gratitude: the power of REM cycles

It’s amazing what a decent night’s sleep can do for a person.

I mean really good sleep.  In a room that’s not too hot, on a bed that’s just the right amount of firmness.  With a comfortable pillow and earplugs that dampen even the noisiest dog nails to silence.

We’re talking eight to nine hours of solid sleep.  No tossing and turning; no waking up every hour because my nose is stuffy or my head is raging.  No kids tapping my shoulder because they don’t feel good.  No dogs scuffling around or dropping their paws on me so I’ll let them outside for a midnight pee.

540 minutes of Peace and Quiet with a few decent REM cycles thrown in for good measure.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: our own bright lights

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I love traveling.  New sights, new sounds, even new smells.  The chance to experience another life from the inside out, even if only for a week, and gain a new perspective on the world.  It’s a precious gift BrightSide and I have shared for years now.

But there’s a joy in the returning home, too.  It feels like sliding out of a cool ocean and crossing warm, soft sand.  This is clearest when we move between extremes, returning from a busy trip or crowded city.  We step back into our lives, and this is what I see.

Hawks and vultures soaring overhead, feathers outlined against a clear blue sky.  Deer passing through the neighborhood in groups of three or four.  And stars…stars as far as the eye can see.  More stars than I ever imagined would hover above our home, along with a planet or two.

There’s nothing quite like coming back to crystal clear starry nights after a week of bright lights, big city.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: where the difference lies

“The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs.  The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.” 
– William J. Clinton, 1997

This is more true today than it’s ever been.  Labels are shouted from the rooftops – religion, race, who we love, who we should hate – all with one aim.  Division.

You cannot dream of peace while denouncing an entire group of people.  You cannot look to the future if you are determined to stand still, feet planted in sour soil with firmly downcast eyes.  You cannot lay claim to Christian love and forgiveness while your actions are incendiary, exclusionary, and dismissive.

But I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  More and more people are stepping out of the shadows, determined to stand up and say, “We are better than this.”  And we are.  We are better than this.

We just have to expect it of one another.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: the season of friendship

Understanding the nuance of friendship is a part of living in a military family.  I learned this lesson early on – if I wanted to have friends then I’d have to make the effort.  I had to step out of my comfort zone, talk to new people, and find kids I wanted to hang out with until the next move.

This wasn’t that hard as a young girl.  Not surprisingly, it became more difficult over the years.  Something about self-consciousness, fear of rejection, awkward freshman stages and such.

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gratitude: with a missing button and hole in the hem

There are some things I sigh my way into.  A pair of soft, fleecy sweats…the t-shirt broken in by hundreds of washes…fuzzy socks on a cold, snowy day.  Then there’s that one special blanket I wrap around my shoulders and sink into for a nap.

And I have one of BrightSide’s shirts that always makes me feel like I’m home again.  It’s an old plaid flannel button down, so worn it feels like cotton balls brushing across my cheek, so soft it’s like being wrapped in a warm hug.

At the end of each day I change into my PJs and slide on this shirt, snuggling into it like my favorite pair of slippers.  The comfort of the familiar.  The warmth of a thousand nights spent cuddling with my family on the couch.

It might look like a battered old flannel shirt to some, but it is at once past, present, and future to me.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: another southern staple

I know I joke around about living in the south.  They have a strange obsession with Cheerwine here and a bizarre inclination to deep fry anything.  When we go out to eat I have to ask BrightSide to remind me which kind of sweet tea that particular restaurant serves – moderate, hummingbird, or put me into a diabetic coma sweet.  Don’t even get me started on why chicken and waffles are offered together as a breakfast order.

But I’ll tell you something this glorious state introduced me to: the delectable dish that is chicken pie.

I mean, chicken pie in general is delicious, but there’s this place in town called Michelle’s Catering.  Oh, my…Michelle’s chicken pie…

Anthems could be written about the savoriness of this pie.  Its tender chicken, the scrumptious sauce, a flaky and fabulous crust.  I have dreams about this pie.  The mere thought of it makes me salivate just a little.

I just texted my husband begging him to bring home this pie.  Tonight.

Some might say I have a problem, but I figure it’s better than being hooked on deep fried Twinkies.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: for the love of paws

Some things are really cool.  Handprints left in fluffy shag carpet.  Grass that looks pokey but feels soft as a blanket.  Couches that look hard but cushion like the fluffiest clouds.

But dog paws?  Those are infinitely cool.

Their pads are scratchy but, when I rub them just the right way, they’re also remarkably soft.  And when everybody’s all relaxed I can feel that really neat webbing between their pads.

Plus there’s something so deeply trusting when a dog lets you hold their paw.  It’s like touching a pure spirit, one capable of more love than her body can hold.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: little bits o’ joy

In honor of all the things that bring a little bit of joy to my life…

  • full fat creamer in a hot cup of coffee
  • squishy flip flops
  • white fluffy clouds in a true blue sky
  • being able to photograph the kids even when they’re going full speed
  • Tide™ pens ‘cuz, you know, clumsiness
  • yellow daffodils
  • clean water to drink
  • danish. really good danish.
  • yummy smelling body wash
  • soft, smooth, comfy leggings

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.