Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thank You Weights!

With a new routine in life, and a tremendous amount of homework on my plate, lifting has taken a back seat to yoga and learning.  After shooting some of the final pictures for the yearbook, I headed over to the gym and completed a decent trainer session before visiting my friends, the weights.

The combo was just what the body, mind, and spirit needed! The trainer session was a bit off pace due to not much cardio of late (which will be rectified in time...), and the weights challenged me a bit more.

I know the balance of life is key, and today was one of those steps to keep my life steadily afloat on the best path. 

Thank you weights for pushing me a bit further! Thank you for your friendly rhythm! Thank you bike for reminding me that I still have it in me, and I can combine all things successfully in my way!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thank You Mom and Dad!

This is what I wrote to my parents today.  It says it all, on my day of life, and I pray that they know how much I am grateful!

Mom and Dad,

Thank you for the gift of life!  Thank you for sharing all that you have with me!  Thank you for helping me each step of the way!  Thank you for the laughter, the learning, the support, the love, the listening, the interesting food times, the long rides in a car, and more!

Thank you for doing the best that you could at a given moment!  Thank you for still being with me all these years!  Thank you for opening my horizons and heart to so much, more than what I dreamt of!

Thank you for the silly and serious times, and all in between!

I love you, and I am glad you are my parents!

Thank you for my birthday.



For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thank You Bonas!!

Oh, it's a small, small world alright!  Yesterday at the end of the day, the science teacher in our hall came up to me and said, "You went to St. Bonaventure?"  I responded that I had.  She shared that her Dad started there, but graduated from Georgetown.  We shared a bit more, and it turns out that I lived 3 houses down from the church were her aunt's funeral mass was held.

A bit after that, at the start of yoga teacher training, I learned that 2 of the other trainees have Bonas connections.  This might not seem like much to some, but Bonas had at max 2,200 grad and undergrad students when I was there.  My undergrad class was about 500 or 530.  My grad class was very small- maybe 200 or 250. 

The irony of this was that I had copied a picture taken on campus many years ago for one of our activities today.  Yesterday I was still uncertain about the whole process, and having 3x the Bonaventure connections really helped, because Bonas and the area that surrounds it, are some of my all-time favorite places on Earth.

Thank you S., K., and A. for sharing with me a special piece of my life! Thank you for your smiles and laughter! Thank you Bonas for 5 amazing, hard-working years! Thank you for the foundation you provided me, and the opportunities you shared with me!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thank You Lunch Buddy!

I swung by the teacher's lounge today at lunch to copy quizzes, and ran into one of my favorite substitutes who has become a cherished friend! We had a magnificent chat, as we always do, and it completely helped me to de-stress from the craziness of musical chairs and vocabulary review (yep, tough day...).

Thank you lunch buddy for sharing your special stories and for listening to mine! Thank you for helping me to understand students better! Thank you for showing me a very positive example of life!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thank You Dirt!

The rains this year have made some dynamic designs on Earth this year.  Each time I run, I am awe-struck by how beautiful the shades of brown are.  They appear texture-like to me. 

Today I decided to do an impromptu photo shoot on the way home from the gym, after picking up some frozen yogurt (which remained frozen), because of a homework assignment for class that starts this weekend.  We are to bring photos and words of things that are important to us.

Every time I go out into the woods, I am grateful to run.  Some days my runs are fast, and sometimes they are barely above a slow jog.  Yet, each time I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have a body that allows me to move, and to have safe spots in which I can run freely and grow immensely as a person!

Thank you dirt and Earth for your love! Thank you for absorbing the pounding of my frame, and for keeping me honest (you cannot look too far ahead on this trail or...)! Thank you for showing me the beauty of browns and the complexities of dirt, while in a simple frame!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thank You Grandma!

I received my first letter from my Grandma today! Over Christmas break, we visited. She commented that she missed writing letters, as it seemed hardly anyone does it now a days. I asked her how often was too often to write letters, and she told me "about every 6 weeks is fine." I filed this information away, and have sent her two letters.

They were some of the first handwritten letters I have written in many years.  Today I learned about the death's of my Grandma's parents, the time when her house caught on fire, but her Mom forgot about her, and a bit more. I realized today how much I love them, and how much I look forward to my new relationship with my Grandma!

Thank you Grandma for sharing treasured memories with me! Thank you for unlocking a very special piece inside of me (writing letters to relatives) that had gone away for many, many years! Thank you for new adventures in relatives! I love you Grandma!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank You Mother Nature Otra Vez!

I could probably write a few books of why I love nature.  I feel most at home there, and today I was able to have some down right remarkable times with the wonder that is nature!

On the way to school I kept seeing flashes of light in the sky, but that was it. Being still under the weather, I wondered if it was some secret gov. training, given where I was driving. ;-)  A few miles down the road, water came from the sky, and I realize, "nope, that's that 60% chance of rain stuff that I forgot about, so much so that I have no rain covering with me!"

Just a bit closer to school, there were streaks of jagged lightening all throughout the sky.  It was AWESOME in the most profound way!  I haven't seen lightening like that since I was in Wyoming 10 years ago.  It deeply connected with me in a positive way, and I was giddy and joyful on the way to school!

After school was done, I realized I had taken mis-matched gym shoes in my bag.  So much for packing in the dark last night with a full head of cold!  I had hoped to run on the trails today, but was concerned about the pollen impact.  With it in the high 60s, I had only one choice: chance the trails.

As I drove to the park, I saw two herons still on the grey bay.  During my run I had a close up of bright-orange duck feet!  The topping of nature's sundae was the gratitude walk loop.  I had spotted a few purple wildflowers (first of the year) on the first loop, yet when I stopped to walk earlier than planned, I found a treasure trove of flowers!

The entire hillside at the base of the trail was dotted in purple, pink, and white flowers.  They were in various stages of bloom.  Under a decaying log, were 40 or 50 tiny purple people on steady stems.  Truly magnificent!

The pic at the top of this page was taken in Patagonia, and I thought of it during this walk.  I had slowed down due to a lot of factors in Chile, and today I chose to slow down.  Taking in each step, breath by breath, I was delighted in nature's symphony of colors and growth.

Mother Nature, thank you for you! Thank you for your colors, your songs, your reminders of life and learning! Thank you for welcoming me each run, walk, and skip!  Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thank You Magnificent Saturday!

I woke up at 1:12 this morning with burning in my throat, and massive pain in both ears. Apparently the hydrogen peroxide in the left (presumably-more-infected ear) ear before bed wasn't enough. I realized fairly quickly that the pain probably wasn't the result of swimming, but allergies, so I trekked around my home and started med'ing myself up. Afterall, there were big plans for today!

By 8:12 I was awake, and focused on completing all that I could so tomorrow I can run (knowing full well that a run today was not a good idea). My parents were to be down at noon for an early birthday lunch (class on my real birthday next weekend), and I knew I had a bit less time, as they are forever early!

Before they arrived, I had completed 5 loads of laundry, washed and put away dishes, had a nice yoga session, and caught up on some reading.

While they were here, we enjoyed a most excellent lunch where all of us were happy and contented! (Note: the gluten free pizza at Uno's is amazing!) We trekked to Target and I snagged a bunch of items for a very good cost that met my requirements on cost, fit, and smoothness on purchasing, and then onward to Costco where it wasn't all that traumatic on a sunny Saturday! Next on the agenda was a delightful time at JoJo's where I enjoyed the best moments ever!

I sat in between my parents, all of us licking our cones, and thanked God for the gift of my parents. It might not have been easy at times, but they are mine. I am blessed to live nearby, and to have their unconditional support and patience! As I listened to "Dust in the Wind" I soaked in each breath with them. I hope that they know how much I love them, and through it all, am grateful that they are my parents!

Thank you Mom and Dad for your love! Thank you Uno's for the best lunches for all of us! Thank you March weather for being kind! :-)

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Thank You Moments of Observation!

Yesterday I sat outside, waiting for a co-worker as we were heading to dinnner before the School Bingo Night. My tummy was grumbling, and I was quite impatient. I told myself I was going to wait another 7 minutes, and then I would investigate further.

2 minutes into those 7 minutes, a car pulled up, and I realized it was for a 6th grader who had previously been waiting outside for his Mom after musical rehearsal. Seconds later, I witnessed this streak of blue shorts and a blue shirt, with pale legs, head, arms, and a tossle of brown hair flying to the car. He was whisper shouting something, and as I turned to my left, I realized it was the name of his dog who was waiting in the back seat for him!

In that moment I saw pure joy, and realized how it's the simple things that truly matter! The stuff we as adults perceive as important, probably isn't, or may not be in some regard.

Thank you student, parent/guardian, and puppy for making my Friday a superbly special one! Thank you for allowing me to silently observe one of the greatest moments of my school year!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank You Journey of Life!

All we can do is take one step at a time. Enjoy the moment, learn, and (in my perspective) be grateful for what is going on. We may not understand, but if we approach things with love and positive belief, we'll do well.

Today I had an interview that changed my life. At 1806 I started talking with Natasha about the yoga teacher training program. Approximately 25 minutes later, I was aware that my life was going to shift dramatically, for it became clear that I was accepted into the program.

Yoga is something I've been drawn to since I was an early teen. It kept me sane during cross country trips, and was my solace during undergrad and grad school years. I felt empty when I didn't do it, isolated, and not in touch with who I am. Yoga is home for me, but it's only a part of me.

When I was asked how I would complete the program, I said, "by continuing to swim long...and go for runs in the woods..." I need the other pieces that make me, me!

So while life is about to be different in oh-so-many wonderful ways, Thank You!

Thank you to the journey, for all who have been a part, for all who believe in me, who have challenged me, who have supported me! Thank you to all of the great moments, hard times, and in betweens!

Life, you rock! Thank you for allowing me experience the journey as my own with many wonderful others!


For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thank You Rain!

We've had a ton of this lately. More to come tonight, though less furious. Being a March baby, I LOVE rain! There's something so immensely comforting about it, while it invites creativity, too!

In high school we used to pot hole jump after school on rainy days before art club. The objective was simple- create the biggest splash and soak as many people as possible!

How much ever should fall, I'll soak it in with joy and gratitude! Afterall, it is the rain that nourishes us, just like the water in which we swim (oh how delightful to cut 3 minutes off of my time! :-)!

Thank you rain for refreshing the world. Thank you for soaking the souls with peace. Thank you for allowing all to grow with you in just the right way.

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank You Japan Video!

If you haven't seen this, please take a few moments and enjoy... it's a sprinkle of joy on this blissful afternoon!

Thank You Blissful Afternoon!

Today was a long day, yet a great one! After a week of work turmoil, I made some major changes in how I approached parts of the day. One felt really good, and another did, too. We'll see about the long-term results.

As I drove home super early from work, I felt the twinges to run in the woods. Yet, today I had an afternoon date- with the oven and sink. I focused all weekend on projects, and my stash of granola and g-bars are super low. I settled for smiling at the runners along the trails, and wished them well.

It was a wonderful decision! No hurrying to make it home, no worrying if I'd have enough time to bake it all. It's been an afternoon of just me, my oven, the sink, and some soap! A perfect, blissful afternoon!

Thank you afternoon for your comfort and love! Thank you for treating my taste buds to some treats! Thank you for reminding me to set the clock, and for helping me to internally organize the baking schedule in such a relaxing way!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thank You 'Burgh!

This is where I grew up. Relatively speaking after the many moves, and before the many moves. Yet, there's something special about this place that I'll forever cherish.

Allow me to walk down memory lane for a moment please: the first ride at Kennywood- the kangaroo!; the first time I drove through the Ft. Pitt Tunnels and saw the fountain at the Point (and Mom's exclamations as she drove!); spending a summer at Pitt writing with the YWP and doing all sorts of amazing things at the Cathedral of Learning; cartwheeling across the lawn in front of Heinz Chapel; the '91 and '92 Stanley Cup Championships; the '90-'92 Pirates; Franco Harris visiting my elementary school and my not having a clue as to who he was! (hey, I had just been there for less than 14 months....); lunch at La Feria's; researching for hours in the stacks at the Carnegie Library; and then there are these memories...

Summer nights at my neighbors' house playing any form of ball game until the wife called the hub in; Bethel Bakery cupcakes; walking to/from Summer Bible Camp; skinning my knee on my neighbors' driveway and being told "I have no sympathy for you. I told you not to run down the hill" (ah, I appreciated it.... and the scar reminds me to listen to adults sometimes!); chasing balls down the hill and praying they didn't go down the drain; apple bowling into the drains (don't ask.... or if you do...); watching cars attempt to make it up the hill, but slide back down at our home on snowy and icey days; a wobbly tire swing and a balancing nightmare wooden swing (only Dad truly even mastered it...); and more....

I was on loop 3 of the run today when I decided to walk a bit earlier and take in the sights. I thought about passing the people with the dog, but something told me to slow down.... By the time I got to the overlook they were still there, and I had planned on watching the waves for a while.

We got to talking instead, and shortly into the conversation, it turned to Pittsburgh. The wife grew up there (North Hills) and the husband first remarked, "aren't the people there so kind?" Hmm.. kindred souls! I knew these people from before, and they apparently remembered me far better than them.

Our chat was quite the Sunday chat! In fact it went on so long that Buddy (cocker spaniel) was able to stealthily sneak off into the area that the wife didn't want him to (murky water), and we decided to continue our chat as we finished the loop.

Thank you Pittsburgh for being a connection spot! Thank you for allowing me wonderful days growing up, and for sowing your seeds of love even to this day!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thank You Opportunities!

This about sums up the week that I've had, and most everyone else I've spoken or written to.  Hmm...

So after the week of all weeks, I decided there was only one solution: jump in the pool and make it a long swim! My initial goal was the longest I've swum this year, but near the 3/4 point I thought, "ahh.. why not add on 1/4 mile more..." and near the 3/4 point of that I thought, "why not add on 1/4 mile more... we'll see what happens, how the body feels."

I was secretly hoping to make the extra 1/4 mile and extra 3/4 mile, but wanted to keep my expectations low. Really, I've only been swimming "again" since last year, and the longest I saw then was one 1.75 mile swim. This is early on my "return to swim Feb/Oct cycle due to those HSers and self scheduling." The net sum of today's swim was 2.0+ miles, and I am thinking of putting in one long swim a week. Ojala!

Well, I made it... with a lot left in the tank! I slowed down quite a bit, but that was by choice, and I ENJOYED each stroke! The hot tub was superb after, and I dug into my homemade granola bars once I got to my car!

So while the week has taught me a LOT, I also know that I'm more than the week. Within each set of obstacles, or perceived obstacles, lies the OPPORTUNITY to grow, to reevaluate who we are, and to be with those who really matter to us.

Thank you week of obstacles for allowing me to grow more deeply! Thank you pool for being so comforting to this tired mind! Thank you true friends who have stood by my side, listened, and supported no matter what was going on!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank You JoJo's!!

JoJo's is the local ice cream place that EVERYONE visits! JoJo's is the place that has buckets of toys for kids to play with, and on a Friday night at 10 pm is basically a street party! JoJo's has kiddie cones for $1.57, and a kiddie cone is free to kids 2 and under with any adult purchase (kids must be on the premises to get the cone).

JoJo's is where I've spent many moments in my life both simple and profound, and where my Mom requests going whenever she visits. JoJo's is where Dad admits they make the creamiest ice cream of anywhere. JoJo's ranks neck and neck with JP Licks in my taste bud book.

Today JoJo's opened for the season. Today I treated myself to a pina collada cone! Today my cells celebrated in awesomeness, and today I vowed to only go once a month in the summer!

Thank you JoJo's for all that you do for the community, and for being the place where everybody goes in the best kind of way!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thank You Recliner!

My parents gave me one of these before this school year.  It will put you to sleep in moments if you're not careful! (Believe me, last week I was moments away from an all afternoon nap, even blocking out the 6th graders, before I accepted reality and went to a different hal to avoid the nap mess.)

Today the students were in test mode, so I spent a bit of time in the smushy chair after I was done with my duties.  Bliss can be achieved or felt in many different things.  For me it was a wacky-patterned, resale-shop-found chair from Mom and Dad!

Thank you smushy chair and green blanket for easing today! Thank you Mom and Dad for your kindness and trekking of the chair! Thank you scheduling goddess for the time you allowed me to rejuvenate in the chair after many hours of yearbooking it.

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thank You D and N!

Tonight was the first of (many I hope!) pediatric cancer patient and family nights at Life with Cancer.  It started off a bit slow, and so I had the opportunity to work with a new employee.  She had never had a Reiki treatment before, and at the end, she asked excellent questions!

After sitting out the next round (3 30-minute sessions), as there wasn't a fourth person, I had the great luck of working with N.

N is a 4th grader whose sib is living with a form of cancer. After she settled on the massage table, face down, legs on pillow, tucked under the blanket, I asked her a few questions. We connected immediately on a common ground, and I left her with my main point: if you have any question or concern, please give me a thumb's up, so we can whisper-answer it.

N is a rock star with a pink floral headband! She is pure awesomeness rolled into a loving big-sis body! At the end I asked if she had any questions, and she had one main one. I did my best to answer, in awe of her astuteness and observations.

N, the world is yours! Thank you for allowing me the privilege of working with you!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thank You Nutrition Changes!

Growing up I was a notoriously horrible eater. Sour cream and onion pringles and brownies were my lunch in 6th grade, with a side of carrots or cucumbers of course. In high school, pizza and Doritos were the standard.

Due to some freak of nature, I've been blessed with a pretty decent body type (height-weight wise). Even after working in two bakeries (high school years and post graduate school), where I could eat anything I wanted on the job, I still managed to not become a human marshmallow of cellulite.

Little by little I've changed my diet.  Within two days of school ending last year, I opted to go gluten free. Everything improved for the better: digestion, mental clarity, recovery from trainings, sleep, and along the way I dropped 12 or so pounds in a very rapid manner (3 weeks or so).

Yet, steady and consistent improvements have not been my strength.  I've done a lot of delving into the whys, wheres, hows, beliefs, etc. and I'm making improving my nutrition my focus.

It's an early start, but one I know is attainable... each little step counts, and each understanding builds a healthier foundation for success!

Thank you body for sustaining me! Thank you for loving me even when I poured raw sugar down my hatch like it was no tomorrow! Thank you for allowing me to digest M&M and Coke breakfasts in 5th grade, and well... for hanging with me!

Here's to a better life... one morsel of loving food at a time!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank You ABC Style!

A- apples and apple sauce

B- beginnings

C- carrots

D- ducks on the bay

E- E...sister!

F- family and friends

G- generosity

H- hemp powder

I- icey trails

J- JoJo's (local ice cream place)

K- kindness

L- laughter

M- Mom and all that she does!

N- nice neighbors (such a change..)

O- October and its fall leaves

P- pumpkin granola (baking in the oven right now!)

Q- questions (they always lead to solutions!)

R- rain coat (my income tax present many years ago, a pretty appley/avocadoey green!)

S- sounds of students working

T- tires that go round and take me places

U- understanding (such a gift!)

V- volunteering

W- windy days

X- xyst (it's a real thing!)

Y- yogurt (frozen or non)

Z- zippers (so much easier than snaps and buttons some days)

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thank You...for all that is!

Some time either late last night or early this morning, I realized... "I have a ton of stuff... look around and be grateful for it all."  While I have huge dreams, and ones I look forward to seeing become reality, I have a blessed life right now. 

My health is strong, my education is growing, my family is wonderful-supportive-wacky, my transportation is reliable and friendly, my faith is my rock and comfort zone, my job allows me to do what I love and many opportunities to learn, my home is a sanctuary (that needs to be spiffed up!), my friends are always there when true help and laughter are needed, and I have more "stuff" than I know what to do with (despite giving away easily 2/3 in the last year).

Of course there's more, but I'll end it here.

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thank You Dream Encourager!

After school a friend asked me a question, about what I really want to do in life. I was a bit hesitant to open up, due to the nature of our relationship and the setting (in front of the library in school), so I requested a rain check for a non-professional setting.

As we loaded up her car with stuff I no longer need, but members of her church will gladly use, I felt it was the best time to share with her my dream, this long held vision in my heart.

Her response said it all, "Oh that's perfect!..." and on she went encouraging me!

To have the support from a person who I deeply value meant everything on a Friday (after a most long week, and exceptionally intense day).  To have her put words to my dream, providing a piece that was missing, was an infinite blessing!

Thank you, dream encourager, for your patience with me! Thank you for supporting me back when we first met, under somewhat rocky conditions! Thank you for a slice of light to help guide my vision! 

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thank You Students!

This week my Level 2s have been writing skits based on injuries, with doctors, nurses, and solutions. For four days they have worked cohesively, creatively, and consistently! They have become very good friends with the dictionaries, taught me new words (atropellar- to run over), and have challenged themselves to excel at the highest levels. All the while, I'm not sure that they realize how hard they have been working!

Tomorrow they perform these pre-corrected skits, with props and other bits of imagination! I cannot wait!

Thank you Level 2s for showing me what is possible! Thank you for maintaining focus when Code Red Days have been all too frequent, and SOLs are next week! Thank you for continuing to encourage me to push myself a bit further!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thank You Dear Journal!

15 cent journal.  Questions.  Prayers.  Solutions.  Growth patterns noted.  Ideas.  Hopes.  Comfort in written form.

Thank you dear friend journal for all of the great times!  Thank you for holding my dreams, cherishing my inner most thoughts, and supporting me!  Thank you for being a most relaxing part of life, and helping to keep me sane and soaring!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thank You J!

 That about sums up a great person that I work with, but one might add:  knows how to wrangle middle schoolers, maintains the "all effort, no excuses" perspective, is always looking to grow and improve, and a bunch more!

Last Friday I was itching for the weekend, and speaking my mind.  Today it was J's turn.  Within 3 lines I was doubled over, crying, and grateful to be on the listening end!  At the end I shared with her some major news, that I have only passed along to one other person.  Her response was, "Way to keep moving forward!"  It was just what I needed for reassurance!

Thank you J for all that you do, all who you are, and all that you strive to be! Thank you for being sunshine and stability for me and many others!

For what are you grateful at this moment?

Share with me, as we celebrate being grateful!