This joy makes me thankful. These thanks make me joyful.

Happy New Year, all. I like to look back at the previous year and see what I can see.  I like looking at the full arc of that year’s story, somehow.

summer catLast year was a good year for me. I’m learning to take a breath or two, and to just be. I’m learning to grab joy when I see it. I’ve learned there is joy in the doing of things, and in the not doing of others.

I’m learning to chill out. I’m not always successful, but that’s okay. For finally figuring out that it’s all okay, I am thankful.

foggy mountain tipperary

foggy mountain tipperary

Last year I walked the wild Donegal coast, and fell asleep listening to rain hit the roof of our Inishmore Aran Island cottage. We discovered the Roses of Tralee by happenstance, and had high tea in a castle all to ourselves. Last year we drove – gobsmacked by beauty – through the foggy mountains outside of Tipperary.

Last year I went on a road trip to the Florida Keys with my Stepmother. I love road trips, and that one was special. I explored Quebec City with the man I love, wandered PEI with my daughter, and took great day-trips in my own not-explored-enough Nova Scotia with a dear friend.  For these travels with people I love, I am thankful.

I made that!

I made that!

Last year I discovered weaving. I cannot describe adequately how wonderful it is to learn something new. I am a student at heart, and to find something so rich with lessons is a joy. It is a craft and an art, with sometimes tedious lessons in patience (warping, untangling, threading) that reward me with  beauty and accomplishment.  I’m still a baby on this journey, but I am so thankful I saw something I loved and took steps to embrace it.

Speaking of seeing something I love and embracing it, my dear husband Mr. 761 was home for the holidays and though he’s going back to Kandahar next week, he will soon be home for good – waking up in his own warm bed on 01 February with no need to go back ever again. I think 5 years is long enough, no?

For his return, I am thankful. For my life with him I am so very thankful.

For the continued health and happiness of my astonishingly wonderful children, I am thankful. Both have challenges – being in your 20’s is no picnic, and they each have their fair share of stuff to deal with. Having them both home with us at christmas was so great. They are women I would be happy to know, even if they weren’t my children. If I was their age, I’d want to be friends with them. As it is, I’m very proud to have them in my life, and I am reminded daily of their coolness. They’re funny, smart, and beautiful, both of them. For them, I am so very thankful.

Last year I reconnected in a real, warm, and joyful way with a long lost friend. That has been a real gift. There is nothing like the friends one makes in childhood – even with all the intervening years, we reacquaint ourselves easily. New friends are great, but with old ones there’s such a depth to it. For her, and for all my friends old and new, I am thankful.

The year  had loss too, and while not thankful for that I am nonetheless thankful because, well, it could have been worse. I am sad that people I love are in pain, and I hope that time helps to soothe those hurts. I am thankful that I can have a part in helping. I saw great courage and grace in a friend who died exactly how she wanted. For her, I am thankful. For her caregivers who thoughtfully and lovingly shepherded her though those last years, I am thankful.

For the happiness that is my life in general – I am so very thankful. I know I am very lucky, and I count my blessings on a regular basis. Here’s to a fruitful 2014. Here’s to embracing thankfulness and finding the joy when you can.

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She only likes me for my body….

That was a search term that got someone to my humble corner of the internet yesterday.

It’s more interesting than “cranberry oatcakes” but I’m befuddled over how this search term sent someome to me. It feels racier than I tend to think my blog is. Is there something I’m missing? Some secret sexiness that I haven’t intended but through some strange alchemy appears on search engine results?

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terrific image by my friend at http://peiphoneography.com/

What’s interesting about this is that I had been intending to write about my body today.  The last time I wrote about my body, it was because someone had searched for “fear in a box“… I like this, it’s like a game – search terms appear on my stats page, and I have to find a way to wrap them into my  Box 761-iverse.

Not sure what to do about this one. There are all sorts of tortured conceits I could twist about – my own body consciousness, my feeling invisible in the world because of it, my thinking it might be kind of nice to be wanted for my body, the beauty of my big brain…. blah blah blah.

But you know, I’m kind of bored with the whole thing. I’m eating better, I’m trying to be more active, and I’m overweight. I want it to disappear without my having to exert myself. It won’t.

The boring truth is that as with anything else, only time and effort will fix it.

I prefer to think about this as being from some other perspective. Say, what if my husband wrote that search term?  Let me tell ya, I like him for more than that… don’t worry, my love. You keep writing blogs like this and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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Life is good, my friends. I’m feeling lighter and happier than I’ve been in years. My family is happy and whole and healthy. I’m taking great big gulps of this and savoring every moment. I’ve spent the past too many years waiting for that “other shoe” to drop. It’s not that I don’t still, in my secret self, expect another shoe… it’s just that all of a sudden I don’t really care.

I’m fairly sure I can take whatever that shoe throws at me (man, I wish I had an editor. They would tell me that was not a great sentence). I’m sure that even if another shoe does drop (oh, I get it. It throws a shoe at me! phew. oh… wait.)….

Ah hell, I’ll just go barefoot from now on. That way, if a shoe drops, I won’t need to wait for the other.

Image of bare feet on the beach

Another great photo by my friend Patty. Click here to see more of her work.