Tag Archives: gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving

After traveling north to spend time with Nick’s family and south to see my family, and further south still, we’re tucked in at the Cape, feeling full… and full of gratitude.  I’m lucky (and yes, #blessed) in so many ways, and grateful for them all.  

thanksgiving

Above everything, though, I am giving thanks for my family.  This day might be sort of about the food, but it’s really about the people we sit down to eat it with.  The people who prepared it.  And the people we wish were at our side.

I hope you and your people enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving.

paper bag turkey

On a less mushy note, I made a paper bag turkey (filled with popcorn) after stumbling on directions here, and think it’s hilarious.  You might too.  Maybe.  Who knows.  I need a nap.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Today: Goodbye, 2015. Hello, 2016.

On one hand, I try not to buy into the New Year’s hype too much.  The “new year, new you” stuff sort of gets under my skin.  But on the other hand, I love a fresh start.  A clean slate.  A chance to set new goals and intentions.  And an opportunity to reflect on all that has transpired in the past year– the good, the not so good, the in between.

goodbye, 2015. hello, 2016.

Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper, watercolor paint (Winsor and Newton professional tubes, Ivory Black), small round brush.

Goodbye, 2015.  Hello, 2016.

2015 seemed to be marked by change (almost all good, but a bit unsettling nevertheless).  I left my career to be home with Grace and welcomed a second (equally adorable) baby to our family.  I found new ways to engage creatively, new ways to fit in exercise (while toting around a toddler), new concealer to hide the ever darkening circles under my eyes, and new ways to pass the time waiting for our little one to arrive (did I tell you about the time I hired a graphic designer in Pakistan to help me Photoshop Clark into a picture with the President and VP?).  I’m leaving 2015 feeling both grateful for all we’ve experienced, and relieve to be moving on to the next chapter.

And I’m greeting 2016 feeling hopeful.  I’ve got a few specific goals in mind for the year, and will share those soon.  In the meantime, I’m filling a Champagne glass with ginger ale and toasting to the year ahead.

I hope you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and a lovely 2016.  Thanks for all of the love and support during 2015.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you feeling about 2015?  And 2016?

 

 

Today: Happy Thanksgiving.

This quote has always been one of my favorites (and you know how I feel about doodling in white on black paper and, like, cutting stuff out when I should be doing other things).

Gratitude really does unlock the fullness of life.  I’m grateful for a day like Thanksgiving to spend reflecting on all that is good in this life.  I have so much to be thankful for, and in an ever challenging world, never has this been more apparent.

I have the love of family and friends, good health and good heath care, a peaceful and safe home, plenty of food to eat and clothes to wear, an education and all kinds of things to keep me occupied and interested, a stash of watercolor paints, and a generally secure life.  What I have is enough, and more.

I’m thankful to each of you, and wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Today: The best case scenario.

I’m a worrier.  And I have an overactive imagination.  It’s not a great combination.  The last thing you want to ask me is, “What’s the worst case scenario?” or “What’s the worst that could happen?” Because I will answer.  In exhaustive detail.  

It might be in my genes, or it might be a little bit by choice.  I’m starting to think it’s the latter.

I was traveling for work earlier this week when bam!  It hit me.  Or more accurately, bam! Another car hit my crappy rental car (and I’m sorry for saying crappy, but… it was crappy).  

When it comes to car accidents, what happened to me would certainly be considered the best case scenario.  I am fine (truly… I think my hairdo got flattened a tiny bit, but that’s really it), the other driver is fine.  Neither car had a speck of damage.  

And yet, long after the shock wore off, I found myself dwelling in what could have been. 


 What if one of us did get hurt?  What if the cars had been damaged and needed costly repairs?  What if I didn’t make my flight home?  What if I hadn’t left 9 car lengths between me and the car ahead of me (safety first, my friends), and then I hit that car?  And what if one of us were going somewhere really important, and we didn’t get there on time?  And what if when I got out to inspect our cars, I slipped in all that snow because I was wearing ridiculous shoes (which I was) and broke one of my legs and also lost my phone at the same time and maybe got amnesia and therefore couldn’t remember any phone numbers, and then wasn’t able to get in touch with Nick to tell him that I had a broken leg, needed to get a new phone, had forgotten my entire life story, and was stranded in Detroit? 


I’d like to say that falling into such a spiral of interesting, yet unproductive thoughts was a rare event.  But it’s not. While I genuinely believe in the good, I often catch myself expecting the bad.  The annoying.  The frustrating.  The ugly. 

I think it would be easy to point to all the proof around us that things aren’t perfect.  And there is so much we cannot control, and can’t choose.  But just like I can choose between boots and sparkly flats, I can choose my outlook.  I can choose my attitude (as challenging as that can be).  Having choices is a grace.  Having choices means we’re still empowered.  It means that we’re still doing okay.

This is my long winded way of telling you that it’s time for me to start focusing on the best case scenario.  The one where we all get home safely.  The one where our ridiculous but beautiful shoes serve us well.  The one where we treat each other kindly, even when our cars crash into one another.  The one where I have an empty seat next to me on one flight, and a nice person sitting next to me on the next (And yes!  That really happened!).  No amnesia, no broken legs, no missed flights.

What a nice place to dwell.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the best that could happen for you today?

 

Today: Really thankful.

If you are really thankful, what do you do?  You share.

Wishing you and yours a very happy (American) Thanksgiving.  I am grateful to and for each of you.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most thankful for this year?

Today: Take 5 minutes and turn your day around.

You know when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, overtired and overextended… but you’ve just got to slog through it, because you see a moment of reprieve on the horizon?  That was me last week.  I spent the first part of the week in Detroit and the second part of the week consumed by a work event.

Our home looked like a special kind of mess (two parts yet-to-be-unpacked luggage, one part baby bottles, six parts laundry, one part unopened mail, and an aging French bulldog hidden somewhere inside the sofa).  My hair looked like a special kind of mess.  My brain felt like a special kind of mess.

And while it would have likely been easiest to wait for my calendar to clear, I found myself on the morning of one of our biggest work events of the year needing to do something, anything, to calm the frenzy.  All it took was five minutes to turn my day around.

Take 5 minutes and turn your day around: quick tips for heading off the frenzy and infusing more calm and serenity into your day.

Minute one: Spend just 60 seconds moving from room to room, picking up anything that is out of place and has a defined place to land.  We’re not talking about clutter (that’s another topic for another day).  We’re talking about the things that are easy to put away.  For me, this includes Grace’s toys and books, Clark’s toys, a stack of clean laundry, mail that can be recycled and a few pairs of shoes.  Put those items where they belong.

Minutes two and three: Make your bed.  Not only does a made bed instantly make your home look and feel more tidy and serene, it sets you on a better path for the day.  Don’t believe me?  Maybe you’ll believe a Navy SEAL Commander?

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

You can read more of Navy SEAL Commander William McRaven’s 2014 UT Commencement speech here: Business Insider.

Minute four: Write a note (or two, or three) of gratitude on a Post-It.  Leave it where a loved one will find it, or hide it for yourself to find in the future.  Did you know that practicing gratitude can increase your happiness by 25%?  These dudes did the research.  A few words about what your most grateful for, or what you appreciate about your loved ones– especially when you’re experiencing stress– helps bring the good into focus.  Knowing that Nick would be coming home to find these notes of appreciation and acknowledgement made me smile throughout the day.

Minute five: Spend an entire minute just breathing.  Fight the urge to run out the door and onto your next commitment.

It’s incredible what you can fit into five minutes, and how good intentioned acts can turn your entire day around.  You can fit these quick practices in throughout the day, before you head out the door, or whenever you feel stress, anxiety or crankiness rising (around these parts, we call that the Elizabeast).

What else can you do to turn your day around? Here are a few more ideas:(Some are quick, some take a bit more time, some are free, some cost whatever the guy behind you in line felt like spending…)

  • Pay a stranger a compliment (I mean, this works well with people you know, too)
  • Buy coffee for the person in line behind (This is one of my favorite things of all time… although I will admit, part of me does panic a tiny bit when I think, What if the police officer behind me is picking up lattes and donut holes for the entire precinct?  And then I think, Won’t it be fun when I suddenly become impossibly rich and things like this won’t matter?)
  • Make an iPhone photo album of your favorite photos.  Scroll through them over and over until you feel less beastly.
  • Speaking of iPhones: Make an actual phone call.  No texting.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • November 13 is World Kindness Day!  Boston friends: Stop by South Station between 7-9 AM to celebrate with KIND, grab a flower from their flower wall and pass it on to someone else – a friend, loved one, teacher, coworker or even stranger. Throughout the day, KIND will also surprise people in the community who embody kindness, including firefighters and other local heroes.
  • Love this: Awesome idioms from around the world via A Cup of Jo
  • Unpacking… so we can pack for something and somewhere fun!

How do you turn a frenzied day around?

Today: Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving.

I have so much to be grateful for, I feel like my heart could burst.  I need it to keep on ticking, though, so I will keep this short and sweet.  With Thanksgiving upon us, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday and extend my gratitude to each of you for building such a lovely community.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most thankful for this year?

Today: This week: 1, Elizabeth: O.

If I were one for keeping score… This week: 1, Elizabeth: 0.

Thanks for the stellar protection, stupid bracelet. Just kidding… kind of.

I’m a little cranky and a lot tired.  I’m feeling a bit like the Universe has conspired against me.  On top of other stresses, things that normally would roll off my back have instead rolled down my back and turned into total pains in my ass.  Is it okay to say ass?  I hope so.  If not, my apologies.

I got to work Monday to find out our office fridge somehow broke during the move (we just relocated to a new building, and by new… I mean it’s so old the tampon dispenser in the ladies’ room charges nickles.  And it’s also broken, but that’s sort of irrelevant), so my lunch perished before I had the chance to eat it.  Note to self: Yogurt and various leaves are delicate.  Especially when the heat is on.  The relocation process itself has been nothing short of awful, but I won’t burden you with that.  Not when I can talk about holes in pants.

I spent much of the day Tuesday unknowingly walking around with a gaping hole in my favorite, best fitting pair of maternity pants– the skinny, black ones that make me feel all “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.”  I wonder now if they fit so well because of the hole.

On Wednesday morning, I had a complete meltdown (hormones are weird and poking yourself in the eye with a mascara wand doesn’t help).  When I finally got my act together and put my face back on, I headed out to my car discovered I had a second flat tire in eight days.  I am not sure how I ended up with a nail in my left rear tire and a screw in my right rear tire, but I can now navigate to the auto body place in my sleep.  Also, one of the light bulbs in our bathroom exploded.

Thursday was a marked improvement (though that’s not saying much).  I got a ton of work done at the office and made progress on some important projects, ate a delicious non-wilted salad at lunch, and successfully hid my husband’s birthday presents before he got home… but I was almost too exhausted to enjoy the lack of catastrophe.  I barely made it 10 minutes into Scandal before needing to climb into bed. Semi-related: I am considering weaving my own line of WWOPD? (What would Oliva Pope do?… in case that’s not obvious) bracelets.

This has not been a normal week, and yet I am sure there’s a lesson or two in there somewhere (besides wear a helmet and safety glasses in the master bathroom and invest in a full length mirror lest ye flash your underoos unto thine neighbors).  It’s important to slow down.  It’s important to take people up on their offers to help.  It’s important to ask for what you need.  It’s important to schedule down time (and abide by this schedule).  It’s important to prioritize health and rest and balance.

Despite there being more downs than ups this week, there have still been plenty of bright spots.  My sister left me a weird voice mail yesterday (apparently someone joined her in the elevator just as she started leaving the message), which I will save for eternity.   I bought my first outfit for the baby (just touching the fabric made me long for the second we get to hold her).  I have a wonderful husband who helps put things into perspective and can somehow get away with laughing while I am crying like a fool (he’s lucky he’s so handsome).  I enjoyed a really great workout at CrossFit Southie on Wednesday aaaand got a push jerk PR.  I’m lucky enough to pass by three street pianos on my way to work and have loved seeing people stop to play this week.  Clark and I spent lots of time on the beach and at the park… and just when I needed a laugh, he posted a status message about farts and the government shutdown.  He’s so thoughtful.

Those are just the little things.

I know I have so much to be grateful for, especially during a week like this one.  Oh, and if you need a flat (or two) patched… I know a guy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your ups and downs this week?

Today: The Clark Chronicles [a giveaway and a giveback]

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Shannon, who will soon be the (proud?) owner of a Clark calendar.  I will reach out to you by email to get your mailing address.   Thank you so very much to each of you who commented.  With 35 comments in total as of last night, I decided…. what the heck.  I’m donating $100 regardless.  My lovely parents offered to match my pledge on comments, so that gives us $135 in support of The Greater Boston Food Bank.  Not a bad way to start the day.

As 2012 winds down and 2013 approaches, what better time than now to break out a new wall calendar?  Perhaps one featuring the handsome mug of South Boston’s most beloved (real talk) French bulldog?  After playing around on Minted.com for a few minutes, I found the perfect design and got down to business.  The result:  THE CLARK CHRONICLES.

 

Because I am…

  1. truly grateful to you for stopping by On Tap for Today, and for all the comments, shares, likes, tweets, pins and pokes (Do people still do that?  On Facebook, I mean?) this year and
  2. because I am a firm believer that you can never have too much Clark…

I am giving away one copy of The Clark Chronicles, a truly special 2013 wall calendar, to one lucky and truly special reader.

This is not just a giveaway, though.  It’s also a giveback (I don’t think that’s a real word, but I am hoping that doesn’t matter.).  For each comment left below, I will donate $1.00 to The Greater Boston Food Bank (up to $100.00 of my very own straight cash, homey).  It is my honor to support the important work they do in Massachusetts to end hunger.  In eastern Massachusetts alone, nearly a third of families in need report that their children are not eating enough because they cannot afford sufficient food.  While I worry about which black shoes to wear with my black dress, one in nine of my neighbors is food insecure.  They may be unsure where they will get their next meal.  They may be choosing between food or rent, food or heat, food or medical care.  These are choices no one should face.  During a season so focused on giving and receiving, I encourage you to consider giving back, when and if you can, in support of the causes closest to your heart.

Please leave a comment below (and for Pete’s sake, make it a thoughtful one) for a chance to receive a Clark calendar (perhaps I could convince him to pawtograph it?  bahahahaaa) and I will donate $1.00 for each comment (up to 100) to the Greater Boston Food Bank.  I will select one random winner at the end of the day on Monday, 12/10/12.

P.S. If you are a very lovely and kind millionaire hundredaire and would like to match a portion of my contribution, please let me know.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your top goal for 2013?  What cause is closest to your heart this time of year?

Today: Thankful for fitness.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I can’t help but be mindful of the many reasons I have to be grateful.  The love and support of my husband, family and friends tops them all.  Faith, health, shelter and security are not far behind.  I am grateful for all the luxuries I am afforded, and the things I often take for granted.

As I schedule my workouts for the week, I am reminded just how thankful I am for fitness – for the privilege of having time each day to devote to wellness and to challenging myself, and for the communities that have grown from commitments like marathon training, CrossFit-ing, my motley soccer team and fledgling yoga practice.

Looking to get after it and give back this week?  There are a number of great events in town this week that are worth checking out.

  • Kundalini Yoga Boston is hosting a Thanksgiving day class to benefit Feeding America from 9:30 – 11:00 AM in Cambridge.
  • Ultimate Bootcamp is holding the 5th annual Thanksgiving Day 90 minute Bootcamp Blast for charity, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to three different local nonprofit organizations, on Thanksgiving morning.   Workouts will be held in Boston (to benefit St. Francis House) from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; in Providence (to benefit Providence Parks & Rec) from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; and in Watertown (to benefit the Watertown Boys & Girls Club) from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.  I can vouch for how awesome Ultimate Bootcamp workouts are, and know that starting the day off with a little sweating and a lot of giving back can only be a good thing.
  • Boston Volvo Village 5K benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter – log 3.1 miles on Thanksgiving morning before sitting down for dinner.
As much as I’ve loved being away (and floating around on Cloud 9), I am happy to be back to my regular ol’ routine.  I made it to the gym twice while we were away, swam my little heart out, and walked everywhere in the 85 degree heat, but still came home missing CrossFit and the usual grind.  I’m looking forward to setting out my workout gear before crawling into bed tonight.
The air in Boston is so crisp lately – perfect for layering, and not so cold that I’ve attempted stowing away on another flight to the Caribbean… yet.  I’ve been getting compliments left and right on my new Reebok RealFlex Fusion TRs and their screaming orange laces.  The shoes were designed to support a natural foot strike for runners, while also providing cushioning and flexibility for jumping, stretching and other natural movements.  I’ve worn them on shorter runs, for plyometrics, and weight training and find they work well for days when I am fitting in a combination of strength and cardio.  In addition to these kicks, Reebok also sent me their new Play Dry jacket.
It was the perfect outer layer on this weekend’s ride through Mystic, and has been great for going to and from the box.  Despite being a “slim fit,” I find it runs a tad big (I have it in a size small — I am definitely more of a medium human being — and it’s still a bit loose), but the fabric wicks really well and lining is very cozy.  Oh… and bonus points for the thumb holes, of course.
For the record: Reebok sent me these items at no cost, and my opinions are mine, all mine.  Also, I wish I had invented thumb holes.  I really do.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most thankful for these days?