Gratefulness Therapy

Yesterday, Goodreads sent me an update on one of my favorite authors — Nora Roberts. From what I can tell, Nora keeps a blog through Goodreads, and yesterday, her post discussed all the things she is currently grateful for. She then told her readers to take turns posting their own lists. Most people posted in the comment sections. I thought I’d post mine here.

In these moments of uncertainty and actual physical jeopardy, I’m first grateful for my health and that of the people around me whom I love. I am fortunate to be able to say that no one in my family is currently ill, and although both my daughter and I were earlier this Spring, everyone is now healthy and (in my case) getting my pre-summer fat on in full swing.

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I’m thankful for the amazing place where I live, and the gorgeous Spring weather we have been having. There are few places more beautiful, in my opinion. Right now, with the reduction in traffic, I’ve also noticed that the air is incredibly crisp and clear, the lake cleaner than I remember it ever being.

I’m thankful that we live in a technological age so that while I’m home for an unknown period of time, I can take advantage of Zoom meetings so I have a reason to comb my hair and wear makeup, long drives in the car to keep us healthy but sane, social media communication to keep me in touch with the free world, telephone, music, microwaves, toilet paper, internet, laundry machines, electric lighting and plumbing… you name it. We are so fortunate at this time in history to have so many conveniences at our disposal.

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I’m thankful I discovered Matt Harnacke and his gorgeous horse Emporio a few months back. Eye Candy for the quarantined soul. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-48UGkn6gS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I’m so thankful to have writing in my life. I absolutely love having the opportunity to tell stories, and right now, I’m very grateful that the novels I’ve been writing are being well-received. I’m thankful to the readers and to those of you good enough to leave your kind words of praise. You have no idea how inspiring that is, and how it keeps me going with the next project. Recently, I watched a Kenny Chesney video that spoke of the one thing you’d like to give the world. At different times in my life, that would have been differing things. Right now, I’d give stories. Story lets me take the world that is, imagine the world that could be, and link the two.

I’m grateful that my dog loves me unconditionally. She is my little buddy. She is loving this time with us home all the time. She is loving going for walks with my daughter. I’m also grateful that my soft, fluffy, uber-handsome cat has learned some personal boundaries and no longer sleeps on my head at night.

I’m grateful to have a teenage daughter who, although hating being stuck at home when she could be out with friends or playing volleyball or soccer or being at the mall or even being out finding a job, is doing her best to keep her spirits up, and her attitude positive.

I’m thankful for free Ebooks, and for reruns of The West Wing and Bones, and for other people’s music playlists, since I’m sort of sick of my own.

I am thankful to have time on my hands — probably for the first time since I was a teenager. I have finally had a chance to catch up with all the marketing I needed to get done, to update my website, to write some E-letters. I have finished writing one novel, and am 15,000 words into the new one. I also released a third earlier than planned. Next week I start editing the novel launching in July, and yesterday I started taking business courses through Linkedin learning. So far, I’ve had a quick info session on how to use Gmail better, a course on story telling for marketing, and a documentary on urban planning through technology. (That one is for a character in a book. I don’t have plans to tackle this myself any time soon). Soon, I’m going to buckle in to learn how to use Instagram for business.

I’m also thankful to own my own home and have low associated costs of living in this time of financial uncertainty. I’ve been making plans for low-cost home improvements I can tackle these next few weeks. I started hacking away at the overgrown bushes in my yard, and also plan to create a garden area. I am going to re-purpose a pair of truck rims left over from when my son sold his beater truck and turn them into summer planters for flower gardening. I’m going to repaint the peeling paint on my front patio, get the staple gun out and fix some spots where the patio carpet is coming up, and fix the screen door so that if we are still quarantined here once summer hits, we can get a breeze flowing through the house without letting the dog get out.

I’m also going to have a go at fixing the roofing on the patio. The corrugated roofing panel blew off in a wind storm awhile back, so I’m going to have a go at replacing that. I’m going to get some inexpensive patio furniture and a new barbeque and set up a little outdoor eating nook.

I’m thankful because I haven’t had the time to even catalogue all the things needing to be repaired around here, let alone tackle them, and now, for the next few weeks, I actually have time to start attending to them. As well, I’m thankful that I work for a company which prioritizes the health of its staff, so my needs are being provided for during this crisis.

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I’ve been thankful to have the time to cook proper meals, although with just myself and Sheena here, they sure do stretch a lot longer. So, I have a freezer stocked with leftovers — and I’m thankful for that, too. I’m also thankful for this book of muffin recipes that I get to try.

I’m very grateful to have people who are still working while I am home. On the flip side, I’m thankful to finally feel rested after a long time of working one job, then coming home and working a second.

I’m thankful for all the health care workers and the essential service workers, and I am so glad to be Canadian. We live in a great country with universal health care, and a government who has been proactive and also has been reflective enough to re-work assistance which has been incomplete or inadequate. I live in a country that is taking care of its citizens, with a leader who is taking this virus seriously. I am thankful for Canada, and for the job Trudeau and our other leaders are doing.

I know there are people who are grieving, and I know there are tough times ahead as the economic engines of our world start to reignite. For now, all my needs are met, I am healthy, I have time to accomplish so many things, and I live in a wonderful part of the globe.

So, that is me. What, in the middle of these stressful times, are you thankful for?

 

 

Frozen in February

It’s February 20th, my work Wednesday, and the weather is cold but clear. Gorgeous. I don’t start work until 2 pm, and I have a list of things to do first.

-Call landlord

-Pay bills

-buy Ali’s Birthday present

– write 2000 words

-workout.

But, the sunshine is calling to me, and most of the list is just so I won’t forget — most won’t take a lot of time. So, I drop Sheena off at school, grab Timmies, and I commence with plan B — ditch responsibility and drive to Oyama to walk along the lake. To be fair, I did get up early and start the day with yoga, and the walk qualifies as cardio. Or, it would have if I hadn’t been so distracted once I got there, and spent all my time photographing the FROZEN lake.

That’s right, folks, February 20th, and Woods Lake is still frozen. I wasn’t expecting this. I am suddenly feeling better about my whininess over the cold winter we have had. Because, in the thirty-five years I have lived in the Okanagan, I can’t recall another year where Woods Lake was still frozen one week before March.

I walk along and take photos, shots I’ve taken many times in many seasons, but which always feel new every time I take them. First, there is the willow tree with the swing. This angle looks from Oyama to the South, where my house, my dog, and my laptop await. I’ve passed a lot of people out walking their dogs and feel mildly guilty about that. I should have thought ahead and brought Lily with me, but the truth is, she is a terrible traveler and a real pain to take in the car. Good thing she’s cute.

She changes the flavour of all my outings. There is no leisurely stop and start if Lily is along. No, she is all go, go, go. There are also no singing birds like this little guy, who clearly was not as affected by the weather as I was. I’d stopped to take a picture of this tuning fork of a dead log when my little friend flitted to a melodic rest beside me. I took a long spiel of photos of this little guy, edging craftily closer with each shot. He tolerated me right up to the moment that the big cube van lumbered down the road in sound-barrier breaking velocity, and the shock waves of his passing were too much for my buddy to out-sing.

With both the trucks and the bird gone, I continued my walk, jolting every now and then because of an odd noise. Somewhere between a rustling and a creaking, I kept spinning around to look for an animal in the bushes. Until, feeling foolish yet relieved, I realized I was hearing the Spring thaw. The sound tripping me out because I’d never heard it before was the sound of the lake ice cracking.

Continuing on, I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to catch the shimmering translucent crystals of rainbow-light sparkling where the sun cranked up the volume against the icy shore. The iridescence of the sun’s reflection reminded me of a bracelet I had as a kid which would send prismatic colours dancing across the white walls of my bedroom anytime the sun touched it. The reflections also reminded me of the sparkling colours in the scales of certain fish.

About the time I drained the last of my coffee, the cold drained the last glimmer of heat from my phone’s battery. With my camera no longer accessible, I left the fresh morning-at-the-lake air for the still-warm confines of my car. It wasn’t until I cranked the heater that I realized my fingers had turned as icy as my surroundings.

I don’t know if it was the exercise or the atmosphere, but something about the scenery inspired me, and as I drove away, I suddenly and with no warning received a download of creativity to my brain. I pulled the car over then and there and jotted the scene my brain had just spun into a notebook. A woman, about to be kissed, worrying about coffee breath, and a man who spins double entendres and turns words into seduction. A scene, complete, to be used at a future time.

I returned home, greeted the dog, knocked off the entirety of the to do list in mere moments until only one item remains.

-write 2000 words.

These are aren’t the words I thought I meant, but that’s okay. It’s not even noon. There’s still plenty of time. My morning walk in the sun was totally worth my morning’s sloven word count.

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