Think of All the Things You CAN Do.

The other day, I was complaining (again) about not being able to run. The whole tendonitis thing was really getting to me, and I was wallowing in a sea of “why me?”, until a friend said these words to me:

Think of all the things you CAN do.

So, I did.

I can take a cycling class. So the next morning, I took one at the gym. I can use the good old elliptical machine. So, I rocked out a 7 miler. I can do do yoga. I can swim. I can still ride my bike. I was already doing these things, but for some reason it didn’t matter. I was stuck on the one thing I couldn’t do.

Wah.

Wah.

Getting stuck is the worst. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re stuck until you become unstuck. And more often than not, it’s the words of an outside observer that gives you that push to unstick yourself.

Besides all these things things, I began thinking about all of the things that I CAN do that I don’t spend nearly enough time appreciating: I can see; I can hear: I can smell, touch, and taste. I can work. I can think. I can write. I can dream. I can love.

TLF.

Wedding bliss.

Wow. There are a ton of truly amazing things I CAN do. Not only am I thankful for all of these things, I’m thankful to the wonderful friend who pointed it out to me.

Besties.

Besties.

Gratitude really can make all the difference. No more wallowing. I have absolutely no reason to. The world is too good for it.

With that being said, I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon doing one other thing that I can do, and pretty well at that – bake a pumpkin spice cake. 🙂

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

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Living, Loving, and Giving Thanks.

Like many others, I was thinking tonight about all I am thankful for. There is much – very very much. More than ever before, I reckon. There are a number of reasons why this is so, from being more aware, to being more open, to giving more of myself – to name a few of the biggies. However, when I think about what I’m most thankful for, one thing comes to mind – and it may come as a surprise to many people. But if it were not for this, I would not be who I am today.

I am thankful for having my heart broken.

Since this fateful event a year and 8 months ago, I believe I have learned more about myself than I had in the 35 years leading up to that day. I learned that being alone is not the same as being lonely. In fact, the opposite is true – it took being thrust unexpectedly into being alone to finally free me of feeling lonely. It allowed me to let people in – really let them in – which was something I could never do before. Sure, I had lots of friends, and some of them I even considered close – but I often felt that they never really knew me. Thanks to my broken heart, I finally was able to share the “real” me with others. And it has made all the difference.

I made a conscious decision to never let my heart close again – to keep sharing, and growing, giving (and forgiving), learning, and most importantly, loving.

I’m thankful everyday for the pure joy of being alive; and for all the friends and loved ones I have the honor of sharing this with. You’re all in my life for a reason, and for that I’m eternally grateful and unquestionably lucky.

And even though in my old age I’ve become more of a Buddhist than a Catholic, I would like close this post with my favorite quote from the Bible – something that’s gotten me through many tough days, and maybe will do the same for some of you – good old Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone. My world is a better place because of you. 🙂

Ramblings of an Astraphobic.

she came in through the kitchen window.

I live right outside of Philadelphia, and we are right now in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, the biggest storm to hit this area in my lifetime (that I can recall). Not only is this the biggest storm to ever hit this area, but it has come at a time in my life where there has been much change and growth. A storm of sorts hit my personal life about a year and a half ago – also the worst storm in my lifetime that I can recall. It knocked me on ass, so to speak. Everything I thought I knew – everything I believed in – all the walls I had carefully constructed over many, many years were gone, in one fell swoop. I woke up one day and realized I had no idea what the heck I was doing.

At the time, I was lost. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I asked “why me?” and “why do I have to work so much harder than everyone else?” Of course, I was wallowing, which is what we do when we don’t know what else to do. Thankfully, that phase didn’t last and I began to realize that now was the perfect time to do whatever I wanted to do. The walls were gone – the life I knew was gone. I was given a chance to rebuild, and I could do it however I wanted. I started taking yoga; I read some truly inspiring books; I found myself a mentor (or shoud I say, he found me); I started paying attention to the world around me. I realized that I had been surrounded by amazing people all along, if I had only opened my heart up enough to let them inside. So I finally did. Instead of tightly sewing it back up after it had been broken, I allowed it to stay open.; and it has made all the difference.

None of this was easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. But I would not trade it for anything. And I would even go as far as saying that I hope everyone can experience such a life-changing event. Having closed eyes and a closed heart is no way to go through life, son. Waking up isn’t always easy – but it’s worth it.

The reason I’m writing all this now, a year and a half later? Well, I’ve finally reached a good place. I’m awake. I’m alive. I love the world around me in a natural sense. I love the people in it. I am truly grateful for them, and the love in which they shower me with, unconditionally. You Get What You Give.

The storm is going to do what the storm is going to do. You will be ok. You are more than this. You will come out stronger. And so will I; as we all are part of each other.

So tell that person you haven’t talked to in a while that you miss them. Call that old friend you’ve lost touch with. Stop waiting and tell someone how you really feel about them.

“Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Stay safe, my friends. See ya on the other side – stronger and wiser.

Giving thanks.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude toward the many people/things/events that touched my life this year. It’s in the most challenging times when you realize what truly matters. So take a moment, look around you, and be thankful for the wonders that abound. Be thankful that you are you. Be thankful for the great friends that stand by you when you can barely stand yourself. Be thankful for every step and every breath you take (Sting was on to something). Be thankful for love, for nature, for your totally awesome cat (ok, or dog). Be thankful for teachers, for the ability to learn endlessly and constantly improve. Be thankful for change, for without it you’d never grow and become better. Be thankful for art, for music, for the ability to forgive. Be thankful for feelings, for understanding, for kindness, for respect, and integrity. Be thankful for work, for play, for laughter and even for tears. Be thankful for strength, and creativity. Be thankful for imagination. Be thankful that you have these things, and if you don’t, be thankful that you are capable of finding and learning them. Live life each day with joy and passion. And no matter where you are, or what you are doing, always remember to be thankful for dessert. 🙂

turkey: it's what's for dessert.

Never take anything for granted;

Always be thankful for the simple things;

Slow down and enjoy every moment;

Love with your whole heart.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 🙂

How bazaar.

When I was in grade school, every year around this time our school held it’s annual “Christmas Bazaar” in the gym. It was a bunch of vendors, selling handmade items and crafts, and a giant table loaded with donated baked goods in the hall. There was also a giant tree in the center of the lobby, and even a classroom where Santa was hanging out. I pretty much did all my Christmas shopping there as a kid. My mom would help me write my list, and then send me off to shop for everyone in one place. It’s a lovely memory and one I hold dear to my heart and look back on with a touch of melancholic nostalgia (as if there is any other kind).

But being a crafty lass even in those days, just shopping at the Bazaar wasn’t enough. So, I asked my mom if I could sell things that I made there, specifically those pot holders you weave on that plastic loom, as I was making them non-stop and thought instead of giving them away, I could sell them for money. I was 6 at the time. 

my first business enterprise.

 So I was not allowed to be a vendor at the Bazaar…but I was allowed to sell my pot holders at someone else’s table (I don’t know who – my mom took care of it – probably a random friend of hers). As I walked through the gym that year, purchasing my gifts, I saw my very own pot holders out for sale, and I was elated. And I even sold some! (well, I assume I did – it could have been an elaborate adult cover-up). But either way, this was my first taste of selling hand-made goods, and I was hooked.

Fast forward to today. I was an actual vendor at a Holiday Bazaar – not my old school, but it was exactly the same set up – baked goods in the hall, vendors in the gym. I was selling my book, but I had donated baked goods to the event in the form of:

Gingerbread mini cupcakes with pear buttercream…

nice molasses.

 white chocolate wreath cookies….

deck the halls, then eat them.

 and finally, the surprise hit of the fair, mini marzipan mice.

a mouse you'd want in the house.

 It was a lot of fun. I sold a few books, but besides that, I got a ton of positive feedback on the selection of “Small Indulgences” I baked and donated. It was like 1982, all over again. It’s funny how so many things change over time as we age…yet a wonderful feeling is a wonderful feeling, whether you’re 6 or 35. Knowing that others are enjoying things I made with my own hands, my own heart and my own soul – pot holders or marzipan mice – well there’s really nothing better. So encourage your kids to do what they love – they’ll be better people for it, and one day, they’ll thank you.

Thanks, Mom. 🙂