Showing posts from March, 2021

Gratitudes 12-14

Today I am grateful for good listeners and observers in my life who can reflect back to me that which I cannot always see on my own.  Below are the next three installations as I build a list of "19 Gratitudes After a Year of COVID-19. 12. Dr. Michael Osterholm's The Osterholm Update podcast. We have been listening weekly in recent months, and also sporadically in the first months of the pandemic. I have ample respect for the science behind what Dr. Osterholm discusses, and an equal amount of appreciation for how he humanizes it all.  13. Recovery during the pandemic has been both a mainstay and a key source of grief. A mainstay day by day to keep me connected to others walking this "journey of self-acceptance." And to my Higher Power/Universe/Friend. Connected to the tools that allow us to be productive in our thoughts and actions, not counterproductive like our addictions would have us be.  And a key source of grief because I have so sorely missed seeing smiles, giv

2600 Opportunities

Today I am grateful for the beautiful moon that filled me with awe as I went for a walk at dusk last evening. I am a tiny part of an amazing Universe. It humbles me in a good way.  Two recent milestones on this blog give me a reason to also pause in humility.  I wrote the very first post here nine years ago, officially taking the plunge into blog territory on March 27, 2012. Just a few weeks ago, the number of posts published on Habitual Gratitude surpassed 2,600.   One word at a time, one post at a time, one day at a time, this writer has discovered plenty about the world around her and the world within her.  Thanks to blog-to-book services, this picture captures what nine years of regular blogging looks like in print.  There's plenty a picture cannot capture though. On some days, I wrote with a full and thankful heart. On others, I wrote from a deeply painful place. It was with clarity I wrote many posts, but with muddled mind and heart other posts made their way to fruition. Eac

Messengers of Many Kinds: Gratitudes 4 -11

Living gratefully, I am appreciating the clouds as they roam across the chilly morning sky and the simplicity of oatmeal for breakfast.  Picking up with round 2, one year later, of "19 Gratitudes to Counter COVID-19," here are a few from the last several days, taking the list up to 11:  4. A meeting with a grateful parent. We noted her child’s progress over the last 3 years and she shared sincere appreciation for my support of their family.  5. Less than an hour after feeling pride about that meeting, I ended up feeling guilty when a fellow driver made it clear he didn’t like me taking a quick look at my phone at a stoplight.  6. I thanked my Higher Power for that 1-2 punch (or should I say 4-5 punch?) and the reminder to keep my ego right-sized and in check.  7. Shortly after, I appreciated a phone call with a recovery friend who could listen and laugh with me as I related the stories of numbers 4 and 5.  8. Right after that phone call, I made a stop at our local bookstore a

19 Gratitudes After a Year of COVID-19

Today I am grateful for the sound of wind chimes, the feel of cool morning air, and the sight of streets and trail lit for safety. My senses help me stay present and provide awe.  Let's kick off the one-year-later version of "19 Gratitudes to Counter COVID-19."  1. People I love have survived COVID in pretty good fashion. This includes our son Sam, some siblings, my mom, extended family members, and friends. 2. The many takeout meals we have enjoyed and the creative approaches for family meals that some of our local restaurants came up with. Energy has gone to so many different things this year, so an easy and tasty meal is appreciated even more.  3. Vaccines! I got my second dose yesterday. No slow moving line this time. In and out in about 20 minutes. Thank you to all who are making these possible. Tomorrow my husband Darcy gets his first dose, and next week my home state of Minnesota opens up vaccines to anyone 16 or older.  There are times I don't wish to be in a

Zoom Calls and Cancer

Today I am grateful for all of my siblings and for a couple of conversations yesterday that keep me connected to extended family and recovery friends.   Speaking of siblings, I want to send birthday greetings to two of them. Happy birthday today Ruth! Happy birthday tomorrow Morry! Enjoy your special days!  Looking back at posts I was writing a year ago has given me perspective recently. Living gratefully helped keep some sense of balance in a time of turmoil then, and it does today too. I had forgotten about  19 Gratitudes to Counter COVID-19 Concerns  that I began on March 16, 2020 and carried through four additional blog posts with links below: Numbers 5-8 (March 17) Gratitudes 9-12 (March 18) Numbers 13-17 (As Concerns Grow, So Can Gratitude (March 19) Where did 18 and 19 go? Zoom and a Tree (March 23) The list ranged from cashiers and stockers in grocery stores, to chocolate, and smiles, computer passwords, and Zoom. It was a year ago March 22 that my six sisters and I had our fir

Flowers from and for Boulder

Living gratefully today, I lean into faith to counter the fear and uncertainty that woke me this morning. I gave thanks for a breath of fresh air and some light rain as I walked our dog Oliver. It reminded me of the new life on the way with spring.  It is hard to absorb the news of another deadly mass shooting in the United States. Ten people died at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado yesterday afternoon. This is less than a week after eight people died in the Atlanta area.  The only Boulder victim known by name at this time is a police officer who was the first on the scene. His name is Eric Talley. He was the father of seven. His dad said he had been considering a career change to drone operator because it would be safer.  Reread those last lines. Life is precious. Life is fragile. It can all change in an instant. All any of us have is today.  I have been to Boulder a couple of times while visiting my family in other parts of northern Colorado. Most recently, a few of

Seasoned Soldiers

Living gratefully today, I am noticing our dog Oliver's kind eyes after his recent haircut and also noticing how the uncertainty of March 2021 feels far less crazy than the uncertainty of March 2020.  Disrupted and Interrupted  is my post from one year ago today. Here are some lines that especially struck me this morning: "Let's be kind and gentle with one another and ourselves as we each individually try to weather our own emotional turmoil. And as we collectively support one another through the upheaval that is impacting each and every one of us. Individual stories are happening, but so are global stories. It is important to honor both in ourselves and one another." "When the heaviness comes, as it will at times, just breathe through it. Do what best helps you unburden. For me that includes fresh air, walking or running, putting pen to paper to let emotions flow out instead of stagnating and stinking up my heart, soul, and mind." "I am feeling that he

Spring Feels Different

Today I am grateful for the simple but delicious breakfast my husband Darcy made for us, and for the play of early morning sun on the table top on which I am composing this post.  Spring officially arrived early yesterday in my part of the world, also known as the Northern Hemisphere. I love spring. I love the changing seasons, always ready for the next one as I grow weary of some aspects of the current one.  Last spring it seemed the world was off kilter. It was such a strange and uncertain time. Yet, I remember thinking many times how helpful it was that as the pandemic picked up speed and shelter in place orders spread and lengthened, our spring was spreading and lengthening here too. There was the hope of new life and green, even as our old normal went right over the cliff.  This spring feels different. We have made it through a year of COVID-19 and all the changes and restrictions that has meant. We have survived personal and global challenges. We aren't home free though, and

Tending Seeds

Today I am grateful for those who joined me last evening via Zoom to talk about "tending seeds."  I appreciate what each brought to the gathering and what our time together gave me in terms of reflection and grace. One of the resources we enjoyed was this song: PLANTING SEEDS: A Song of Life | Empty Hands Music It's an upbeat song on many fronts. The music, the images, smiles, lyrics, flow. Seeds are resilient. It takes time for the fruit to arrive. The roots, though usually not visible, are the crucial source of nourishment. Seeds don't grow without help from Nature. Humans can help or hinder the process. We do the same in our own lives. Carefully tend seeds, nurture them, have patience and acceptance, appreciate everything from sprouts to blossoms and fruit. Or we try too hard to rush what can't be rushed. We think we can control outcomes when we really can't. We grow impatient and plow seeds under, sometimes right before a growth spurt. How will I tend the

Upheaval and Retrieval

Living gratefully today, I appreciate time spent with my friend Liz and the energy a writing project can generate. I am grateful for morning quiet and a gathering of energy after waking up tired.  The emotional exhaustion I have been feeling on and off in the last week has to do with reflecting on this past year. Recent days have marked various "one year since . . ." milestones. Though we go day to day, moving forward through pandemic circumstances that we have adjusted to, it still hits hard at times just how challenging and draining the past year has been. The upheaval caused has touched most areas of our lives in big and small ways. I walk into a school every day for work, mostly only seeing the eyes of the students and my colleagues throughout the day. It is harder to recognize one another, harder to know how everyone is really doing, and more tiring to move physically and emotionally through the hours literally and figuratively masked.  And yet we are used to it, and we


Living gratefully today, I appreciate the ups and downs of human emotion and the messengers that our feelings are. I begin today with an open mind and heart.  And I begin today considering these words from  Brother David Steindl-Rast: "Grateful living is an awareness that we stand on holy ground- always -in touch with Mystery." The holy ground I stand on this morning is covered with snow. Last week it was clear trail. In a few days, it will melt away and be clear again. Not exactly a mystery, but Mystery applies. The jet stream and changing weather patterns are beyond me and you.  But our small human actions can either protect or plunder this fragile planet. Mystery calls me to be a good steward of Earth and the resources it provides. Conserve. Recycle. Respect. Enjoy.  My two feet are stable beneath me as I stand in our split level home. Wood, flooring, beams, concrete . . . they each provide some of the stability. Beneath the foundation is dirt and rock and so much more Mys

The Joy of Grandsons

Today I am grateful for safe travels, family time, and sunshine this weekend.  There is much we have missed this last year, including being with family, so we really appreciated getting to spend time with both of our grandsons this weekend. We traveled to see one and returned home to help another celebrate a birthday. Here's Aaron, at 3 1/2 always inquisitive and always ready to get outside and play. We so enjoy our time together and miss each other when we leave. You are so curious and talkative and you bring us many smiles! And here's Leo, celebrating his 6th birthday yesterday: How can it already be 6 years ago that you joined our family? Your energy and your smile are infectious.  You tell a story with wit and your boisterous personality.  Thank you Aaron and Leo, and your parents too, for reminding us of what matters most. And also to slow down and have some fun. Papa and GiGi love you! 

The Key

Today I am grateful for snow melt and an early spring rain to clean things up. I also appreciate my colleagues and their insights on difficult topics. On my way home yesterday I heard the Eagles' song Already Gone. Read an early blog post about it  here . I feel the favorite lines of this song more deeply today than I did in that post nearly nine years ago. "So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key." And I felt those words differently yesterday, as we mark a year into the pandemic. A year since the rug was pulled out from under us. It was exactly a year ago in my part of the world that the seriousness of the situation and things like school and business closures were happening.  What we have collectively and individually suffered has been much. My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. My deep gratitude goes out to health care workers and others who have done the toughest of the toughest duties

White Feminism and BC

Today I am grateful for new writing endeavors on Instagram and for the ease of accessing clean drinking water. I take it for granted most days, but also try to be a good steward of this crucial resource.  As I continue to process  the book Me and White Supremacy , I continue to see more that I cannot unsee. White feminism was one of the readings that hit me especially hard. It is defined in the book as: feminist theories that focus on the struggles of white women without addressing distinct forms of oppression faced by ethnic minority women and women lacking other privileges .  I have always considered myself a feminist, and became even a stronger one after my breast cancer experience. The pink ribbon culture and the objectifying of women and breasts didn't sit well with me then and it still doesn't now. I am particularly proud of this related writing for Nancy's Point blog titled  The Sum of All My Parts .   As I read about white feminism, I was particularly struck by how

The Still, Small Voice

Living gratefully today, I appreciate the pace to the start of my day when I do one thing at a time versus waking up full of too many expectations. I give thanks for the nice weather and running in shorts and short sleeves yesterday.  Here is a recent WORD FOR THE DAY from , from Dutch priest, writer and theologian Henri Nouwen:   When we persevere with the help of a gentle discipline, we slowly come to hear the still,  small voice and to feel the delicate breeze, and so to come to know the presence of Love.   I am sitting on our front patio, enjoying the morning sounds and fresh air. A breeze, more than delicate, just moved the butterfly wind chime that hangs a few feet from me. I love the sound. I love the reminder. I love the connection to my sister Mary Jo, who died in 2019. Love.  The wind chime is a still, small voice this morning. Pacing myself with one thing at a time is a still, small voice. Gentle discipline, including meditation and gratitude practices,

International Women’s Day 2021

Living gratefully today, I appreciate our new patio furniture, that our son Sam assembled it, and that we have started enjoying it already.  Today is  International Women’s Day :  International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge It is also Women's History Month in the United States. We probably hear less about IWD than some countries around the world, but it is more than worth a mention. It is worth some action. Yes, women's history should always be noted and celebrated, but we aren't yet on an even playing field with men in many areas. There is work to be done, and

A Book Study: Not the End, Just the Beginning

Today I am grateful for the grass and soil being revealed by melting snow. It's muddy and messy, but full of promise for what is to come. I also appreciate our first back patio time of the year yesterday.  My book group at school had our fourth and final small group discussion the other morning. It has been both a heavy lift and a real eye-opener to delve into  Book Group: Me and White Supremacy . Once I saw, heard, read, and talked about some of the varied aspects of white privilege and fragility covered in the book, I can't unsee them. That is the beginning of necessary awareness, but more importantly the motivation to act, to help bring change. My white gaze, white silence , and white apathy hindered me, and will continue to hinder, but hopefully less. I am beginning to understand that all of us who are white have a responsibility to help dismantle systems of inequality and oppression.  Systems that have been in place long before any of us were alive. We didn't create th

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