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January 23, 2014

365 Grateful - My year of gratitude

Inspired by a beautiful video I watched at the beginning of January, I decided to use my iPhone to capture a photo each day in 2014, documenting something I am grateful for. It seemed like the obvious choice because I constantly have my phone and often use it to take photos when my DSLR is put away, however I had no idea in 3 short weeks how quickly this simple project would not only change my attitude, but change my outlook on life.
After a long couple months of debilitating illness, feeling hopeful yet frustrated by my condition, the only intention I made for this new year is to continue evolving and reaching towards greater health each day, uncovering optimal wellness through whole, nutritious foods, discovering how to stay balanced in mind, body and spirit and continually growing in my spiritual walk. It is a simple resolution to keep trying, even when I make mistakes. It doesn't have a finish line and only requires an open-minded, positive attitude. Being on a special diet, restricting the foods that are not beneficial to my body has created a jump start in my heath and in my mind. I feel stronger each day, happier and more clear-headed. I am excited to cook and eat foods that fuel my body and my spirit. I experience less emotional ups and downs. I feel confident in myself in ways I have never felt before. 
There are those times in the journey of life where I find myself trudging along in the mud, the future shaky and my spirit weak. Yet it is in those times where I uncover the biggest sense of "alrightness"; this Knowing that all is well because it always has been and always will be. My journey, all the moments of my past, have been helpful to me. The hard ones, where I plod along waiting for the proverbial fog to lift; the easy ones where life seems so effortless; all of those times have led me to now, this very moment of stillness and joy. 
And this year, 2014, I choose to rest my spirit deep in the gift of Gratitude.
I hope if I only learn one lesson in my thirties, it's to love and accept the challenges I am faced with because without them I would certainly take for granted the blessings. It's so easy to seek out what is wrong but what is eternally more rewarding is unearthing the little things that are so right.
When it is freezing outside, in the midst of this crazy polar vortex, it's noticing the way the snow shimmers in the only light for miles around. It's saying thank you for the warm coat, the warm car, the warm body to curl up next to in the heat of the house.

When the home is a mess and everything feels undone and there is so much to do, it's the way he rests in your arms, his weight shifting deep into your curves and he feels safe. He isn't thinking about anything else in that moment except how loved he feels and there is nothing more important than holding him and stroking the soft blonde wisps of hair.
When all your efforts, all the conversations with them about how great vegetables are and how each type of food works in their body and how sugar can overload the system and the preaching and the "just try new things, I bet you'll love them," finally pay off and they devour the meals and say "Mommy you are the best cooker in the world." The millionth "When will dinner be ready?" because they know that cooking is love made visible and they can't wait to dig in and let their bodies get to work. Their palates are daily expanding and the oldest loves spicy foods and sushi and the youngest just realized he loves mushrooms AND tomatoes. This, to me, is more valuable than any diamond in the world.
It's the daily goodness of love and forgiveness. It's saying I am not going to judge so and so for the way she does such and such and I am not going to raise my voice when instead I can take a deep breath and try not to misunderstand.
It's saying thank you to the man who gets up every morning while you stay in your pajamas and braves the winter frost and shovels the driveway and tucks those boys into bed and never fails to cuddle them twice and who knows that he only has twenty something odd more years until retirement and he'll work hard every single day until that final workday comes. It's never letting a day go by where you don't appreciate that kind of love and commitment.
In the day to day, when the kids are crazy and life keeps moving and the bills pile up; when the leaves change colors and then fall, flowers bloom and then the sun turns so hot you sweat off all your makeup; when the TV is up too loud and the milk spills; when the boys are fighting and screaming and then hugging and making up; when you cry out of frustration and giggle at the same silly jokes; when you are let down and lifted up, angry and happy, frightened and excited; when it hurts to laugh but you do any way; when you say I am not going to make the same mistakes that he or she did and decide to feel the feelings and not numb them; when you get up out of bed every morning and live your life with intention and seek and never stop searching for something to be grateful for; when you look closely for just one thing (or how about the One) that makes you say thank you, you will find hundreds of blessings.
"Temporary is my time
Ain't nothin' on this world that's mine
Except the will I found to carry on.
Free is not your right to choose
It's answering what's asked of you
To give the love you find until it's gone."

-The Avett Brothers, Ill with Want

Say it with me: thank you. Those two words can change your life if you let them.


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