"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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Frailty and Fragility

Today I am grateful for a closet full of clothes and for the people who support me in recovery from
alcoholism.

Circumstances with family, friends, and at work in recent days have reminded me of the precious and fragile nature of life. And of human frailty and the many forms it can take; from my mom's aging body, eyes, and mind, to the power of addiction, to those afflicted with mental illness, and more.

Some of us survive to see another day, some of us do not. That is what makes each day a gift. We can all probably name close calls and near misses in our own lives, or health scares and other significant hurdles in life that could have gone very badly for us, yet we made it through.

We have all suffered losses, some minor, others major. There is plenty of grief to go around, and none of us remains immune to loss.

In remembering the losses, in considering our human frailties, in contemplating our fragile existence, therein lies the key to today. To wake up is to be given a wonderful opportunity to keep living, loving, growing, sharing, giving, and receiving.

"Each day is a gift unto itself."  Treat it as such. Moment by moment. Hour by hour.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Journeys in Life

Today I am grateful for enjoyable family time and safe travels this weekend. I am also grateful for perspective that comes with pausing and keeping expectations reasonable.

A quick shout out to those who joined me in an impromptu little dance number to Johnny Cash's
"Ring of Fire" at the wedding dance. My sisters Zita and Ruth and sister-in-law Terri had some fun with it.

A special congratulations and best wishes to our niece Marissa and her new husband Keegan! Wishing you all the best as together you begin this journey of married life. 

Journeys in life. We share some and we pave our own way on some. One of the dances done during the wedding celebration yielded the couple married the longest--61 years. We all gave them a deserving round of applause. Newlyweds on day 1. Darcy and I at 18 years. The couple with over 6 decades. 

Healthy relationships, whether marriages, other family, friends, or co-workers, take work and attention. But the rewards are well worth it. Rewards like trust, comfort, security, love, and joy.

It starts in this very moment, with a realization and some gratitude. Realization that wonderful relationships have been built and continue to grow. And deep gratitude for the difference those relationships and people have made in our lives. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Breezing By

Today I am grateful for songs that move and headphones that heighten the listening. I am also grateful for the school our son Sam will be attending soon.

Yesterday we had a breeze with a touch of fall in it. I loved it. I am looking forward to fall-my favorite season. It was refreshing in a week where I have felt anything but refreshed much of the time. 

I added to the natural breeze with windows down and music up as I drove home from work. And with a brief but pleasant bike ride on my favorite stretch of trail.

It all helped bring some perspective back for me, as did a visit from our grandson Leo. A busy work week had been taking precedence. In ways, it needed to. In other ways though, I got sucked in by my propensity to overthink and overdo.

Life breezes by. Days and moments breeze by.  Am I spending them the way I wish? Are my choices healthy?  Do I know balance and peace?  All important and relevant questions to keep asking.

Have a nice weekend! I will be taking a blog break and enjoying family time on the happy occasion of a niece's wedding.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Energy Sources

Today I am grateful for my body's capabilities and strengths. I am also grateful that energy can come from many sources.

I was thinking about energy last evening as I witnessed a high level of it and excitement among new students and parents at the school I work at. We hosted an orientation event for them. I enjoy such times because I feel helpful. I can answer questions, be reassuring, and show my own excitement for a new school year.

What are my trusted energy sources?  Exercise and the endorphins it releases. Sleep, though I have been lacking in that the last days. Recovery and faith in a Higher Power. The people in my life who nourish and nurture me in so many ways--family, friends, co-workers. And yes, even coffee.

Another consistent source is this blog and the other ways I actively practice gratitude. It takes time and some effort, but what I receive back is a healthier perspective and a deeper peace. Peace preserves my energy and stretches it. Frenzy and overthinking do the opposite.

Today I will seek peace and positive energy through mindful attention to the many blessings around me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Balancing Act

Today I am grateful for my recovery friends and the honest sharing they do. I am also grateful for the energy in a school staff when they regroup for a new year.

Chobani yogurt recently came through with another message for me:


Here. Now. That is really the most stable place when considering mental health. Being balanced means spending more time in the present and less in the past and future.

"Balance Starts Here" also tells me it is up to me, not the universe, if I am balanced or not. The universe plays a role of course, but one that is beyond my control. My attitude and actions are within my control. 

The balancing act of life starts here, with me. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Getting Underway with Year #29

Today I am grateful for the sunrise I am witnessing as I write this. I am also grateful for my profession.

Although I have put in numerous hours over the summer, the next school year gets underway officially today with staff workshops. There are orientations for students and families too, and by the end of the week all students are back.

And there is always part of me that is ready to go back, ready for the routine, ready for fall.

It is my 29th year in the education field. The speed with which those years transpired is hard to comprehend. I started as a high school Social Studies teacher for 10 years. Then, I was an elementary counselor for two years and am just beginning my 17th year in my current position: Middle School Counselor and Student Assistance Coordinator.

Over these years I have met wonderful people, worked side by side with amazing educators, gotten to know a wide array of students and parents.  Experience has given me some wisdom, but more grace. I look forward to what this year will bring. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

14 Random Thoughts

Today I am grateful for the cool AND less humid air we have been waiting for and for the teamwork my husband Darcy and I have concerning family.

I am also grateful for this blog and the opportunities it gives me as a writer and a person seeking more gratefulness and mindfulness.

I have reached another century mark with "Habitual Gratitude." This is post #1400.

In honor of it, I am scaling back from 1400 to just 14 random thoughts.

Some came to me on Saturday's training run. Others came through in a quiet moment.
Here they are:

1. Writing saves my sanity.
2. People name their boats some pretty clever things.
3. Our son Sam starts high school soon. He is excited and so are we.
           But I would be lying if I said I didn't have some fear too. 
4. There are worse things to be hooked on than coffee.
5. Watching the changing seasons along the Mississippi River is a real treat.
6. Some days the clouds are just what I need.
7. Running in the rain isn't ideal, but it is still kind of fun.
8. My job creates stress for me at times, but it also reduces stress at times too.
9. I wish I could see my friend Sheila regularly, but I appreciate whenever we can talk.
10. Change from the familiar can be hard,  but it can be done and often brings growth.
11. I appreciate every person who takes the time to read any of my posts. It is important
           for me to know that I have readers out there.
12. Just listening to some people can be exhausting, but it also teaches me acceptance.
13. I have more people in my life who bring me energy than those who zap it.
14. A fresh haircut feels good.