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Sweet Territory

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Today I am grateful for safe travels, time with our grandson Aaron and his parents Arthur and Alyssa, and a little school tour with Darcy and Sam as Sam winds down his high school days.

I am also grateful for my "baby" brother Lee and all of my siblings. Lee hits the milestone of 50 years old today. Happy Birthday and have a special day!

Day 5 of the "Little Things"practice through www.gratefulness.org was REST. Consider these words:

"What if we woke up in the morning and were so grateful for the  sweet territory of silence and sleep?"  (Lynne Twist)
I am often already ahead of myself before I get out of bed. Pause. Give thanks for the rest and sleep I just enjoyed. It's a thought, a feeling, to savor. And the words "sweet territory" really struck me. The stillness within becomes sweeter territory when I accept myself as I am, and life as it is in this moment. 
Sweet territory as I ran past fragrant lilacs and other blooms on my run this morni…

Day 2: Connect With This Moment

Today I am grateful for the sights and sounds that calm me and keep me present. Right now that includes gentle clouds and flowing water.

The "Little Things" practice, Day 2, was Connect With This Moment. Here are some of my observations as I did that:

*the play of clouds and sun, clouds covering the sun, the sun emerging again
*waking up next to my husband and being assured by his breathing
*three white-tailed deer scampering away across a field after I startled them
      coming around a corner on my run
*pausing to feel my feet on the floor and wiggle my toes..."here I am, grounded"
*feeling the warm comfort of my hand on my heart during meditation
*relishing in a spoonful of ice cream at a perfect softness/melted level

The little things. Pause to notice some today. Consider writing them down. Drawing them. Talking about them to someone else. Or just fully experience the moment. That's all.

I will be taking a blog break over the weekend. See you back here nex…

Celebrating the Little Things: Day 1-Breathe

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Today I am grateful for my ongoing recovery from alcoholism and the conversations I have with others in recovery. They bring reminders and clarity that I so often need.

The Little Things, a practice from www.gratefulness.org, is now underway for the next seven days. The focus for Day 1 was "Breathe."

This truly is where it all starts, and where it all ends. If my awareness can start with a breath, and return to a breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly, I am at least pausing for a brief moment and paying kind attention to the life-giving oxygen flow and our amazing respiratory systems.

In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, a largely respiratory illness, we are reminded of the importance of healthy lungs and the ability to breathe. Something we do thousands of times a day without even thinking about it, until we are given a reason to think about it, or an illness that takes the ease of breathing from us.

I think of my sister Mary Jo, who had lung cancer and then metastatic b…

Learn To Be Still

Today I am grateful for my physical body and what it allows me to not only do but also feel. I am grateful for all who are working most closely with the pandemic care and decisions that happen daily.

And I am grateful for my friend Jill and her sharing the Eagles' song "Learn To Be Still" a few days ago. Stillness is my focus word for the year. Practice makes progress possible. Practicing stillness in the midst of the mess of pandemic circumstances can be difficult. Her reminder and the song were well-timed.

The title is enough, but listening to the whole song is a good idea too. Learn to be still. Be still. Stillness. I don't always welcome what comes in the stillness. Yet, if it is coming through it is for a reason. An open mind and heart guide me to the reason, the value of the pain or challenge.

At other times, I fully embrace what comes in the stillness. A comforting sound. A gift from nature; like the pair of robins I just observed playfully flitting about in o…

Going Forth in New Ways

Today I am grateful for the needed rain we received over the weekend, and for the lazier day it created for me yesterday.  I also really appreciate the weekly Zoom gathering my sisters and I have.

I rarely use the word lazy to describe a day I have. The word almost makes me cringe a little. Like a lazy day is a bad thing. A lazy day, or some lazy hours at least, can be real gift. I think I need to explore this intention more.

Yesterday was graduation day for many high schools. Some postponed events. Others proceeded with commencement ceremonies like none we have seen before.  I checked in on Facebook and texts, and later watched a YouTube video, to see what was playing out in northeast Iowa at some of the local high schools.

A rainy morning gave way to a drier, though still breezy, afternoon. Our great-nephew pulled up on a tractor to receive his diploma at his school. My alma mater held a ceremony at the football field for the 40 graduates and their parents. Post-graduation gathering…

Today is May 17

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Living gratefully today, I appreciate rain gear, indoor plumbing, and good take-out food.

Some random gratitudes there. A random post here.

A couple weeks ago, utility workers marked some flags in our yard and painted this on the street right by our house as they prepare for some upcoming work. That number 17 showing up again, as it has in many ways regarding my cancer story.  So I looked back on a couple recent posts from May 17.


This is a portion of my post from one year ago:

Doing the Best We Can, May 17. 2019

For whatever reason, dates stick and click in my mind. I realized that it was 10 years ago today, May 17, 2009, that I ran my first half marathon post-cancer diagnosis. It was five months to the day since my mastectomies. My body, mind, heart, and soul did the best they could and we were damn proud of ourselves. I ran unfettered. I ran healthy. I ran into the new normal I was creating as my hair grew back and my scars healed. 
My sister Mary Jo has done the best she could with e…

A Sacred Bond

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Today I am grateful for bacon and eggs for breakfast and supportive messages from recovery friends to start the day.

I am also grateful for these words from Robin Wall Kimmerer:

WORD FOR THE DAY (for 5/15/20 at www.gratefulness.org) Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and  celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.

They offer a nice continuation of my post from yesterday, about pausing in the stillness of the outdoors. To be. To experience nature's offerings.
I walked around, listened, took in, appreciated:

This bird house that Sam made for a 4-H project a few years ago is perched on our mailbox post. It has been nothing but decorative in previous years. A couple weeks ago we noticed a pair of birds building a nest in it. We are enjoying watching the process. I can't name the bird, but I will work to figure that out. You might notic…