Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: gratefulness

What five things are you grateful for today?

#bloganuary Day Ten? Where have I been? Can I join in late? Since I’m the boss of me, I’m going to say, “Yes, you can, young lady. Better late than never!”

What are five things I am grateful for today? Only five?

I can get crazy, so I think I’ll stick to the physical things I can see right now.

grateful

My leather sofa. It’s been almost two years since this beauty arrived from Costco. it’s beautiful and comfy. This is my office. I spend my morning here, reading, writing, and harassing people on Facebook. My feet are up, my head is supported, my butt is warm. I’ve rarely been as happy with a purchase as I have been with this chocolatey sofa recliner.

The green blanket. Technically this belongs to my eldest son. He got it as a gift from my friend’s daughter about…wow…fifteen years ago. It’s a fleece blanket, one of those no-sew, cut and hand-tie things. It’s big and super warm. It covers me every morning and I can’t live without it.

The laptop. A gift from my husband because he believes in me. He gave me this so that I could take myself wherever I need to be to get focused and write the words. He knows that’s one of the things that fuels me and was worried that I was too tied down to my desk, which it not always the best place to work.

The wood fireplace. Ahh…nothing like a woodboring fireplace, right? This one doubles as a stove. You can’t see the fire in it right now because the glass it blackened with use this winter, but it’s super burning and has a fan the recirculates the warm air into the house. I can get this living room up to 85 degrees, easy. I won’t, don’t worry. I don’t like it that hot. How can I use my snuggle blanket if it’s too warm?

My reading glasses. For some reason, I accepted my graying hair long before I believed I really needed reading glasses. I insisted they were printing words in books smaller and smaller. Now that I have embraced the spectacles, I have a pair in every room. I’m looking for a chain to keep a pair around my neck like a little old lady in a movie.

They sound superficial, but if you can’t be grateful for the little things, how can you even start to see the big things!

Thanks for the inspiration LA!

Writing this post reminded me of my “Why I Get Up in the Morning” grateful posts. It’s been almost a year since I made one. Maybe I should bring that recurring post back!

A Love Letter: A Long List of Wins

I don’t have a book quote to riff off of, or a podcast to share. I don’t have some special insight, or some polished bit of advice, not even an anecdote. But I still wanted to write to you today, so I’ve decided to write a love letter to my friends. Let’s see what happens.

Man child doing tech things that I can't possibly understand.
Man Child

Big news: my youngest son found work this week and is now looking for a place of his own, probably just a room at this point. He’ll be leaving our desert again. This time heading for the coast, where all the action is. At this time, he wants to continue his college classes and then transfer to a UC school next year, so he found some restaurant work because of its flexible schedule. He’s a smart one. I’m just happy that he won’t be in another state like the rest of our family. No offense to you guys, I know you’re all doing what’s best for you and that’s awesome, but, yes, if I had my druthers, we’d all live in the same area and party every weekend.

I spent an amazing afternoon with one of my closest friends this week. We went to the Macaroni Grill and ate something so glorious that I can’t keep my mind off it, butternut asiago tortellaci. So good, that I went home and looked up a copycat recipe to see if I can’t recreate this piece of heaven at home. You know how good it was? I usually eat as if someone will take the food away, but this I savored one tiny bite at a time while my friend and I solved all the world’s problems. I told the waiter all about it. And he was another win of this week.

That guy! There were only a couple other people in the restaurant, so he had time to stop and chat. My friend asks great questions, and he seemed happy to stand there and talk to us. I left that restaurant with a renewed faith in the people of this world. Here was another young guy, not unlike my own sons, that had moved all the way across the country to start a cool new life of his own, struggling a bit, like everyone else, but making it and happy. I would have liked to talk more. Why did he come here? And where was he going? We may need to eat there again next week. I think I’m in love.

Here is the biggest win of all: for the first time in my life, I noticed an emotional reaction and consciously chose how I would respond to it. Thank the maker! I’m catching on. Yes, I’m 48 years old and FINALLY starting to have some self-control. I was having a conversation with a friend and something he said just triggered something nasty in me. We don’t need to get into specifics because that’s not the point here. The point is that I actually had (and noticed) a moment where I felt thrown into an emotion.

Have you ever felt that? Something you see or hear just moves your whole soul to a sore point in your life and you feel like it’s brand new? Like…let me see…you burned yourself severely years ago, it’s been healed, a scar is barely visible, but then you see something that puts you right there at the moment and you feel the burn all over again. It really sucks. I’m sure I’ve been in the place before, but in the past, I reacted before I realized what was happening and created a new wound. Same analogy, I felt the burn memory like it was real, scraped at my body to get the heat off and went running for safety.

This time was different. I slowed down for a fraction of a second, took a deep breath and thought, “This is an emotion. Emotions are temporary.” In the next few minutes I thought, “Where did that emotion come from?” Then I sat with it awhile, wrote out the feelings, and moved forward. I didn’t need to be angry. I did mention what I was feeling and why, but I didn’t blame anyone or (my typical MO) snarl and bite like a dog protecting a wound. A few hours later, it was gone, and the journal entry of my process remained. I had done it. Success!

Now, I am well aware that next time might not go so nicely. I’m not a Zen master. But I now know it is possible to do this. And I’ve got one practice under my belt. I’m a happy girl.

Books are a love letter from the past.
The NEW one of the seven bookcases and ME!

There were other things that happened this week, as you can imagine. For a woman that doesn’t have a job and lives away from people, I sure do have a lot of activities. Well, maybe some people wouldn’t call it activity. I’ve been enjoying the company of my son while he is here, had several great text conversations with some friends, helped someone with a homeschooling question, and read and wrote a lot. Oh, and reorganized by books because I got a new bookshelf. I feel peaceful and, what’s the word, together.

And, as if this week weren’t amazing enough, I made another cheesecake from scratch, and it did not crack! First time EVER! This one is extra special because I wanted it to have a chocolate cookie crust and they didn’t have that at the store…so I googled it and made my own like a freakin’ boss!

Can cheesecake be a love letter to your friends? Yes.
Gloriousness in Springform

A special, heart-felt, THANK YOU, to all my readers, the ones I know about and the hidden ones, the likers and the lurkers, the ones that read now and the ones that may read in the future. Thank you for reading my love letter, for allowing me to pour my heart out every day. Thank you for letting me in. Your interest in my humanity is felt every time you visit, and it feeds my soul. If I could, I’d buy you all a round of drinks.

What did you win at this week? I’d love to get a love letter from you!

Why I Get Up in the Morning: My Power is Out Edition

Bare toes poking out from a blanket on the couch.
Heat Exchangers

My Monday morning “Gratitude” post was going to be about waking up before dawn every morning, snuggling down into my corner of the couch, wrapped in a blanket. I’m the happiest girl in the world with a cup of coffee and my toes sticking out from under the blanket like a heat regulator.

The hours before the sun comes up are my most productive, reading-wise. I’m obsessed about it. I have my book, my journal, my glasses, and a pencil ready and waiting on my desk every morning so I don’t have to hunt for them. I regularly wake up thinking, “I could go back to sleep for thirty more minutes but…my book!”

This morning was the same until I looked out the window into the dark desert and saw a glint of white.

Desert snow

It DID snow! The weather report said there was a chance, but I’ve learned not to get my hopes up when it comes to weather predictions in the desert. A 20% chance of rain means nothing around here. Partly cloudy = one cloud drifting across the sky. But this morning, there it was, a fine layer of snow on the dirt everywhere I looked.

I snuggled down into my corner of the couch as usual and then, predictably, as the sun started to come up, the power went out.

…sigh…

That’s the fun of a more rural life. I’m not being sarcastic. It really is. We live just far enough outside the city to make things a bit fun but not too crazy. Dirt roads and driveways lend themselves to the rustic atmosphere but become interesting when it rains more than one day. Snow melting into the dirt and sand is different than snow pushed to the side of paved roads.

Desert snow.

Last night’s snow wasn’t much but when it does snow more than an inch or two the whole town shuts down for the day. It doesn’t happen every year, so we all sit back and enjoy it. The sun will come out and melt most of it away in a few hours. A few days later the wet will evaporate into the air or sink down into the sand. A week later green shoots of grass will show up everywhere and then dry out over the following month. Then we get to watch the rabbits come out to munch.

Snowy desert front yard.
Get out your snow shovels!

As I type, the sun is out, the sky is clear and blue, and there’s a beautiful light blanket of snow everywhere. My husband had begun to brew beer early this morning so when the power went out, he had to drag the generator out of the garage to continue. The wood burning fireplace still burns, but without the electric fan to move the heat around the room the dog and cat have parked themselves in front of it. My laptop works for now. My couch was in the recline position when the power failed and I had just finished brewing a pot of coffee, so I’m good for the morning at least.

The power is never out for long, so there’s no need to stress. It’s just a nice excuse to sit with one more cup of coffee…and my book!


Click over to “Why I Get Up in the Morning – Episode One” and read my first gratitude post. Six months and only fourteen posts? I thought this was going to be a weekly thing! I know…I’m working on consistency in many things. Remember?

These posts were inspired last year by Sagittarius Viking‘s Weekend Coffee Share posts. How did I find her? I don’t remember, but I am also a Sagittarius AND a Viking and I love her posts! Coincidence?!

Why I Get Up in the Morning: Another Gratefulness Post

Why Do I Get Up in the Morning on a snowy background.
That’s mostly melted snow on my windshield but you get the idea!

I haven’t done a gratefulness post in several weeks. It’s not that I haven’t been able to think of any good reason to get up in the morning, though. The last few weeks have been awash with reasons to be happy and joyful. I could just say I’ve been busy, but that’s just an excuse. Maybe I’ve gotten out of the habit? Maybe I just haven’t had a good picture to share? Or maybe I just haven’t had anything exciting enough to share?

I have been busy though and I have gotten out of the habit of writing on certain days. The holiday’s have thrown me off my stride, but I’m slowly getting back on track. I seriously can’t believe that we’re already twenty days into January. My youngest son just reminded me that he’ll be nineteen in less than two months. That can’t be possible. We were just celebrating his 18th a few weeks ago.

I know. It’s cliché to talk about time moving so quickly, but jeepers, people! Stop the planet!

I should probably get to the answer to the question. Why DO I get up in the morning?

I’m grateful to be able to drive up to a mountaintop and watch the storm come in!

The news told me all week that a big storm was coming. We’d get rain, they said, lots of it. And probably snow too! They lied or they were wrong, which leads me to a whole other line of thought. But no matter, I still got to drive up and see the clouds come in.

I got up early, packed some stuff, and headed up the mountain Southwest of us to see if I could get a hike in before it really started to come down. It was beautiful. Standing there on the hillside, the cold air making my nose run. I should have brought my cool Russian hat my son got me last year!

Picture of a dead pinion pine.
Alien Antlers

It was bright and sunny when we started but the clouds started to pour over the hills and into our little canyon as we walked, taking funny pictures and sharing stories about how the plants got there and why this dead tree was laying there…ok, those were my stories, but they were funny and that could have been a giant prehistoric or alien elk antler, you never know.

A few flakes of snow started to blow across the canyon, and I started to get excited. Then it got colder! And by the time we got back to the truck, it was coming down nicely. I mean, those of you that live in places where it really snows all winter probably wouldn’t call this snowfall, but to desert dwellers, any storm is an event. The possibility of rain is nice and when there’s snow in the forecast we get pretty wound up.

Picture of me in the snow.
These are January snowflakes
so I can eat them.

We sat in the truck watching the flakes fall and the wind blow them around in the bed a while. They floated down and melted on my windshield and hood. It was pretty. When they started to pile up on the edges of the windows, I made my exit!

Gratefulness Abounds

We added another thing to be grateful for when we headed down the mountain again into the lower desert for some hot soup to warm our fingers! Mmm…Panera…

If you’re curious where we were, it’s called the Cahuilla Tewanet Scenic Overlook. There are lots of signs to read and the short trail is beautifully maintained. No bathrooms or picnic area, but it’s a nice place to stop for a few minutes.


Oh wow! My last gratefulness post was over a month ago! And it was about being outside too.
Why Do I Get Up in the Morning? Hiking in the Desert

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