Tag Archives: gratitude

Wednesday Words

2 Sep

Gratitude.

Even with a back injury laying me out for the past five days there were those yet moments where gratitude still snuck in, I mean you can’t be angry and frustrated while feeling grateful at the same time.

Icy Hot

Advil

Heating pads

Yoga mats for hardwood floors

Walking.

80’s music

Grateful that my back didn’t go out until after my friend’s birthday car parade. Purple balloons bring happiness. Seeing her and her family was reward enough, but I was blessed to catch the sunset on the way home.

Buen Camino my friends!!

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Feel Good Friday on a Saturday … 5 Before 45

25 Jul

I made an appointment with myself this morning.

I mean, I make doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, coach’s meetings, practice sessions, camping arrangements. That was all prior to Covid-19. Now I make virtual meetings, virtual campouts, virtual summer camps, virtual book club, virtual everything. I make the everything appointments.

Everything but myself.

Haven’t done too many of those when we’re all supposed to be hunkered down. There’s little room here.

But needed a moment to think.

So I found some space. Something big was happening and I needed to clear my head. I needed a moment with myself to do something without the kids. So I woke up just at the same time the sun did, laced up my Saucony running shoes for the last time as a 44-year old.

I try to make time stop, slow it down on the last day. I try to get just one moment that day, do something fun, something Zen, something that makes me laugh, something that makes me feel good, like waking-up-early-to-watch-Saturday-morning-cartoons-when-I-was-a-kid good. Something with that vibe. Gives me perspective on the day before I turn one year older. I like to pause.

Early is the way to go when you’re trying to avoid people. Not too many feel the need to rise on up on Saturday morning. Not even myself. But today I did. And it was a good thing.

After I sprinted the last 200 yards with my heart pounding, trying to catch my breath, I felt it. I crossed my imaginary finish line marked by the parking sign and the sweat falling underneath my Cal Bears cap.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. And there it was, between the heartbeats. Brief. But it was there for me, a moment to be present, a moment of gratitude, a moment of pause. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and feeling the sun. 44 was leaving. But the mixed tape that went with it was worth it.

I don’t know what year 45 around the sun looks like, I know it will include Ben & Jerry’s that’s for sure. I’m celebrating the ending of year 44 with pint. But if year 45 is better than year 44, then I’m doing a good job. Moment by moment. Step by step.

 

Katrina and the Waves — Walking on Sunshine

 

La Sonora Dinamita — Se Me Perdio La Cadenita

UB40 — The Way You do The Things You Do

 

Los Tucanes de Tijuana — La Chona

 

Phil Collins — That’s All

 

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Buen Camino my friends!

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Weekend Moments on Wednesday

22 Jul

When I saw the crowds I thought this was a terrible mistake. We should have woken up earlier, we should have gone to some remote beach at daybreak.

But we wanted something different, something a little special. Nowadays little special somethings go a long way. The Great Outdoors has always afforded me an opportunity to do that, but because of the current pandemic situation, life has been limited.

Crowds are something that isn’t, unfortunately.

When you’re at a concert or game they’re great! You feel the vibe and energy. But when I was trying to find peace. Not so much. Even before the pandemic. Crowds burned me out. The beach. The Park. Morning runs. Lakes. I avoided them. Or at least tried.

So I was grateful for the long hike up the mountain, even though I wasn’t a fan of hiking, it proved to be a good step back, for a positive forward move. You see, not many people managed that. Most of the crowd walked a couple yards and stayed close to the road or parking. Half a football field, I guess. Their lack of exercise was my gain. As most people didn’t want to hike up the mountain and venture further up. The fact that they weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks was concerning. I thought this outing was going to be a disaster. But turns out the more we hiked the less people we found. The hidden nature escape appeared.

The Outdoors became the Kodak moment that made the day better. A recharging station for when your depleted spirit needed it most.

Something about nature turned it around. Especially when we discovered a surprise…

Waterfalls bring smiles. Especially on a 12th birthday.

The entire adventure helped bring about some wonderful firsts, like first time fishing in a river, first time losing the fishing pole and swimming against the current in the cold deep to retrieve it, first time hiking to a waterfall, and first time cooling off underneath it.

First time bucket list adventures with the kids stayed with me and granted us moments of gratitude that still linger.

Buen Camino, friends!

Feel Good 5 Friday

3 Jul

Gratitude filling up my glass this week, but it was topped off on Friday. I got the feels from the mixed tape jams that made their way through the airwaves of my radio and my phone.

I don’t plan the list, it finds its way to me as the universe tries to re-energize my life when I’m down and keep my spirits high when I’m riding the wave of goodness. Different songs every week drop. They make me smile, dance, and feel good. I mean Chayanne c’mon, Supertramp, and Amii Stewart all give anybody feel-good dance vibes. And I know Eddie Floyd sang it first with soul, but I love Stewart. Saucy funk.

And Bill … man, Bill Withers is the man. So smooth. Got the soothing-everything-is-gonna-be-OK vibe.

But sometimes it may not even be a song but a moment, a person, a shared story, or art piece that warms my heart. So I share it with you on a Friday so that I spread the sunshine your way and it hangs on into the weekend.

The songs provide that healing vibe with their time traveling magic of my youth.

However, the one, the one that rocked my world, gave me chills, and had the kids completely engaged was not from the past but from the present originating in the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

I was supposed to see Hamilton this summer as we finally got tickets to the show, but Covid struck it down as all performances got cancelled. But July 3rd marked the day that many waited up until midnight to experience its awesomeness.

We were one of those families, but we waited until our virtual watch party started in the early Friday evening.

This writing, this performance, these songs and rap battles … the talent inspired. Nothing like seeing theatre live, but I was grateful to see it performed, regardless.

Chayanne – Provocame

Supertramp — Goodbye Stranger

Bill Withers — Lovely Day

Amii Stewart — Knock on Wood

Hamilton — Tony Awards

Buen Camino my friends!

Feel Good 5 Friday … on Saturday

20 Jun

Starting to trim it down. The unnecessary. That’s what Covid is doing for some people under quarantine. The stuff you thought was so important matters less. Substance makes its way to the front.

Finding little moments and bringing gratitude into the fold make the days count.

Feel Good 5 Friday wrapped up in music and feel-good vibes. The kind of tunes that get your shoulders grooving and your feet bumping. I got the funk of the 70s making its way back to me and filling my morning runs and walks with the bellbottom vibes I need to keep the spring in my step.

But I also got some Latin flavors from an epic band that remind me of my youth and doing chores to their music. Flashbacks of vacuum cleaners, sponges, and Ajax accompanied this song so as not to make mundane housework so dreadful. And the twist from one music icon honoring another inspired me this week. That kind of music and performance and feeling make you want to do better. To rise.

And those moments were good to listen to and to watch. But I had something extra special to highlight of Feel Good 5 Friday.

Everyone has at least one moment during the week where something, or someone, made them smile. We need some of that at this time and I found an undiscovered wave of goodness a couple of weeks ago but wanted to highlight it today.

Tabitha Brown. Have you heard of her?

She’s what I need during this quarantine She spreads smiles and goodness with her warmth and safe advice, like if I want to add more garlic then I should because as Tabitha says it’s my business.

Now I’m no vegan or vegetarian, but this lady right here, makes me want to double up on my daily 5. She makes the day. She’s the girl you want to hang out with for sure.

And after I’ve done some cooking and gotten my good vibes from Tabitha the tunes that gave me the warm and fuzzies kept me going when I couldn’t find a smile.

Earth Wind and Fire -Let’s Groove

Kool and the Gang -Ladies’ Night

Los Angeles Azules

Sting singing Bruce- Rising

Tabitha Brown

Father’s Day tomorrow … hoping all the Dads have a good one 🙂

Buen Camino my friends!

This Mother’s Day Banking on Small Moments, No Chores, and Mixed Tape Soundtracks

9 May

Wishing so much to travel and be outdoors with nature this Mother’s Day Weekend, and not being able to is a bummer. Not devastating mind you, just a bummer. This is the one day out of 365 days where it’s all right to think of myself and not feel guilty.

One day.

24 hours.

Now granted I have to go on a cleaning marathon the day before with the bathrooms, the laundry, the vacuum, the mop, and the dishes, but at least that gives me a day of nothing on Sunday. Can’t say what’s waiting for me on Monday, but Sunday is clear.

24 hours.

I’ll take it.

Even if it’s indoors.

Usually I’m sitting at the ballpark cheering for my Boys in Blue hanging with my family, enjoying the sunny day and loving the little moments in between the Big League hits. The smiles of my kids as we finally reach our seats, the view of the field with newly cut grass cut in patterns, the high fives when home rubs make an appearance, the walk-up-to-the-plate songs, the bloopers on the Jumbotron, the seventh inning stretch, Clayton pitching, Justin swinging away, and Max making great plays.

But I know this isn’t for everyone.

I know some people go all out in their Sunday best with fancy church hats and heels to champagne brunch and that’s super great! Maybe I’ll do that one day.

But I’m good with jeans and a baseball cap, Dodgerdog, peanuts, and a special beverage. Simple things like that always made my day. They make me smile. Everything but the parking situation makes me smile. That’s just a whole lot of patience required after all the goodness … but it’s kind of like a regular mom day. Highs and lows.

But if my team wasn’t in town I’d drive down to the beach and spend the day with the waves, boogie boarding, feeling the ocean wash over my toes, and hanging out underneath my red Tommy Bahama umbrella. Soaking up the sun and feeling the magic that comes with living near an ocean is something that always makes me feel good Mother’s Day Weekend.

Either way I’d have a plan, and this time, even though I can’t enjoy the Great Outdoors, or cheer my Boys in Blue to celebrate my momness, I still have a plan, I guess. Just a little different this time around.

I mean I can’t say I’m angry about it at all. I’m healthy, kids are healthy. We have each other, we have family. We have food, shelter, and what we need. We haven’t suffered a Covid-19 tragedy, we’ve been one of the lucky ones. Don’t live in epicenters like New York, but just in my city alone, not my state, but my city there’s been over 30,000 cases. I recently heard that someone I went to school with died from it. Age 44. Just like that.

So even though there’s no Mother’s Day celebration I’m grateful that we’ve been lucky. Being careful and following rules have helped us out, because sometimes even when you do the right thing, there are others that don’t, and it puts everyone at risk. Even the young healthy 44 year-old guys who have little daughters.

So the fact that I’ll have restrictions this Mother’s Day doesn’t necessarily burst my bubble. It’s not miserable. It’s an opportunity to make another good story. As in, you remember the time there was the Coronavirus and we were sheltering in place, but we still rocked that Mother’s Day?

Making stories is what keeps us going. When looking back most of the time they’re the more interesting or funny stories. Sometimes they’re sad, that’s true, but most times in retrospect they’re not. They bring smiles and laughter at how you can’t believe how you got through it all. Your resolve impresses you.

It’s a date on a calendar to be recognized, yes. But celebrations can wait until it’s safe. There will be so many celebrations when this is all over. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still life, and adventure just a different way of going about it.

There will be chocolate. Definitely. Chocolate and maybe a scenic drive where we can enjoy panoramic views from the highway while listening to our own soundtrack. This year, this Mother’s Day we’re banking on the little things, small moments, a mixed tape, and no chores done by me.

But until then I send you sunshine and waves from months and months ago 🙂

Buen Camino!

The Stumbler … That’s Me … But I Laced-Up My Shoes Anyway

1 Jan

A setback is nothing but a comeback in disguise … that gave me a little umph to push it over the hill. Even with a crappy 60 days close to the end of my 365-day tour around the sun  I still managed to have at least one positive moment each month.

It’s difficult to see the positive when the current existence seems so crappy, but in the moments between your breaths you find something that pulls you out. A good-time-noodle-salad moment, an Andy Dufresne moment, a silver-linings playbook moment, a Zen-moment, or a Gatorade-moment.

Looking back on it I was 12 for 12. 12 months 12 new experiences. I was grateful to have tried new adventures. It helped me step out of the box and create new perspectives for growth, change, and hope. But more importantly it didn’t feel forced. It was opportunity. And at the end of it, I was different each time. Not a dramatic shift, because making cake pops for the first time isn’t mind-blowing, but it does give you a better understanding of the show Nailed It and how I too can do that at home.

Trying new adventures created a shift. As I stumbled through life and weaved through the cracks of this cobble-stoned yellow-brick road, which I thought would be smoother, I learned that these new adventures pushed me along the path. Sometimes when you’re at the bottom learning a new skill gives you a sense of pride that’s waning. Now I’m not saying these new adventures were easy and I was picking up all kinds of new skills. Taking a coding class and learning to speak Italian was extremely challenging, still is, but it added stock to my life.

It pushed me to keep taking it one step at a time.

And sometimes that’s what you need because when you feel like you’re failing digging deep helps you stand up again. And what I was reminded of throughout this journey was that I am a Stumbler. And the stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than everybody else, she does it by being better than she used to be. That’s me.

” … courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm … “

Churchill coined that one and I was glad to have heard it on a podcast because I was beginning to lose my giddy-up.

But I found it before it was too late. I had my Andy Dufresne moment. I found gratitude in new adventures. I hung on by finding gratitude in undiscovered talents. I was able to take a step again because I found gratitude in comeback stories.

So turning the corner before starting the new year was a blessing. I laced-up my running shoes after falling off the hurdle again, and again, and again, which incidentally happened in real life back in my youth, but currently unfolding metaphorically in life now.

But my point? I finished strong both times. Out of breath, with my hands on my head, looking at the skies above and a smile on my face. I reached up with my right hand, and there they were, my Dad and Uncle Erick high-fived me from the heavens on finishing the race.

Thank you Beth, Cayman, and Susie for checking in during the fall.

Happy New Year my friends!

And of course Buen Camino …

Alive … Alive in Wet Sweatpants

13 Mar

From what I can remember … it’s only the third time I’ve peed in my pants.

Laughing and jumping rope sort of get things started. But it’s not a full-blown-change-your-pants-kind-of situation. Although it happens to a lot of moms. But near-death experiences seem to result in the change-of-clothes situation for me.

I blame it on coconut shavings from the Pinkberry toppings counter and baby carrots, and the fact that it’s dangerous for me to eat these things when I’m alone. Apparently it’s not safe for me to do so, and I certainly can’t do it while I’m walking upstairs either.

Life lessons. They’re important. Chewing is important.

It’s been proven as I had my life replay in slow motion because I’ve lacked perfecting this skill still.  Kodak snapshots coming into focus like Polaroids ran through my mind today as I gasped for air. I busted down the bedroom door like the leader of a S.W.A.T. Team gesturing for my napping mother to smack my back. I didn’t mean to scare the crap out of her, but I did. I tried to assure her that I was all right, I just needed her to smack me because gasping for air is no joke.

Carrots, like the coconut shavings on top of Pinkberry frozen yogurt, can go down the wrong way and block your windpipe or whatever tube allows you to breathe. Thus leaving you pondering about your life while someone is slapping you on the back.

After a couple of minutes, which felt like the longest minutes in this time-space continuum, I spit, I coughed, I peed, and then I spit some more until the airway cleared up.

It was scary for a minute there, and it was something that had people concerned. But once I caught my breath, a huge wave of relief filled me up.

I wasn’t dying.

Not today anyway.

Just needed to change my pants.

The force of my coughs was so powerful, the will for me to get air was so strong that it overpowered my bladder and just emptied it out. And I laughed, because it was funny. And because I could breathe.

I was alive.

Alive in wet sweatpants and that’s all that mattered.

I wasn’t looking for the meaning of life afterward, or anything like that, but I was in a deep state of gratitude for being able to get through that one. I was grateful to have hugged my kids that day, grateful that my mother was hear to smack my back, grateful that I have a strong will to survive, grateful that I remembered pieces of happiness in my life and knowing full well that I wanted more of them, grateful that I was grateful.

I remembered my most recent moment of zen and I took a deep breath. It was a good image to remember, has a funny adventure attached to that picture but that’s a story for another day … today … today I share the picture that brought me zen in my wet sweatpants, so I share it with you and hope it brings you good vibes.

 

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Hiking brings you Zen moments sometimes.

 

Buen camino my friends!

Nature’s Hideouts

13 Oct
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During a hike I had to take a minute and appreciate nature’s hideouts.

The rejuvenating powers of nature work its magic when you’re hiking, biking, or running the trails. Probably why I’m a big fan of Bear Grylls and his adventures. They inspire the exploration of the Great Outdoors.

Granted you don’t have to jump out of helicopters or rappel down cliffs as Grylls does to appreciate the beauty and magnitudal effect nature can have on you.

Living in the city, I’m still able to find nature’s hideouts and be wowed by its effect.

Sometimes the experience is so great that I end up in the moment and forget to snap the shot. Other times I catch up and I’m lucky enough to remember.

Photographer Louie Schwartzberg’s short Tedx Talk Gratitude speaks about his project Gratitude Revealed. He captures these breathtaking shots of nature as well as the connection and gratitude he feels being surrounded by it. These time lapse captures took time and patience. When he put them together in the film with the older gentleman’s narrative  the reaction, including my own, was a collective appreciation of the day and its possibilities.

It connected you with parts of the world that made you mindful that you’re part of something much bigger. Reminding you of the blessings that come with the day was the backdrop of the landscape.

Living in a big city, it’s important to find nature’s hideouts and escape in the early morning before I tackle the day. Watching Schwartzberg’s talk reminds me of the importance of mindfulness and the place that helps me get to that frame of mind faster is within nature and any of its hideouts within the city.

 

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

 

What Matters Most

16 May

I’m not gonna lie … While everyone smiled and said things were good or great with enthusiasm and shared happy faces on social media, it was just all right for me.

Not a 24-hour marathon of spectacular. But I did have moments, and at the end of the day, when other people had tried to bring me down during the day, or made backhanded comments, or strangers were just rude, irritating, or projecting their negative attitude onto me, I still was able to remember those feel-good moments.

I settled in for the night and realized it wasn’t really a failure of a day, if I had moments like these.

You see most Mother’s Days are supposed to be stress free. They’re the one day you’re not supposed to do stuff. No dishes. No chores. No stress. All day something good, to know … Hey … I know what you do is hard and you’re appreciated. And at the end of the day when I found the cool side of my pillow, I realized the most important people in my life gave me moments like that, so it didn’t matter what other people said or did. My kids gave me something genuine and I stopped long enough to realize it, and that felt good.

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In the midst of things not falling into place this weekend and it not being a Facebook worthy adventure (even though I don’t post anything on there to begin with) I was grateful for the bowl of awesome Honey Nut Cheerios that was fixed up for me by my Nick Jr. Squad here. I was thankful for the cards created out of paper and crayon, written in their best fourth and first-grade writing. I was happy to see the ceramic purple and turquoise uneven masterpieces that melted my heart. I was glad it stopped sprinkling and the sun came out just as we got to the baseball field, just in time to enjoy Plan B and watch the players take the field.

These were the moments that I thought about at night. They might have seemed small to other people but turned out to be Big Time for me. I hope moms out there were able to find something in their day to hold onto, even if it was just one thing. It’s hard to find it sometimes, especially when you’re surrounded by everyone’s spectacular, amazing adventures caught online.

But don’t worry about what you see out there, sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes it’s just for show. It’s all flash and no substance. Thinking about what you’re grateful for and finding the moments that made you smile or pause throughout the day will be what fills you up. It will be what matters most, and what you remember.

So Buen Camino my friends! I hope all the moms out there had a good weekend.