A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Thursday, July 26, 2012

#207: "America"

My favorite Simon & Garfunkel song...always makes me want to drive cross country. On Tuesday I heard it on the radio and I became totally choked up by it...another one of those beautiful, sad songs I can't help but be moved by.


#206: "Pink Moon"

In honor of my last post...

"Pink Moon"
(video is a bit odd with this particular photo of Nick Drake. I'm not thankful for it.)

#205: Moon Gazing

When I was little I reportedly requested, often, to be taken outside to see the moon. This is a sight I am still regularly awed by-- when I catch it outside a car window, or when a harvest moon overtakes the sky.

Last night I noticed the moon from my bedroom window. In a nod to my childhood, I made Kegan come out in the backyard to see it outside. He was not as into the moment as I was, but it was peaceful to stand out amongst the fireflies and crickets, and just take it in.

I rarely these days make it a point to go look at the moon like I did when I was little, but it's something that brings me such calm that I want to make an effort to do it more. When I have kids I want to bring them outside-- pajamas and all-- to look at the moon and the stars. It reminds me how big our world is, how connected we all are, how the trivial worries that are so overwhelming should just be dismissed, and how accessible a quick escape can be. Just look up.

Friday, July 20, 2012

#204: Liz

If you’re a girl, I think there’s no bigger blessing in life than to have a sister.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love everything there is about having a brother. I cherish and value my relationships with each of my three brothers. But if you’re a girl and you only have brothers, I think you’re deprived. A relationship between sisters is something really special, and I am thankful, everyday, for my relationship with Liz.

Liz is 7 years older than me. Growing up with a “big” sister was pretty awesome. When I was really little and had nightmares, I ended up in her bed as much as, if not more than, my parents’. She was young enough to understood what an adolescent wanted and needed in life, but old enough to provide it. I always had someone to take me to concerts, to the mall, to do my hair for dances. I always had someone to turn to for advice, for a good laugh, to keep a secret. She shared with me her closet and her phone line--- two necessary resources when you’re a teenager.

I am thankful for all of this that Liz shared with or gave me throughout my life, but this is all just the tangible stuff. When you grow up with a sister, you get so much from the relationship that is intangible and invaluable. I had someone with whom to share my fears—someone who gave me the courage to overcome them. She played roles beyond just being a sister: she was a second mother at times, a cheerleader, a coach, a counselor, a best friend. Having Liz in my life means I’ll always have her for companionship, always have her to affirm my life decisions and feelings-- and I’m thankful we have such a wonderful relationship, that we’ll continue to do so for the rest of our lives. 

You always look up to your older siblings, and there is so much to look up to about Liz. She is generous and giving, fiercely loyal, kind, devoted to her family and friends. She is intelligent and hardworking, with a bright career as a successful teacher. The definition of beauty, Liz was graced with my mother’s striking features, but has true inner beauty as well. She can captivate a room with her ability to tell a story—what she inherited from my father—but is also one of the best listeners I know. I admire all of this about my sister, and I’ve esteemed to live up to her example.

Before I came along, Liz had three older brothers. So when she learned my mother was pregnant, she prayed regularly, hoping to have a sister and not another brother. She told this story during her maid of honor toast at my wedding, and it’s one I’ve heard from her throughout my life. Liz was so thankful at my birth to have a little sister. Today is Liz’s birthday. I celebrate her today, but truly I celebrate her everyday, and am so thankful to have not just a sister, but her as my sister.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#203: Conversations With My Dad

I am so thankful for my dad, for an inordinate amount of reasons, the totality of which will never be fully expressed in writing. But one aspect of my relationship with my father for which I am especially thankful today are the conversations we often have. He was at my house for most of the day today, so we spent it together, sharing meals and watching tv. But we also talked a lot, and it made me think how grateful I am for the conversations we had today, and the conversations we often have. My dad is insightful, intelligent, eloquent, wise, and funny. I finish a conversation with him and feel lifted. It's so wonderful to know my dad is always just a phone call away if I need someone to talk to.

Friday, July 13, 2012

#202: The Muppets

I've been waiting for a long time to see the new Muppets movie. Netflix finally released it, and I finally received it in the mail. We watched it and LOVED it. I am aging myself with this next comment, but it was such good, clean, fun humor. It reminded me a lot of the Muppet movies I loved as a kid, and I am so happy there is a new film for a new generation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

#201: A Full Closet

One of my annual summer projects is to go through all of my clothes, pulling out pieces that can be donated to charity. Despite filling multiple bags, I still have a completely full closet, not to mention a full dresser as well.

Like the average woman, I often mutter, "I have nothing to wear!" This is a complete falsehood. Granted I might be bored with my clothes, but that's another gripe. Standing in front of a full closet made me realize how grateful I should be for it,  and how I should stop saying "I have nothing to wear", as in doing so I am taking for granted the blessing that I do, in fact, have quite a lot to wear.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#200: Family Vacations

Kegan and I just returned from a cruise with his family, both immediate and extended. I am thankful for this trip and for the family vacations we've taken with my family. Time with family is so valuable, but time with a collective family always feels more special, as it is rarer.

Vacations are wonderful; growing up my family didn't go on many, and I'm so appreciative that, as an adult, that's changed. I appreciate visiting new places and sharing experiences with family. You inevitably walk away with the rejuvenation of a vacation and memories that will last a lifetime.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

#199: Pinterest

Pinterest was introduced to me a while ago, but I have recently become truly aware of its value. Since I started spending time on it, I have found great recipes, holiday ideas, quotes, fashion advice...and it's practical! Twice I've made a meal from a recipe found on pinterest, and Kegan and I both agreed it's one of the best dinners I have ever cooked. I highly recommend pinterest to everyone as a great brainstorming site for honestly everything in life. The internet can be such a blackhole, such a time waster, but then there are sites like pinterest where you feel like you're actually using your time well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

#198: Parathletes

The excitement of the upcoming Olympic Games is underway! Kegan and I have watched a decent amount of trial coverage, and when the world is watching London, we will be, too. But I think no matter how impressed I will be at the amazing achievements of the greatest athletes of Earth, I will not be as impressed as I am by parathletes.

The Paralympic Games happen as part of the Olympics, and so with the Olympic coverage amping up, there are also promotions for the Paralympics. I've seen parathletes in person at nearly every race that I have been a part of, and am always moved by their triumph. So many people who are perfectly abled do not exercise or compete, compromised by a lack of will power, deluded by excuses, or without motivation. And here are people who could have justifiable reasons not to be active-- faced with impaired or amputated limbs, weighted by the emotional and mental stress of their situations-- and they would never consider any of that a "justifiable reason" not to be an athlete. People don't like to think of the "what ifs" in life, but I have always said, god forbid anything were to happen to me, I would work hard to become a parathlete. Running is a main part of my identity, and I would never want that to be compromised.

I am thankful for parathletes; they motivate and inspire me, remind me that we all have an inner strength that, if we're willing to dig deep enough, can get us through anything.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

#197: July 4th

I am thankful for what July 4th represents: that I am blessed to live in a free country. In fact, most of the blessings of my life...everything I am thankful for...wouldn't exist without my freedom as an American. That's admittedly not something I think about on a daily basis, so I am glad July 4th reminds me of that reality once a year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

#196: Ellie and Griswold

Malorie and Brianna both have had new additions to their families recently! Malorie is now the proud owner of the most adorable golden retriever puppy ever, Ellie, and Brianna adopted a super cute kitten, Griswold, to join her cat Rory.

Since adopting my cats I've learned how amazing it is to have a relationship with pets; I am so grateful that Malorie and Brianna have been able to give Ellie and Griswold homes, and wish them both health and happiness. Plus, I get to go play with a puppy and kitten now whenever I want!

Ellie On The Road

Griswold On The Hunt

Sunday, July 1, 2012

#195: A Stack of Books

While I will always be a library-patron at heart, sometimes it just feels great to walk out of a bookstore with a whole stack of new novels to read!

Summer Readinggggg!