Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 16,876 Gratitude: Lost and Found

Today I am so grateful for ...

The nostalgia of the season and tripping over photos of Christmases past, including this one, her first in 1993. Christmases are different now that she is nearly grown. I do miss the magic of the Santa years, but I celebrate that new traditions are taking shape and our options for the holidays are more flexible and expansive than ever before.

The wonder of the daily list. I don't want to call it a "to do" list. I don't even like to call it an "I will" list anymore. "Daily" list is good enough for me. A flexible flight plan of sorts. Something that I can glance at throughout the day to help keep me on track. I would be lost this week without it.

The dear hearts that keep asking me about the new wire and how wrapping is going. They, too, keep me from getting lost and losing hope. It's here. It's all here. And I will get back to it very soon.

Realizing that everything (and everyone) pretty much lives up (or down) to the expectations that I have for and of them. Most situations and relationships are only as positive as the stories that I tell myself about them. At this incredibly busy time, as this year fast draws to a close, I am paying closer attention to what I am telling myself and others (over and over again) about where I am, what is true and the power that I have to change what's due for it.

What is true for you this December?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 16,871 - Set Up for Success

I have been rocking the Livestrong program for about three weeks or so. I am the equivalent of one bowling ball lighter because of it. With yet another (and bigger) bowling ball to lose, I have been reflecting on what has been helping me to succeed (and what hasn't). As with any program tied to results, there are things that I need to do to increase my odds of achieving my goal(s), such as:

1) Show up
2) Do what I intend to do
3) Begin each day anew

But as you know, this isn't as easy as it sounds. I can see where and how I have (and haven't) set myself up for success. For example, when I automatically dress in clothes/shoes for walking, I increase the odds that I will actually go outside and take a walk. If I have nourishing options in front of me, I am less likely to choose something junky for a meal or a snack. And if I have someone doing the program with me, I am held accountable and likewise buoyed when I flail. It's all about making it as easy as possible for myself to do the right thing throughout the day.

As I start to see the positive results that come from better self-care, I find myself wondering if I can apply the same principle to my art. I've let my creative well run virtually dry. The only thing that I have done consistently these last several months is take pictures. Why? Because my iPhone is always on hand! I am setup for success because it couldn't be easier for me to take photos. There's absolutely no excuse when a couple of taps on the phone allow me to edit and upload. Voila!

How else can I set myself up for creative success?

1) I could make Blogger my browser homepage. Every time I sign in it will be like a "Hello You, ready to write?" I can draft a post as the day rolls along rather than feeling forced to produce on the spot.

2) I could put my art supplies out where I can see them. The pencils, paints, collage supplies ... they need to be at the ready. Our dining room table is begging to be that creation station.

3) And I could make sure that I have art buddies who are willing to check in regularly and nudge me along. If it weren't for Amy, I would have fewer sketches in my journal than I do. She invites, encourages and challenges me to show up and try ... again and again and again. I am better for it. And let's not forget the lovely reminder postcards from Beth! Believing mirrors are precious and priceless.

What are the ways that you set yourself up for success in your life? Where do you find yourself stuck? Maybe we can conjure some tricks to help.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 16,869 Gratitude - Good Hands

Today I am so grateful for ...

Handmade, heartfelt gifts, the memories that they hold and the ways that they keep me warm.

The sure and steady hands of my dentist as he prepped (i.e. excessively drilled) my teeth for two long overdue crowns.

Reiki. Always on hand. Not only to help others, but to help myself as well.

For all of these things and so much more, I am so very grateful!

(How about you?)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 16,868 Gratitude

We should all have at least one friend who understands the importance of snail mail and the impact of a reminder such as this ...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 16,864 Gratitude

I have to be honest. Some days are easier than others when it comes to mustering the attitude of gratitude. Not so much because there is anything wrong, but rather I'm just not in the mood. There are times when I just can't get myself out the door for walk. I know it's good for me and that I will feel better for it, but it doesn't change the fact that I just don't feel up to the challenge.

The same can go for gratitude. It is like muscle that needs to be exercised ... a habit that I've got to use unless I want to lose it. There are days that I just don't feel up to it. Confessing that feels pretty sh*tty. And yet it not only let's me off the hook a bit, it let's you off of of it too.

I hope that you come here and feel uplifted by what's uplifting me on any given day. But I don't want to give the impression that this comes easily to me and I that I romp through life Pollyanna-tastically. If you know me in real life, you know that despite my belief in miracles and the overall goodness in and of this world, I am genetically wired to seeing the glass half empty. There is a fine, dark line between realist and pessimist that I can dance dangerously close to sometimes. Optimism is a choice I have to make. Over and over again.

That is why this practice of posting my gratitude is so good for me. I find myself taking notice throughout the day of what it is that I want to acknowledge and share with you. And like a magnet, it draws to me even more to appreciate. Savoring and basking has become yet another art in my cart.

But there will be those days, like today, that feel heavy and hard. That's okay. It never, ever stays that way. It passes like the weather.

And for that I am so grateful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 16,863 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For those festive souls who go above and beyond the call of decorating duty. This is my daughter's boyfriend's house. His father is a collector of holiday inflatables. Their Halloween display is every bit as enthusiastic, but Christmas is my favorite. I can't imagine how long it takes them to setup and take down this display. Nor can I guess how much this costs them in terms of electricity. But I am grateful that it's in my neighborhood and running all day long. I can get out and walk past it anytime I need some cheer, which on dreary days is quite often.

What is filling you with cheer right now?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 16,862 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful for ...

Inspiration. At this moment, in the form of maps. Just think of the possibilities for 2012!

The goodness of a new water heater. Our 80-gallon dinosaur was replaced by a short-and-sweet 50-gallon energy efficient model. (It has a digital display which delights me far more than it should.) We look forward to all of the wonderful hot showers and lower electric bills that it promises.

The fun of Endomondo. Dan found the iPhone app which I promptly installed. (Because FREE is awesome!) I have some concerns about its accuracy, but at the very least it will give me ballpark figures to work with as I await Santa's delivery of a pedometer. (I've been a very good girl this year!)

A beautiful postcard from a dear friend with an important reminder to buoy me on cold, dreary days. (Love me some snail mail!)

For all of these things and so much more, I am so very grateful!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 16,861 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

That with (significant) encouragement, I walked outside for 50 whole minutes despite the fact that we were receiving record rainfall for this date to the tune of 2.76". Officially. It was relatively warm and gave the illusion of being a soggy, spring day ... not so much like pre-winter at all. The hardest part was having to walk in the street and dodge the UPS truck flying its way around the neighborhood, but in the long run (or walk), it was so worth it.

For reliable handy people. Dan and I know enough about household repairs to be dangerous. We are not to be trusted with tools. This is why it was in our wedding vows that we shall always call upon the experts when warranted. Our home was built in the mid 70s and needs the kind of TLC that a house of this age often requires. After ten years here, we decided to pay for a home inspection to get a handle on what needs immediate attention. We more than received our money's worth from this appointment just by how much we learned about our home. Now we are in the process of addressing issues. Replacing the elderly water heater. Having some insulation blown in. Attending to some electrical issues to bring our fuse box up to the 21st century. It feels good to attend to what needs attending and know who to call to help.

For staying the course. I am pleased and proud to have kissed goodbye seven pounds since I started using the Livestrong app. Trust me, no woman ever wants to see her pre-delivery pregnancy weight flash at her on the scale. Ever. The best part is that I haven't had to give up anything besides my unrealistic portion sizes. I just need to reconcile calories consumed and calories burned so that I am at or below my calorie goal at the end of each day. Most days I am. Some days I am not. Either way it's okay. I just make a commitment to show up again the next day. And the next. And the next.

What's making you feel grateful these days?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 16,859 Gratitude

I can't say that I have ever enjoyed a November more than the one that just came to a close. Even the November in which I got married had its bumps and burdens despite its blessed festivities. Granted, this particular November was warmer and brighter than most and, human solar panel that I am, I basked in it and soaked it up.

Perhaps the lightness of November also had to do with the fact that I finally started walking outside again on a regular basis. Sometimes twice per day. Or maybe something to do with the fact that I brought the month to a close by making more nourishing choices for myself overall. I really don't know. And I don't really need to know. But what I do know is that I am crossing my breath and holding my fingers that it continues ... this, um, dark time not being so darn dark.

As December settles upon us, I have been committed to increasing the calm and decreasing the crazy this Christmas. This means insisting upon a slow and steady pace to doing what needs to be done and applying the art of reduction/simplification wherever possible. Of course that's easy for me to say only three days into the month and three weeks away from the holiday, but here is where I stand with it all at this juncture.

Christmas looks and feels different to me now with a nearly full grown child. I am assessing traditions ... which precious ones to keep and which ones have been outgrown. I want there to always be room for something new, something that better suits who we have become as a family and individuals within it. How many times must we do the same things, year after year, only because we've always done them? Even when they no longer bring us joy? I am disocvering that where I find stress is usually the exact same place I discover something that needs to be eliminated or transformed. It's all food for thought.

With that said, our tree is up and I have been appreciating this annual visit with our ornaments and the memories that they hold. Residents of our neighborhood have been taking full advantage of the nice weather to deck their homes and yards. And barred owls have been serenading me on recent sunset walks past a wee greenspace that holds many animal medicine messages for me. For all of these things and so much more, I am so grateful.