Tag Archives: Thankfulness Thursday

Thankfulness Thursday: Four Years Married.

So little time, in the grand scheme of things, but still a world away from where we started. In the spirit of Thankfulness Thursday, I am grateful for four years of marriage to my best friend of more than a decade. I know it might be a used term of endearment, but it is true. Without our deep friendship, none of the rest would matter.

And, as excited as I was to walk down the aisle four years ago today, I am even more excited about what lies ahead. Life may be unpredictable, as the last couple weeks have reminded us, but it is also deserving of faith in the future. Tonight, I put my trust in life, love, and gratitude.

Wedding

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Thankfulness Thursday: Yoga & Healing

Life is choices. This week I chose yoga and reading over writing.

I finally ordered Anatomy of the Spirit and devoured as much as I could after work. I highly recommend this book. For years I have heard people talk about not wanting to give their energy to this or that… I finally get it. We can learn to control the flow of energy in and out of our bodies. Our health depends on it. This book is a blessing.

So much good stuff in life, so few hours in the day...

So much good stuff in life, so few hours in the day…

I also am grateful for yoga and dusk walks with my husband and dogs. My focus on healing is monopolizing my evenings, but there is a peace and calm that comes with this. I want to write more, but I need balance. Just thirty minutes on the computer a day is liberating. Summer will come soon enough.

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Thankfulness Thursday: To be here.

The past few weeks have been strange. School has consumed me. Writing has taken a back seat, too mentally drained to do anything after work other than walk the dogs, eat, read, sleep. Life feels slow and fast at once, wonderful and exhausting, tragic and beautiful, meaningful but at moments empty, too.

Today I woke up happy. I went to school happy. I kept calm through hissing, cursing, an impossible phone wait time for mandatory reporters. I laughed as the school gate refused to open, all I wanted was to be home, escape the heavy cloud that sometimes tries to settle over my classroom. Ignore the cloud and it evaporates, I remind myself with a smile.

Last night I finished Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, which cemented her place on my author crush list. Tiny Beautiful Things moved me to tears. Wild made me want to sleep under the stars, left me in awe of her courage, honesty, heart. Tonight, there is an emptiness where the book existed in my evenings. Those last words stuck to me, pushing me to imagine my past, present, and future selves all sitting on this couch, connected but strangers.

Ever since I was a little girl, one question has permeated my thoughts.

What’s the point of all this?

Yesterday and today, three words have rung through my being more strongly than anything before.

To be here.

That’s enough. I feel it, I know it, I just need to always remember it. Goes pretty nicely with the three words my husband just taped to our refrigerator.

No more someday.

I am grateful, I am alive. Nothing is perfect but everything is still somehow beautiful. I leave you with a clip I enjoyed tonight (that coincidentally features one of my favorite songs) and a picture that reminds me to be here, because even as I type, I am overwhelmed with love.

I'm surprised the Photo Booth flash doesn't wake him...

Not even the Photo Booth flash or my typing will disturb him… He’s present and a constant source of love.

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Thankfulness Thursday: Thanksgiving

On this, the final Thankfulness Thursday, I decided to share my gratitude for the very day of Thanksgiving itself. While my mother’s family honors our Native American heritage, we do not boycott the day. Instead, we make it our own, embracing the positive aspects of giving thanks and coming together as a family to enjoy a meal and honor abundance. We celebrated on Tuesday, sharing a feast of GMO-free, organic food in Mt. Shasta, toasting Bodhichitta and watching the rain fall all day on a blanket of orange leaves.

Today I am grateful for two Thanksgivings, one in Mt. Shasta, one in Sacramento. Two families that are really one because they are both mine. Food, laughter, love. I am grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

A happy, rainy Thanksgiving.

Full of many reminders for love and peace…

As well as the obligatory post-Turkey hangover.

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Thankfulness Thursday: Abundance

It’s pretty easy by Thursday evening to feel more than drained. A bit of gratitude goes a long way. This week, I’m grateful for abundance. Another blogger recently wrote about how we must acknowledge the abundance in our lives in order to create more… And, I have to admit, it is pretty humbling to stop and realize how much abundance most of us already have.

Tuesday, when I was home sick, I spent the better part of the morning digging through the past year of pictures to decide what to put on our holiday card, (yes, even when I’m sick I feel the need to cross something off my to-do list). As the last 12 months rolled by, I was struck by how even during years of fiscal conservatism my life is full of so many fortunate, happy moments.

Sure it would be nice to have that money to fly to Sweden to visit my cousin or to feel more economically secure or to… The list goes on, but really none of those things would change the fact that my life is already full. I worried that giving up a third of my income to become a teacher would create a life that felt less abundant, but that could not be further from the case. I now have more time to enjoy abundance as well as a completely different definition of the word.

Tonight I am grateful for the abundance in my life: my family, friends, dog, cat, house, job, coworkers, students, food, yoga, travel, writing, love… My life is incredibly full, especially when I take the time to stop and look. If you haven’t flipped through your 2012 pictures lately, you should. Talk about life compressed into a few captured moments. Abundance, abundance, abundance.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite moments from this year. It was hard to pick.

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Thankfulness Thursday: Three Posts Left…

Three weeks left, so three thankfulness moments:

Each morning this week I’ve awakened a half hour before I need to get out of bed, giving me time to appreciate my snuggling dog and husband. More often than not, I’ve been the middle spoon. Tuesday I lay awake and realized there was nowhere else on earth I would rather be. No where. Sharing one pillow with a dog and a spouse may not seem like heaven to many, but it is to me. Now if only the alarm didn’t have to go off at 6AM…

So grateful for these two guys!

A student in my class wrote me a letter today. She asked me to please talk to her in the same voice she used with me, calm and quiet. Unfortunately, she was caught in the crossfires of some stern words to another student. I did not yell, but I was short with her. Her little note humbled me. Instead of feeling bad I just felt like she was right. I apologized and kept the reminder with me all day. The same student is working on casting a kindness spell on our classroom. Maybe it already worked on me. As long as she keeps her spells positive, I am grateful…

Waiting on my doorstep this evening was a box full of herbal tinctures, vitamins, and teas. I’m on an experimental quest. I’ll spare you the gritty details. Most of us have one medical challenge or another (or maybe multiple). I feel fortunate mine is minor compared to many. However, doctors cannot fix it. Pain killers have been my only option. Recently, I discovered a different path. I’m seeing a woman who combines physical and mental healing with massage and home treatments. Might sound a bit hippie to some, but I feel empowered. Might just transform into a full-on hippie yet. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude…

Today was challenging but writing all that made me feel better. Maybe you should give Thankfulness Thursday a shot too. Only two weeks/three posts until Thanksgiving!

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Don’t forget! Thankfulness Thursday linkup at Domestic Fashionista. It’s funny, I almost wrote about watching some of my students battle writer’s block as we’ve started NaNoWriMo in my classroom. Turns out Ashley over at Domestic Fashionista already had this topic covered for the week! Great minds…

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Thankfulness Thursday: Passion

Tonight I wrote 898 words. 25,000 is my NaNoWriMo goal.

Half as much as everyone else, but that’s okay. Between late afternoon IEP meetings, apple donations, birthdays, weddings, life, that’s about as much as I can handle.

Last year I reached 22,222. Still an accomplishment. The beginning of my first book.

This year something completely different. For now, forget mainstream, commercial fiction, (unless of course you want to pay me for it). This time a novel that at the moment has no genre. We’ll see where it ends up. Tonight, just two lost souls on a rugged Oregon beach. Tomorrow, one might be a vagabond exploring the Pacific Northwest, the other a dark mermaid. Maybe not. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo, it’s unpredictable.

Reminds me of ninjas. All good NaNoWriMo novels have a random ninja somewhere, or at least that is what I have been told. The official welcome letter I read to my students even mentioned ninjas. When I explained that the common NaNoWriMo wisdom is to just add a ninja when you get stuck, they grinned. My last book had a ninja. Or at least a misunderstood joke about a ninja…

So here’s to all the unexpected ninjas this month might bring and to the reminder that starting something new can be fun. Tonight I’m thankful for my passion to write because it takes me on new adventures from the comfort of my couch, with my dog asleep on my left foot and my cat sprawled across my lap, her paw on the keyboard. Doesn’t get much better than this, or at least not for me.

This year’s inspiration from Bandon, OR… If only I could write from here…

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Link up for Thankfulness Thursday @ Domestic Fashionista.

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Thankfulness Thursday: Who do you choose to be?

Part of whatever it is that is happening right now is that I’m learning to be me. We live in an age of extended adolescence. In my case, adulthood is starting at age 29. And, I don’t mean this in a time to buy a minivan kind of way, (no offense to the lovely twenty-something minivan drivers in my life). Instead, I mean this as I’m finally starting to figure out who the heck I am.

I’m a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a writer, an occasional traveler. I’m each of these things because I choose to be, not because I think I should or always will be, (although I hope to be most of these things all my life). I am incredibly grateful to be in the exact place I am right now, even though it is hard and even though I want some things to change. I think that’s the big difference. I used to fight life, to fight all the parts that were hard or not perfect.

Now I see it as part of a general movement in the right direction. I look back five years, things are better despite the bumps along the way. I am optimistic the same trend will continue with faith and a lot of hard work. I’ve got the hard work part down, so really it’s just a matter of maintaining a positive outlook and enjoying the journey, bumps and all.

So, what does it mean to be me today?

It means I write what vibrates in my bones, popular or not. It means mermaids for NaNoWriMo, even if practically every agent on the planet currently claims to hate mermaids. It means yoga in my living room and a make-shift altar on my coffee table. It means Sunday night dinners with my family, coffee dates in sundresses with my best friends, Wednesday nights in my pajamas watching TV with my husband. It means teaching in a way that leaves my heart aching.

I am part hippie, part hipster, part bohemian, part yuppie, part vegetarian-in-training.

As silly as it sounds, today I’m grateful to be me because it took me a very long time to get what that means, even if who I am is still an evolving mess of ideals and dreams. Maybe I’ll always be this way, but that’s alright, I’m starting to get that the labels and the knowing and the destinations aren’t the point.

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Link up for Thankfulness Thursday @ Domestic Fashionista.

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Thankfulness Thursday: School

Sunday I was dreading coming back to work. A week and a half off. Freedom to write, see friends and family, relax. As much as I love my breaks, they create this dichotomy between two worlds, teaching and freedom.  The teaching world is generally just dandy when I’m in the routine and well-rested, but the freedom world makes it really hard to go back for the first few days.

So, I geared up. I reminded myself that no matter how challenging my job may be, my students are a gift. Our time together is a gift. I am so lucky to have them in my life, constantly sharing beautiful little moments with me. I wrote this on my refrigerator, I repeated this to myself all week, they are a gift, they are a gift, they are a gift.

Sometimes, I have to trick myself into positivity.

This week it worked. I also told myself that I’d spend the week looking for things about my job to be thankful for in this very post because I knew it would be a hard week readjusting. And, magic! Knowing I was looking for moments to be grateful for kept me mostly grounded and positive all week, even as my very own Maniac Magee went on one of his wildest day-long adventures yet, (among other very exciting and/or horrifying moments, depending how you look at them).

Lesson of the week: If you’re looking for something to be thankful for, you’ll find it.

1. I actually had fun planning AND teaching my Nanowrimo and water cycle lessons this week. Turns out when you like what you teach, you’re happier!

Funny how I never much liked science as a kid, but now I geek out on teaching it!

2. Even Maniac Magee, (as his name will remain this week), amused me with his antics instead of digging under my skin with his misbehavior. I took it lightly, which helped. And, the fact that he somehow ended up lying on my classroom floor after school, blown over in the wake of his own hurricane, made me smile.

3. Smiles. I missed my students over break, more than I realized. The smiles on their faces when they saw me Monday morning told me they missed me too. This warmed my heart enough to part with my beloved freedom and keep it positive this week.

Today, I’m thankful for the mixed blessing that is my day job, teaching.

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Join the Thankfulness Thursday link-up over at Domestic Fashionista!

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Thankfulness Thursday: Unconditional Love

Autumn sunbeams and floating spider webs above a crystal clear alpine lake,

Warmth and family.

Mom, brother, and one dirty, happy dog.

Driving north on 1-5 Tuesday morning, alone, save for Simon buckled up in the backseat, tears streamed down my face. Headed to visit my mom, who lives three and a half hours away, four words rang true in my head:

I need my mom.

I rarely think those words. I love my mom, yes, but at 29, I rarely think I need her. Realizing these words are still true, I was overtaken by emotion. I need my mom. Words so true tears had to follow.

Separated by time and space, I often forget I need her. We talk less than we should, weekly phone calls stretching into 10 days, 11, 12, sometimes 14. We see each other maybe four times a year. Important visits, but I forget I still need her.

I need that woman who cuts fresh flowers each time I visit, bakes me pies and rubs my head. The woman who plays Scrabble with me and still offers to brush my hair. The very woman who used to call me her baby and carry me around in her arms. Driving alone, I realized I need my mom.

Today I am thankful for a few days in Mt. Shasta, the sun still warm, my mom, my brother, and my dog. Sitting around playing games late into the night. My brother showing me his project with the earth, the cob home he is building, the greenhouse with its foundation, the desk and pile of books alone in the woods. Reminding me of the meaning of unconditional love.

Driving south on I-5 today, rain dotting my dusty windshield, soulful music playing loudly, instead of crying, I smiled and sang at the top of my lungs. Time well spent, reinvigorated, alive. I am thankful for family, our roots strong and connected like trees, unconditional.

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Join in for Thankfulness Thursday and link up your post with Ashley at Domestic Fashionista!

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Thankfulness Thursday: BE BRAVE.

Today is the second installment of Thankfulness Thursday. This week’s theme, be brave.

1. Eight happy little query letters left my computer today as I fought back some serious stage fright. It took courage to press send each time, but I did it! I’m sending them out in batches of eight because eight is my lucky number… 8/8/83, born. 8/8/08, engaged… Big sigh of grateful relief that I got this far.

2. Speaking of engaged, yesterday was my three year wedding anniversary. Today I’m grateful to all the incredible people who made it the happiest day of my life. My family, Alex, and my friends, THANK YOU! It’s funny to admit, I actually had to push myself to be brave to let this day happen. My inclination was to run away and get married with a tiny audience, but I’m so glad we didn’t. I realized in the process that involving others wasn’t about putting on a show, but instead about creating a community of love and support from the people with which we’re grateful to share our lives. Incredibly and humbly thankful for this day and everyone we love.

Three years ago!

Three years later! (Still smiling!)

A big thank you to my glorious family.

And to our glorious friends!

3. One of the bravest people I have ever met is 10. This week, she brought in the Black Eyed Peas track “Where is the Love?” Before playing it for us, she gave the class a little speech about how she chose it because she felt her classmates needed to reflect on how they treat one another at school. She then demanded that students sing along with her and would not stand for any laughter or horseplay. She is my hero this week. I wish I could tell you her whole life story. If you’re anything like me, you’d cry with amazement.

4. Sometimes I try things when I teach that require me to be brave, like taking 30 fifth graders outside to attempt a human model of our solar system. Watching the students laugh as they unsuccessfully tried to orbit the student in the middle (playing the sun) reminded me why I teach. So thankful for that happy little reminder. We’ll try again when it’s not 100 degrees outside…

Studying the planets and creating our own maps of the solar system has been a highlight of our fifth grade year so far.

There you have it. Four things for which I am grateful on this fourth day of October. Thanks again to the lovely Ashley over at Domestic Fashionista for the inspiration and graphic! Wishing you a brave and thankful Thursday.

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