Small Success: Need to Feel the Joy of Advent?


Every week, I write about being reminded to stop, to count one’s blessings, and to give thanks. Some weeks, it’s easy. We celebrated the first week of Advent, we ate at Breakfast with Santa, four of us saw the Nutcracker and we started Christmas shopping in earnest. Some weeks it’s hard. I gained back three pounds. There is a mount of socks on the couch needing my time and I don’t want to give it. Writing articles — writing anything — remains a chore, with me pulling words out one by one. Even better, it’s all in the same seven days.

Life remains always a both/and mix of those blessings we find easy to acknowledge, and those which come veiled. If we live as we profess, we know even those not so lovely moments, provide opportunities for grace and growth. My writing coach tells us, “Write anyway. The difference between a professional and a hobbyist is, the writer who persists when there isn’t inspiration, when it’s hard, that’s the professional.” The instructor telling the audience about the dancers talked about the women and men training for over ten years.

I’d danced. I knew some of those days, they didn’t feel like dancing, but they persisted. Prayer too, became difficult this week. I’d bluster through the rosary or stumble through part of it, but never, not once, did I successfully finish one in a day. In two days, yes, but not one. Persist. Persist. Persist. Persist. I know it’s true. I know it’s necessary.

As a kid at Christmas, I’d count my presents, always hoping for more. As an adult, I know, if I begin to count my gifts, I’ll discover there are far more than I imagined. I also know, counting one’s blessings I know, is even more important when the feelings aren’t there. It’s why we do Small Success Thursday, so feelings or no, we remember, we are always infinitely blessed.

So I’m grateful for the time with my children this weekend at Breakfast with Santa, at my daughter’s play, and at the ballet, for going to Mass with all but one of them, and for the light banter and gentle conversation over Sunday dinner. I’m grateful to the thirteen-year-old who fixed the DVD player and worked on the lights, and to the ten- and twelve-year-olds who decided they wanted to clean the kitchen for Christmas and began scrubbing the tile. I’m thankful for my husband who took my daughter to guitar lessons and changed all the missing light bulbs in the basement I can’t reach, and for the nine-year-old who sang so everyone could hear it at Mass.

I’m grateful for all the time I’m given, even though it isn’t always spent well. I’m grateful for my mom coming to visit, and for her birthday. I’m grateful for my daughter who graduates a semester early, and for my daughter who wrote notes home to us during her exam week. The blessings fall easily from my fingertips. I’m grateful for my friends at work and at my kids’ school, and for the news a student I helped got a scholarship, and for the one who apologized after a prior bad day. I’m grateful for all of it. Easier to notice and take stock than I thought.

Yep, I just needed to start counting. Need to feel the joy of Advent? Begin counting your gifts.

What small successes are you celebrating this week?

Copyright 2017 Sherry Antonetti


About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,

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