Posts Tagged With: gratitude

in love with being alive

I saw this on my friend Becca’s (I think) insta.
I was over here like, First of all I don’t drink coffee…
But then I read the last sentence and I got the gooseflesh.

I hope you fall in love with being alive again.
Y’all, let’s ponder that for a moment.

I’m going to ignore the size of the assumption someone has fallen out of love with being alive. I mean, cause that’s one hell of a big assumption.
But…

I wrote just the other day about paying attention. By deliberately acknowledging my gratitude I felt peaceful and joyful. And I might not have had this language in that moment, but I realize now that I can say I truly felt in love with being alive.
That’s been an overarching theme for me this year. And yes, the year is still young. But the feeling has been building in me for quite some time now, it just began to make enough sense to put it into play after the holidays.

I get bogged down in the living of life. The day to day minutiae becomes the focus. I’m so involved in doing the tedious daily requirements I sometimes forget to look up. To pay attention.

That’s life though, right?
Only what if it wasn’t?
What if I could be focused on tedious tasks, manage the minutiae, and still be aware?
What if? What if? What if?
That question ought to be stricken from my vernacular.
As a lifetime question-asker, I’m still learning how to phrase questions so they can be answered.
So instead of asking what if? the question could be something much more specific.
What can I do to complete tedious tasks and manage the minutiae without it being my sole focus?
What can I do each day to help me look up and pay attention?
Simple rephrasing.
Look how much easier those questions seem than the what if? question.
I think I’m on to something here…just gotta figure out what it is exactly.

Anyway, life can get in the way of living. I think we all experience that. It doesn’t have to though. We really can manage to do the ‘all the things’ and still experience peace, joy, and gratitude.
We can be in love with being alive!
I believe with every fiber of my being that it is the simplest thing.
(Most of us) were in love with being alive when we were kids. And at other important/special times in our lives. We just have to remember how to do it.
We have to remember that the tedium and minutiae are just box checking. A handful of specific things we must accomplish in this life.
But we have two hands!
What’s in the other one?
Is that where the magic of love, hope, joy, and gratitude are?

Life can be frustrating.
Difficult people or situations can get in your way.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people in stores who push their buggies all willy-nilly through the aisles. I get foaming-at-the-mouth angry. I lay curses and wish plagues upon them. I want to stab them with my ice pick. My anger doesn’t impact them, only me. I’m the one all jacked up and they’re just shopping.
What would it be like if I didn’t?
What would it be like if I accepted being in this situation without focusing all my white hot anger at it?
Would make my visits to the shops much better for me. I might even find some joy and gratitude with my purchases, right?

Perception is key. (Or is it ‘Don’t be a hater’?)
Either way, I know I’m on to something this time.

I know I have the ability to shift my focus.
I know I can pay attention to what brings me joy and gratitude.
I know by looking up once in a while, I can quite easily be in love with being alive.

However worn out we feel, however tired we are of the tedium and minutiae of life, we are not broken. We may have fissures, or be fractured, but life cannot truly break us.
I know this because I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me whole.

Hope reminds me to look up and pay attention.
Gratitude brings me peace.
Love is my intention.
And that’s what helps me fall (and remain) in love with being alive!

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focused, but not paying attention

I haven’t blogged in a bit. Neither read nor wrote.
I’ve been so busy doing other things, course work, house projects (pics soon), and other stuff, that I haven’t had the mental/emotional energy to give. That’s not just about writing, it’s also about reading. The bloggers I follow use their mental and emotional energies to write, the very least I can do is use mine when I read them.

This morning I caught up on posts from some of my fave bloggers.
Y’all, I’m so glad I did.
LA wrote two posts that gave me pause.
The first one focused on her gratitude and calm, the second focused on highlights from her week.
I swear to you, this woman inspires me every time I read her!

Not all that long ago, I made a vow to pay more attention.
I’m not really doing that.
Why do I forget to pay attention?
Life gets in the way…?
I’m accomplishing what needs to be accomplished.
I am focused, but I am not paying attention.

So I stopped.
I took some big breaths.
I paid attention.

Low and behold, it created a shift in me.
I felt peaceful. I felt joyful. I felt my gratitude.

So in the spirit of highlighting my week (or longer), paying attention to my joy, gratitude and calm, I compiled a list. (I mean, of course I did.)

I am grateful for:
my massage therapist
Woolly Mammoth giving us shows that are entertaining and thought provoking
our monthly date for dinner and games (cards or board) with my favorite of YBW’s friends
bubbly in the afternoon with Holly
Planning for Baby K (this includes attending a shower in March, purchasing baby items, finally choosing my grandmother name, planning a party to celebrate her arrival, and all manner of conversations with my daughter about her pregnancy)
breakfast with Nora
my therapist
my husband coming home from work and taking my car for gas because I was too sick to leave the house
snow days
Valspar C1214 Ballet Slippers
my acupuncturist
good sleep
Coca Cola when I was sick
knowing how to do important handy things
forecast of a bit of snow this week to keep the streak alive (Thing 1 was born during an ice/sleet/snow event and for the last twenty four years it has snowed, or something, the week of her birthday. Saturday she turns 25, now that’s a streak!)
honest conversations with the people I love
being reminded to pay attention

Reading about another’s gratitude can inspire one to stop and pay attention to one’s own gratitude.
Acknowledging one’s own gratitude can truly cause feelings of joy and calm.

I must remember that while I’m busy living, and accomplishing tasks, I still need to pay attention with more frequency.
Celebrate the life I have while I’m living it.

You know what Ferris Bueller said:

I don’t want to miss any opportunity for gratitude!

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giving of thanks for November

November. The month that contains the giving of thanks. And y’all, I am not a Thanksgiving kind of girl.
That said, I am chock full of gratitude this month.


Charleston visit.
Time with Sally and her fam.
Time with Jessica.
Solitary road trip.

My therapist.
Two of the three alternative healthcare providers.
Our therapist.
Amber. (she does my hair)


First snow day of the year! (Nov 15)
YBW’s sense of humor.
An unexpected day spent with Catherine.
Independent bookshops.
Michaels coupons.
Mail from Sundance.
My mother in law’s ring back on my finger.
40% off sale at J Crew. (Roby’s getting a new coat for Christmas.)
Flannel jammie pants.
My monogrammed rain boots.
Target’s customer service.
Old Town Warrenton.
Shop small Saturday.
Accidental wine tastings.
Eric Clapton’s Christmas album.
redbubble.com
Holding hands with YBW.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Apple cider mimosas.
Spending Thanksgiving with friends and family and actually enjoying myself.
YBW’s mad kitchen cleaning skills.
A powerful phone conversation with Thing 2.

A new menorah for Hanukkah. (first night is Dec 2)
Christmas decorating.
Making bows.
Fairy lights on the banister.
So! Many! Baby! Jesuses!

And quite possibly what I’m most grateful for!

Thing 1 is pregnant!
The best part is that she is in excellent health, and the baby is strong and healthy!

My cup runneth over.

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September gratitude

September was a difficult month.
That wretched therapy appointment started it off.
YBW and I spent a great deal of time focused on the lack of effort Thing G spends on being responsible for his own life.
I didn’t realize how disappointed I would be when the time came for us to be holding a new baby and there was not one to hold.

That said, there’s much to be grateful for!

Boyfriend J’s birthday.
My therapist.
Our therapist.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of Gloria.

All three of my alternative healthcare providers.
Fall decorations!
Amber. (She does my hair, and it looks GOOD!)
Meaningful conversations with Sally.
The sun finally showed up!
Ridiculously fun meme sharing with Sundance.
The easiest blood draw I’ve ever experienced! (my veins roll and that makes for bad times)
Double date at the art festival with M and J.
Phone calls with Jessica.
Being in the park for the last home game of the season. (Nats won 9-3!!)
Sirius XM Broadway.
Cocktails with YBW.
Sitting in the sun at the Naval Academy watching our nephew play Rugby.
Spending time with great friends-as-family in Annapolis!
Talking with my girls.
Cooler temperatures. (Only by a smitch, but I’ll take it!)
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors.

Finishing a successful school term.
Did I mention the sun finally showed up?

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peace out, August

As I say goodbye to a summer I’m more than happy to have in my rear view mirror, I want to take a moment to share my gratitude for what I experienced in August.

Unexpected trip to New Orleans.
Mental health care providers.
Farmers market Thursdays with Meredith, Beau, and their Mommy.
Time with Nora and Dale’s kids.
SiriusXM Broadway.
Libran Provence Rose.
Back to school with people I enjoy.
Massage therapist.
Surprise packages from a friend that knew I needed a bit of love.
Celebrating the full and loving life of Sundance’s Grandpa.
YBW’s love and companionship.
Long phone conversations with the girls.
Independent book shops.
Bloom gin.
The Town of Vienna.
Old Town Manassas.
Crossroads Tabletop Tavern
Diet Dr Pepper.
Essie nail polish.
Analog clocks.
Gel pens.
Sleeping in my own bed.
Old Bust Head Brewery.

Tomorrow is the start of ‘Meteorological Fall’. I can hardly wait! I’ve got loads of Autumnal items in bins in the closet under the stairs waiting to be set free!
Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. I’m not a PSL kind of girl, though I do love pumpkiny things.
My point is, I’m not “basic” in my love of Fall. Sure I love sweater, jeans, and boots weather, but it’s so much more than that! The change of seasons brings all things new. And even though some consider this the ‘dying time’ I look at it as a time for rest, for recharging, for beginning all new things, and continuing older things with hope.
Hope is truly the greatest ability we possess.
As we move from Summer into Autumn I wish all y’all as much gratitude and hope as your hearts can possibly hold!

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July – more yays than boos

As I put July in my rear-view mirror I’m realizing what a month it was. Some good, some bad. So just plain indifferent.
But as I consider a July-centric yays and boos list, even before I write it down, I know instinctively that July had more yays than boos!
Is that me paying attention to my gratitude? Probably.
Though I also think it has something to do with the fact that I actually do have a lovely life. I have good people in my world. I experience interesting things in the midst of ‘boring’ old normal things. This is not to say I’m without my share of unpleasantness, but the good really does outweigh the bad. Or perception makes it so. But our perception is our reality, so there you have it!

July got me like:

boos:
brand new car needed to go in the shop for a week after owning it only one week
not being with Thing 2 to celebrate her twenty first birthday
(approximately) 8 billion days of rain
substantial rain in the house
Pottermore
one migraine

yays:
fried green tomatoes and fireworks with people I love on Independence day
new reading glasses (absolutely adorable)
O’s game to celebrate Nora’s birthday
two of the three alternative practitioners
celebrating my BIL’s fiftieth birthday
helping Thing C get settled in his new home
Bloom gin
brand new roof
remembering how much I love Cher
last minute vacay planning
the kindness of strangers
wonderfully good friends
stellar mental health providers
Nora’s decree

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gratitude, get you some

Gratitude.
I’m not super feeling it of late.
Friday last the roofers came to rebuild and repair the rafters. The next day rain poured into the house. Turns out the tarps were not properly reattached.
Yay.
The roofers were here for nearly five hours Saturday evening working to stop the water.
The rain. Sweet baby Jesus, the rain we’ve had.
And the weather related head pain just makes me weary.

It occurred to me I’m paying attention to the wrong stuff.
So I stopped. And took a big ass breath to focus on the right stuff.
Once I began to consider what I am actively grateful for it was simple to create a list and I noticed a significant shift in my well being.

10:00 am movies at the theater because, summer!
Amber (she does my hair)
Target app
peach citrus white tea from Starbucks
Hercules quotes
crusty bread and butter
air cooled seats and xm radio
simple summer dresses
Bloom gin
long phone conversations with my girl

I’m making the choice to actively focus on what is good, what is meaningful, what I’m grateful for. I’m not sure I’ll do a daily gratitude post, but I’m considering a weekly one. But, each day I will write in my journal that for which I am grateful. That is a promise I am making to myself. And one I have every intention of keeping.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by life. Easy to get caught up in the chaos. It’s harder to pay attention. Harder to be mindful.
I must pay attention. Otherwise I’ll get lost.
And we all know

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I look forward

It has been a long time since I wrote anything.
I’m finally ready to write, only I’m not writing what I intended when I sat down at my computer.
This morning I received an email that sits ill with me, and that’s what I’m going to write about today.

This email is from JM, the former husband.
We met on April 1, 1988 when my (then) boyfriend began renting a room at the house owned by JM.

My initial reaction was a combination of irritation and sadness. Irritation that thirty years is not a flash, but an entire lifetime. My entire (adult) lifetime. My sadness is because it’s still so important to him and not at all important to me.
I honestly hadn’t considered that today was anything other than a curiosity that Easter fell on April Fool’s. Yet here he is the moment he wakes, (check the timestamp) considering this thirtieth anniversary of the day we met.

That speaks volumes.
And what I hear fills me with pity.
He continues to live in the past and refuses to move forward and that makes me feel sorry for him.
Yet I know he is choosing to live this way.
I can’t imagine why he would choose to remain so focused on a woman that is no longer in his life.
How sad for him.

It’s curious though, I thought recently that while I’m well shot of him, I’m grateful that we were together.
I benefited from knowing him.
I learned a great deal about myself and my place in the world during my time with him. That knowledge is invaluable. I am stronger and more capable than I ever believed. I wouldn’t trade knowing for anything.
I have three incredible human beings in my world because of him.
My Sally.
She is his cousin, though they behave like brother and sister. I always say, “I got to keep her in the divorce.” Though she is his blood kin, she and I are sisters of the heart. I cannot imagine my life without her. Our love is deep and wide and transcends the lines of family.
Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Without their father, they would not be. It’s as simple as that.
He gave to me the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.
They are worth every single moment of time I spent with him.
I’m lucky enough to be free from him and still have the best parts of him.
I regret nothing.

Thing 2 recently told me something her father said to her. He said something to the effect of: she does pretty well for a ‘lunch lady’.
What an awfully unkind thing to say about anyone.
What an awfully unkind thing to say to a child about her mother.
How miserable must he be to feel the need to say such an unkind thing? Is that how he makes himself feel better?
And you know, I’m not even mad. All I feel for him is pity.
I feel sad for him.
I feel sorry for him.
I feel pity for him.

But here’s the ultimate truth.
I only feel those things when I think about him.
And I honestly don’t think about him all that much.
Only when the girls talk with me about him, or Sally says she’s seen or spoken with him.
He is not a part of my daily life.
I have so many other, more relevant, things to think about.
I am looking forward.
I look forward with hope, and courage and kindness, and love.

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Paul knew what was up


1 Corinthians 16:14
The general consensus is Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians between 54-58 in the common era. This verse is from the conclusion of the letter.
I feel like Paul knew what was up when it comes to this particular verse. He’s ending his letter with, well, some good advice really.

Be alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be strong. And do everything in love.

Almost as though he’s presenting ideas for possible rules to live by.

Do everything in love.

Love is my intention.
I live my life by love.
I mean even when I’m crabby and kind of evil…I actually live each day of my life by do(ing) everything in love. (Is it weird that I wonder if Paul would dig it?)

Lately I’ve wondered if I’m not being mindful about doing things in love for myself. That is, living in love for me, treating myself with the same love I share with others.
Only, after considering this for a while, I’ve come to understand that by doing everything in love, I am treating myself with the same love, grace, and gratitude I do for everyone else.
I think I just haven’t been paying enough attention. And while that’s OK on occasion, I must remember to be present and recognize living my intention begins with me.
Love is in the simple every day things.
It’s with the children at school. With my family. With my friends. It’s even in the way I drive my buggy around the grocery store.
Love actually is all around me.
Every day. In every thing I do. And that love gives me hope. As far as I can tell, hope and love go hand in hand.
(Seriously, though, Paul wrote about that in the same damn letter, right!?)

I’m grateful for Paul’s advice. I truly take it to heart. I live my life by it.
I do everything in love.
Y’all, isn’t that the most beautifully hopeful way to be?

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Husband N

I’ve mentioned before my daughter Thing 1 is married to Husband N. Now, Husband N is a patient human being, God love him, he has to be to be married to my daughter. He’s rather adept at accepting her for who she is without ever really “letting her off the hook”. I like that about him. They’re giving each other a run for their money, that’s for sure. But they’re doing it with so much love!

I received this text from him this morning.

When Mo died, I was choked by my own grief. I was in mommy mode about my girls and their grief. I was grateful that Husband N was there with Thing 1, but I never stopped to consider his grief. That man welcomed into their home, with open arms, the dogs of his wife’s childhood (well, teen age anyway). He was working with Mo to develop a healthy relationship, switching over from the Things father being Mo’s “father” to Husband N being Mo’s “father”.
He cared for Mo. He moved his lifeless body to the grave he and my daughter created. He did this out of love for their dog.
Their dog.
Even though Mo started out being all of ours, in the last five or six months he truly became theirs. Husband N loves Thing 1. He loves Thing 2. He loves me. But he also loves Mo. His grief was just as real as ours.
He was strong and brave for us.
I don’t have the words to express how strongly I felt the love for him this morning when that text came. I just hope he can feel it.

Now, it took me longer than it should have to decide to like, and then love Husband N. That had almost nothing to do with him and mostly everything to do with me (and Thing 1).
Thing 1 met Husband N when she went away to school. They met in a math class, bonding over their sarcastic senses of humor.
Now this is a meet-cute I can get behind.
What I struggled to get behind was her dropping out of school and shacking up with this guy.
That was not my plan for her! That wasn’t the life she was meant to have.
All I could see what that he’s older than she is, by more than a decade. That she left school because of him. That we didn’t know him from Adam.
I was frightened she was making all the same mistakes I made… a guy so much older than she is…no education…no way to support herself. I wanted more for her than the life I’d lived. I wanted her to be healthy and content and able to take care of herself. I didn’t want her to suffer and struggle.

Of course, what the hell did I know?
A whole lotta nothing, I’ll tell you that.

Turns out, Husband N is a kind and loving man. An intelligent man. A helpful and sincere man. A man who loves my daughter and would do (and has done) whatever it takes to make sure she’s safe and sound.

Y’all know that when YBW and I got married, his Things and my Things were our best men and maids of honor. The girls even “gave me away” that day. Thing 1 remarked to my friend and mentor, Jessica, that she had no idea how (emotionally) hard it would be to give her mom away.
Well, (not yet) Husband N and Thing 2’s then boyfriend were here too. And even though it was busy and a bit chaotic, I got to spend some good time with Husband N. And when YBW were driving to the airport to go to Barbados for our honeymoon, I turned to him, and said, “I like Husband N!” YBW was so relieved! He was waiting for me to decide to like Husband N because he very much liked him.

Then they came back for Christmas that year. And I got to spend even more time with him. I love his childlike enthusiasm! I listened to him and my daughter talk about what kind of life they wanted. And I realized it wasn’t the life Husband N wanted that Thing 1 just accepted, neither was it the life Thing 1 wanted that Husband N accepted. They had really thought about this. They had talked about it. They were planning this life that they wanted together!

They are truly each other’s best friend. They are both great big nerds about books and movies and comics and D & D and video games. They’re learning from each other how to appreciate these things the other brings to the table. They are so loving. They are also quick to get after each other. Each one feisty in their own way. They fight. They laugh. They play. They love. They do these things with the entirety of themselves. They give everything to each other and their relationship.
How could I possibly want more for my daughter? Or her sweet husband?

When they married, I was joyous for them! It wasn’t a big white wedding, but it was them. There was love and laughter and genuine joy surrounding them. This man is the husband of my very first girl. That was hard yet simple all in the same moment. I knew they could marry and build a life together and I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to work together. I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to love each other and embrace each other’s families.

Husband N just might love Thing 2 as much as her big sister does.
I know Thing 2 adores him.
They have such a special friendship.
I believe he’s been instrumental in helping my girls rebuild their relationship.
One more thing to love about him.

When his grandmother died and there was talk of them moving to her farm. Thing 1 was all for it. Husband N was a bit more hesitant. He called me and we talked for a long time. He shared his concerns. He asked my opinion. We talked about how he didn’t want to disappoint Thing 1, but felt so strongly that he didn’t want to raise (future) children where he grew up. He wanted more and better for them. (I can SO relate to that.)
I made some suggestions. I offered to speak with his wife. I promised to have their backs no matter what choices they made for their future.
I was touched he wanted to have that conversation with me. I was honored that he valued my opinion. I was pleased to be his (mostly) impartial sounding board for that important process.

I talk with my girls frequently. A phone call at least once a week, but there are texts and snapchats, emails and social media posts mixed in there too.
Husband N and I also text, snap and share things with each other’s social media. We sometimes even talk on the phone. It’s fun. He makes me laugh. He shares information he thinks I’ll be interested in. He expresses his concern for my health.
He expresses his love for my daughters and acknowledges how hard I worked to help them become the women they are.


Dude loves my girls.
Respects my hard work to help them become those ‘epic legends’.

I’m so grateful.
My girl chose well.
For herself.
For her sister.
For her Momma.
Husband N has his hands full with we three girls, but he takes it in stride.
Y’all we are so damn blessed!

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