30 Days of Gratitude–Day 11

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for my stepdaughters, Sydney and Sophie.

This photo is a couple of years old, but it’s what I had available.
From left to right: Steve, me, Sydney, Sophie

The above photo is one of my favorites. On a complete and utter whim (after a bit of bourbon) I thought it would be fun to get dressed up and have a photo taken. Our neighbor kindly came over to take a few pictures.

They are truly remarkable young ladies. Completely different from each other. But both a lot of fun. Sydney is a junior in college and Sophie is a junior in high school. They are both really into choir. Sophie even does gigs around town, playing her ukulele and singing.

Movies, books, and TV shows have, I think, done a really bad job with blended families. They portray all of the drama and bad stuff, and sometimes it winds up being all right in the end. That could not be further from my experience. I was completely braced for impact, but from the beginning these young women have welcomed me into their lives.

It’s a lot of fun having them around. Especially for the holidays, though I’m sure it’s stressful for them zipping back and forth to do stuff with both their dad and my family and their mom and her family. But we make it work. For me, I come from a small family, so it’s nice having more people around. Plus, Sydney and Sophie will play and sing a couple of Christmas carols for us (I may have told them that they have to sing for their meal).

It’s difficult to know what else to say because I obviously want to respect their privacy. I’ll leave it at blended families are good and I got lucky by gaining two sweet stepdaughters.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 10

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for the yoga poses that I hate. Namely chair, any variety of plank, and core work.

This means that I work them into almost all of my classes.

As one of my students mentioned, the poses we want to avoid are the ones we need to do the most.

I am thankful for these poses because they mean that I have pushed my body and have found its limits, even if they’re “just” mental aversions to discomfort. (I put “just” in quote marks because nothing is rarely ever just anything)

These poses mean I have something to work on.

And I think it’s important for me to be open with my students about my own struggles with yoga because makes me more relatable, less intimidating.

My students agree. They’re happy when I’m unable to balance in Tree or Warrior 3. Not necessarily because they like to see me fall. But because they say it makes me one of them.

I think this is an issue in yoga. I think as students we have certain expectations of our teachers that are really unrealistic and kind of unfair to both parties. But that’s another post for another time.

Today I am thankful that I am still a student.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 9

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for writing. Particularly the struggle of writing.

I decided to participate in something called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short and NaNo for even shorter), wherein you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s not supposed to be perfect or even good, you’re just supposed to write the bones of a story, then edit it into something good (if you want).

It’s not going well for me.

For years, I have gone back and forth on fiction writing. I love reading novels, of course, but for a while I’ve felt more drawn to writing non-fiction, particularly essays. Writing fiction is a struggle for me. I have my moments where I am happy with what I write and I feel the energy necessary to see a project through to completion. Then I have my moments where I hate it and want to throw it all away, walk away.

But that’s just it. There’s something about the struggle that makes me want to do it, that makes me unable to walk away forever.

I’ve participated in NaNo a number of times over the years, but I’ve never completed the challenge of 50,000 words. Yet each year, I am back at the starting line, hopeful that this will be the year. And maybe it will be. I finally stumbled across an idea that ties together a lot of the threads I’ve started in my fiction writing.

I’m grateful for that struggle, that compulsion that keeps me coming back to try again and again.

What are you grateful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 8

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for the peace I cultivate during my yoga practice. I’ve turned to yoga a number of times when my life has been in turmoil. I recently became a teacher in order to give back what yoga has given me–and that’s inner peace.

When I step on my mat, I’m able to let go of my to-do list for a while. I don’t think about what went wrong earlier in the day or what needs to be fixed later. I go into a zone, where all that exists is in that very room. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have love for my life. But I’m able to focus on myself for that time so that I can give more later.

Credit from Pinterest

When I step off of my mat, I feel a bit of lightness, even as everything else hits me. I am able to approach any madness with a bit of calm. This lightness was extremely important to me several years ago when I hated my job and began attending a lunchtime yoga class. That yoga class quite possibly saved the lives of anyone who encountered me for the next day or two.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 7

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am grateful for my Kindle. I’ve already expressed how much I love reading by discussing some of my favorite authors. But today I want to focus on a medium.

I love how I can easily carry hundreds of books on one device. It’s super convenient when I travel, even if I’m just going across town. I’m not locked into one book–as a mood reader, who changes books depending on how I’m feeling, this is really important! And I’m not carrying ten books in my luggage. (That’s not to say I travel without physical books, but I don’t have to bring a bunch of options)

I go through phases where I wake up at night and can’t get back to sleep. My Kindle allows me to read in bed until I fall asleep without disturbing Steve. I’m able to dim the brightness and occupy my mind. There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning.

Plus it’s super convenient to get a new book instantaneously without leaving the house.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 6

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am grateful for the internet. Very broad and sweeping, I know. But I derive a lot of benefits from the internet, as I’m sure most of us do.

In my time on social media and blogging, I’ve made some great friends online. We chat regularly about our common interests (namely, books), but we also begin having side conversations about other commonalities. I ask a couple of them about yoga teaching issues. I ask some of them about how to deal with Joan Didion’s issues.

I am grateful for all of the knowledge readily available through Google. I constantly look up yoga stuff, kitten stuff, recipes, books, movies, and easily find the answers to so many different questions. Yes, sometimes I get nostalgic for spending twenty minutes debating with a friend about something you can now easily Google. But it is nice to be able to get quick answers.

I am grateful for online shopping. I live in a small town. The nearest city is 45 minutes away. Online shopping has opened up so many worlds for me.

I could go on and on about all of the ways the internet makes my life easier, but I won’t.

What are you grateful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 5

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for coffee on a Saturday morning. There’s just something better about coffee on a Saturday morning (or really any morning) when you know the whole day is free for relaxation. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. Or you can go anywhere and do anything. It’s all up to you.

I don’t know who made the image, but the words are from Gilmore Girls

Me, I’ll probably spend the day reading, with music or football on in the background. Hopefully eat something really cool for lunch. The day is pretty wide open.

My morning coffee is a ritual for me. I wake up and while my Keurig is doing it’s wake up thing, I cut up some chicken for Joan Didion. I brew 2 pods of coffee in whatever mug matches my feeling for the day–I collect coffee mugs, so I have an eclectic assortment–then I sit on the couch, usually with the lights off, and slowly wake up the rest of the way. By the time I do that, it’s time for a third pod. I usually start working on something at this time–reading, writing, checking email. Some days there’s a fourth pod.

I love the silence and the stillness while I drink coffee.

I don’t meditate while I drink (meditation is hard for me and I’m too foggy brained).

I just exist.

And that existing is all I need in that moment.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 4

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for my favorite writers. I have loved reading since I was a child. I bring a book with me everywhere, even the grocery store. I read to learn new things, to gain new perspectives, to meet new characters, and to escape. I believe that there is a power in books and stories and that our ability to communicate through the generations and cultures is absolutely invaluable.

Some of my favorite writers (it’s an evolving list):

  • Cheryl Strayed
  • David Sedaris
  • Zadie Smith
  • Caitlin Moran
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Ann Patchett
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Stephen King
  • Patti Smith

I am sure I am leaving so many off the list. It was really difficult to name names because so many books have moved me in imperceptible ways over the years. Also, it was hard to come up with a list on the spot.

It’s a short, simple post today, but my books are my prized possessions. Mention a book and you have a surefire way to get me involved in a conversation. Books are powerful.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 3

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


Today I am thankful for my kitten, Joan Didion.

Joan Didion, 5 months, with her beloved Ratsy

Joan Didion appeared in our front flower bed on the 4th of July. We noticed her as my uncle was headed out. After a long day of celebrating with family and wine, I had the bright idea of feeding her. Steve and I are not cat people. Yet Joan Didion grew on me. She and Steve have their moments.

Joan Didion appeared just as I was beginning my yoga teacher training. I initially viewed taking care of her as an ongoing act of seva, or selfless service, to further my yoga journey.

At that point in time, she was an outdoor cat.

She remained an outdoor cat for a grand total of 5 days.

I am a softy.

Honestly, though, taking her in probably saved her life. She was just 6 weeks old when we found her. It’s advised for kittens to stay with their mothers for 8 weeks. We don’t know what happened with her littermates or parents or former owners. (Lesson: spay and neuter your pets!)

She has a nice life now. Toys, food, clean water, veterinary care, and a bed. She loves playing with Perrier lids. She likes playing with chunks of chicken or ham before devouring them.

She’s been a good friend and companion. Though I’d really appreciate it if she’d stop scratching the blue chair and ottoman!

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude–Day 2

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a personal challenge to be more aware of all of my blessings in life, I am writing a post about one of those blessings every day for the 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Some will be serious. Some will be silly. But they will all mean something to me personally. I invite you to join in, in the comments, in your own writing space, or simply in your head. So often we take for granted how much we have to be thankful for. It’s good to stop, reflect, and remember.


I am thankful for my InstantPot. (I told you we’d get a little silly here)

I just made a wonderful pot of chili for lunch, so I’m probably ultimately reflecting on how thankful I am for the amazing food that I eat on a regular basis. I am very fortunate that mine and Steve’s work schedules allow us to eat lunch together most days. I am fortunate that Steve and I are both good cooks. I am fortunate that we both like to try new things and cherish our old favorites, such as this chili.

Food is my love language. I love cooking for the people I care about. I love trying new foods and I love making new foods. To me, there’s nothing better than kicking back over a meal with a couple of drinks, enjoying time with your loved ones.

Whenever I get ready to travel, I research the places to eat. I don’t want to miss anything amazing.

Back the the InstantPot. I love how I can get a list of ingredients ready and set the delay timer. We had an amazing pot roast not long ago that I was able to set to start cooking at 3:00 am. The chili today–I was able to get that cooked entirely in the InstantPot because mine has the browning feature and I was able to get it cooked in less than an hour with the pressure cooker setting.

I owe so many fabulous meals to the InstantPot. It is convenient. It is hardworking. It makes my house smell good.

Scoping it back out, I am grateful for all of the wonderful meals I have been able to share with the people I care about.

What are you thankful for today?