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Sending out 2015 with gratitude

Even though I haven’t done much blogging myself in 2015, I’ve still kept up with some of my favorite bloggers’ posts. And because of them, I learned about Dawn Landau’s blog party over at Tales from the Motherland. The idea is simple: in just 10 minutes’ time, compose a list of 50(ish) things from 2015 for which you are happy or grateful, then share it with the world. Since events this past year would make it easy to send 2015 out with ill-will and negative thoughts, I felt like I really NEEDED this challenge. So here goes…

Fifty things from 2015 that filled me with joy and/or gratitude (in no particular order)

  1. My loving, supportive husband
  2. A mostly-healthy body
  3. A purring cat on my lap
  4. Blazing sunsets
  5. Music from Adele to Zac Brown Band, and everything in between
  6. Parents who raised me to know right from wrong, and to take responsibility for my choices
  7. Rainy days
  8. Books that make me forget where I am
  9. A doctor I trust
  10. My Wine & Whine crew
  11. A reliable car
  12. Huge mugs of steaming hot tea
  13. Truckers who stay in the right lane on the interstate
  14. A membership at a gym with a pool
  15. Walks around the lake
  16. Pinterest, because I wasn’t wasting enough time on Facebook
  17. Days with a carefully planned agenda
  18. Days with nowhere to go and all day to get there
  19. Dark chocolate
  20. Long solo drives with the radio turned way up
  21. Subtle, pastel sunrises
  22. Sleep-in Sundays
  23. Life lessons and skills learned from my grandparents
  24. A warm, safe house to come home to each day (even if I do share it with squirrels)
  25. Caramel apples rolled in dark chocolate chips (or drizzled with chocolate…I’m not picky)
  26. My iPhone’s camera
  27. A freezer stocked with homemade soups
  28. My sisters- and brothers-in-law
  29. Christmas Wreath candles (Yankee Candle, please don’t discontinue this scent!)
  30. Time to be creative (and enough skills to turn ideas into reality–usually)
  31. Visits with my mom
  32. Long, hot showers in the evening
  33. Freshly laundered sheets
  34. A food plan that is steadily bringing the old me back
  35. An abundance of volunteer opportunities around my community (and time to participate)
  36. The internet–for banking, making reservations, shopping, looking up useless information
  37. The luxury of a space heater under my desk and a fan blowing on my bed–on the same day
  38. Sangria and mulled wine–not necessarily on the same day🙂
  39. A valid passport–just in case Donald Trump is elected in 2016
  40. Skype, when my hubby is out in the field
  41. Friends and family who are there if I need them
  42. Erika, who recently gave me one of the best haircuts of my life
  43. Repurposing treasures from antique stores and flea markets
  44. New recipes that turn out to be keepers
  45. Seeing my students making progress toward their goals
  46. Thorlo socks, which don’t get eaten by my sneakers when I walk/jog
  47. Poker with the gang
  48. Exploring model houses, trolling for dream home ideas
  49. My 5:30 a.m. gym buddies and instructors
  50. Every chance I have to get “closer”

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s okay. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When you finish your list, feel free to add links and photos.

To join in this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post into yours). 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of Tales from the Motherland’s post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can paste the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2016. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of (or an attempt to write) 50 things that made you feel happy or 50 things that you are grateful for will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; it will be removed. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help flood the blogosphere with both!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas Magic

full christmas moonLong ago, before I knew better, I thought Christmas magic was a bulging stocking or the biggest gift under the tree. With age comes new perspective, though, and I feel blessed to now recognize and appreciate Christmas magic in less materialistic ways. A full moon on Christmas is a rare thing. The last one occurred in 1977…the next will be in 2034. I thought this 2015 Christmas moon was only going to be something I read about, as it’s been raining here for days, and the forecast still calls for low, thick clouds and an 80% chance of thunderstorms. Yet a bit of Christmas magic has occurred, and the clouds thinned enough around midnight for me to capture the above image with my iPhone. More magic–notice how the tree branches make the round orb of the moon look like a star? And even more magic–the perfect halo surrounding the moon is caused by tiny ice crystals in the high, thin cirrus clouds that still remain, not by some trick of the camera lens.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Photography

 

Six Word Saturday: May 24

Valley FestLazy, people-watching, sangria-sipping afternoon

 
 

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Six Word Saturday: May 3

yard saleClosing the chapter on elementary teaching

 
 

Z is for Ziploc® bags

ZWhen your life has taken an unfortunate turn, and circumstances conspire to beat you down, you hope, hope, hope for a safe place where you can get your feet back under you. Luckily, my local area has had just such a place since 1987. The Thurman Brisben Center provides services to all individuals and families in the district who are, or are at imminent risk of becoming, homeless. According to its website, “The Center has evolved into a respected and quality program that offers numerous ways of helping people regain self-sufficiency” and “has been blessed by hundreds of dedicated and loyal volunteers.”

At some point in the future, I’d like to volunteer some time to help residents with their online job searches (having recently undertaken this process myself, I feel well-qualified to help others). But since “job search assistance” doesn’t start with Z, I turned instead to the center’s donation wish list, where I found a request for Ziploc® sandwich bags. I grabbed the baggies and a couple packs of brown lunch bags (also on the list) while I was shopping, and will take the whole lot down to the center next week.

ziploc

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2017 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing!🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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Y is for “You made a difference…”

YWow, I am definitely blessed–there are so many people who have made a difference in my life, and I am grateful for every single one. I could have chosen to thank any of them for this particular RAoK, but I singled out one of my high school English teachers, Mrs. D., who also appointed me to my first ever “management” position as editor of the high school newspaper. Looking back at my senior year, I realize it was the official starting point of the journey that has led me to where I stand today. Because she believed in my abilities, I was kind of forced (by my unwillingness to let her down) to find the confidence to step outside my comfort zone and take on responsibilities and challenges that I normally would have shied from.

Countless times over the past few years, I’ve thought of tracking her down and telling her how big an impact she had on my life. Countless times, I’ve procrastinated (shocking, I know) and the letter never got written. This month’s challenge was the kick in the seat of the pants that I needed to get it done. I Googled Mrs. D., on the off chance that she was still living in the same town and I’d be able to find her address. The search led me to my old high school, where I expected to find an outdated page listing her as a faculty member. I was a little surprised to be directed by the link to the school’s current website. Browsing the staff pages, I was shocked to the tips of my toes to find that she is still teaching! I graduated high school 24 years ago, mind you, and I’m fairly certain she was not a rookie back then. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I pulled up the English faculty photo and found Mrs. D. looking EXACTLY THE SAME AS SHE DID IN 1990!!

Thank you, Mrs. D! (3rd from right, bottom row)

Thank you, Mrs. D! (3rd from right, bottom row)

Knowing how many students she must have had between then and now, I’m not sure my name will ring a bell, but I hope my letter will still bring a smile to her face. As a teacher myself, I can tell you there have been days when I’ve gone to bed wondering if anything I’ve done has made a difference to anyone. If she’s ever had that same doubt, I hope my letter will be proof that her hard work and dedication did/do matter a great deal.

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2018 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing!🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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X is for XXV cents

XHaha! Bet you didn’t think I could come up with a Random Act of Kindness for X, did you? Thank heavens for Roman numerals and a little bit of pre-planning for the A-to-Z Challenge (I almost screwed up and used this as a Q is for quarters post).🙂

This was a quick and easy RAoK that I hope made the day brighter for some local kids. I loaded some candy machines with quarters (XXV cents) then left a note asking the kids to pay it forward. Ever the optimist, I’m hoping to inspire a whole new generation to commit RAoKs.

XXV

 __________________________________________________________________

In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are still 2018 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing!🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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