Simple Pleasures

Finding the simple pleasures of daily life despite FM

A Grateful Heart January 11, 2014

Filed under: Revelations,Simple Pleasures — naturegirl1966 @ 9:59 AM
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My friend Jill posts each day on Facebook a fortune cookie quote. Todays fortune by Melody Beattie really resonated with me as it read, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” I have found this to be so true and yet it is not something I just automatically do. I have to really tune in to being grateful for all I have to notice the small things that make my life that much sweeter. One example of this is that each morning during the week, without fail, my husband brings me a hot cup of tea. Doesn’t take a lot of effort and he probably doesn’t think anything of it, he just simply does it because he knows how much I enjoy it and that it starts my day off on the right note. I always say thank you but I don’t always savor the act and his generosity of heart in doing it and that is where I miss the opportunity to acknowledge my gratitude. This is something I’m really trying to work on as it will not only benefit my life but those around me as well.

Our hearts are full of good fortune

Our hearts are full of good fortune

I believe gratitude is infectious. When I see people exhibiting their gratitude it makes me sit up and take notice, of the act they are grateful for as well as the acts in my own life that I need to be grateful for. Last night my son came to me while I was on the computer and exclaimed, “Momma I set up a whole war in my room using all my guys. Will you please come see?”. I was busy, trying to get some things done but the light in his eyes drew me in and so I responded in the positive that of course I would come. The smile that lit up his face was worth a million bucks to me. We wandered into his room and sure enough he had the massive green army on one side and the smaller beige army on the opposite side of the plastic bob-wire fence, tanks at the ready and the green army’s jet ready to take flight. It was pretty impressive I have to say. He explained to me why he’d set up each area as he did, what he thought was sure to be the outcome of the war, etc. I was so impressed by his creativity. I laid down on the floor and said, “Let’s go… it’s war!” and started to pick up my beige guys (of course I had to let him have the huge green army since they are his to begin with) and attack his green ones. His joy was evident and soon I was under siege and getting massacred by a multi-force attack. The bob-wire fence was being mowed down by his tanks, the jet was swooping in and knocking my guys right off their feet and wouldn’t you know it just when I was down to two guys in swooped another force from the hallway with an alien orb that took out both our armies… it was Daddy. I guess he couldn’t stand all the fun Joey and I were having and just had to get in on the action. My heart was full with gratitude for the familial moment in time and the love and camaraderie we were sharing. It’s moments like this that I want to take stock of, to hold in my heart, and to be grateful for on a daily basis.

I used to keep a gratitude journal at one time when I was very depressed just to help me focus on whatever joys may have been present in my day. Some days were much harder than others to realize and acknowledge five things that I was grateful for but what I found was that there were always at least five when I really took stock of my day. It might have been something as simple as the sun shining that day, or a phone call from a friend. It could have been an unexpected card in the mail with $20 telling me to have lunch on them or to treat myself to a new book. It didn’t matter really what it was so much as my ability to see it with clear, unobstructed eyes and heart. I often think that I need to take that practice back up, to jot at the end of each day five things that have touched me in a positive way that day. I know when I do this that indeed my denial can turn into acceptance, chaos can become order, confusion is transformed into clarity. I know that gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend and I for one am very grateful for the ability to be able to acknowledge that and to make sure it is implemented in my life. How will you acknowledge all that you have to be grateful for today?


Share Your World – Week 1 January 9, 2014

Filed under: Share Your World — naturegirl1966 @ 10:49 AM

In my effort to write more I am committing to doing the Share Your World challenge for the entire year this time. So here goes with week 1. (Thank you Cee for doing this as it gives me ideas and topics to expand on.)

Share Your World – 2014 Week 1

What are some of your favorite type of proteins to eat? (meat, eggs, soy, cheese, nuts)

So simple for me – cheese. I love soft cheeses, hard cheeses and have passed that love along to my son. We love nothing better to go into those high-end stores and try the samples offered.

Are you a morning or night person?

I used to be a morning person but am finding as I age I’m becoming grumpier in the morning until I have that first cup of sweetened hot tea. Can’t say I’m a night person though either. I’d have to say I’m a middle of the night person now as I often have insomnia due to my pain levels and that is when I get to have my quite time, reading and catching up on shows I like to watch.

What is your preferred hot drink: coffee, tea, water or other?

I’m a water and tea girl. I try to stay hydrated all day as some of my meds are really dehydrating. Tea is my favorite drink though and I love it hot, cold, blended with ice – you name it and I’d try it. I’m not fussy when it comes to it either but have to say simple black tea is my favorite though I love to try new teas that are loose leave. I enjoy the scent of those almost as much as the taste.

Out of your five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing) which is your favorite?

Touch is my favorite. I’m a tactile person and always feel as though I can get to the heart of something if I’m just able to touch the source. The remainders are important to but I’d feel bereft if I lost my ability to touch – people, things, it’s all so important to me.


Ads – Really?

Filed under: Uncategorized — naturegirl1966 @ 9:56 AM

Just want to apologize up front for the random ads that may appear on this blog and to state that they are not of my choosing nor do I endorse any of them.  WordPress has added them in to assist with the cost of running this site, which I totally get, and in order for me to have them not shown I am required to pay a fee of $30 per year which I am not willing to do at this time.  So, I hope they prove to not be a huge distraction and am wondering how other bloggers out there feel about this change to the format.  What are your thoughts on the subject.


Creative Changes

Filed under: Uncategorized — naturegirl1966 @ 9:51 AM

It’s a new year and I’m hoping a new me.  Having said that, I’m going to be making some changes in 2014 beginning with more writing.  I’ll still be focusing on finding and enjoying the simple pleasures in life but will also be speaking off the top of my head on random subjects or writing topics.

While Fibromyalgia and chronic pain play a big role in my life I’m coming to terms with the fact that it doesn’t have to define my life, only I can do that.  In doing so I’m going to really open my focus to seek out positive experiences, adventures and ideas that will enhance my life and the lives of my family.  I know these changes are not going to happen over night, nothing good ever does as it takes time to mine what’s out there and determine what is worth seeking out and holding on to and what is truly garbage and adds no value whatsoever to ones life.  I’m sure there will still be good days and bad days but I’m going to work hard to make them the kind of days that I would most like.  Days that are filled with wonder, and love, and a whole lot of laughter.  So stay tuned to see just how I shake things up in my own little part of the world.


“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi December 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — naturegirl1966 @ 9:20 AM

Isn’t that an amazing quote? I love it and it really resonates with me. I’ve felt bereft of my meaning in life since I had to go on disability 12 years ago. When I worked I felt like I was contributing to society. When I got certified in massage therapy I felt that I was able to give back to my community, to my friends. All of that went away with my Fibromyalgia and the pain and limitations it places on me. Now that my son is in school I’m able to volunteer in his classroom – helping in the computer lab, assembling the weekly folders, acting as the Art Docent in his class and all of these small things make me feel worthy again, worthy of being a contributing member of my small community. Really putting energy into doing random acts of kindness is also contributing to my self-worth and my place in the world. They are nothing huge, just small gestures and yet I know that for the individual we’re doing them for that we’re making a difference in their life. I like to think that it creates a small ripple of kindness that will flow out. Perhaps it will inspire others to do the same, for the folks we help out to pay it back in kind when they get back on their feet. So really what Gandhi says is true, in a gentle way through simple gestures you can create a ripple effect around the world. To me that’s a beautiful thing.

Love Flowing Outwards

Love Flowing Outwards


ROK #2 December 7, 2013

Filed under: RAK's — naturegirl1966 @ 12:16 PM

We’ve been rocking our Random Acts of Kindness the last few days. Joey and I were able to take our small dog Duke with us to visit my mom and before we headed off we dressed him up as an elf. When we arrived at the SNF that my Mom resides at she was in the dining room with about 10 other residents. They had just finished their lunch. Well we walk in and Duke immediately runs to my Mom, jumping up on her in his excitement to be near her again. As you can imagine this made my Mom very happy. When she lived with us Duke was her shadow following her everywhere, jumping up in her lap, etc. and he has really missed her. After he had his reunion with her the other residents began calling us over or making hand gestures indicating the same. Joey patiently took Duke around to each person so they could pet and love on him. Duke was in heaven as he’d never turn down a belly rub or a scratch behind his ears. It made both Joey and I pleased to be able to bring a smile to their faces and we’re going to make it a part of our routine to bring him and my other dog Hoss around for a visit every couple of weeks.


I was also able to help out Joey’s teacher this week with an art project that was to be turned in the very next day. Our school was hosting a Breakfast with Santa today and each classroom was asked to provide a banner expressing their interpretation of the winter/holiday season as well as acknowledging those that were participating in the event with well wishes. Our banner turned out great and each of the kids in Joey’s class got to decorate an evergreen tree that would be incorporated on it. It was a fun project for me and even Joey got in the mix helping me to design and glue everything on it.


At the same event one of the 5th grade classrooms was soliciting money to try to purchase a pig and so we contributed what little money we had on hand. It wasn’t much but every little bit helps and I am hoping that they raise enough to purchase that pig and to help a family out with food.

Anyway those are just a few ways that my family contributed to our community and the world. It is really rewarding for us to help out wherever we can as we all feel it’s the little simple things that made a difference in everyone’s lives. Here’s to hoping that we’re able to make more opportunities that add to our lives and those lives around us.


Random Acts of Kindness December 2, 2013

Filed under: Adventures,RAK's,Revelations,Share Your World — naturegirl1966 @ 2:08 PM
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I’ve been giving RAK’s a lot of thought lately. In reflecting on my own blessings during the month of November I’ve come to realize how my family, friends and even strangers impact my life in small and BIG ways. This has made me realize that I to have the opportunity to bless others and have decided to start now and work my way through 2014 seeing just how many RAK’s I can accomplish. My family will be joining me on this adventure whether they truly realize it or not.

This past week I’ve been happy to provide a Thanksgiving meal to my husbands cigar supplier, and more importantly friend, Pedro. Pedro is an awesome old fellow from Cuba with many stories to tell. He’s a master chess player and has not only taught my husband how to play a good game of chess over a cigar or two but is working to make Joey a champion player as well. He enjoys spending time with my boy so much that literally he closes his cigar lounge to any smoking while Joey is there. His family recently relocated to other parts of the U.S. and he has been left to his own devices. He owns a small cigar shop in Carmichael, CA and basically lives and works in a 2-block area. We tried desperately to get him to actually come to our home to join us for Thanksgiving but as he’s not comfortable leaving his 2-block comfort zone we couldn’t convince him to do it so the next best option was to bring a plate to him. Of course it gave my hubby a good opportunity to pick up another cigar to two as well so it was win-win in his mind. I’m hoping that before 2014 is over that we’ll actually get him to come to more of our family events as we’ve adopted him whether he realizes it or not.

I was able to score a few hours to myself the other day and decided to go shopping. I managed to get a good deal or two on several toys for the Toys for Tots motorcycle ride that Larry and Joey participated in on Sunday. They looked so cute, Larry dressed up in a full Santa suit and Joey with his elfin ears and hat with jingle bells. The guys got to spend 4 hours with other motorcycle enthusiasts and the children in our community benefitted with thousands of toys being donated, along with cash donations, to make the holidays a little more cheery.

Santa and his Elf getting ready to deliver some toys.

Santa and his Elf getting ready to deliver some toys.

Joey the Elf show a little love to Puff the Christmas Dragon.

Joey the Elf show a little love to Puff the Christmas Dragon.

Santa securing his load.

Santa securing his load.

I was also able to shop for Larry’s tree angel that he selected from the tree at his office. She had requested a sweater and I found the softest one for her in a beautiful charcoal grey. That was all she asked for but I think I’ll pick up a few more items just to round her gift out and make her holiday a little more joyful.

On Saturday we, along with my in-laws and some friends, went to the Eskaton Care Facility and sang Christmas carols for my Mom and the other residents who wanted to participate. We may not have been in tune on all the songs but it made no difference going by their smiles. Joey, his cousin Elsa and their friend Ari handed out Christmas cards that we’d all signed. When we finished singing I went to the rooms of the residents who are bed ridden and gave them a card and chatted with each of them for a while. It’s amazing how such a small act can brighten someone’s day. I’m going to try to come up with a few other things we can do with the residents over the next several months since this one was such a smashing success. I’m thinking I’ll take my two dogs next, dressed up in their holiday attire, and do some visiting with those residents who like to hang out, talk and pet the dogs.

Joey and I are going to be making up some pre-packed bags for the homeless that we come across on our daily adventures. Not anything extravagant but items that are needed. We were thinking of tooth brushes with a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of water, some gum or mints, gift cards for some our local fast food restaurants, that kind of thing. We’ll also be donating to Joey’s school food drive, the 680 Sock Drive, and providing a coat for one individual to help them get through the coldest days.

If you have any suggestions for RAK’s that I can do, or that we can do as a family, I’d love to hear about them. Who knows, maybe one you suggest will be our next project and I promise to post photo’s of all that we do over the coming months. In the meantime I’d like to ask each of you how you can make an impact, big or small, to bring a little pleasure to the life of another. If you choose to do some RAK’s yourself we’d love to hear about them.


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