Grateful that I don’t have to be grateful any more

Today I am grateful that it is not a law that I write a blog about being grateful every day.  It was sucking the fun out of writing a blog.  I was beginning to approach blogging like a chore, a drudge, a (*gasp*) job.  Enough’s enough!  This is supposed to be fun.  No more self-imposed blogging every day.  I’ll write when I have something to say, whether it’s interesting or not.

But I do have a month’s worth of things for which I am grateful.  I’ll just list them instead of writing about each:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Sister
  3. Chocolate soy milk
  4. antidepressants
  5. Elastic waist bands
  6. Digital libraries
  7. Harry Potter books
  8. air conditioning
  9. hugs from my husband

Actually, I’m having a hard time coming up with my list.  I think that I’m distracted by hunger because I just started to list “Cinnamon Life Cereal”….

I’ve had several bad days recently–no sleep, a cold, work-related stress.  I have a picture that perfectly expresses my mood.  It’s a picture of my roommate from freshman year in college, Grace* (*not her real name).  She was in the middle of what we called an “all-weeker” (instead of an “all-nighter”) during finals week.  I’ve never sympathized with Grace more than this past week.  I’ve wanted to give the whole world the bird.

Grace, I feel your pain.

Second Chances – Day 11

Today, I am grateful for second chances.  If some people had not given me a second chance, they would not be in my life now.  And vice versa.

What more can you say about second chances?  You really can’t, so I’m going to move on to another topic.

I’m having such a difficult time sleeping recently.  I have recently had a change in medication and I’m blaming that.  The result is that I am as exhausted as I have ever been.  I am so tired that I have actually become stupid.

I noticed it yesterday while I was getting my hair cut.  As the stylist was cutting my hair and trying to talk to me, I was having a hard time concentrating enough to come up with an answer to her questions.  A typical sentence would go something like this, “Matt bought a dirt bike [long pause] sometime this year and he wrecked it and he got hurt.  It was bad.”  This was in reply to the question, “Have you done anything fun lately.”

I’ve never been stupid.  I feel like I’m inhabiting someone else’s body.  Or really that my brain has been replaced with someone else’s brain.  Maybe I’ll try what George Costanza did in an episode of Seinfeld — if I give up sex, I’ll get smart.

This is a pretty lame blog.  I hope you will give me a second chance after I get smart again.

Mama Mia — Day 10

Today I am grateful for mothers.  Specifically, I am grateful for my mother.  She’s a pretty darn good mother.  My sister and I turned out well.  We’re kind, responsible, competent women.  My biggest issue is that I tend to put a lot of people into the category of “Idiots”.  Matt might argue that I have more issues than that, but I think that is idiotic.

I am especially grateful that she taught me that I shouldn’t take myself too seriously.  She is the kind of mother that won’t be mad at her daughter at all for posting this picture of her in a blog.  A picture that she hates.  She will laugh and laugh and say, “I’m not going to take myself so seriously!”  Cause that’s the kind of mother she is.

I love this picture.  She was 17 at the time, competing in a beauty pageant.  And I love to think about her that young, that carefree, that bold.  Go, Girl!  You are as beautiful today as you were at 17.

Gut Busting — Day 9

Today, I am grateful for belly laughs.  You know, those laughs that have you bending over, wiping tears from your eyes, putting up your hand, pleading “Stop! Stop!”.  Those laughs where you worry you’re going to pee your pants, where you do pee your pants.  Those laughs where you end up saying, “Whoo!  Oh my god, that was funny!”, and then you start to giggle again for several minutes.

I am grateful for those kind of laughs.  They cleanse.

Walking into my Surprise 40th Birthday Party!

Day 8 — Payday is Tomorrow

Today I am grateful that I have a full-time job.  A job that pays my bills and allows me to do extra stuff, like take a vacation to Ireland, use a Keurig for my coffee, buy organic milk at the grocery store and to go out to eat at restaurants when I feel like it.

In fact, I’m having dinner tonight with a friend that I haven’t seen in a few months (*waves* “Hi, Nikki”).


I’m grateful that I have a job that takes up so much of my time that I find it hard to write a grateful blog everyday of the week.

Elder grateful month — day 7 — written word

It’s been a week, 7 days, since I started blogging about one thing I’m grateful for per day and I’m beginning to wonder if a month is too long.  Maybe it should be Elder Grateful Semi-Month.  I’ve never written every day….this shit’s hard.

Regardless, today I am grateful for the written word.  Without it, I couldn’t tell you that this shit is hard unless you were sitting in the same room with me or we were on the phone together.  The written word, the ability to communicate through 26 little letters arranged to form words, astounds and humbles me.

I have always been a voracious reader.  Probably the biggest single milestone of my life was when I learned to read — it changed everything for me.  (Wow….I peaked at 6….)  From that point forward, my favorite thing to do has been to read.  I will read anything:  books, magazines, brochures, pamphlets, cards, whatever has words on it.  If there is a moment of down time, I’m looking for something to read.  I may learn something, pick up some new knowledge or entertain myself for a moment.  They were right!  Reading IS FUNdamental!

I can’t imagine life before the written word.  I’ve read (!!) about how many cultures and civilizations lasted for centuries with their mythologies and stories passed down from generation to generation simply through memory and story-telling.  How??  I can’t remember what to buy at the grocery store without writing it down and I buy the same stuff every week.  How did Gawain and the Green Knight survive the Dark Ages?

With the written word, we can share ideas, knowledge, facts or fiction without ever being located in the same place.  It can be shared over distant times.  A story can last forever.

That is simply ….. well, I just can’t find a word for it.  But it’s big.

Elder grateful month — day 6 — X marks the vote

I didn’t even have to choose the subject today.  The day elected (get it?) the topic.  I am grateful for the fact that I live in a country where I have the ability and the right to vote for my leaders.  As long as I am not convicted of a felony, I can vote in every election until I die.

The amazing thing about this is not just that I can vote.  There are lots of countries around the world where voting takes place.  What is so astonishing and unique about an American’s voting rights are many:

Get Out and Vote

  1. My right to vote is not based on race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status
  2. I can vote without fear of retaliation against me or my family
  3. I can vote at polls that aren’t surrounded by soldiers with automatic weapons
  4. I can vote knowing that the “winner” is not a forgone conclusion and my vote is meaningless;  i.e., my vote counts
  5. I can vote in complete anonymity
  6. I vote on a predetermined schedule (every 2 to 4 years), not every time there is a coup
  7. I can belong to a political party but still vote for the other party’s candidate

And when it’s all said and done, I can complain, in the office, in a blog, in a letter to the editor of my local paper, at a city council meeting, wherever, that I am not happy with my leaders.  Even if I voted for them.

Elder grateful month — day 5 — Sleep

Day 5 of Elder Grateful Month and there’s no slowing me down.  I’ve still got plenty for which to be grateful….and today, I’m grateful for sleep.

Sleep, catching some zzzz’s, hitting the sack, sawing some wood — whatever you call it, you gotta have it.

Did you know that chronic sleep deprivation can increase your risk of:

  1. heart disease
  2. heart attack
  3. stroke
  4. diabetes
  5. high blood pressure

And it dumbs you down.  Makes it harder for you to concentrate.  And causes, ummm, I lost my train of thought.  Oh yeah, 100,000 traffic accidents a year are caused by sleepiness.

In fact, I would be grateful for more sleep.  I have suffered from chronic insomnia for about 10 years now.  I was such a champion sleeper before I hit my mid-30s, too, that becoming a sleep-challenged person was a shock. I used to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime.

These days, I take sleeping pills and melatonin and wear a CPAP for sleep apnea.  I find myself talking about the pros and cons of different sleeping pills with people — I am firmly entrenched in middle-age.  I am so Team Jacob, but would become Team Edward solely to eliminate the need to sleep.

When I have a good’s night sleep, I feel like a MILLION BUCKS!  Those are the days where I sparkle (like Edward), I am a warrior woman, I can take on the world.  So, I am so grateful for sleep, and if you’re listening, Mr. Sleep, I miss you.  Come visit more often.

Elder grateful month — day 4 — God’s Plan

Day 4 of Elder Grateful Month and I still have so much for which to be grateful.  Today, however, I’m all about God’s Plan for me.

I was raised in a Christian house and have always known that God loves me.  The significance of that message really sunk in during my 30s, when I was battling an episode of clinical depression.  At a time when I felt like no one in the world could possibly like me, much less love me, the message of God’s agape love penetrated my mind and heart.

Old Graveyard — Ireland — Matt Elder

I believe that God has a plan for me and I try not to worry about the future.  It is so much easier said than done.  I’m not a fatalist or someone who believes in predestination above free will.  I believe that I can (and do) make bad choices.  But I do believe that if I submit myself to His plan, then He will lead me to make the choices that He wants.

I’m not a Bible scholar nor a theologist, so my belief system may seem simple to some.  Yet, I know that when I have felt most at peace in my life is when I am talking and listening the most to God.  That’s when I feel like I am following His plan.  When I have felt the most frazzled, disconnected, overwhelmed and out-of-sorts is when I have tried to do things on my own.  When I’ve tried to convince God that I knew what I was doing and He should just stand back and watch me handle it.  It never worked out well when I was trying to control everything.

My Life and God’s Plan — A Visual

Letting go, trying not to control everything, is one of the hardest things to do.  I think we humans are wired to try to control the environment around us.  It must be a survival skill.  It’s the moments when I have said, “I can’t do this, Lord.  I’m in over my head.  You gotta take this.” — those are the moments that have made me the strongest.  Seems backwards, huh?  All a part of His plan.

Elder grateful month – day 3 – Furniture

Day 3 of Elder Grateful Month and the last 36 hours have inspired me to be grateful for Furniture.

Furniture?  Yes, furniture.  Objects to sit upon, lay upon, sprawl upon, prop my feet upon…you get the picture.  Early man just sat on the ground, either rock or dirt, maybe covered with some sort of vegetation.  How sad–and disagreeable.

This just doesn’t look comfortable after a long day of hunting and gathering


I’ve spent the last 24+ hours in pain with a headache and I can’t imagine what early man did when they were in pain.  You just can’t find a comfortable position on a rock.  You need chairs and sofas and beds to rest your weary and aching muscles and bones.

Doesn’t this look better than a rock?

For me, a piece of furniture can also represent safety.  Kitchen tables are where you talk over the day’s event.  Matt and I have a lot of our serious “relationship” conversations at the kitchen table or on the sofa.  The introvert in me escapes to the bed to read when I need quiet time.  And I’ve written in the past about a couch that witnessed many, many important events in my life.

I am grateful that I (1) can afford furniture, (2) live in a time where furniture has been invented (because I wouldn’t be inventing it myself) and (3) live in a country where it is readily available.  My head is thankful it had several nice places to lay itself yesterday.