Takeaways from a Pandemic

Today I am grateful for bananas, one of my daily breakfast staples, and yogurt, one of my daily lunch staples. I so appreciate that my family and I have access to food and the ease in getting it. There are people hungry in our community and around the world.  Besides donating food items, another way I can help is to not waste the food in front of me. The pandemic has worsened hunger issues for many people, in part because of the financial strain of jobs lost and the impact of health concerns.  As we near the year mark of when the pandemic really started changing our daily lives, a hunger we share is the hunger for return to normal. It isn't going to be tomorrow or next week, but there's hope on the horizon. It won't be the normal we once knew, and that is okay too.  Sometimes I feel weary and depressed with it all. Sometimes I feel amazed by the resiliency of human nature. Sometimes I feel a jumbled mix of jumbled emotions. Still, I can look back on the last year and note s

A 3 x 3 for Mornings

Living gratefully today, I appreciate the warmer weather and walks in the sunshine. I give thanks for the fruit I enjoy eating and all the people who brought them from tree or plant to the store and my grocery cart.  I haven't done a 3 x 3 in quite awhile, so here goes. You could also call this a "gratitude multiplier."   Writing down three gratitudes and then three reasons why I am grateful for each, I end up with a 3 x 3 > 9 scenario. Not a bad deal at all. 1. The morning quiet.     a. It is my favorite time of day, full of opportunity.     b. The peace and quiet ease my mind     c. The sounds I hear bring me comfort, including our refrigerator's hum and our dog's breathing. 2.  The first breaths of fresh air as I walk our dog Oliver.      a. Simply being able to walk outside is a blessing.     b. Feeling safe in my neighborhood.     c. Looking up at whatever the sky is offering this day and feeling part of something much bigger. 3. Time to myself. As an intr

The Moon Understands

Today I am grateful for recovery connections that are helping me through these pandemic times, and for the snowshoeing Darcy and I got in yesterday after work. The moon in the morning sky was on my gratitude list in yesterday's post, and then this "Word for the Day" from showed up today:  Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light.  The moon understands what it means to be human.  Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections. ( Tahereh Mafi)  I had never thought of the moon as analogous to humans, but Tahereh Mafi says it so well. The ups and downs of humanness. The ongoing transformation underway in each of us. Days when I am beaming. Days when I fade into the wider background.  Cratered by imperfections, the moon is still beautiful and so are you and I. There will be dark days, but the light always returns. There will be lonely regrets and second-guessing, but out of the doubt comes faith. The moon as source of awe. The moon as source of


Living gratefully today, I appreciate the moon and shifting clouds in the early morning sky. It is humbling to be a small part of this wider world and universe. I humbly start the day ahead.  I continue to make meditation a part of several mornings a week, after going 31 days a row in January. If I don't do a guided meditation, sometimes just a few minutes of quiet reflection is helpful.  The good news is that I can go into and come back out of those few minutes with a mind that isn't going 90 mph.  It is closer to becoming habit, closer to reaching the status of daily ritual for me.  It makes a significant difference in how I approach my day, expectations, and pace.  Here is one I have been doing recently and wanted to share with you:  R.E.S.T. from  It is called R.E.S.T.—A Guided Practice for the Tired and Weary and is 10 minutes long. Click on the link to listen and/or read. Thank you Rashid Hughes for bringing it to us.  This summarizes the approach used:  R is


Today I am grateful for a good run yesterday and the steadily increasing daylight time each week.  My parent’s birthdays were close together. Mom’s is Feb. 20 and Dad’s was February 28. He was born in 1924 and died in 1998. Every February 28 I remember my dad. I think of him many other days too, but 22 years since he died, it’s less often than it was. His birthday is always a day that I think more deeply about his life, his impact, his death.  Being in Iowa last weekend, and on the farm, I felt a closeness to my father and his spirit. He loved the farm life and he loved family. These provided the key backdrops of his life. He liked to read the newspaper and keep up on current events, celebrate holidays, play cards, and much more. Family and farming underpinned his values.  He would have enjoyed this scene last Saturday. He didn't speak of Nature the way Mom did, but he spent ample time out in it and influenced by it. He would have appreciated this photo:  A beef cow in the foregrou

A Real Shot in the Arm

Today I am grateful to have received my first vaccine dose last evening, and I thank my husband Darcy for driving and accompanying me.  I went to a community vaccination site at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where on average 8,000 people or more are vaccinated each day of operation. And what an operation. Joining a line at 5:15 p.m., I became part of what felt like a big worm slowly weaving its way to a real shot in the arm. A big worm taking on a little virus that just happens to have had a huge impact and devastating toll on our state, nation, world. Add it to the list of surreal experiences in the last year. Mostly educators, some people talked, and I even briefly saw a colleague of mine. But we were mostly meandering along quietly, behind our masks, on our phones or reading books.  I wasn't really nervous until I got to the room with the 60 or so tables where people were administering shots. Nervous because I had to sit and wait a few extra minutes while the computer at my

A Keener Eye

Living gratefully today, taking time to do quiet meditation, I am restoring focus in what has been a busy week. I appreciate headphones and warm blankets. And this quote: “Gratefulness allows us . . . to nurture a keener eye that no longer rushes  past the small everyday moments that make up a larger part of our lives.”  Guri Mehta  Rushing past?  Who, me?  I think I have made progress in slowing down, but it is an ongoing area of improvement for me. Practice makes progress possible. Just reading these words above is helpful. Keener eye. Small everyday moments. Our lives.  Seeing the light from a lamp. Taking in the simplicity of tying my shoes with fingers that are nimble enough to do so. Acknowledging that truly living my life is more about being present in this moment, not reliving the past or fearfully pondering the future. Another ongoing area of improvement for me is to give myself more realistic expectations, to not push myself so relentlessly. I can do that in a small way right