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Gleeful

Day 15:

Tonight I spent a couple of hours catching up on Glee. Sure, it’s not the same show it was the first season when it was fresh and new. (The first episode I ever saw was on a flight to London and I thought I had died and gone to heaven!) And it has gone through a lot of changes this season after graduating a lot of its main characters. But at the end of the day the show makes me really happy. I always want to download the songs they sing, and playing them in the car makes me smile for miles.

On tonight’s episode they performed Grease and it brought back so many memories of childhood. So fun!

Source: Fox

Source: Fox

Mi Corazón

Day 14:

Today, I was particularly reminded of why I’m grateful for my Mom. And though there are a million intimate memories I could share with you about the relationship I have with her, I think this passage says it best:

“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.”  -African saying

My Mom has so many incredible qualities as a human being, but I think the one that touches me the most is her innate ability to make me feel like I matter. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Mumsy & Me

November Madness

Day 13:

Today I’m thankful for…COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON!!!!!!!!!! When I was a kid, my Dad used to only let us get cable during basketball season (which for those of you who don’t know, it’s from November to March). It was always extremely exciting to see the cable guy come and install the box above the tv, knowing another season was just about to start.

Tonight, my team, Duke, is playing Kentucky for the first time since 2001. It’s an intense matchup for so many reasons, but probably the greatest can be summed up in two words: the shot. And then two more words: Christian Laettner. So I’ll just instruct anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about to click here.

But also, please watch this:

I was actually at this historic game. I was nine. It is probably the most incredible memory I have as a Duke fan and no matter how many times I see the replay, it’s still just as exciting as the day it happened.

So as I digress into my deep Duke fandom, I want to touch upon why I am so grateful for basketball season. In truth: it provides me with comfort and reminds me of home. It makes me think of my Dad and all of the memories I have of sharing the Duke basketball experience with him throughout my life. It reminds me of my entire family and how many games we’ve attended together over the years. I can picture my 87-year-old grandmother watching games by herself in South Carolina and I look forward to dishing with her after the games about what she thought (she always has an opinion!).

I love the connection I feel to the sport. It’s by far my favorite sport, as I played it for many years growing up and have a deep respect for the athleticism and devotion it takes to be really good. I am amazed by the artful plays that take place on the court and I feel wrapped in camaraderie every time I enter Cameron Indoor.

That’s Bobby Hurley!

Feliz in her Duke cheerleading outfit

At the end of the day, I just purely love the game of basketball. So thank you, James Naismith!

Let Go and Let Flow

Day 12:

Today I am thankful for tears. I know, this may seem like a ridiculous thing to be thankful for. But today was a particularly challenging day for me and I found myself crying throughout the day. And while I can’t say it’s my favorite activity in the world, it does provide me solace and relief when I am feeling overwhelmed and sad.

I don’t always feel better after crying. Sometimes I feel heavier, sometimes I feel lighter. But it always gives me perspective. I can usually look upon my situation with a little bit more clarity after letting go and letting some tears flow…

How I felt today…
(Photo courtesy of East Portland Blog)

Cuddles for Comfort

Days 9, 10, 11:

Okay, so I’m a few days behind. I really had hoped not to do this during my challenge, but I have been sick the past couple of days and it has made it difficult to sit down and write these blog entries. I haven’t been able to be very creative and have had even less energy.

Yesterday, I spend the entire day on the couch watching extremely cheesy Hallmark Channel holiday movies. I felt so nauseated all day that I couldn’t do much moving around…so I opted to at least be on the couch as opposed to being in bed. And what I can easily say is that I am grateful for having some much-missed cuddle time with Feliz.

As she has gotten older (and been sick with neurological and mouth issues over the past few months as well) she has wanted to cuddle much less often than in her younger years. She used to seek me out all the time to be held and to be paid attention to. She also used to want to sleep in a little nook right next to me at night and now when I place her next to me she moves herself to the end of the bed. I miss the warmth of having her right next to me at night.

Over the past few days, I’ve been able to scoop Feliz up and put her on my chest and she has curled up and napped. It has been such a comfort and has made my heart feel just a little bit lighter. Feliz’s 14th birthday is in a couple of weeks and I continue to be grateful for every cuddle and every walk and every kiss she gives me.

Couch cuddles with Feliz via Instagram

Pamper Your Ears

Day 8:

Today I’m giving thanks for good conversation. Isn’t it a truly wonderful thing when you end a conversation with a good friend or loved one and you feel refreshed, revived, enlightened and supported? It’s a gift to feel understood by another human being and to be accepted exactly as you are, in that moment. It’s a boost of confidence, a warming of the heart and a memory to be kept.

At the end of the day, we all want to feel connected. And being able to engage in truly meaningful conversation nurtures connection in so many ways. When I am visiting with friends who live far away and I rarely get to see, I often find myself wishing we could stay up all night just so we can keep chatting and carrying on our good conversation. With wonderfully kindred spirits, it just seems like you never run out of things to say…

Today, I urge you to make plans with someone you care about (perhaps someone you have lost touch with or someone you just haven’t managed to see lately) to meet up in person sometime in the next week. Make a point to put away your phones, pick a quiet spot and just give yourselves the opportunity to open your hearts and your ears.

Photo courtesy of mollypop via flickr

Remember Hugs

Day 7:

Some people judge a person by their handshake, but I’ve always felt more of a connection through hugs. I wonder sometimes what it means when someone gives a very limp hug versus a very strong one. I, for one, give a firm hug!

So as I started reading a new book this week, The Happiness Project, I was delighted when the author, Gretchen Rubin, enlightened me with some facts about hugging:

1) Six seconds is the least amount of time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals that promote bonding

2) Hugging can suppress pain

3) In one study the author mentioned, people who were assigned to give five hugs each day for a month, aiming to hug as many different people as they could, became happier

The Family Circus cartoon 4.29.07. Copyright Bil Keane.