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Warming Up From the Inside

Living gratefully today, I say a heartfelt thank you to all currently serving in our military, and all who served in the centuries and decades past. I embrace the freedom and security they won and continue to protect.

I braved some chilly temperatures yesterday afternoon to take a brisk bike ride around our beautiful city. Properly layered and attired, I was well-prepared, but the wind still went through me as I started out. Pedaling along, I began to warm up from the inside. The movement and exertion generated body heat and I was cozy and comfortable temperature-wise. It was a pleasant feeling.

Warming up from the inside. It happens in times of grief and emotional struggles too. I shut myself off in ways--fear, selfishness, ego, and more. I distance myself from Great Spirit and block the efforts of others who are offering comfort and wisdom. Sometimes it takes strenuous and vulnerable toil to get me out of the way,  allowing the heat source to start getting through. I thaw out and ca…

Onward! Onward.

Today I am grateful for a house and working heat to protect my family and I from the cold. It is one of the things I am reminded of as the seasons change, and something I tend to take for granted. I don't always enjoy the cold, but it has rarely been a threat to my safety like it is for the homeless and others.

As I sit here in my cozy home, snuggly warm in one of my favorite sweatshirts and sipping hot coffee, I ponder the word onward. Onward--so as to make progress, going further rather than coming to a halt or an end, moving forward, in a continuing forward direction.

I don't know when I started this, but I will sometimes end blog posts and social media comments and notes to others with an "Onward!"  I find it hopeful and motivating. Onward with an exclamation point carries an energy and a pep I appreciate. Onward!

Even when uncertain, or tired, or discouraged, onward is still possible. Sometimes it can just be an onward minus the exclamation point. Sometimes the…

Gratefulness is not Complacency

Today I am grateful for laughter with colleagues and a healthy "I don't care" attitude about some things I used to care far too much about.

Living gratefully is not something that we all come by easily. Remember, our brains are hardwired to look for danger, for negative threats. We have to do some retraining and change our default. The good news is, at any age, our brain can learn new things, new neural pathways can be created.

So it can take some work. That's a challenge at times. Another challenge for some is the idea that if I am grateful for what I already have, then I become complacent and stop striving for a better life, stop working for more good, more for which to be grateful.

Personally, that has not been the case for me at all. Gratefulness creates anything but complacency in me. My complacency tended to have me stuck in difficult emotions, overthinking, unhealthy ego, overdoing. All the stuff that holds me back.

Living gratefully moves me forward. It creat…

Where Did This Come From?

Living gratefully today, "good enough" sounds healthy. So does oatmeal and fruit.

Where did this come from? As in November.  It seems like it arrived when I wasn't looking.  Wasn't it just last week when my 11 surviving siblings and I, along with other family members, sang our sister Mary Jo home on the deck of a Colorado country house?

Wasn't it just yesterday that my son Sam's team opened their football season with a victory on the new turf and updated stadium of their home field?

Time. Fleeting and eternal. Moments missed and monumental.

Where did this come from? As in today.  I couldn't tell you exactly, but I know it is a gift.

Today I will experience the time passing, the moments as they ease by, as some will, and fly by as others will. Today. That's all.

Go Out on a Limb

Today I am grateful for a celebration of our son Sam and his senior teammates at a pleasant football banquet last night. Sam's high school football career has closed out, but the impact it has on him will remain. Thank you to all who contribute to this solid and meaningful football program!

Words to consider today:

"Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is?"  (Frank Scully) 
There are many ways to go out on a limb. Some are more advisable than others. It was advised, through pain and alcoholism, that I go out on a limb with my perception of self and surrounding world. My thinking process was naturally rooted in negativity and self-pity in my youth and early adulthood. If I wanted to change and recover, this thinking process would be the starting point and the ongoing work.

We alcoholics sometimes joke that we don't have a drinking problem, we have a thinking problem. It's really not funny though. It's deadly serious.

Practicing gratitude is …

Everything or Nothing, Faith or Doubt

Today I am grateful for phone conversations with my friends Linda and Sheila yesterday. One helped start my day, the other to wind it down. I am also grateful for a bike ride with Darcy and some progress for Sam on college scholarship applications.

I was thinking about the Albert Einstein quote about either seeing nothing as a miracle, or everything as a miracle. Here is the full quote: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." 

I considered that as I undertook the simple task of making coffee. Water from a faucet. Clean water at my convenience. Plenty of coffee. Money to buy it. A store nearby that stocks it. A percolator coffee pot made from steel and plastic parts. Steel mills. Steel workers. Iron mines. Electrical outlets in the wall to power the coffee pot and the lights I used to see my way at a dark time of the day.

A few minutes later, a cup to safely hold the hot, fresh brew. A l…

Who Moved?

Living gratefully today, I soaked up the warmth of a sweatshirt fresh out of the dryer and a moment of silence between myself and my Higher Power.

Higher Power. Great Spirit. God. Those are the names I most often use when referring to my own concept and understanding of a power beyond human. Call yours whatever you would like. Let's not get hung up on names. Let's keep reaching out to that power for support, energy, grace, and opportunities to serve.

I will say this about names for higher entities. If the one you are currently using, or the one you were raised with, doesn't click for you, if it is more an obstacle than an opening; please find a name that does resonate with you. It is simply about placing faith, trust, and hope in more than our human selves. (My opinion, my blog.)

There are numerous things I appreciate about the faith of my upbringing. And I have found far more to appreciate about this idea of a higher force at work in my life the last three decades since I…