"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, May 26, 2017

"I don't know."

Today I am grateful for old songs, new insights, this day, and the moments that will comprise it.

In a brief exchange with a neighbor yesterday morning as I walked Oliver, I answered her question about garbage pickup with "I don't know." It was the correct answer because I truly didn't know. I walked away and thought to myself, it was easy to say "I don't know" in those circumstances. Even at that, it felt good and comfortable.

What about bigger questions about more significant things than garbage? Am I able to say "I don't know" and accept that?  Or do I try too hard? Do I let ego come up with a response, even an erroneous one?

There is freedom in "I don't know."  Along with honesty and ego deflation, I would also add motivation.

Will I ever publish a book?  I don't know. But I do know that I will keep writing, every day.

Take an "I don't know" and turn it into some action, and maybe an answer down the road.

I will be taking a blog break until early next week. Have a great weekend! Stay grateful.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Little Guy, Big Energy

Today I am grateful for time with our grandson Leo and a bike ride at dusk last evening.

On that bike ride, a deer and I crossed paths and spent a few seconds looking at each other from just a few feet away. I was reminded of the awe of all creation. Then the deer darted off through the trees and I continued down the trail. I also appreciated the fragrant smell of various spring blossoms on my short bike ride.

Then there's this little guy. Our grandson Leo. He and his mom Emily were over last evening too. Leo and I spent some time together running around the backyard, walking Oliver, and going down the slide at the neighborhood park.

He brings such a precious energy to all he does. His curiosity and wonder remind me that there is much to notice and be grateful for right here, right now.

Thank you Leo! Have a good day all! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Open to Receiving

Today I am grateful for the daily reminders I get that I am but one small part of a larger, greater whole. I am also grateful for my five senses, especially hearing and taste this morning.

As I continue to practice new meditations in the mornings, I am left feeling more aware and open. Open to receiving. Receiving energy and clarity. Receiving grace and direction. Receiving support and encouragement.

Open to receiving is a good starting point to each day, each new moment, each new task. Sometimes the clarity is tough, the emotions raw. Sometimes I feel unworthy or undeserving of support offered.
My rational mind knows this is my humanness showing. I try to accept and move on.

Returning to open-mindedness and an open heart is aided by quiet and by seeking gratitude. I find it in the birds I hear singing. In the soft sounds of my husband's breathing as he sleeps. In the first sips of freshly-brewed coffee. In the wise and kind words of my sister and a friend in two emails awaiting me this morning.

When I am open to receiving, I get what I need and more. I also am better able to give, to be of service, to support and encourage others.

Today I am tired after a fitful night of sleep. I am drained from a busy and full school year. I am tapped out on some levels. But I remain open, and therefore hopeful, as this day begins.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Right In Front and Within

Today I am grateful for the connections I have with other women and men in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions.

I am also grateful for the joylet last evening of watching our grandson Leo chase bubbles around our backyard.

Joylets come and go throughout each day of our lives. I miss many of them, but like Leo caught a few bubbles last evening, I catch at least a few moments of joy each day. And on some days, it is a steady stream.

On those days, I am present in the here and now, I am paying attention to the riches right in front of me and within me. When I do that, I am so much more likely to notice each of you and your gifts as well.

Thank you Guri Mehta for this spot-on quote:

Grateful living is important in the world because in our constant pursuit 
of more and better we can easily lose sight of the riches 
that lay right in front of us and within us. 

May we each find moments to pause today. Moments to notice what is right in front and within.
And then may we say some genuine thank yous.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Today I am grateful for safe travels, time with my mom in her new home, conversation with my niece Katie, and a half-marathon in the light rain yesterday.

I am grateful for the many conversations, in person, on the phone, and via text messages, that have helped me process many thoughts and feelings in recent weeks. Thank you to all who have listened.

It is helpful for me to talk through things. Along with writing, it is most effective in helping me work through my own perspectives on life as it unfolds. And life has been unfolding in ways unforeseen lately.

I took this first picture at Mom's house on Saturday morning. It shows the empty space where her glider rocker was for many years. It also goes right through the hall and into her bedroom, the room she slept in for 36 years, alone since Dad died in 1998.

It was a new perspective for me. Seeing the chair gone. Seeing the bed that she won't be sleeping in anymore. Friday night and Saturday, I saw Mom in her new room at the Ossian Senior Hospice. Her chair is there, a comfort to her and to me. Her bed is new to her. The view out the window is new to her too, but I appreciate that she has the space right by the window. I think she likes that.

Her new routine and living space must be given a period of adjustment. For her and for each of us, her children and grandchildren. New perspectives await.

I took this second picture yesterday morning, before Darcy and I embarked on a half-marathon journey. It was a local race among apple orchard country and full of many hills. Hills give me perspective, whether I like it or not.

My feet have carried me many, many miles over the years, on runs and just daily activity. They help bring me perspective because as I move, my feet seem to help carry my mind to clarity. Thank you feet!

Have a good day and keep a grateful perspective. It changes the view. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Live Stream Some Acceptance

Today I am grateful for good vision insurance and a venting conversation with my friend Jill.

Live stream is carrying a couple meanings for me today. I appreciate that I can watch my niece compete at the Iowa state high school track meet from across the miles. She ran very well yesterday and will compete in the Class 2A finals of the 100 meter dash tomorrow. Way to go Ellie! Good luck to you and your distance medley relay teammates today too.

I needed to live stream some acceptance yesterday too. I had an appointment at the eye doctor later in the afternoon. It took much longer than I thought it would. My eyes were a little funky from drops and dilation. I missed seeing the live stream of Ellie running one of her events too. I was frustrated and disappointed, and already emotionally exhausted from a week of many emotions.

I had choices. I could keep spiraling downward or try to pull myself back to the present. Pulling doesn't sound very peaceful, but sometimes that is what is needed. Was I successful? I did the best I could and didn't beat myself up over it. 

Live streaming acceptance versus getting mired in a stagnant pool of negative emotions?  Today I
will seek a steady flow of acceptance, moment by moment. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kind Attention

Today I am grateful for the kindness and compassion others have shown me in recent weeks. I am also grateful for a phone conversation with my mom and a text from my sister.

Life is about connections with others. I am blessed with many strong and meaningful connections.

I came across TEDx Shauna Shapiro: The Power of Mindfulness in one of the email newsletters I get. This one was from Dr. Rick Hanson. Thank you Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hanson.

I encourage you to watch and listen to this 13-minute video and see what you take away.

Here are some of the things I gleaned from my first two views/listens:

*What we practice grows stronger.

*Shame doesn't work. It shuts down the parts of our brain needed for change.

*Mindfulness works.

*Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention with kindness.

*Kind attention takes practice. Lots of practice.

*Transformation is possible.

*If I practice mindfulness, without judging myself, my ability to be mindful gets

If you listen to the end, perhaps you will consider putting your hand on your own heart and trying this simple exercise below for yourself. 

"Good morning Lisa."

"Good morning, I love you Lisa."