Season Opener

Today I am grateful for my taste buds and the smooth coffee they are enjoying this morning. I am also grateful for especially meaningful conversations I had with two different people yesterday.

Yesterday was the first day of spring on the calendar, but typical for Minnesota, it didn't look or feel like it. Snowflakes were flying, though they didn't add up to much. Hats, gloves, and jackets were advisable.

Nonetheless, spring has arrived and we know it is only a matter of time before the weather starts acting like it, at least for a few days. That brings us hearty, but weary, upper Midwesterners some hope.

There may be plenty of snow on the ground here yet, and we are weeks from seeing real green, but we look for other signs. I took this picture on Sunday along the Mississippi River. The water is open after being pretty ice-filled for months. It's a sure sign of spring, as will be the first barge that makes it's way through the nearby lock and dam for the season.

I am r…

Not Just Another Day

Today I am grateful for Sam's wrestling season this year and the very strong program he is fortunate to be part of. I am also grateful for my seeming knack of remembering dates.

I remember birthdays, sobriety dates, anniversaries, other significant dates. I will often act on that memory with a card or email sent, a phone call or a text, some writing applied, or prayers said. I appreciate this memory, though it is slipping some. I augment it by writing things down or giving myself reminders.

Though a true blessing, this memory of mine also brings me difficult reminders, painful memories.
But I wouldn't have it any other way. Life is both full of joy and riddled by pain. To accept both as part of life makes the joy more intense, the pain more tolerable.

In recent days our grandson turned three, a first birthday after the death of a dear friend's child came and went, the first anniversary of a cousin's death was marked, sobriety milestones were celebrated. Bookends of joy…

Two Boys and a Dog

Today I am grateful for a phone conversation with my Aunt Helen, for my husband Darcy, and for the break from work the long weekend provided.

We enjoyed some time with our grandson Leo and his mom Emily yesterday, celebrating his birthday.  He turned 3 on March 14. He is into Spiderman these days, so that showed up on plates and napkins and his gifts. if you look closely, you can see his new Spiderman shoes in this picture:

He and our dog Oliver had some good play time together. The "toy" they are using is an empty paper towel tube. No bells, whistles, or batteries needed. Just a boy, a dog, and a little cardboard.
The second boy in today's post title is our son Sam. He spent considerable time in the kitchen yesterday doing an assignment for his Spanish class. He made avocado and tuna salad tapas and Galician soup. They were both quite tasty. Nice work Sam!
I appreciate that Sam doesn't mind making meals and helping us out at times with meal preparation. He doesn'…

A Little Detaching Goes a Long Way

Today I am grateful for safe travels to and from Sioux Falls to visit my mother-in-law Marlene, and for time to sit and take in this morning's sunrise.

I am also grateful for the healthy act of detaching. By detaching I mean to disengage, to remove myself and my thought processes, to withdraw to a safer distance. Even if temporarily, detaching can give our minds and hearts the break they need.

It can also bring a perspective I can't ever reach if I stay stirred up right in the middle of all of my thoughts and emotions. This is what I am prone to do, what my default tends to be. So I need to consciously detach and turn my thoughts off. It's like a reset and a fresh start.

It is possible to detach anywhere at anytime, but going away for a couple of days, 250 miles from home, was a good way for me to both physically and emotionally detach. It was helpful, restful. I laughed with family. I ran with and against the wind. I slept in.

What was I detaching from? My own obsessive t…

You Are A Miracle

Today I am grateful for safe travels for Darcy and Sam and that they are home. I am also grateful for the beautiful day and a run yesterday that brought me several doses of gratitude.
As I looked through some of my pictures last evening, I unearthed this one:

It's not a real clear picture, but the words "Don't look for miracles. You are a miracle." are visible in the middle of the picture. This is a bulletin board in my classroom at Spencer High School. I taught social studies there for six years, from 1992-1998. I liked to have lots of posters and signs on the walls, to pull students in and to also let them know my overarching philosophy.
"Don't look for miracles. You are a miracle."  Those words serve as much as a reminder to me as they are a plea to others. Smiles and laughter. The way our bodies work. A new day dawning. All miracles.
Making it one more mile. The interstate highway system being built. Technological advances. Being able to read and w…

A Happy Birthday and Pictures to be Treasured

Today I am grateful for the thousands of pictures I have taken in my lifetime. I am also grateful for our grandsons Leo and Aaron.

Happy 3rd birthday to Leo today! These three years have gone so quickly. From tiny newborn to an active and inquisitive toddler, we have watched Leo reach the milestones that come so quickly at this age. Here is Leo at a few days old, with his uncle Sam, newly a teenager himself.

And here is Leo last fall. Rolling along on his trike. 

Both Sam and Leo have grown up in many ways in three years. I was looking for a couple of items recently and ended up looking through some of my many photo albums.  I was transported to different times and places, and left feeling grateful for the many smiles in the pictures and the new ones evoked by the pictures. 
Moments are fleeting. The years seem fleeting as I continue to add them up. Living gratefully helps me treasure moments and savor memories. I have been blessed fully and richly. I will keep awake to today's fu…

The Outside World

Today I am grateful for the simple goodness of oatmeal, and for laughter among friends in recovery.

These words followed up nicely on yesterday's about sacred ground:

"Finding where exactly the outside world ends and I begin--is not so easy."   (Nora Bateson)

Sacred ground is all around. The divine Presence is all around. When I think of the outside world, I think of the natural world. The air around me. The huge expanse of sky. A wind coming up and hitting me in the face while also blowing tree branches around.

The bald eagle I paused to watch soaring high above. The piles of snow and the running water as some of it melts and flows away, pulled along by gravity.

It reminds me that the space I take up is also sacred ground. My earthly body is a marvel as it moves along and as my organs do their jobs. I am a worthy human being, deserving of my space and place. We all are. If we can get outside of our thoughts enough to remember this, I think there would be more kindness, a…