Tuesday, January 1, 2013


So January 1st of 2013 has dawned clear and chilly. We're actually getting January weather without the snow cover. I stayed up late and got up late and sort of feel as if I'm behind my time, as it were.

This is the day where we tend to look back wistfully at what we didn't do in the year past and then resolve over college football games, to be better. We're going to lose weight, be more active, call Aunt Mable or write Cousin Boris and what was his wife's name, read more books, you name it. Those resolutions last about 2 weeks and then, what was it I had resolved to do?

I'd like to be more active, I tell myself. I used to walk, everywhere. I still think about the times, in the past, I used to walk the 2 miles, one way (not uphill, barefoot or in snow) to work when I knew I wasn't going to be driving anywhere during the day. Sometimes I think, if I started at 7, it wouldn't be that hard to walk it. And then, I get out of bed in the morning and my knees complain and I shuffle down the hallway to the kitchen like the guy from the Dunkin Donuts commercial who said, "I got to make the donuts." Yeah, walking much more than down the block to the mailbox is hugely problematic for me right now. There is still no approval from my insurance company on my getting Orencia for my RA. Some days are worse than others, but it's not anywhere close to what I experienced back in February 2012. For that, I am grateful.

I'm told tai chi would be good for me to do, keep flexibility and promote movement. I know where I can go to take tai chi. It would cost me $55 and force me to be up and around on Saturday mornings. But try as I might, that $55 has eluded me. There is always something else in the budget that needs that $55 more than tai chi classes. It's going to be a rough January. I have expenses that I had budgeted for before the plumbing and the computer died. Things have to be pushed back into February. It's just the way it is. I am grateful I could fix things when they broke.

I try, every year, to make the ends meet. Life often has other plans. It can get depressing when you look over the bills and realize this won't get paid, this won't get paid, this won't get paid at least not this month. But I have a job and although we've seen a downturn in business, it will be okay. I'm grateful for a place to go on Monday mornings.

One of my friends said I should "monetize" the blog. With a click of a button, I can have ads at the bottom, side or top that offer you items based on what I type here in the body of the blog. If you read the blogs I link to on the side to the right, you'll see that many of them do that. "Oh here's something you might like" and there's an ad for quilting or crafting or whatever. Some of the blogs make a tidy sum doing that.

I thought about it and decided I can't do that. I want this space to be ad free, a place you can go without being assaulted by an ad for cereal or financial planning or craft supplies. You get that enough on the web. I'll not add to it. (See what I did there?) Whatever money I might get is not enough to get me to assault your senses with advertising. I'm grateful you come to visit and I want your stay to be a respite from the world, so to speak.

So, as I look back at the year passed, I realize my grand experiment in gratitude really did work. It didn't change the things life threw at me. It changed how I looked at those things. In the Christmas letter this year, I mentioned the RA and I received a great number of "Oh my! I am so sorry for you." I'm not sorry for me. My poor savings account was decimated by things breaking in December and the carry over will be harsh. I'm not sorry for me. I really want to take a couple of vacations this year, one to Minnesota to see Patt and one to Virginia to see Carole. Probably, that's not going to happen, but I'm not sorry for me.

I am grateful for what I have, all of it, from fresh strawberries for New Year's breakfast to friends far away to sunshine streaming in the windows, every last thing. I am grateful for it.

I have learned it really is about your mindset. It really is about how you view your life. I think I finally understand the curious comments made by people living far below my means, "God is good". How could they say that when the roof of their house is gone and they have no means to repair it? How could it be good when they have had a string of deaths in their family in maybe not so natural means? How could it be good when they just lost their job and have no prospects of getting another? I struggle with faith so this attitude was baffling to me. This year has taught me what they see.

It's about being grateful for what you have, even the tiniest thing. Every day there is something to be grateful for and that can be as simple as opening your eyes in the morning. I haven't always been grateful this past year. I know it and it's something I need to work on.

Therefore, I have no resolutions going into 2013. I'm going to continue to be grateful for what I have, the large and the small. I feel, for me, it all flows from that. Today, I am grateful for sunshine and fresh strawberries and hot cocoa and my girls. I'm grateful you're stopping by to read my blog. I hope you'll continue to come here.

Here's to 2013. May it be another year of gratitude.

Beverage:  Wild Huckleberry hot cocoa


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