Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Sometimes, if I beg and beg, Ringo will even look at the camera and let me take a picture. This week we had some foggy mornings and saw a heron, a few deer, a beaver and a fox. It really and truly is full on fall now, and I love it. The rabbit brush in bloom is one of my favorite things about this season.

2. A “new” tiny family. I haven’t been allowed to write about it here for legal reasons, but now I’m allowed to say something: yesterday one of my best friends officially adopted her baby. It’s been a long time coming and much of the process was so hard, heartbreaking, but he’s here, to stay, for good. I’m so grateful to get to be part of the village that raises and loves him.

3. Practice. I’ve had a consistent meditation practice for over 10 years, and this week I decided to add another 10 minutes to my morning sit. It was time.

4. Good food. This week was also my same friend’s birthday, so I made her some zucchini breads and she gave me some peaches from her garden that I used to make compote to spoon on my oatmeal in the morning.

5. My tiny family. Ringo had various vet appointments this week, for his chronic wonky belly and his arthritic elbows, and even when he had to have blood drawn, he did SO good. I love getting to spend lazy days at home with him, hanging out and playing and “singing” and cuddling and napping. And Eric, well, he’s my favorite.

Bonus joy: good health practitioners to support both me and Ringo — wise and kind and funny, clean laundry, cooler weather, chrysanthemums, other people’s dogs, good TV (especially DCI Banks), podcasts (in particular My Favorite Murder), good books (too many to list), good music, masks and vaccines, a clean desk to work on, bare feet on soft green grass, good neighbors, naps, aqua aerobics, sitting in the sauna, training with Shelby, hanging out with Calyx, texting with Mom and Chris and Carrie, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

Begin Again, (as many times as necessary)

Today is my blogiversary. Ten years ago today, I published my first post, titled simply, “Beginning.” At first, only a few people knew I was blogging. I needed there to at least be the possibility someone might read what I posted, something to keep me accountable. I’d tried blogging before but had never stuck with it, never had a good enough reason for it, certainly not one that was sustainable. I’d get bored, run out of gas, forget why I started in the first place, and I’d quit, give up.

Over time, I told more people about my blog and even more people found it on their own. I was experiencing big shifts in my life and I wanted to write about them, process them for myself but also share what I was going through, the ways I was struggling and the ways I was figuring it out, in the hopes it might be helpful to someone else. Every post I made eased my suffering, kept me from giving up, and I hoped that it might do the same for anyone reading.

Since then, I’ve published 2263 posts. At various times, I’ve blogged for 30 days straight, taking part in various challenges. I came up with some regular features and special projects for myself as well. Other times, like recently, I haven’t posted as much, have posted more pictures and links to all the other good stuff and hard things humans are doing. And yet the intention has always been the same: ease suffering, don’t give up.

Honestly, it’s been hard this past year to keep my focus, in particular on the book I’m writing. I’m so tempted as I work on it to post what I’m writing here, to share it with you in pieces instead of waiting until it’s finished. Not posting as much here makes me miss you, feels a little lonely sometimes. But this book carries the same message: Being human is hard, (“life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible — keep your heart open”), but please don’t give up.

Eric and I did some calculations using my total word count here and figured out I’ve shared the equivalent of at least 12 books, (I wish writing the “real” one I’m working on came as easy to me as writing here). What I’ve written about has stayed consistent with who I am and what I’m experiencing, AND both have changed over time.

In a post on my fifth blogiversary, I wrote something that is still just as true now:

I’ve learned so much, cried so much, laughed so hard, and shared so much good stuff. This practice, this space, my kind and gentle readers, is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, one of the best things I’ve ever made happen.

Thank you so much for showing up, kind and gentle reader. I’m so grateful for your compassion, your curiosity, your company. We are still here, together. We haven’t given up, and that is worth celebrating.