Practicing Gratitude – The Winter Solstice is The Eve of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a time of joy and love. As I have been dealing with difficult times lately, getting in the spirit has been a challenge. I had a good day today though. I finished the gifts I wanted to make. I finished sorting a variety of jewelry to be sent off to ladies I love. I have most of my gifts to give my grandkids. I went to the post office and mailed off gifts. The post office was not crowded. I was totally in the holiday spirit. I am grateful for the ability and energy to do things that made me happy.

After my success at the post office, I decided to try and eat some Mexican food. I went to my favorite fast food place. I have not eaten there since being diagnosed with IC. I did not have the salsa, nor the sour cream. I had beef hard shelled tacos with lettuce and cheese. I had taquitos sans the sour cream or salsa. I was in heaven. I hoped the food would not cause an IC flare. I needed to treat myself. Happily, there has been no flare so far. I have been flushing my body with tons of alkaline water to help fend off a flare. I am grateful for the ability to give myself a treat I have not had in seven months.

I came home and took a much-needed nap. I am still having nightmares even during daytime naps. My subconscious is playing out scenarios in very sad ways. I am grateful that the unhappy events are not my reality. I am doing all I can to move forward safely. I deserve joy. I deserve to be happy. I am celebrating this time of light and miracles.

Today marks the winter solstice. It is the shortest day of the year. I am grateful that we are heading toward more light filled days. Tomorrow is the first night of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a celebration of light and miracles. While it is cold and damp outside, I am seeking joy by celebrating the good things in my world. I am grateful for the good memories of past Hanukkah celebrations.

This year Hanukkah will be very different. I will still do my best to give meaning to each of the days. I am grateful for always learning more and enjoying more about my heritage. No matter what is going on in my surroundings, I am grateful that I can find reasons to celebrate.

I am enjoying doing a mitzvah each day. I find happiness in doing so. It is difficult to be in a sullen mood when you are looking for opportunities to do good deeds. I am grateful that G-d has given me so much. I trust as I move forward, I will find more joy and less sadness. I am grateful that Hanukkah begins tomorrow.


Practicing Gratitude – Sunday Night

I began this post prior to midnight, but I know I won’t finish it quickly enough to beat the midnight chime.

I am still happily in a working and purging mode. I separated my flannel fabric by size. I am going to donate the small pieces to a quilter’s guild. I know they will be put to good use. I am not making many baby quilts any longer. There are a few larger pieces that I may be able to piece together to make another night gown. That sounds more than appealing.

I ventured out of the house for the first time in 4 or 5 days. I needed to go to JoAnn’s to get elastic and thread. I promised myself I would not buy any fabric. Luckily the store was very crowded, and the cutting line was very long. I wasn’t even tempted to join the chaos. Going to just one store filled my need to leave the house. After returning home it was time for a few Facebook watch videos.

The turkey was finally gone, and I decided to make some comfort food on this cold day. I made mac and cheese and had it baking while I waited for my Sunday night zoom meeting. The call was moved to a later time. It was great to catch up with a dear friend. We missed our third party. Hopefully all is well in her world.  

I cleaned up my fabric mess and decided to search for the doll patterns I purchased long ago. I was unsuccessful. I did discover two large binders in a file drawer stuffed with recipes. A change of plans ensued.

I moved the stacks to the floor. I looked at each and every recipe with the plan of reducing the clutter. As I reviewed the ingredients, the type of dish it made, and the knowledge if I ever made the recipe, I was able to purge. I found a few recipes written by my mom. That made me happy.

I filled the bedroom trash can with the recyclable papers. I needed a second trash can. I was determined to complete this chore properly. It took until 11:30 to finish round one. Many recipes were for desserts I should not eat. Many were for things I cannot eat any longer. I will not put the remaining papers in the binder until I complete a second-round tomorrow.

I am grateful for the decision to purge unneeded items. I take joy in seeing empty spaces in my home. I am grateful that tomorrow I can continue completing things that give me pleasure. I am grateful that I am in a good place.

Practicing Gratitude – November 12

After yesterday’s crazy parking lot adventure, I was leery of going back to the bank today. I should have gone after my early morning doctor’s appointment, but I didn’t.

I have a really great doctor. Getting in to see her is misery, but once I get in, I feel I can talk to her and discuss anything on my mind. She always greets me like she remembers me, which perhaps after 20 plus years she does. The visit was finished, and I debated what I could/should get done before going home.

I decided to skip the bank for obvious reasons. I went to Target to use the restroom before the long drive home. As soon as I went in the door, I remembered I needed to pick up Season 12 of The Big Bang Theory. I have been anxiously awaiting its release. I enjoy Big Bang Theory more than anything for the last few years.

I also bought one banana and a mattress cover for the new mattress. I am now adding bananas to my restricted diet. When I go to Target, I buy one banana to eat on the drive home. It is my alternative to grabbing a candy bar on the run.  I like the sweet treat.

I got home and talked with a couple of good friends. I have more long in-depth discussions now, than ever before. I don’t need to worry about what schoolwork I need to do. I enjoy my friends and the connections we have.

Annie needed more play time after my calls. She makes demands and I do her bidding. I am pretty sure she is the alpha being in this house. I did some laundry and waited for the time I had to leave and meet my spouse at Costco.

Costco is a challenge on a good day. I waited in a long line to get gas. At more than 4 dollars a gallon any reduction in being gouged is welcome. I made it to the front and the pump wouldn’t take my Costco card. A nice young man (boy that sounds like my mom) said my card, while current, was too outdated for the gas pumps. He used his pass and told me to go into the store and get a new card. I talked to the customer service people and they looked at my card like it was as archaic as a flip phone. I asked if they could update my card and they tried to get me to apply for a new charge card. I explained that I did not need another credit card, I just needed to be able to get gas. I guess once every three years is to long in between uses. I did walk away with a new card though.

After returning home the second time I talked to my daughter. She was planning on surprising the kids with a trip to Disneyland. They wanted to spend the night here at my house. I am only 20 minutes away from Anaheim. I am always glad to see the grandkids. I made sure the rooms were ready for them and told my spouse to not tell them what their surprise for the next morning was.

I had my SARK call this evening. Then I participated in the dessert call after. It is always good for my spirit to participate on SARK calls. Tonight, was all about reaching for your dreams. I am working on knowing what my dreams are and then pursuing them.

The grandkids have shuffled off to sleep now. They are exhausted from their once a year trip to see a Clippers game last night. Tomorrow its Disneyland for a couple of very lucky kids.

My idea of fun is to listen to an audible book, to read a book, or to watch a Netflix movie. I am grateful I am past the energy required to be young.

Practicing Gratitude -Dreams, Dreams, Dreams – October 25

For the last few days the topic of dreams has been on my mind. Dreams from my sleep and dreams from my heart and dreams from my past have all been spinning in my brain. The topic of dreams has been presenting itself in many forms. Today Maryann , a wonderful woman I follow, had her Friday Facebook Live, talk about doing what you need to do to reach your dreams. I felt like she was talking directly to me.

I have been thinking about dreams I have had in my life. I peeked in the heart of my inner child to see to see what her dreams were. I looked at the simple concrete things that I thought would bring happiness to me. Many things did bring me peace. Many were as fleeting as butterfly on a windy day.   

My four-year-old self dreamed of living in a place without violence. I have that now. It has been present for more of my life than not. I am grateful for a calm house.   

When I was in elementary school, I dreamed of owning two pairs of shoes that fit. Later, I had dreams of owning shoes that matched clothes. I felt I had reached my dreams when I was going to college and I owned five pairs of shoes. My reality now is that I own just two pairs of special shoes that are good for my plantar fasciitis.  I am grateful that they enable me to walk without pain.   

When I was in high school I dreamed of going to college. I would be the first in the family to start college as my older brother went in to the army after high school. After graduatung early at seventeen, I started classes at the local junior college. It was a long winding path through marriage, two children, and responsibilities of a very young mother, but I finally made it. Even though I was the third to finish, it did not take away from my joy at reaching my dream. I was grateful because I knew I would always be able to take care of myself and my daughters no matter what. I realized that was the bigger dream.   

I always dreamed of owning a house. When my second daughter was 3 months old, we purchased a referbished repo with 900 square feet. I felt life couldn’t get much better. I was so grateful to be in my own home at twenty years old. I knew I reached a dream that many others also wanted. It didn’t matter the size or location at the time. It just mattered that I was living one of my dreams.   

I dreamed of teaching since I was in second grade. School meant safety and consistency. I was an aide in elementary school and in high school. I tutored whenever I could.  I worked as a teacher in a private school while I finished my credential program. All the while, I knew I was working toward my dream. When I accepted my first public school position I was walking on air. I was so grateful to be able to have the career I had worked for, for so long.  I was grateful for 35 years that I enjoyed going to work each day. (Sans the days with political crap I had to deal with.) I lived the dream I wanted for so much of my life.   

I can’t say I dreamed of retirement. I wanted it. I worked for it. I was eager to be able to experience free time. I was grateful when I reached the gold ring. I had plans for ways to spend my days. I prepared for hours and hours of activities to do that I enjoy.   

Then came the Seasons of Surrender retreat. We were each asked to share a dream we had. The first thought that came to me was to live at the beach. The very next thought was much stronger. It was the fact that I could never afford a place at the beach.  At the retreat, we did some exercises on identifying our dreams and finding paths to reach them. It was like a shot of reality as I asked myself why do I think I can never reach my dreams? Why do I think I don’t deserve to reach my dreams? Can I really catch the golden ring? 

The wonderful activity we did was to have the participants come up with ways to make the dream come true. I was in awe of how many ideas I had never thought of. I was grateful for feeling there actually might be a possibility of reaching my dream. Unlike other dreams I have had, I did not believe this one was possible. I am opening up heart to the possibility of reaching this dream of dreams.

I am grateful that I have a dream to work toward. Tomorrow after visiting the grandkids, we are taking a trip to the beach. We are going on an expedition. I want to dip my toes in the sea of possibility, literally and figuratively. 


Practicing Gratitude – October 15

I am grateful for this day. It has been so blissful.

I am grateful that my pain level is reduced to a manageable state.  I am grateful for 5 good hours of sleep last night. I am grateful Annie refuses to let me sleep in. I am grateful for getting so much done before my appointments this morning. My grounding, my meditation, and my prayers are all things that give me gratitude.

I am grateful I had an acupuncture session and a chiropractic adjustment today.  I am grateful that because I felt so well, I went and had a manicure afterwards. I am grateful I was able to get some groceries after my manicure. I am grateful I ran into an amazing man who first interviewed me 36 years ago at the school district. He is a humble man who sees good in everyone and extends his kindness to all. It was a gift to be able to speak with him. 

I am grateful I tried my repaired sewing machine and it worked for me. I was able to make a cover for my seat cushion.  I am grateful I am almost ready to go on the retreat I have been looking forward to since May.  I am grateful I have all the meds I need and I just have to pack them. I am grateful the weather will be pleasant for the retreat.   

I am grateful that while I did not get a nap, I rested this afternoon. I am grateful I made a yummy meal with allowed foods. I am grateful the carob powder arrived and I might make myself a treat tomorrow.

I am grateful that after completing all my activities,  I am still not in unbearable pain. I am grateful for all the joys in my life.