December 31: New Year’s Eve

This time a year ago I started this blog about the things I was grateful for. It started as a way to look at the positives in my life, instead of the negatives, which are so much easier to let become the focus. I made a commitment to write daily for a year. It wasn’t always easy and a few days I was late getting my post in, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. Every. Single. Day. I plan to keep the blog a little longer but will write less frequently. It’s been a good exercise. A friend asked me recently if it’s made me happier–all this focus on gratitude. My honest answer? Not really. At least I don’t think so. For me, happiness is something that comes and goes. What it has done is made me more conscious of my life. There’s something about purposely reflecting on the positive things at the end of the day that’s been good for me. I dare you to try it. Maybe not in blog form, but buy a journal and write stuff down. Make a Sunday list of the things that stand out to you at the end of the day. Maybe you’ll find, like I did, that it’s the small things that stand out. The big moments in our lives seem to change our trajectory, but it’s the little things that keep us moving. For me, it was stuff like laughing with my kids, dinner with friends, hugs, cat snuggles and good puppy behavior, crossing items off my to-do list, and just hanging out with my boyfriend. Find what makes your life full.

Of course, there have been some pretty big moments in my past year as well. Things I didn’t expect. Times that were really hard. Times that were really good. I started out last year in what seemed like a new chapter of my life. Just me and my cat and my two kids in a new house that still needed some work. I spent last New Year’s Eve alone, watching tv, singing karaoke in the dark, heading to bed just about midnight. I wouldn’t have imagined then that this New Year’s I’d be in Texas, spending the evening with my boyfriend, a guy who’s been an unexpected blessing. I didn’t know I’d lose my dad this year; it’s still a bit unbelievable. A year ago I hadn’t planned on getting a puppy or to be 6 credits into a graduate program with a 4.0 GPA (did I mention that? Yay me!). But here I am, 365 days later in the same, more-updated house with my still awesome kids in what seems like a different life. However, isn’t that the way things work? We may think we know what our life is about and think that we have things under control, but we don’t know. That’s why we can’t give up and we can’t take things for granted. Each day is it. Each day is all we can worry about. So each day we should look for the good stuff. I’m glad I decided to write about the positives every day for the last year, and I’m grateful you took the journey with me. I hope I somehow inspired you to look for your own simple moments. I won’t be blogging every day, but I’ll continue to look daily and I’ll write occasionally. Stay tuned in. I hope you have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and a coming year filled with much to be thankful for…

June 10

Today, once again, I’m thankful for words and inspiration from unusual places.

sometimes
love comes
imperceptibly
moving so slowly
we think its
not there
when all along
it was poised
like well-hung wood
pieces broken
and dangling
from branches
overhead
caught mid-fall
and waiting
for just the right
gentle blow
to send it
tumbling
down

May 28

In honor of Maya Angelou, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes of hers. While there are many of her quotes that I find inspiring, this one speaks to me personally. I’m grateful for her wisdom and her work.

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

Feb 21

I had an excellent evening with some lovely women. A good friend of mine had a get-together that she dubbed Love Your Life…Get Inspired. She asked everyone to bring something that inspired them personally, a poem, a book, a quote, a recipe…whatever. The idea was to share inspirational tidbits with others. She’s the type of person who wants to lift people up and help them grow and become the best version of themselves. A great person to have in your corner.

I have to admit to something, though, and I didn’t tell her this. I was a little hesitant to go. Not because I didn’t want to be part of the inspiration, but because she had invited a lot of people–and many people I didn’t know. And not just people, but all women. I was intimidated by that. While I think I am more extroverted than introverted, I really shy away from groups. Anything more than 6 people, and my introvert comes out. And if those people are women, I will clam up. It’s not that I don’t get along with women, but a group of women can be a tough crowd to navigate. There’s a reason women have a reputation for drama. Because there’s usually drama. I’m not trying to perpetuate stereotypes by saying that. From my experience,  I think a lot of women worry about what’s not being said as much as what is being said in a conversation…and that can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. To protect myself, I’ve learned from a rather young age to either listen more and talk less, or avoid groups of women all together.

So, back to my evening. I love my friend and want to support her whenever I can. She would and has done the same for me. Therefore, I put on my big girl panties and went to her party, ready to share some things that inspire me. As it would turn out, several women had other obligations/parties/whatever, and it ended up being a smaller group than expected. Rather than be disappointed, my friend was thrilled that those of us who came embraced the whole idea of sharing. We ended up having some very real, open conversations with each other. In fact, we touched on the disappointment that as women, it is sometimes hard to connect in ways that are honest. We also talked about how it’s easier to embrace the notion that as we age, it’s necessary to cull through the relationships we have and let go of the ones that are damaging or toxic. I felt I learned something and contributed something and left feeling better about myself somehow. Certainly something to be thankful for. Not bad for a girls night out.