Woman@Heart

Musings on Life, Love and Lefovers

Archive for the tag “blessings”

Thinking Thankful

About fifteen years ago I began keeping a gratitude journal. My notebook is nothing fancy; just aa simple, spiral-bound book filled with blank pages. On those lines, I jot down at least three things each morning that delighted me the day before. Spending a few minutes thinking about what I’m grateful for is a great way to begin each day.

The daily demands of being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend and consumer (just to name a few) provide lots of opportunities for disappointment, challenge and frustration. By taking a moment to reflect on what’s went right the day before, I give myself another opportunity — one that adjusts my view to see the glass as half-full instead of half- empty.

shutterstock_435712027Through sleep-rimmed eyes, before my feet hit the floor, I reach for my journal, stationed on my nightstand and start writing. Some entries are simple one-word notes like “sunshine,” “reading,” or “bargains.” Others are short prayers of thanks for my family’s good health, the addition of a grandchild, niece or nephew. I’m reluctant to admit that there seems to be a disproportionate number of entries involving food – lunches with friends, family dinners, new recipes that worked, a nut roll baked just for me by my niece, Maria.

Longer passages are a bit more reflective, perhaps chronicling a tough time, lamenting a difficult decision or struggling with the pain of losing someone close to my heart. The journal is also a place for me to boast about the successes of my children, record my feelings about a recently published article or pat myself on the back for achieving small goal – cleaning out a closet.

These pages are my paper sanctuary – a place to preserve the positive. They are a way to slow down my mind and reflect on the good news in my life. It’s what I call Thinking Thankful. Focusing on the good stuff that happened the day before lessens my usual spinning about things that normally make headlines in my mind — the computer crashing, the mess in the family room, a window screen chewed by Bandit, our dog or a rejection slip from an ill-informed editor.

Even though I start with three, there is no limit to the number of entries that find their way into my gratitude journal. Some days I take the time to write more, but knowing that I only have to come up with three makes it easy to fit this appreciation review into my morning routine.

Some items that show up with regularity are ways to simplify life. Great ideas from friends like the ideal construction of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My recipe was two slices of bread, one slice slathered in peanut butter, the other in jelly. It wasn’t until lunching with my friend, Rik, that I learned the faultiness of my formula. As he ate his lunch, I noticed that his sandwich didn’t have that “grape-jelly seepage” mine are famous for. Rik covers both slices of bread with a thin layer of peanut butter and then jellies in between. Perfect PB&J every time.

My journal let documents the goodness that I might otherwise take for granted. It’s is a record of how quickly life changes. That’s why ever so often, I read what I’ve written weeks, months even years before.

In 2004, I noted how hatha yoga brought flexibility to my hips. A few entries recorded my time spent helping my son, Jake, fill out college applications and the joy of Sunday morning visits with my mom. Today I still keep up my gentle yoga practice. Jake, an ASU graduate, is engaged to the beautiful Rachel. But those magic times when seeing my mother’s angelic smile was a mere five-mute drive ended that September. The page turned.

Because of my early morning writing practice, I’m actively paying attention to the good stuff that life sneaks in when I’m not looking. I stop to think about what went right during the last 24 hours. Little things like my husband, Nick, starting a load of laundry; my sister Sue, having my hard-to-find coffee creamer in her fridge on a recent visit; a friend dotting my desk with ladybugs stones the size of dimes, just because she knows I like ladybugs.

None of these things are life changing. They’re not life-altering events like winning the lotto, paying off your mortgage or finding the perfect job. Fortunately, though, they are life enhancing. Taken together they comprise the best parts of living. These are moments I might miss. I might take them for granted if I wasn’t writing them down.

Today’s technology lets us accomplish more in less time. That should be a good thing, but instead, we’re moving at the speed of life, going faster and doing more. Sandwiched between laundry, homework and grocery shopping, there’s little space left to ponder and contemplate. Time for these important reflections doesn’t just happen. It has to be scheduled. By taking a couple of minutes each day to write about what you’re thankful for you’ll enjoy the journey more. It doesn’t matter what your destination.

Advertisements

A Corner of Her Heart

CoverDraft2

Am I excited to share this news!!

The Kindle edition of “A Corner of Her Heart” is available for pre-order. This is first installment in my Begin Again series. The novel will also be available in paperback on the October 14 release date.

Hope you enjoy this peek inside the pages . . .

Monica lifted her head from the pillow. That was a mistake. Why did I order that third pitcher? Her head, heavier than a bowling ball, pounded as though she had used it to throw a strike. Voices seeped through her bedroom door. Joyful sounds of Brad and the boys playing. She licked her lips, hoping to get the saliva moving. No luck. Cotton balls would fall from her mouth at any moment. She didn’t remember much after Kate brought her home, except Brad holding her hair while she hugged the toilet. Tequila is not my friend.

Monica forced herself up and reached for a water bottle Brad had left on her nightstand. She slowly sipped, listening to what sounded like bodies bouncing off the walls. Definitely a sock war was underway. Monica would find her sons’ socks, now rolled up into balls as ammunition, for days. Guys could make a game out of anything.

She gingerly placed her feet on the carpet and ambled toward the family room. A cobalt-colored orb Monica recognized as part of Burke’s soccer uniform flew past her nose.

“Mom,” nine-year-old Burke shouted, “get back, you’re in the battle zone.”

“Cease fire.” Brad appeared from behind a chair and waved his arms. “Hi honey. Feeling better?”

“A little. What time is it?”

“About three,” Brady answered, stepping in from the hallway, “Dad kept us quiet all morning.”

“I asked to play sock war,” Bodie said, his voice barely higher than a peep. “Dad and me are a team.”

Monica moved to where Bodie sat and joined him on the couch. “Are you winning?”

“I think so,” Bodie replied, pointing to an arsenal of socks.

These moments made Monica’s life. Her sons enjoying each other, laughter rising throughout her home. Getting drunk last night was an escape, but she couldn’t escape her obligations. She didn’t want to. God blessed her with four sons to love and guide into manhood.

 She soaked in their faces, sweaty and innocent. How could she steal this life from them? Monica would never forget what Brad had done. Still, she had to find a way to forgive him and make their family whole again. Her sons’ childhood depended on that.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

iTunes: Coming Soon

The Refrigerator Door

Most people think the primary purpose of their refrigerator door is to keep the food inside cold – the lettuce crisp, the eggs fresh.

They are wrong. Well, at least in my case.

Sure that’s the original idea, but my fridge does so much more than protect the milk from spoiling. It’s really an appliance-sized art gallery, showcasing my family’s personality, goals, achievements.

When my children were small, the door was the place to hang school awards, newspaper clippings of athletic victories and report card successes. Those white panels recorded the many stages of my growing sons including the photo of my oldest, Shawn and his pal, Mike, proudly displaying their catch of the day or Jake walking across the football field to shake hands with the other team’s captain.

shutterstock_151438634

The refrigerator has served as a gigantic magnetic letter board, where my sons moved around colorful shapes in their early attempts to learn the alphabet–a tradition I’m eager to watch my granddaughter, Windley Marie, continue. Back then, there was a steady stream of art projects, including a Popsicle stick-laden frame declaring– in a six-year-old’s best handwriting–my husband, Nick as the World’s Best Dad.

Just like the media’s short news cycle, those memories have been upstaged by more recent happenings. Right now, held up by butterfly magnets, is an invitation to celebrate my youngest son, Seth’s college graduation juxtaposed near Windley’s birth announcement. A photo of me and my sisters, Sadye and Sue, sharing a laugh shares space with the boutonniere Nick wore at our wedding vow renewal last August.

Some things require permanent placement, however, like a photo from the ’90s of Seth with Max and Baylor, our dogs. Through winning and losing seasons, both Pirates and Steelers schedules compete alongside the Padres and the Chargers. The ladybug magnet given to me by my niece, Frances and the I Love Lucy one, a gift from niece Maria, will always have a spot on my KitchenAid holding miscellaneous notes, invitations and prayers.

Hidden among the family’s calendar, sandwich shop loyalty cards and the lottery tickets, beats the heart of my vibrant family. Each time I reach for the milk, or take out the lunchmeat, I’m greeted with this running Fadden Family news banner. It’s always on, streaming through the events of the day, the week and the year.

This easily updateable scrapbook serves as a haphazard window into my family’s life, keeping me focused on how quickly time passes. Blanketed with shopping lists, dental reminders and a Trader Joe’s coupon that expired last week, this metal canvas doubles as a larger-than-life reminder to pause and savor these sweet, fleeting moments. And to treasure the small things that translate so seamlessly into life’s biggest blessings.

 

 

A New Wrinkle

Life isn’t fair.

It’s taken me awhile to accept this reality. I’ve always had my suspicions though, starting when I was 6 and my brand new Slinky got a kink in it. But now I have verifiable proof. This morning as I washed my face with anti-aging cleanser, I discovered fresh wrinkles framing the sides of my smile like brackets. A New Wrinkle. Nov. 5. 2015 00No surprises there. What I find really unjust is that right below these newborn laugh lines, nature gifted me with a zit. Guess the joke’s on me since I mistakenly believe that once you become old enough to earn wrinkles, your face should be a pimple-free zone. One or the other, I say, but not both. Acne and crow’s feet shouldn’t live in perfect harmony.

Clothing designers are messing with me too. Earlier this month I scoured the stores looking for a bargain party dress. The clearance racks are full of 4s and 6s and 8s. Where are the 10s, the 12s, the 14s? Haven’t the garment manufacturers figured out there are more of us wearing double digits than gals who can enumerate their clothing size barely using the fingers of both hands.

Calories don’t play fair either. Even when I try to eat healthier, I don’t. In my ongoing quest to get skinny, I grabbed a bag of trail mix instead of nibbling on some sugar cookies. The next day I bragged about my improved eating choice to my perfectly fit friend Joni. She laughed. “You’d be better off just eating a handful of M&Ms.” I didn’t want to believe her, but when I got home I checked the nutrition facts on the trail mix bag. Joni was right. Excuse me if I sound like a sorehead, but who wants to live in a world where a cup of raisins has seven times as many calories as a bunch of grapes? Who decided that 4 ounces of tofu is only 88 calories while a 2-ounce Snickers bar weighs in at 271?

And one more gripe: Why do things break in bunches? In the past 10 days, my computer monitor died, the coffee pot gave up the ghost, my car battery decided it didn’t need to perform any longer and the icemaker in our barely two-year-old refrigerator developed a constant drip. The topper was two days ago when my husband, Nick, walked into the kitchen and — with his teeth chattering — asked who turned off the hot water.  Alas, our 10-year-old water heater with a nine-year warranty had delivered its last gallon of hot water the night before.

Normally, I’m a glass-is-half-full-kind-of-girl. I grew up hearing my Mom sing along as Bing Crosby belted out “Blue Skies.” When my toast lands butter-side down, I brush it off, grateful to have something to eat. Recently though, I find myself tallying up life’s many inconveniences instead reveling in its abundant Godsends.

It’s a good thing that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, because tucked in alongside the hectic hustle and bustle of the season is an annual reminder to pay attention to life’s important moments. The holidays gently inspire me to stop being the gal standing in line at the complaint department and spend my time breathing in the sweet, refreshing air of gratitude.

I can quickly list my grumbles in a less-than-800-word essay. Thankfully, recounting my life’s blessings would take pages and pages of effort. Where do I start? A wonderful childhood. My loving husband. Our healthy, happy sons and daughters. The anticipation of welcoming a grandchild in the new year. My sisters and brothers who love me in spite of my quirky habits. Long-time friends who — under no genetic obligation – continue to make time for me.

There are many simple yet sustaining delights — cozy fires, a warm cup of tea, coconut cake, the memory of my mom’s voice. My vow is to keep the holiday spirit alive in the coming months and pay better attention to the ever-expanding list of these priceless treasures. No doubt I’ll backslide a time or two — especially around April or July — when the washing machine develops a grinding noise, my Camry gets a flat and a newly sprouted blemish finds companionship near a brand new laugh line.

Post Navigation

Authors & Readers Book Corner

A Connection for Authors to Readers

The Coffeeholic Bookworm

reading books while sipping coffee

reecaspieces

Sharing little pieces of me with you.

Chick Lit Goddess

...because every author wants to feel like a goddess!

Celticlady's Book Reviews

Book Reviews, Book Spotlights and Giveaways

I Do & Adieu

I Do & Adieu

beingmommie.com

Sharing my learnings of being a mother

Woman@Heart

Musings on Life, Love and Lefovers

Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

Momma Meesh: Entering the World of Foster Parenting

This is the story about a single mother of two becoming a Foster Parent, one step at a time.

Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking...

San Diego Society of Professional Journalists

Supporting journalists across the San Diego region.

Writers In The Storm

A Blog On Writing

ClaireFlaire

Enjoy the Journey

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

Eye-Dancers

A site devoted to the Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy novel The Eye-Dancers

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

%d bloggers like this: