today I am grateful for my house.

Beyond the obvious that I am grateful that I have a warm, safe place to sleep, I genuinely love my house.

Ostensibly, there is nothing special about my was built in the early 70's and is not nearly as impressive of the homes of many of my friends. And it's perfect for my family.

I love that the window in the kitchen looks out to the playset so I can watch my kids role play while I do the dishes.

I love that the kitchen opens to the "couch room" so we can watch movies and make cookies at the same time (bonus: the "couch room" has a gas fireplace!).

I love that we have enough space so that each kid has his/her own room, and we have a guest room, and there are a variety of places to read or do homework and just be...and it doesn't feel so huge when the kids are with their dad, and it's just me.

I love that we have a huge backyard and covered patio.

I love that my humble home has been the central gathering place for my larger family over the last decade, and I hope it continues to be so!


November 17

Today I am grateful for Fridays.

Friday is the day it all comes together for me...I finish up projects, tie up loose ends, send out those emails, take care of the errands, make the calls, mark things off of the list. It's something about the self-given deadline to have my life in order before the weekend that serves as such a motivator.

I wake up each Friday morning super anxious about all of the things (and usually wake up even early than my usual 4:45 in order to get started). And, inevitably, by the time the sun goes down Friday evening,

I've reached a state of calm. No, that doesn't mean I've always done all of the things...but the combination of doing and moving forward and accepting rest allows me to just be as I enter the weekend.

I am so grateful for this opportunity this day brings each week.

(I searched my photos for Friday, just curious about what it would find...and it gave me the attached. I understand the irony of posting this when I say that I am grateful for Fridays...and, really, I am just grateful).


November 18

Today I am grateful for the winter holiday season.

While I am a very proud Jew, I love the time leading up to Christmas -- the lights, the music, the movies, and (most of all) the joy.

I am still happily sipping my pumpkin spice beverages (as I hold that pumpkin spice is the flavor until Thanksgiving), and I'm so excited to see the lights popping up, especially as it gets darker and darker earlier and earlier.

Especially during this time, when there is so much sadness in the world, I'm so grateful for the holiday cheer!


November 19

Today I'm grateful for Sundays.

I have my kids every other Sunday, and the other Sundays it's just me. No matter what I start with yoga and go from there. When I have my kiddos, it's a day of adventure... Hiking, trips to the mountains, family video games, exploring something new. When I don't have my kids, it's a day for me... Catching up with friends, tackling projects, relaxing, enjoying much-needed "me" time.

No matter what, it's a day that brings me different kinds of joy.

I lived in Israel for three years, and the hardest part was not having a Sunday (in the traditional American sense).

Sunday is such a gift of a day, and I'm so grateful to have it once a week!


November 20

Today I'm grateful for doughnuts for breakfast.

Generally, I'm big on healthy food. My kids know they can't have cereal with more than 6g of sugar per serving in the mornings. We have lots of fruits and vegetables in the house. And water is basically all we drink.

I am a creature of habit and routine and very much appreciate the importance of consistency and discipline. And sometimes it's okay to have doughnuts for breakfast.

We are a Broncos-loving family, and the local grocery store offers free doughnuts the day after a Broncos victory. Itai and I stayed up late last night (late for me), glued to the game, and witnessed the Broncos win! So, after I hit the gym this morning, I was one of the first in line to get the aforementioned doughnuts.

I am grateful for the stability routine adds to my life... And the choice and power I have to mix it up every now and then!


November 21

Today I'm grateful for family.

Everyone has different definitions of who is family, including friends who become family.

And there is something special about people who share DNA or some sort of legal connection -- that kind of family. There is just something about the lack of choice in these cases that make it seem like it is just meant to be (and it's up to you to make it for the better), fully recognizing that it absolutely doesn't make these rela

tionships any easier (and sometimes even more difficult).

My family has changed over the years...people have died, people have been born, people have joined, and people have left.

And while there are always people I miss, I choose to believe that my family looks exactly as it's supposed to at any stage of my life.

I am grateful for everyone who has ever been part of my family and for those yet to join.


November 22

Today I'm grateful for 41 years.

Yes, today is my birthday, and I'm happy to share that I turned 41!

While some are reluctant to share their age, I am proud. I am grateful for what I have experienced and learned over these 41 years. I am grateful for what I have accomplished over these 41 years. I am grateful that getting to this age has allowed me space for self-growth and self-appreciation, leading to a commitment to authenticity that I wasn't able to embrace in younger versions.

I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the last year and set intentions for the next.

I am grateful for the opportunity to design and live a life I love.

I am grateful for the sense of empowerment that I feel with each passing year and am so excited to see what 42 holds!


November 23

Today I'm grateful for Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving.

I love the food. I love the opportunity to gather with family. I love the theme of gratitude.

Don't get me wrong...I love most of the Jewish holidays, too, for the same reasons. And, there's something different about Thanksgiving and the opportunity to make my own traditions, rather than adapting Jewish laws and custom.

A few years ago, my little family started the tradition of going to Gaylord the night before Thanksgiving. It's like a mini vacation for us to connect. And then for the day of Thanksgiving, we watch a combination of Friends and football while I cook, and my brother hangs with the kiddos

I, personally, hold that Thanksgiving dinner (while delicious) is just something to get through on order to eat pie. I love pie.

I am so grateful for this laid-back holiday full of so many people and foods I love.


November 24

Today I am grateful for my couch.

Well, actually, I am grateful for the balance that this couch represents.

Yesterday this couch was full -- brothers, kiddos, aunt and uncles. Today, it empty and quiet.

Yesterday was a day all about giving (I was fully present for my kids, spent hours cooking, opened my home to extended family). Today is all about self-care (went to the gym in snow, got a massage and facial, an afternoon of reading before dinner with a friend).

I am super careful about how I spend money, and this couch was really expensive. But I love that it's big enough to hold the whole family to watch a movie or the big game...and snuggly enough for a day wrapped in a blanket reading.

I am grateful for the power I have to choose balance in my life and am grateful for the different types of joy each aspect brings.


November 25

Today I am grateful for opportunities to bring myself joy.

So much of my identity is wrapped up in my relationship with others -- mother (to my kids), sister (to my brothers), daughter (to me), friend (to friends), consultant (to clients) -- which means that so much of my time and energy is outward-facing.

And, I truly appreciate that I have the space and time (and disposable income) to do the things that bring me joy. For me. Just me.

Last week, I went skiing. Tonight, I went to Blossoms of Light at the Bontanic Gardens. Tomorrow night, I am going to see The Nutcracker.

Just me.

Because I wanted to experience these experiences. Because they make me smile.

And I didn't need anyone to give me permission. And I didn't have to make any compromises. And I didn't need anyone else with me to complete the experience.

I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to design and live a life that I love, and that I have so many opportunities to do so. For me.


November 26

Today I am thankful for social media.

I am fully aware of the detrimental impact social media can and does have. Believe me, as both a parent and an educator, I've read all of the stuff.

And, for me, it's such a wonderful opportunity to connect with old friends and new people, be a part of different communities, and be exposed to different ideas.

I love that my feeds are full of friends from different stages of my life and colleagues whom I respect. I love seeing beautiful photographs from one group and inspirational quotes from my favorite author. I love that I heard from so many different people on my birthday the other day (thank you!), and I can easily reach out to people when I am thinking of them. I love that family around the world can watch my kids grow up, and I can stay c

onnected with people even when I can't see them as often as I'd like. I love being reminded of memories from years past (even when they are challenging), and I love being able to share.

Now, in order for social media to have a positive impact on my life, it's taken a lot of intention. I limit myself to two platforms (Facebook and LinkedIn) so that I don't get overwhelmed. I am very thoughtful as to whom I accept as friends or connections (and, even then, I unfollow and/or snooze as needed). I consciously only post things I am okay with being very public. I set boundaries for myself as to when and how I engage. And, when I feel like it's not adding to my life, I take a break.

I am grateful that through social media, I have been able to share my daily dose of gratitude with all of you!

(for the record, 12 years later, I am still a sucker for leftovers and made-for-TV Christmas movies!)


November 27

Today I am grateful for the universe.

There's an old Chassidic tale that speaks of a Rabbi who carried one slip of paper in each of t

wo pockets -- one slip said "I am but dust and ashes," and the other said "for my sake was the world created."

Similarly, I hold two contradictory beliefs -- I have the power to design and live a life that I love, and I only have power over that which I can control.

As a neurotic, over-thinking control freak, it's really challenging for me to accept that which I cannot control and surrender and turn big things over to the universe (or God or a higher power or whatever anyone chooses).

And, ultimately, the universe has a way of always giving me what I need. And the universe tends to give me back what I put into it. And the universe guides me and sends me messages and teaches me (very hard) lessons.

And, while my life hasn't turned out the way I imagined, it is so beautiful and full of joy.

I am so grateful that the universe loves me even when I can be a little challenging at times.


November 28

Today I am grateful for my front door.

Love my house. I truly do (in fact, one of my days of gratitude was dedicated to it). And it's really ugly on the outside. Okay, fine, maybe it's not "ugly," but there's nothing attractive about it. It's just "eh."

And, pretty much since the day we moved into the house (10 years ago), the exterior pai

nt has been peeling.

And I've never liked my front door. I painted the outside a couple of years ago when I got a new roof, and that helped a little, but it was still just not my style at all.

Cut to October/November 2023 when I decided I was going to repaint the outside of my house. And I excitedly chose paint samples and got the kids' opinion (they didn't care nearly as much as I did). And then when the house was painted, I REALLY didn't like my front door.

But new doors are obnoxiously expensive. And heavy. And a hassle. And house stuff is really something about which I know very little...and kind of scares me.

And then one day, I decided I really wanted a new front door. So I found one that I liked. And I figured out how I could paint it in way that I really liked. And I figured it couldn't be that hard to install a new door.

And I did it. All of it. In a day. And I had a new front door.

For the following weekend, I tried to get my kids to come outside with me and admire the new door (spoiler alert: they cared even less about the door than they did about the paint samples...and Itai went so far as to tell me I ruined the house with the new door -- love the attitude of 13 year olds!).

But I love my door. And I love what it represents to me -- I have the power to design and live a life that I love. And if I don't like something about my life, I can figure out how to change it.

I am grateful for my door. Because I think it's pretty. And it makes me happy. And it's a constant reminder that I can do things that scare me.


November 29

Today I am grateful for my kiddos -- both as individuals and as my little pack.

As the youngest of four, Margalit was born knowing that she'd have to be pretty special to ever get any attention...and she certainly rose to the challenge. She is full of sass and spunk and is my favorite dance partner, and she also has such a big heart (we have bag to give to the homeless in our car because she is super worried about their having warm socks and food). I am so grateful for her compassion and empathy and reminding me to treat others with kindness.

Ori never just accepts anything, always ready for a challenge. He is highly critical and deeply inquisitive. He cares deeply for those who are close to him with fierce loyalty. I am so grateful to Ori for the ongoing push to question and think outside the box.

Sometimes I joke that Batya is my mom's way of showing me how challenging it was to raise me as a strong-willed, opinionated child who sometimes lives in her own world (Batya is named after my mom). And I am so grateful for her determination and for always teaching me that I have work to do in the area of patience.

At 13, Itai is officially a teenager -- attitude and all. He's almost taller than me (we have a bet going on about when that will actually happen) and physically stronger than me. He gave me the title mother and has been the source of infinite "firsts" since then. I am grateful to Itai for teaching me that not everything is a big deal, and I don't have to care deeply about everything (but some things are worth it).

As a group, these kiddos are constantly teaching me to look at things differently and consider alternatives. They are always asking questions and pushing boundaries and pushing me to try to new things. I am so grateful they are currently at a stage where they like doing things with me...and like doing things I like doing, and I am so grateful for all of the experiences and memories that brings.


November 30

Today I am grateful for my people.

Colleagues, friends, family, connections.

From school (elementary/middle/high, college, Pardes, doctorate), from locations

(Colorado Springs, St. Louis, Israel, DC-metro, Denver), from various work situations and personal things. From random serendipity of meeting exactly the right people at the right time to intentionally cultivated long-term relationships.

Through the amazing celebrations and the really challenging time. Through the everyday moments and the special occasions. Through the conversations to the experiences to the hugs.

By in-person gatherings and by social media interaction. By regular communication and by just that one special interaction. By years of familiarity and by newness and potential.

(and, yes, if you are reading this, you are part of "my people")

When I'm not in a great space mentally, all I have to do is look to the people in my life. I have amazing people in my life...and I have to believe that they wouldn't be in my life in the ways that they are if I weren't at least a little special too.

I have amazing people in my life, and I am so grateful for all of them and how you have all shaped who I am today.

(Pictured with my mom -- my first person)

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