Category Archives: Gratitude

Gratitude

1. Morning walks. The weather delayed a few of these this week, one day too windy and another too cold. It makes me happy that when that happens, Ringo doesn’t seem too bothered about waiting or even skipping if we have to. It’s one of the joys of an older dog. He’s that perfect age where he can go on a five mile run or go back to sleep after breakfast, and is happy either way. Don’t get me wrong, too many days of no walk and he’d be bouncing off the walls. 

2. Books. Writing them, reading them, talking about them, sharing them. The December Reflections prompt for today was “best book of 2022,” and my response was: I cannot pick just one, even if I expand it to just one from each genre (see bookcases for reference and know there are probably double that number throughout my house and on my Kindle — I have the most wonderful problem). Here are a few of my very favorites from this past year of reading.

Best Novels: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (this would be a great vacation book, a “beach read”), Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker (HOW had I never read this before?), The Overstory by Richard Powers (this touched my love of trees AND weird stories), Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa (another wonderfully weird tale), and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (an epic story that I still think about).

Best Short Story Collections (IMHO, in the top five best of all time): The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw and Heartbroke by Chelsea Bieker. If you love short stories, another two in the top five best of all time according to me are Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and All The Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva.

Best Nonfiction: The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller (this book is an essential read for all humans); Pause, Rest, Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change by Octavia F Raheem; American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal by Kerri Kelly (this placed the discussion of wellness culture in the context of social justice and it’s a book I’d been waiting for someone to write); Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos; and The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change Without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond.

Best Memoir (my favorite genre): Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair.

3. Hanging out with Hendrix. This kiddo was dreamed of, wished for, and loved before we ever met him. Getting to be a part of his life makes me so grateful.

4. Me, awake and alive. I’m still here, still trying, haven’t given up. I don’t have to tell you, kind and gentle reader, life can be so hard, and yet I wouldn’t trade mine for anything, (except maybe for world peace or a cure for cancer or something else big).

5. Good food. The picture on the right is my unattended bowl of the last of the some yummy leftovers and Ringo being such a good boy, doing a good “leave it.”

6. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Only one more week and it will be winter break, one of my favorite seasons to be home and hunkered down with my boys.

Bonus joy: A warm shower, clean laundry, clean sheets, payday, finding the perfect present for someone, texting with Mom and Chris, Wild Writing, training with Shelby and the gang, the hydromassage chair, the pool, the sauna, listening to podcasts, naps, gingerbread muffins, grilled cheese, gummies, my practice room, my office, houseplants, watching TV, solving crimes with Eric, down blankets and pillows, drinking green tea with my weighted blanket over my lap, yoga, having friends who understand when I have to cancel plans because “I can’t people today,” music, poetry, art, snow tires, snail mail, flowers in the house, laughing with Eric, hugs, good health, birds in the feeder, and reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

Gratitude

1. Flowers. Especially this time of year when my garden is hibernating. One of my not so secret dreams is to turn our garden, front and back, into a tiny flower farm. Places like Floret Flower Farm are so dreamy — fields of flowers covered in bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. 

2. Good food. The nice thing about cooking a special seasonal meal for just the two of us is we have food for the next three days, don’t have to worry about cooking and get to eat some of our favorite things, like apple pie and stuffing. I made bran muffins with dried raspberries this morning, which are one of Ringo’s favorites. 

3. Four day weekend. In particular, one like this where not only does Eric get to be home from work, but those last four days of his break, there’s NOTHING on our schedule, nothing extra that has to be done.

4. Good content. Books, magazines, TV, films, podcasts, music, comedy, and art. And I’m also grateful for all the makers.

5. Morning walk. It looks so different out there now, full winter.

6. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. I am so lucky, so grateful.

Bonus joy: lots of naps, drinking green tea in the morning in the dark while sitting in my practice room, my aunt’s quilts (a long time ago, on a completely different website, I did a tour of my house and all the quilts of hers I have — I need to do that again), watching true crime with Eric, being retired, writing in the morning with a cup of coffee, a warm shower, grapefruit bubbly water, raspberries, apple pie oatmeal (one part oatmeal, one part apple pie), poetry, blankets (in this regard, I may have a problem, kind of like I have with books — there can never be enough!), birds in the feeder, dreaming about Sam, all the things Ringo does that drive me crazy but also mean he’s happy and healthy, walking with Eric and Ringo at City Park, hanging out and making art with Mikalina, texting with my brother, neighbors putting up their Christmas lights and decorations, the hydromassage chair, the pool, sitting in the sauna with Eric and Janice, making art with Janice, training with Shelby and the gang (which one day this week included Eric), realizing I’m getting physically stronger, dog rescue, snow tires, a washer and dryer inside my own house, hot water right out of the tap, sunshine, electricity, the internet, clean water, kitchen towels, blank journals, purple highlighters, baby chickens, snail mail, yoga, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.