A Grateful Heart

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?

Fall is in the Air

I love Fall for all it offers me and because it’s the one season that I always feel at my best. I get to take nature walks with my son picking out leaves of all colors, seeing if our hands are bigger than the leaves that have fallen from the trees. We get to partake of hot chocolate with those giant marshmallows melted on top. It’s the time of year that we break out the crockpot and have soups and stews and get to enjoy the scent of a hearty meal all day long as it cooks.

I love Fall because both Joey and Larry’s birthdays fall in the month of October and we always have a huge party for my little guy. This years theme is Carnival and he’s so excited because were going to have 10 booths with games (all homemade), face painting and temporary tattoos, and all his favorite foods from the carnival. There will be hot dogs and corndogs, pretzels and caramel apples and of course popcorn and cotton candy. We have tons of family and friends coming and the weather is forecasted to be beautiful that day.

I love Fall because we get to have family nights in front of the fire playing board games or building with Legos. Larry and I get to cuddle under tons of blankets at night as we breathe in the crisp air from the open window. And let’s not forget Halloween with all it’s decorations and the fact that my hubby goes crazy turning our house in a graveyard, or like last year building a haunted house for our neighborhood to enjoy.

As you can tell Fall is my favorite season and I’m so thankful to be living large in this season of delights.

Live Simply

I saw this cute story on FaceBook and it really resonated with me so I thought I would share.

WHY DO DOGS LIVE LESS THAN HUMANS? ANSWER OF A 6 YEAR OLD

This story Melt My heart I wanna Share it ! Must read .

It's the simple things in life that matter.

It’s the simple things in life that matter.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try to live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

Author : Unknown

Is that not perfect or what. So simple and yet so true, at least from my perspective. I’ve never had a dog that didn’t live joyously and in fact have never met a dog that didn’t live that way even when they’ve been beat down and mistreated. Seems to me they still had time to be kind, to find joy in simple pleasures, and to wag their tails. I think this 6-year old boy is very wise and I for one intend to take his observations to heart.

Raindrops

I ask you is there anything better than sitting and listening to the rain fall and knowing in a short while you’ll get to smell the earth as if it was born anew? I think not. It instantly relaxes me washing all tension away. I know it’s not as easy to get around in, makes the roads slick and takes longer to get where you need to go. I know it makes my body ache more with the cold of it and yet still it’s one of my very favorite simple pleasures.

Often I would take these things for granted, not even taking real notice of them but not any longer. I know now that watching the raindrops roll off the ends of the leaves is a gift, a meditation I get for nothing more than paying attention. How awesome is that?

Add to that the new pleasure of watching our kittens antics when they race through the doggy-door only to be confronted with this new phenomenon called rain – it’s priceless I tell you. At first they tuck tail, turn and run right back in through that doggy-door but as the hours roll on so does their bravery. Before long I can sit at the end of my bed and watch them chase one another through the tall grass, just like the jungle cats their predecessors were, playing and tackling one another forgetting for a moment that it is even raining until one darts for cover into the middle of a bush and comes out soaked and of course runs right back through the doggy-door and up onto the bed and my lap, mud and all. Still it’s worth it to just watch the joy of their living, the playfulness. It’s a good lesson for me to never forget to play, and to find the joy in each moment.

Fall is HERE!

Finally it’s beginning to feel like Fall and I couldn’t be happier.  The weather the past few days has been in the 70’s with light cool breezes that are just strong enough to ruffle your hair.  I even smelled smoke in the air the last couple of evenings coming from some of my neighbors chimneys.  Fall is my favorite time of year, probably because the weather is kindest on my aches and pains and I feel as though I have more energy thus I get to do more fun things with my family.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the seasons and out here in California there is only a slight variation between them anyway, but Fall is and always has been my favorite.  I love watching the leaves change color and to see my son have a blast in the piles that we have to rake up.  I love that we now can break out the crock pot and make all kinds of yummy soups and stews and that the chore of dinner becomes easier and as an added bonus the house smells delicious all day from the aromas wafting out of said crock pot.  I love that we can officially turn off the A/C and in turn reduce our utility bill – who wouldn’t love that extra bonus.  I love that sunset comes earlier and so we can watch it go down as a family right from our own backyard.

I’m looking forward to my hubby building us a fire ring so that we can have some fires in the backyard and do s’mores with Joey and all his pals.  Maybe even get one last camp out in even if it is just in the backyard.  Kind of hard to get away for those small pleasures when you have full responsibility for the care of your aging mother who has health issues.  That’s okay though, somehow we make it work with the help of good friends and we’ve adapted to finding creative ways to do the things we like to do closer to home.

 

Malana, Hoss, Joey, and Larry having some fun picking pumpkins

Fall to me equates to baking, cooking, having friends over for a big bowl of stew with some crunchy San Francisco sourdough bread.  It’s a slower season for me as I always seem to pause to take in the changes occurring around me.  The geese flying overhead looking for a spot to nest down for the winter.  Since we have quite a few little lakes around us we’ll be seeing them all through the winter months.  The Halloween decorations went up at our house over the weekend and we sparked a revolution with two other houses on our circle following suit.  We’re not quite done but we’ve gotten a spooky good start.  I’m so happy that I married a man who loves the holidays as much as I do.  Our house is always overdone for Halloween and for Christmas you probably can see our house from the satellite since he puts so many light up.  Plus we do all the others as well, putting up hearts and cupids for Valentines day, shamrocks and leprechaun houses in the garden for St. Patty’s day; eggs and ducks and bunnies abound around Easter time.  Every holiday, big and small, has a place at our house and I love that.  I’m so hoping that Joey will grow up with a love of all things and want to celebrate every special occasion like we do so that he can carry on the family traditions.

I like to sit at the table with Joey and whip up treats to share with our neighbors.  Yesterday we did a chocolate cake for Daddy’s birthday and shared it along with some banana cream pie ice-cream with everyone on our circle.  Joey is already asking if we can make the acorn treats we spotted on Pinterest and some spooky cookies for Halloween.  I think my little man is going to grow up to be a great chef or baker which would be fine by me.

The one thing I could do without at the start of the Fall season – colds, sniffles, and sneezes.  Take today for instance I had set up transportation for Joey to and from school since I can’t drive with this dang cast on my foot and then when he woke up I knew we would not need it as he has the sniffles, snots and sneezes.  Could be allergies but I think it’s the beginning of a cold and I didn’t want to pass his germs onto his school buddies.  I’m sure that this is just the first of many to come since he’s begun going to Transitional Kindergarten this year.  The bonus to it though is I get to spend the whole day with him cuddling and playing and just having some good old-fashioned fun.

Did I mention to you that I love FALL!  Here’s to many more days of cool delight, falling rainbows made of leaves, and good hearty foods.

Boys and their Toys

There is just something about boys, big and little, and their toys.  Whether it’s Hot Wheels and trains at 2 or Harley’s and boats at 42, from this girls perspective it’s always about boys and their toys.  Who has the biggest, the fastest, the shiniest, or the latest one on the market.  And I don’t think there is anything better than boys and their toys when it’s a father and son sitting on the floor playing together.  I’m the great co-conspirator in these types of happenings around our house.  I get to go out and secure the newest bauble – usually Lego’s as that is what Joey is really into these days and I get all the joy of giving him his specials prize and then when Daddy gets home from work he gets the joy of sitting down and creating the magic with him.  This time around it was the new Super Hero line and I picked the one with Superman, his nemesis Lex Luther and his flying machine, and just for old times sake a little Wonder Women was thrown in the mix.  A girls gotta sneak the girls in any way she can.

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They literally have their little routine down.  Joey goes running out the door the minute he hears his Dad roar up on his motorcycle to show him the latest treasure, Daddy gets a brief moment to kiss me hello, take a potty break, and then it’s all boys down on the floor.  First they have to sort each piece into piles based on color and size and once that’s done the fun begins.  Joey usually grabs up all the pieces that create the Lego men or women and assembles them while Daddy starts the gargantuan process of assembling the more complex components.  Joey gets to help by handing him the next piece needed and helping to press them down into place.

During this whole process I’m just a fly on the wall taking in their joy.  I think for those moments in time both of them have forgotten I even exist, or that I’m the wizard behind the curtain making it all happen.  They are 100% engaged in what they are doing and in one another.  Plans are hatched on the best way to assemble it, Daddy sneaking a math lesson in the mix as they count out pieces or reaffirming Joey’s color knowledge base and throughout it all there are smiles and giggles.  When the final project is complete they both sit back and admire their hard work, mirror images of one another, my two guys.  Joey declaring it his special toy which is code for no other kids get to play with it for a few days and Daddy saying he better keep it special because he’s not going to keep rebuilding it everyday (even though he does when Joey breaks something off or his friends accidentally decide to undo all that hard work).

Together, my two guys, make quite a great team and yes I’ll admit I’m a little jealous of their boys club but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunrise

Sunrise, dawn of a new day and the opportunity for endless pleasures.

I woke up in so much pain that it hurt to even roll over to crawl out of bed.  The first thought was “oh man, this is going to be one of those days” but luckily for me another thought popped into my head squashing that one and it was the voice of my hubby saying to me last night “I put the hot tub on for you”.  Ahhhhh, relief was in sight.  I nudged him and asked him if he could take off the top for me and of course he responded with “sure baby”.  I have one good, good man by my side.  He wandered back in the house and told me it was at 102.  This made me very happy.

I grabbed a towel, and snuck out their in my birthday suit (lucky for me none of my neighbors windows are able to look into our backyard and we have no neighbors at all to the rear of us).  I slipped into that water and into pure bliss.  Is there anything better than submerging yourself in a perfectly warm pool of water?  Well yes there is because my day got even better.  The sun was just rising so I got to watch the colors emerge through our big ol’ Oak tree painting the sky in soft pink and gold, just beautiful.  And then the piece de resistance, my hubby brought me a cup of hot sweet tea.  Now I’m thinking to myself that life is good, really good and aren’t I lucky to have such a loving and caring hubby, to be able to get to enjoy the sunrise and listen to the world as it comes awake.  As my soul awakens the pain recedes some and I think what a great day this is going to be.

After I got out I headed into the shower to wash off the chlorine and enjoy a little more heat and the whole time I’m in their the kittens are just having a great time right outside the shower doors chasing each other, attacking their own images in the bathroom mirror, and basically getting into mischief with my makeup brushes, the cords we have around the sinks, etc.  It was quite fun to watch them.  And then in their exuberance they chased each other in to the toilet room and up onto the toilet itself and oops in they went.  I had forgotten to put the lid back down.  I burst out laughing and luckily they managed to catch themselves before they completely went in so it was only the tips of their tails and a little bit of their hind legs that got wet, but boy if you could have seen the expressions on their face of pure annoyance you’d have been laughing with me.

As I stood there towelling off I reflected that I hadn’t even been up an hour and yet I’d already enjoyed so many simple pleasures.  Isn’t that what life is all about after all, I know it is for me.