"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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leading, Following, and Snowing

Today I am grateful for my sister Danita and the chance to get to know her better later in our lives. I am the baby sister. She is the oldest sister. Happy Birthday today Danita!

I am grateful for safe travels and great support from the other adults involved with our recent school field trip.

And I truly appreciate the energy and enthusiasm of the 49 seventh graders who were in our care for three days and two nights.

Sort of by default, I was the lead person for this trip. For years, I have chaperoned such trips but never been the lead person. It was added weight, stress, and work over a few months and especially in recent weeks. I was one relieved individual when I left school late yesterday afternoon after sending all the students back home with their parents.

After leading on details and planning, I followed many various groups to a wide variety of activities and meals on our trip. I find it best to usually keep 12- and 13-year-olds in front of you so you see what they are up to. I let the staff of the center we were at do the leading.

On our first day there, we were also treated to the first snowfall of the season. That has always been an exciting event for me and it was fun to see it through the eyes of our students.

Leading, following, and snowing. Witnessing and participating in all of these gave me ample opportunities to appreciate being where I was with who I was with. More on the other adults tomorrow.

To close today, here are a couple of pictures from our trip. Pumpkins carved by the staff there and some evidence of that first snowfall:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Born to Run

Today I am grateful for my marriage to Darcy and the shared passion and persistence we have for our running.

"Born to Run" is a good song by Bruce Springsteen as well as a statement applicable to yours truly. I do believe I was born to run. But I also just got done reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, copyright 2009.

It was a very interesting and enjoyable read for me. It focused on the many aspects of running, particularly running long distances-really long like 50 or 100 miles. It delved into the running ways of ultrarunners and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, as well as turning many ideas about the best running shoes upside down. It describes why we literally were born to run, going back to early humans. I found it fascinating.

I am one of those runners who feels like as I run longer I get stronger. I have had marathons where I have had a negative split (running the second 13.1 faster than the first 13.1) as evidence.

Running for me is less about times and numbers though, and more about being out there step after step, mile after mile, in any and all weather conditions. I feel so fully alive and healthy.

One of the best lines from the book, attributed to the ultra runner known as the "Dipsea Demon," is as follows:

"You don't stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running . . ."

Jack Kirk was the real name of the "Dipsea Demon."  He earned the nickname in an early Dipsea Trail race in California and ended up running the tough 7.1 mile race 67 consecutive times. The last time was at age 96. He died at the age of 100. He lived the lines above.

Mind willing, body able, this running soul will keep running too.

Because of a work commitment, I will be taking a blog break until this weekend. More when I return. Have a good day and week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

She's Determined

Today I am grateful for the free photos provided from the MDI Marathon. I am also grateful for the steady paycheck my job provides.

This is one of my pictures from the marathon. If I had to pick a favorite, this is it. I am in determined motion. That is what it takes to cover 26.2 miles.

You probably can't see it, but my Brooks running hat says "Run Happy."  It sure works for this endorphin junkie. The purple band on my wrist says "FOCUS" and I wore it over my ears earlier in the race when it was chillier. Focus is necessary on such a challenging journey, one hill after another. 

The purple inspired me as I thought of my brother-in-law Roger, declining with Lewy Body Dementia. I also thought of those I know who have pancreatic cancer. Purple is the color for both LBD and pancreatic cancer awareness.

The shirt I am wearing is my finisher shirt from the 2006 Twin Cites Marathon, my fastest. Underneath it is my finisher shirt from the 2009 Kansas City Marathon, run 10 months to the day after my bilateral mastectomies.  

I get inspiration and energy from many sources, including what I wear.  

Whatever it takes. The runner in the picture?  She's determined and she's deeply grateful. And she is running happy.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Strength in Vulnerability

Today I am grateful that people find me worthy of their trust. I am also grateful for the beautiful sunrise I am witnessing this morning.

Vulnerability, on the surface, seems like an undesirable quality. It sounds like a weakness, like defenses that have broken down. One definition is: susceptibility to be wounded or hurt. 

Who wants that? That's where most of us stop. Emotional pain, wounded pride, and broken hearts aren't things we tend to seek. Why then do so many of us end up falling into a pattern where that is exactly what we get?

My two cents on this topic is that we stopped at only half of the definition of vulnerable. The other half is about being open to new experiences and deeper levels of self-awareness. It is about the strength that stems from letting down our guard instead of keeping the walls up at all costs. 

There is true power in vulnerability. Strength comes from what we learn when we let go, when we tear a wall down to see what is on the other side. Yes, there will still be some pain and hurt.

But what joy and freedom there will also be! Allow some vulnerability in your life and see what happens. Feel what happens. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Outrunning Parkinson's: Michael Westphal

Today I am grateful for the weekend and a break from a busy job. I am also grateful for working arms and legs.

I try not to take those working arms and legs for granted. I try not to take life for granted. Those two diseases in my life-alcoholism and cancer-take many lives each day. I am humbled to be here. Humbled and energized.

I was also humbled and energized by the words of Michael Westphal. We went to the pasta dinner the night before our marathon last weekend and Michael Westphal was the speaker. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2006. He has more recently returned to running. He had success as a competitive runner, but hadn't run for over 20 years.

He has found that running helps reduce his Parkinson's symptoms. Watch an 11-minute video here and see his finish at the local marathon he ran last June, in a Boston-qualifying time of 3:33. He needs to closely monitor his medications and he is certainly feeling the various impacts of his disease, but he is running. Running and feeling better.

Inspiring indeed. And to hear and see him in person, with visible Parkinson's symptoms, was further inspiring. He spoke to us for less than 20 minutes, got a few laughs, many head nods, and two standing ovations.

I also appreciated what he had to say about "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." For most of us, this has nothing to do with what place we finish in, what awards we earn or don't earn. For me the thrill of victory is simply being able to be there at the start line. To make it to the finish just ramps up that thrill, regardless of the time it took. The agony of defeat isn't really something I am familiar with. Losing the desire to run. Losing the ability to run. That would be agony.

Michael Westphal ran the Mount Desert Island Marathon on Sunday too. We didn't see him though. He finished well over an hour ahead of us. Run on Michael!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Acadia: A God-given Peaceful Place

Today I am grateful for my dad, the life he lived, and the example he set. I am also grateful for ears that hear.

Dad died seventeen years ago today. It was a Friday morning. I am thinking of him now and the many ways he blessed many people's lives.

I wrote about our Acadia National Park tour guide Roger yesterday. He had plenty of interesting historical tidbits and I always enjoy that. One thing he mentioned is that the meaning of Acadia is "a God-given peaceful place."  A God-given peaceful place:

I do believe it fits. I took the picture above near Thunder Hole in the park. The one below was from the top of Cadillac Mountain:

Neither Darcy nor I would have been comfortable driving to this high point. Thank you to Roger for getting us there and back.

Acadia National Park is stunningly beautiful. I am so grateful we got to visit. But I need God-given peaceful places I can visit more often. Right now I am sitting on our front porch in the early morning chill and enjoying the fresh air and the sound of our fountain and a light breeze.

This porch is one of my God-given peaceful places.  Where are yours? Go there often.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Memorable Tour Guide

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to join 6th graders on a field trip to an 1860's farm on a beautiful fall day. I am also grateful for a celebratory concrete mixer at Culver's. (Marathons are worth celebrating repeatedly.) 

When traveling to Maine, we decided to pay for tours to help us better get to know the area we were visiting. We are grateful for both the boat tour we took in Frenchman's Bay near Bar Harbor and the bus tour we took in Acadia National Park.

Here I am with our Acadia guide and driver. Roger was quite the talker and a wealth of information.
He's a local who has been doing tours for decades. His grandfather helped design and build the numerous bridges in the park. Each time we went over or under one of these bridges, Roger gave two honks of the horn--"Thanks Gramp."  That's the kind of stuff he did throughout the 3 hours we spent on the tour. 

Roger clearly had passion and energy (and a practiced routine no doubt) that kept us engaged and connected us as a group during our time together. Thanks Roger! Then we all got off the bus, gave Roger a well-deserved tip, and went our separate ways.

Some guides are short-term. I am grateful for them, but also for the long-term guides in my life.
People who have helped guide me personally and professionally over the years. People who keep me on the right track with recovery, running, writing, gratitude practice. People who set examples of how to slow down, pause, know when enough is enough.

And I am grateful for the true Guide who has put these people in my life. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nothing At All

Today I am grateful for post-marathon energy. I am also grateful for the moments I can sit and do nothing.

I took this picture after a few minutes of sitting and doing nothing on the porch of the inn we stayed at in Castine, Maine while traveling last week.  It soothes me just to look at it.

I do better at sitting and doing nothing when I am away from home and from my job. At both of these places, I keep finding things to do and the list never gets completed. I have to practice hard at pausing and sitting and doing nothing for a few moments both at home and at work. I have made some improvement, but there's still plenty of room for more.

Being away from both home and work for a few days gave me helpful reminders of how good it feels to do nothing at all. For those moments in the airports we were in, in the airplanes we were on, in the car, on a boat excursion, enjoying a bus tour, and many majestic Maine scenes, I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Today I am grateful for safe travels to and from Maine and all that we got to experience there.

There is much from our trip that I will be writing about over the next days. It is fitting to start with the driving force behind it all--running our 13th marathon.

We had decided, since we both turned 50 this year, that a destination marathon was warranted. We had always wanted to go to Maine and thankfully the Mount Desert Island Marathon fit our family's schedule.

It was, from start to finish, easily the most scenic of all our marathons. I took about 30 pictures along the course. It was worth the extra time it took to pull over and get my phone out. It seemed only appropriate to take this picture below of the mile marker at Mile 13 to mark our 13th marathon.

Besides being the most scenic marathon we have done, we would also have to rank it the hilliest. The views made it worth it, but the last miles were a challenge. Darcy and I ran together for about 16 miles, then completed the journey on our own, about 20 minutes apart.

We are deeply grateful to be physically capable of running and completing 26.2 miles. And we are so grateful we share this running passion and that Sam got to see Maine with us as well.

And one more thank you to the marathon organizers for a solid event and one of the coolest medals we have seen:

Yes, that is a lobster claw. :-) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Met UP

Today I am grateful for coffee and quiet. I am also grateful for laughter among recovering friends.

Today is the 7th Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Borrowing and revising some of my words from last year's post on MBC Awareness Day:

I am deeply grateful to be over seven years out from my breast cancer diagnosis and have NED (no evidence of disease). I don't live in fear, but I also try not to live in denial. Cancer is wily and mysterious. It can come back in anyone at anytime. Today I am thinking of those who are living with what remains my biggest fear: late-stage metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Cancer that remains in the breast is not deadly. Breast cancer that spreads, or metastasizes, to other parts of the body is incurable and is what takes nearly 40,000 lives a year in this country.

Some are diagnosed with MBC at the time of their initial diagnosis. Others have NED for years after their initial diagnosis when MBC comes roaring into their lives.It is a valid fear for people like me; 30% of those of us initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will develop metastatic disease.

Hence the precious nature of today, the reasons to view it as the gift it is. Keep priorities straight. Put our time where it matters most.

Today is the 7th annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. In the midst of all things pink during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to put aside the fluff and fanfare and zero in on those who need our help, support, and research dollars the most-those with MBC.

One of my favorite bloggers on the topic of BC and the right kind of awareness is Nancy Stordahl at
"Nancy's Point"   It is from her recent post that I learned about a new organization working for the MBC cause: METUP MBC Exchange To Unleash Power.  Find more information at http://metup.org.

METUP has an important event today-a Die-in in Washington D.C.  I commend those with the courage to not only live with MBC but to be an advocate for such important efforts.

Life is precious. Life is fragile. Today is a gift. Live it well.

And on that note, I begin a blog break. I will be back next week with marathon trip stories to share.
Have a good day!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Awareness or Action?

Today I am grateful for a nice weather weekend and I am grateful for what I have learned as a breast cancer patient and budding advocate.

October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1985. Until breast cancer hit close to home, with my sister Zita's diagnosis in 2004, I hadn't paid all that much attention to it. Then my sister Mary Jo was diagnosed in 2006, and I was diagnosed in 2008. I had become more aware of breast cancer than I cared to.

It is with deep gratitude that I can report my sisters and I are all plugging along well (and Mary Jo is five years out from a primary lung cancer diagnosis as well).  So are my dear friends Sheila, Jenny, and many others who I only got to know because of our shared BC journeys.

My sisters' diagnoses certainly impacted me, but only after my own diagnosis and experiences did I really start to take a different look at pink ribbons and such. I have done a lot of reading and writing on the subject of breast cancer awareness campaigns on how effective or ineffective they can be.

Does all the pink really matter and really raise awareness?  And what good is awareness if it isn't followed up with actions?

Here are some of my previous posts that include some of my writing, and also some ways to get actively involved in efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer:

BC Advocacy: What Lit My Fire This post includes a link to my guest blog post titled "What Lies Beneath" that Dr. Gayle Sulk graciously posted on her blog "Pink Ribbon Blues."  Here is an excerpt from "What Lies Beneath."

What is lacking “out-front” physically is made up for by what lies beneath. What is that you ask?  What lies beneath is a beating, loving heart. It was always there. But it is more prominent now, after facing my own mortality, after seeing and hearing the messages of our culture from a new perspective—that of a woman without breasts. I will concede that breasts do matter, but they don’t stack up to the importance of heart. Heart is what makes me a nurturing mother, spouse, and friend. Heart is what makes me empathetic, accepting, able to listen. I miss my breasts and grieve them still. But I would miss my heart so much more.

Awareness? I'll Take Advocacy and Action. This post includes links to the Health of Women Study and the Army of Women. I encourage all women to participate in both. Women who have had BC are needed, but so are women who have not. Consider signing up and getting started as an active advocate.

The Words of Lisa Bonchek Adams One of the 40,000 who have died of MBC (metastatic breast cancer) in the last year.

Make the most of today. It is all we have. It starts with awareness, but only grows with action.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Marathon Memories

Today I am grateful for each marathon I have had the opportunity to run. I am also grateful for a beautiful fall day yesterday for yard work and errands.

Part of the fun of pre-marathon time is remembering previous marathon experiences. Each marathon of the 12 we have run holds many memories for both my husband Darcy and I. Of those 12, 11 have found us together at the starting line. We have finished three side by side.

Two of the most powerful and emotional marathon experiences were our first-Chicago in 2004. (It just so happens that today is this year's Chicago Marathon.)  And Kansas City in 2009, our first marathon after my cancer diagnosis.

The quality of the pictures below may not be the best (pictures of pictures) but the quality of memories they beckon is top-notch indeed.

The picture above is after the Chicago Marathon. We posed for a picture adorning our medals. My niece Katie and her husband Danny are on the left. Then it's Darcy and I and my sister Ruth.  It was Katie and Danny's idea that became the inspiration for this marathon. Read more about that here.

There will always be a special place in my heart and my memory for this first marathon and the unforgettable, indescribable wave of emotion and joy that hit me when I passed mile 26, turned the corner, and saw the finish line. It meant so much to share this memory with family.

This second  picture was taken at mile 26 of the Kansas City Marathon on October 17, 2009.  The date is one I can recall pretty easily because it was 10 months to the day since my third surgery to address my breast cancer--bilateral mastectomies. You can't tell by the look on my face, but I was full of profound gratitude and feeling so good about being healthy. It was also my first flat-chested marathon. Freedom of a different kind, but it took time to get comfortable with it.

Darcy and I had decided that we wanted to finish this marathon together. Through the marathon of months of appointments, surgeries, recovery, setbacks, chemotherapy, and all things cancer, Darcy had been by my side. It was only fitting that this first marathon on this side of cancer was one we stayed together for step after step, mile after mile.

As we neared the finish, the smiles came. We joined hands and raised them high as we came across the line.

Memories worth savoring.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Of Marathons, BC, and Big Toes

Today I am grateful for some good rest and for peanut butter and jelly on toast.

October is a month I have always appreciated because it is in the heart of my favorite season of fall.
It is also the month in which my dad died, so I think of him.  

And I also think of marathons and breast cancer awareness. My husband Darcy and I have run more of our marathons in this month than any other.  There are several reasons why it is a popular time for a 26.2 running event. There's a good chance the weather will be neither too hot nor too cold. And it allows for ample training time in daylight hours in the previous months. 

I love the excitement and anticipation in the weeks and days before the marathon, and this year we are heading to a destination we have always wanted to visit, which adds to the excitement.

It is also already the 10th of the month some call "Pinktober" because of the flood of pink in the name of breast cancer awareness. All I seem to have become more aware of is that, in many ways, the pink really doesn't help the cause much. But I will save that for another post.

Today's post winds down with a real pain in the big toe. My right big toe to be exact. I already have a bunion on that foot, but that has been manageable. On Tuesday that toe  started to get tender and hurt. I didn't recall doing anything to it though. It got worse by Wed. and looked infected. I was concerned because our marathon is next weekend. I tried to get in to our clinic, but had to wait until Thursday evening. They lanced it, cleaned it out, and it is feeling much better.

There was a bit of that "why now, why me" and "one darn thing after another." Gratitude practice teaches me to keep things in perspective. It could have been much worse.

It was a literal pain, but also signified the figurative pain of overdoing and letting resentments build up, which had been happening particularly regarding some aspects of my job. Release them. Air it out. Keep calm.

Signing off from a place of mindful presence this morning.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Deep Channels in a Wide River

Today I am grateful for the support and help of coworkers. I am also grateful for recovery and survivorship.

Ongoing recovery from alcoholism and continuing survivorship post-cancer diagnosis are deep and strong channels in a wide river of gratitude that flows through my heart and soul. (That is unless I block the flow with overthinking, overdoing, or oversized ego.)

Two diseases that kill people every day are part of my story. Yet, I get to keep telling my story.
Grace and humility abound when I put it in that light. 

Without sobriety and daily recovery from the powerful disease of addiction, I would probably not have survived these last decades. I was on a self-destructive path and picking up dangerous speed on the downhills.

Then a breast cancer diagnosis at age 42 shook me to the core and pretty much shattered the sense of security I had felt regarding my youth and health. Invasive but early stage, cancer took my breasts and plenty more, but left me with a good prognosis.

Twenty-six years of recovery, 7 years of survivorship, and still counting. Counting my blessings. Counting each day as an opportunity. Counting each day as a gift, because it is.

Deep and strong channels in a wide river of gratitude. Keeping the flow going one day at a time. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Daily Tonic

Today I am grateful for my daily gratitude journal and that I never run out of things for which I am grateful.

Gratitude practice is indeed my daily tonic. This quote captures it.

"A lack of a daily tonic of gratitude results in an anemic soul, which, in turn, contributes to a physical sense of listlessness. A grateful soul, on the other hand, is vibrant and animated and so permeates your body with zest and with an enjoyment of a life littered with gifts." 
(Edward Hays)

An anemic soul sounds like a real downer. I prefer some zest and enjoyment. 

Gratitude shared is gratitude multiplied. Onward! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Poem Worth a Second Look

Today I am grateful for the enthusiasm and energy of young people. I am also grateful for my favorite sweatshirts.

Some of you may have seen this poem already. It went viral on social media over the summer. Read more about that here.  I am slow on the viral things though, and say thanks to a fellow writer in the local writing group who emailed it to the group.

It was written by New York high school student Chanie Gorkin for a class assignment to write about "the worst day ever."  It's quite a writing marvel, and her mom said it took her about an hour to create.

Read it all the way through. It speaks for itself.

Thank you Chanie Gorkin for this poem!

Thank you Great Spirit, God, Higher Power for the many gifts to appreciate in my life today. The change in perspective that being grateful can bring to my life has proven itself over and over. It works, it really does.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Passwords, Buttons, and Whatever Else it Takes

Today I am grateful for morning patio time and for people to support me in sobriety and recovery.

You may have picked up that I am prone to overdoing and overthinking. I have to practice pausing and I have to practice slowing down. It doesn't come naturally or easily to me and my little old brain.
It is one of the reasons why habitual practice of gratitude has been so helpful to me.

So I am willing to do whatever it takes. Do a daily gratitude journal day after day, year after year. Create blog posts day after day, year after year. Write gratitude letters and thank yous. Dozens of them. These efforts pay wonderful dividends.

When it comes to practicing pausing and slowing down, I have tried many things. Some work better than others. Two things that are minor but effective have to do with passwords and buttons.

If you are like me, you have more passwords for various devices and accounts than you care to have. I could let the computer or phone remember my passwords, but I choose to type them in most of the time. That is because the typing itself is a pause, and also because most of my passwords have significance to me in terms of something or someone I am grateful for.

A little aspect of my day, but it comes up several times and each time serves as a healthy reminder. (And when I catch myself wishing I had done it the easy way, I smile because I know myself.)

And the buttons? This isn't as regular of a practice, but I have been known to utilize it. Wearing something that requires a few extra steps to button or hook can be too much for me some days. I will even avoid wearing such things when I know it may cause me to teeter on the brink. But on other days, I do wear such things and appreciate the pausing that happens as I button or hook. Just enough time for me to quiet my brain and perhaps be grateful that I have plenty of clothes to wear.

Whatever it takes. A quieter mind is worth it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Throwback Monday

Today I am grateful for my husband Darcy and the good sermon he gave yesterday in his role as deacon at our church. I am also grateful that our grandson Leo knows us.

I am bucking the social media trend a bit here, but as far as I know I won't get in trouble for it.
How about an old photo for a Throwback Monday instead of a Thursday?

This photo was posted on Facebook by a classmate of mine the other day (not a Thursday either):

Wow! What a good-looking bunch of eager learners. I believe this is our 3rd grade picture, but both my 1st grade and 3rd grade teachers are in it. Other classmates jumped in and, I believe, correctly identified all of us. I wouldn't have been able to do that on my own, though I would have gotten most of them right.

I am one of the several with our mouths open . . . "Cheese!" perhaps? You will find me next to my third grade teacher Mrs. Becker, on the opposite end of the back row from my friend Brenda and my first grade teacher Mrs. Andera.

Though I went on to choose a career in education, I was not a fan of school in my early years. Mrs. Becker and my 3rd grade year helped turn things around for me though. (Mrs. Becker-who would have thought all these years later that we would be friends on something called Facebook?)

I marvel at how quickly time has passed and at how this group grew up. We have gone on to many accomplishments and have had our own third graders and then some.

Sadly, two of my classmates in this picture, Chris and Roger, never got the chance to be parents or grandparents. They both died in car accidents before our 5-year reunion.

On this Throwback Monday, let's throw out some gratitude for the gift of years, and the greatest gift of all-today.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Run Illuminated

Today I am grateful for my physical capabilities, for air to breathe, and food to eat. 

My husband Darcy and I are just two weeks out from our next marathon, so yesterday's long run of 15 miles or so was a "shorter" long run. From here, we will taper and rest our legs. The excitement and anticipation build for me with each day we get closer. It's partly about traveling to new places to run, but it is also largely about the run itself. Marathoning is in our blood and our hearts.

We look forward to new scenery for marathon #13, but we enjoy nature's beauty on our runs in and near our community too.

I paused to take this picture on our run yesterday. The long human shadows visible are those of Darcy and I. 

As the sun illuminated the trail ahead of us, running illuminates my life in so many ways. It is one of the greatest blessings and joys in my life. It has brought me out of dark times and dark moments over and over again. It has brought me out of the shadows and into the light. One step at a time. One mile at a time. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Back Where You Belong

Today I am grateful for the chance to be of service to others. I am also grateful for recovery and the second chances we all get in many ways.

Yesterday on my way to work I heard a song by 38 Special that I have always liked. It is titled "Back Where You Belong."  You can listen to it here. It came out in 1983, when I was a senior in high school.  It's a love song of sorts, and a catchy tune.  The title is catchy too. Back where you belong.

That is how I felt yesterday after a rocky day on Thursday. My mindset was back where it belonged. My priorities were back where they belonged. My hormone levels were back where they belonged.

The rest of my day just further helped me get back to that better place, that place where grace and peace can be found.

The school I work at gave students the day off yesterday and faculty and staff went to various sites and did service work. I really appreciated the group of people I worked with. 

At a domestic abuse shelter near our school, we cleared weeds in some landscaped areas, enjoyed good conversation and fresh air, and made a noticeable difference.

Last evening I spent some time with other recovering people, and again was reminded of the gifts of sobriety and recovery.

To be of service. To endure rocky times. To look for gratitude in the midst of it all. Try it. It will get you back where you belong. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Oh the joy . . .

Today I am grateful for a new day, a fresh start. I am grateful for air to breathe, a roof over my head, and clothes to wear.

I wasn't feeling all that grateful yesterday. Oh the joy . . . of hormonal fluctuations.  I was "a bubble off of plumb" and just a wee bit edgy and irritable. My mental acuity was dull at best for much of the day. The joys of menopausal times.

And then I think about other women who have had breast cancer who never made it to menopause, or were forced into early menopause because of surgeries and/or treatment.

Life is good. Hormonal fluctuations and all. Life is a gift.

Oh the joy!  Of a new day, a fresh start, a more even keel.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Its Own Blessing

Today I am grateful for Darcy's safe business travel and for time with our grandson Leo and his emerging personality.

The "Word for the Day" from www.gratefulness.org yesterday was:

"There are many things to be grateful "for" but, as I ripen with the seasons of life, the many reasons blend into a sacred mystery. And, most deeply, I realize that living gratefully is its own blessing." 
(Michael Mahoney)

I appreciate the words used by Michael Mahoney. How fortunate we are to be here, ripening with the seasons of life. Some never get the opportunity to ripen.

A sacred mystery. Let me live in the curiosity and wonder of that mystery. With faith and fortitude.  

Living gratefully is its own blessing. It doesn't mean everything is going my way and all is right with the world. It does mean that right here, right now I have much to be thankful for.  That energizes and motivates me. Onward!