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Draw Forth the Good

Today I am grateful for public services like police and fire protection, garbage and snow removal. I am also grateful for eggs and the many ways to enjoy them as sustenance.

In my job setting, working with middle school students, I will say things like "there aren't bad kids, just kids who sometimes make poor choices." It is really at the heart of my counseling philosophy. People are generally good and when obstacles get in the way of that, how can we help break through those obstacles?

It is my life philosophy too. Find the good and build on it. Create good energy and share it. Does this sound oversimplified? Explain that to me then.  Believe me, day in and day out, I'm not saying it is an easy endeavor, but it is possible.

So this quote struck a chord with me:

"Whoever believes in the good in people, draws forth the good in people."  (Jean Paul) 
Draw forth the good in others, in ourselves, in the world around us. I sometimes find it hardest to draw forth…

"Jeannie Ann's Grandma Has Breast Cancer"

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Living gratefully in this moment, I am feeling spiritual connection to the new day and to loved ones across the miles.

I had the opportunity to hear author Diane Davies read her latest book Jeannie Ann's Grandma Has Breast Cancer the other day at a book launch party. It was so nice to see Diane and a few others from our local breast cancer support group. These ladies are friends and evidence of silver linings that come from life's tough times. BC brought us together over ten years ago.

Diane merges her roles and experience as an educator, writer, breast cancer survivor, and grandma to write a wonderful and informative-in-the-right-ways children's book.  It is candid enough, broaches the significant topics that can come up with a BC diagnosis, while being age-appropriate and downright sweet. The illustrations by CA Nobens clinch the book's appeal.  It touches the heart of young and old.

Did that just sound like a positive book review?  It is! Check it out on Amazon.com

Happy 88th Birthday Mom!

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Today I am grateful for my mom Gertrude, her life and legacy. She has been part of creating many living things over the years, from her children to her gardens, and much more.

Mom's memory continues to fade, and I have such sadness and mixed emotions about that. It is hard to put into words, but wistful and loss come to mind. I wonder what it is like for her. There are lucid times and memories, and there are days when she asks several times what day of the week it is. The truth of the matter for her is that on most days it doesn't much matter what day of the week it is. There is a sort of freedom in that, but I don't know if it feels that way to her and other elderly people.

It was nice to gather this weekend and gather around Mom at the nursing home, share some time together, and then share some cake. The weather kept our family representation smaller than it would have been, but we still filled several tables and sang birthday wishes to Mom. See what you and Dad started …

Experiences, New and Old

Living gratefully today, I am noticing the peace and quiet of early morning and how it is absorbed into me when I sit, fully present, for a moment. It is a good way to start the day.

Experiences, new and old, are the stuff of life. This weekend included the new experiences of snowshoeing with my sisters Zita and Ruth and my husband Darcy. Ruth had the idea and it was something we had always wanted to try.

Beautiful weather and one of several scenic parks in Decorah, Iowa greeted us. We had a pleasant time working some different muscle groups while enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and each other’s company. I would definitely snowshoe again. A new way for me to play in the snow, in a year where "play" is my focus word.

That evening, we enjoyed the new experience of one of the local breweries and the nostalgia of a long table and benches as 14 of us taste tested both beverages and food. Darcy and I were joined by six of my siblings and their spouses. I treasure these times tog…

Release Expectation

Living gratefully today, I appreciate the rest I got last night and the different pace my work day will hold today.

Expectations can be problematic for me. They have been called premeditated resentments, not to mention a waste of good energy. I am not talking about reasonable expectations, like my car starting and the electricity in our house working.

I am speaking of the more dangerous, unreasonable variety of expectations. The kind fed by ego, impatience, fear. Things like expecting to get a certain amount of things done in a day. Or the kind that involve other people, places, and things which I have no control over. Add my swirling mind and sensitive emotions and trouble brews. Peace is lost. Serenity goes out the window.

So I really appreciate this quote:
"When we release expectation and experience appreciation, all the moments  of our lives become openings and opportunities."  Kristi Nelson
Kristi Nelson is the Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living at grate…

Just Another Day, To Live, To Love

Today I am grateful for my husband Darcy, our marriage, and the life we have built together through the joyful times and the challenging ones too. I love you dear!

Valentine's Day can be a tough day for many, and it often was for me back in my teens and twenties. It can be a day full of expectations, or regrets, or deficits. And it can be a big disappointment or a painful reminder of what is missing in life.

With my work in recovery, and the unconditional love and support of others on the same journey, as well as caring friends and family, by the time I hit 30, I had a broader view of this day. Thanks also to the gratitude practice I was just getting into, I realized that I am surrounded by love and support. And that is worth acknowledging every day, not just on a day like this.

Had I found a mate and marriage yet? No. But I came to embrace the idea that my life was full and rich as is, not lacking.  I expected less and accepted more. I was healthier and had more to bring to a rel…

Kitchen Blessings

Living gratefully today, I am absorbing the idea that I already have enough and more. It starts in my home and builds from there.

Speaking of my home, although it isn't my dream house, I really appreciate so many things about it.
Our kitchen alone is loaded with blessings. The percolator that made my morning coffee. The refrigerator, stove, microwave, toaster, crock pot, favorite pots and pans all make meals easy to have on hand and prepare.  I could stop there, that is blessing enough.

But our kitchen also has a couple of pieces of artwork that are good reminders to me. One includes a nature scene and the word "peace." There is sometimes discord in our home--no one agrees 100% of the time. But peace abides here far more.

Another says "The only way to finish is to start." We got that as running motivation and inspiration, but it can be applied to much more than running. For instance, to finish my day well, it helps to start it well. I start it well when I give …