100 Things For Which I’m Grateful

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I read the post at http://mostlytruestoriesofkrenaep.com/ ages ago.  I’ve tried doing something like this before, without success, because it had to be done daily.  Then I thought, why not just let my mind think of them one at a time, as I open my heart?

100 Things I’m grateful for (not in any particular order):

  1. the snow flurries falling outside my window, glinting in the morning sun as they flitter about
  2. my warm house
  3. my husband
  4. our son
  5. our nephews, who’ve survived the military
  6. family
  7. friends who make this crazy world seem ok
  8. our two dogs, who greet me with such intense love first thing in the morning and whenever I return home
  9. food, to fill my stomach and make my nose and eyes happy
  10. my future that, although really and truly unknown, is there waiting for me, when I get there
  11. the memory of how my newborn babe smelled
  12. laughter
  13. hugs, warm and filled with love
  14. love!
  15. taking pictures to remember special moments and people and things
  16. the camera that I use to take those pictures
  17. clean drinking and bathing water
  18. newly married and newly engaged friends and family–their joy brings me joy
  19. my ability to search for the good in situations
  20. books that make me think, laugh, relax
  21. cookbooks!
  22. the master bath (feels like a spa and took 1 yr., 10 1/2 months, but yay!)
  23. my oh-so-comfortable bed
  24. the herbs drying in my kitchen
  25. music — classical, classic rock, new age, (?? should it be called old age?), some rap, (rap that is poetry, not put-downs) pop, alternative rock, golden oldies, big band, instrumental, …
  26. essential oils, as they’ve reintroduced lovely scents for my nose since I cannot tolerate most synthetic scents
  27. a perfect cuppa joe
  28. a lovely glass of wine
  29. a beer that’s so good it makes me smile after the first sip
  30. flowers in the springtime and their scent in the air
  31. leaves changing in the fall, catching the sunshine and exploding with color
  32. snowball fights with my son and dogs
  33. watching my son sleep
  34. my hair
  35. my mama and daddy’s love
  36. the trip we took to Ireland
  37. the many different birds hanging out, chirping, eating the seeds from the feeder and off the ground under it, and taking baths in the tiny fish pond
  38. the new living room furniture that took forever to find because of my severe allergy to formaldehyde and other chemicals used in furniture construction
  39. looking through the gazillions of photos I’ve taken, going down memory lane
  40. realizing I can go back to sleep after using the loo in the middle of the night.  Better yet–waking up semi-rested in the morning after thinking I couldn’t get back to sleep
  41. taking a pie out of the oven that smells heavenly and looks even better than imagined
  42. eating that pie, with people who are so happy to also be eating that pie
  43. slowly cooking onions in butter and olive oil until fabulously golden brown
  44. hearing two owls hooting at each other late at night, while I’m in my study
  45. seeing a V-formation of Canadian geese fly over my house, through one of the skylights
  46. seeing the full moon through that skylight
  47. watching birds of prey, like red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, Cooper hawks, glide calmly through the air, just scoping things out
  48. when my car’s wipers automatically (!) swipe because there are finally enough drops on the windshield
  49. new plants coming up in the spring
  50. the first apple and pear buds opening in the morning light
  51. the smell of the woods when hiking
  52. helping a stranger smile just by being nice
  53. the feeling after doing something unexpected for someone, as in random acts of kindness
  54. being joyfully recognized by former students
  55. getting cards in the mail from family and friends
  56. sharing my gratitude with someone who has done their job, but it was for me
  57. cleaning something that got surprisingly grungy, and it looks like new
  58. looking at certain shades of red, blue, green and purple
  59. laughing until my stomach hurts
  60. finishing a reeeeeally good book, and liking the ending
  61. going on vacation and learning new things
  62. learning new things while at home too!
  63. wrapping presents for loved ones, hoping it’s something they’ll enjoy as much as I think they will
  64. tasting something that reminds me of my mom or dad
  65. hearing a song that reminds me of my mom and/or dad
  66. reconnecting with someone I haven’t see in a while, and still being connected
  67. having my son sometimes recognize that I’m really not that stupid or boring
  68. when my dog, Gracie Jane, talks to me
  69.  when my other dog, Spencer, softly snores while laying on my foot
  70. driving my pretty “Universe Blue” car
  71. being welcomed into our favorite restaurants and the local produce market
  72. watching videos of puppies, kittens, and other animals
  73. seeing the inside of a gladiola bloom, or a rose or a peony
  74. being able to smell the white allysum and raspberry scented red roses through the front screen door
  75. holding my honey’s hand while we walk through a store or park or anywhere
  76. freshly washed bedding
  77. the sound of a gentle, steady rain without blustery winds, thunder or lightening
  78. the smell of that rain (petrichor)
  79. looking at the river rocks in our yard, marveling at the differences and their history
  80. my butter yellow laundry room with photos I’ve taken on the walls
  81. the crystals that you can look down into in our granite kitchen counter-tops
  82. my collection of old oil cans (based on Wizard of Oz and my dad using that kind of oil can)
  83. my mom’s collection of 4 leaf clovers inside the cover of her first cookbook
  84. the sound of hummingbird wings as they hover nearby
  85. hearing children laugh, especially babies
  86. the feeling of a little baby tightly wrapping its fingers around your finger
  87. taking someone to a place they haven’t gone to before, and sharing their delight
  88. making adventure plans
  89. making vacation plans
  90. going on a docent tour at the fabulous St. Louis Art Museum
  91. decorating for different holidays, like Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas
  92. hearing “Susie Snowflake” play on the stereo as the very first Christmas song while decorating (family tradition)
  93. tasting the first bite of something that stops the world for a moment because it’s so delicious
  94. learning a new skill or improving on one I already knew
  95. realizing I’m gently smiling because I’m content and at peace (for the moment!)
  96. giving unexpected genuine compliments
  97. the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil
  98. enjoying a meal or dish that someone made for me
  99. hearing my husband or son call my name (when not urgent or panicked!)
  100. the occasional realization (ah-ha moments) of how incredibly fortunate I truly am

This was really amazingly fun, rewarding, and enlightening for me!  I’ve been working on improving my attitude of gratitude, and this was honestly an powerful step.  I don’t recognize how wonderful my world is as often as I probably should, but it’s something I’m striving for.  As the old year leaves us and the new one approaches, my gratitude, things I love, things that bring joy list will be added to in order to develop my positive thinking.

You might want to give it a try sometime, just to see!

Sending warm wishes for your journey,

Nance

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Honestly, the moments matter

It’s such a joy to watch others recognize that the moment they’re experiencing, whether it seems good or bad, positive or heavy, exhilarating or exhausting, is an important part of the creation of who they are and will become.  It’s not solely, but I tend to live vicariously through others. I’ve been on medical leave since the middle of January, this year.  I’m working through the frustration, the fears, the loneliness, the worry, as well as the joys, the peace, the love that comes forth when you have a health issue that people really have a hard time relating to.  I’m hyper sensitive to fragrances.  Some, not all.  It’s manmade chemical compounds, we think, which cause me to have severe facial hives that burn, swell and itch horribly. If the exposure is dangerous enough to my body, my eyes burn, redden and swell as well, so I have to carry an Epi-pen everywhere I go, just in case my body goes into anaphylaxis. There are thousands of ingredients in fragrances, so my allergens cannot be narrowed down to be treated.

My health challenges stem from female high school students, mine, who thought it was so funny to watch me go through the stages I just mentioned.  I’ve always had sensitive skin, but have been able to cope with the world quite happily without endangering myself. Also, for these students, it was great that I’d get ill enough to have to get a sub, because everyone knows that you don’t have to do any work when there’s a sub!  Therefore, you don’t have any tests, or even a final!  Those things can’t be expected since the “real” teacher wasn’t present.  WRONG.  A good teacher still creates a learning environment, which I did through my sub plans, but most students didn’t choose to participate in that particular environment.

So, three of my five classes were exposing me with increasing frequency and intensity during the first semester of this school year.  I’m a FACS teacher (Family and Consumer Sciences) aka Home Ec.  You know, it hasn’t been called Home Ec. for over 20 years, yet if you say that’s what you teach, everyone knows basically what you teach.  Funny.  Only it’s so much more now–it’s not about “homey” stuff per say, but about possible career options young people might find interesting.

My classes for the past few years have been Housing and Design, Family Living and Parenthood, and Child Development.  I could NOT have gotten better classes to teach!  I love these three subjects.  Seriously love helping young men and young women find out stuff that may make their lives easier, better, more comfortable.  Confirming stuff they’ve hopefully heard at home, or sharing unknown but VERY important information that could make a difference in their lives, now or in the future.  Opening up lines of communication, providing the ability to see other versions, and maybe teaching empathy.  Making them THINK about the pros and cons of spanking or hitting children, for example, as well as learning other options to use instead.  Helping students understand that their environment, whether a house, condo, apartment, mobile home, basement, room, or wherever they call “Home” is important for emotional and mental health.  That colors really do matter differently to each one of us.  That you don’t have to have the newest and the biggest to seriously be content and happy.

I love what I teach.  I’m supposedly adored by a many of my students (according to them, according to how many former students came by for daily hugs as I did hall duty, and according to my subs sharing with me.)  Yet, I cannot be there, due to a few.  They ruined it for all of us.  And are probably really proud of themselves.  Those poor children.  What on earth would go through your mind, making you feel like it was okay to accost someone who is “nice and really cares” with a substance so dangerous that it could potentially kill.  And how is it that no one, not one single student, would dare come forth to tell on those students.  And how is it that those who supposedly cared wouldn’t step in as they saw the attacks happening to stop the perpetrators with a few words.  It tells me that there’s too much fear.  Don’t get involved.  The payback will be so much worse, you’ll wish you’d never done it.  I cannot imagine living in a world like some of my students.  I step forward, at the store, when a parent is losing control with their child, and maybe provide a way of handling it.  Maybe they just need a moment of support from another adult, or a second to catch their breath. I’ve interacted with children, reinforcing the caregiver’s ideas, because sometimes, even toddlers need to hear that the adult is right.  I step forward to say something’s not ok or acceptable.  Apparently I’m unusual.  I wish I wasn’t.

If I wasn’t, I’d still be teaching the stuff I love to teach.  I’d be living a normal, outgoing life, instead of a semi-hermit lifestyle.  I’d be moving forward, instead of struggling day in and out, worrying as I enter the grocery store or a restaurant, wondering if there will be a dangerous exposure to a scent that smells lovely.  I found out something this past weekend. A hose broke on the washer and we have to wait for the part, so we went to the Laundromat.  No biggie, right?  We’d dry the clothes at home.  Not a favorite hangout, but I did it for years before I got a washer and dryer of my own.  Guess what’s there?  Lovely, clean scented clothes.  Clothes detergent that caused me to get hives; burning, itching, swelling hives.  It didn’t progress to my eyes or respiratory system, but ohmygoodness.  I cannot go to the Laundromat.  huh.  I knew some detergents bother me, because I can’t go down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.  And a freshly laundered jacket belonging to one of my son’s friends caused hives when he came over to play.  In my own house!  I hadn’t thought about GOING to the Laundromat, and the possible danger.  Now I know.

All of this is due to some 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls “playing a joke” on a nice teacher.  My life is changing.  I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’m on a journey.  All the moments matter and it’s very important for me to remember that happiness comes from the journey, not the destination.

Warm wishes on your journey,

Nance