Tag Archives: being grateful

Thankful for Pies and Non-Turkey Trot Early Morning Runs

23 Nov

So there I was feeling all the feels as I made my pumpkin pies in the morning. Remembering the early morning run and being grateful for the fresh air after a good night’s rain.

I was one of the few in the city probably not participating in a Turkey Trot that was up that early. And the quietness of the Thanksgiving morning was a peaceful blanket I was happy to wrap around myself.

I felt the feels and tried to keep that moment with me the entire day … when my mother came over and started her normal mothering observations that immediately make your eyes roll and take deep breaths … when the kids  just lost it because the ever so important golden string was pulled out from the ever so important LEGO Palm tree outdoor set and they couldn’t put it back the “right” way and the arguing felt like forever … when I couldn’t find parking on my own street and had to park three blocks away … when there were too many people in the kitchen and opinions were everywhere … when it felt like we were having a Costanza Festivus Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza instead of the Hallmark moments I imagined everyone posted on Facebook, which is why I don’t check it often anymore.

I closed my eyes and felt the feels of the early morning and remembered the crisp air filling up my lungs. I remembered feeling good just breathing. I remembered my Dad.

I remembered it being my Dad’s favorite holiday and the day I definitely think about him the most. The Diestel turkey was bought in part because we sold hundreds of them every year at the shop and remembered it being my Dad’s preference. Remembered all those long days at the shop when he was alive and the ginormous refrigerator where I was the inventory champ, but still complaining about why I’d always be the one in the freezing temperatures. He’s just smile and say I was younger and should be able to handle it. I remembered the hard days. The long days. The endless paperwork. The stress. And then the relief of sleeping in on Thanksgiving morning.

I remembered driving in his gray Nissan truck, picking up pies, and listening to jazz on the radio as he tapped the steering wheel.

I remembered the pies, and so when I pulled them out of the oven, I knew.  He would have smiled and asked to taste-test it before everyone … you know … just to be sure. I’d probably argue and reason with him, but eventually taste-testing would be an important reason.

And so on the chaotic day where the good, the bad, and the ugly show up at varying levels and different times during the day, I was grateful for moments remembered, moments with pies, moments of loudness with family, and moments of morning quietness in my Non-Turkey Trot run.

I held onto those moments as I remembered my Dad, and I took a deep breath because I missed him. I missed him with everything I got. Then I closed my eyes and sent him some light and love.

And pie.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Buen Camino, my friends!

My Happiness Project Update 12: Finding Gratefulness in Ordinary Days … And Not the Artificial Kind.

5 Sep

Often times people say health. That’s their number one answer. When all else in your life fails — your relationship sucks, you’re unemployed, you’re financially impaired, you’re homeless, your family drives you crazy,  or your life dreams have become reality nightmares — for all this there is one answer. Health. At least you have your health.

Yes! Yes you do.

But some days you want to be grateful for more than just your health. Some days you want to thank the universe or The Big Guy upstairs for something more than just the disease-free 5-foot-4 body. Sometimes you want to be grateful for more than just having two functioning legs, or the fact that you’re not Helen Keller. Although in retrospect being a humanitarian who overcame adversity to graduate college, publish 12 books and hang out with Mark Twain doesn’t sound too bad. The deaf, blind and mute thing … that doesn’t sound great, though.

In any case I want to be able to have more than just my health and kids on my list. I want more grateful items on my daily life list, or even weekly life list. So where did I happen to get some answers? My Happiness Project. Who came with suggestions? Rubin. Gretchen Rubin.

Cover of "The Happiness Project: Or, Why ...

Cover via Happiness-Project.com

Apparently throughout all her research grateful people tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives.

“Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you’re grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more … Gratitude fosters forbearance–it’s harder  to feel disappointed with someone when you’re feeling grateful toward him or her. ”

Yeah I needed a little bit of that. Not because of I’m envious of other people’s success or ungrateful for the small kindnesses that few people bestow upon me. On the contrary, I’m not the Dallas-Dynasty-Telenovela envious type of chick, and I often throw out Marv Albert yeses whenever something good happens to me.

So why did I need more gratefulness? I needed to learn to be more grateful during my ordinary days, and not in a fake or forced way. Rubin suggested a daily gratitude journal, where she wrote three things for which she was grateful. I wasn’t sure I could do this and find three different things every day.

Then I read on … it didn’t work for her. Rubin said that instead of bringing her into a grateful state of mind, this gratitude journal pretty much annoyed her. She too thought it felt forced — artificial.

So she came up with another concept that sort of worked for me too. Gratitude Meditation. Not the kind where you sit in silence in that kindergarten pose and just drive yourself crazy because you’ve been sitting still for the last three minutes staring at your clock that doesn’t seem to move. This is the kind of meditation that you can do while eating some Ben & Jerry’s or sipping a glass of Framboise, preferably in a hammock. But considering that I don’t own one the couch or rocking chair would have to do.

I found during this gratitude meditation that sometimes instead of finding things, people, or events to be grateful for, I found characteristics in myself for which I am grateful. Reminders that kept the ordinary days less crappy. Stuff like … Even though I have an Everybody-Loves-Raymond kind of relationship I’m a good wife who’s extremely patient and understanding; even though I am not employed full-time and making good use of my two college degrees, I get to play baseball and have lunch with my four-year old son and one-year old daughter every day; even though some of my dreams have gotten a dose of reality, my dysfunctional family gives me gray hair, and I don’t have a back yard or walk-in closet, I find humor in life’s sucky moments.

Finding gratefulness in ordinary days has led me to believe that on a scale of 1-to-10, I’m probably an 8.7. I should be grateful for that. Considering all that has happened to me I should be a bitter 4.2, but I’m not. Gratitude meditation, who knew?

One Cure For The Bad-Day Hangover

15 Jun

You wake up in the morning and there it is … life.

Sometimes it’s good to you … so good you that you’re smiling, cracking up and forgetting the crappy part of your existence that surrounds you. Other times you feel like you’re George Costanza and wish you had bottled up that awesome happiness and had it on hand.

This is how it goes.

You do your best to open your eyes and think of something you’re supposed to be grateful for … something … anything that can get you to jump out of bed. But with your bad day hangover, you can’t seem to think of anything spectacular.

You close your eyes again and then it hits you.

Jim. Jim MacLaren.

Who?

Jim … this is his story …

After thinking about Jim, I smacked myself a couple of times and got out of bed. I found a cure for my bad-day hangover, at least for today.

If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, check it out.