Today is yet another warm and glorious day here in my corner of the world.
Flowers in bloom. Dogs are barking. Birds singing.
Today is our itty bitty doggie's ninth birthday - Happy birthday, Maya!
Life is good. I am thankful.
* organic strawberries on sale
* the sweetness of clementines
* the lush beauty of watermelon
* large plates of salad
* olive oil, vinegar, and freshly ground sea salt as the dressing
* not having to cook!
* making continued progress in my yoga practice - getting more flexible and sweating a little less in downward facing dog
* long walks to the library
* several hours of yard work with my husband last weekend
* how great the yard looks now
* having saved hundreds of dollars because we didn't hire someone else to do the work for us
* applying that savings to our upcoming vacation budget
* espresso after a delightful solo lunch
* safe travel back and forth to UNC Asheville to get Kristiana
* safe travel back and forth to tennis practice every day
* safe travel back and forth everywhere we go
* not having to worry about where our next meal will come from
* a realization I had earlier today while thinking about people I know and people I know about who have more money than they know what to do with, enough money that if they didn't work another day in their lives, they already have enough money to never worry about their future... I realized that I don't have to worry either. Cuz what does worry do? Does worry pay for college or fix broken appliances or repair cars? Nope. So why worry??? I can choose to release myself from worry and fret.
* NPR and the sad, colorful, challenging, interesting, horrifying stories they tell
* offsetting many of those stories with the hilarity and silliness I watch on television
* the Nutrition Action Healthletter my friend, Judy, sent me a subscription for
* all I'm finding out about food and supplements and exercise by reading it
* realizing that I will not always eat perfectly, nor will I ever be fully informed about every morsel I put into my mouth
* getting to a place of being perfectly fine with that - Perfection is no longer the goal. Peace is.
* having the courage to have difficult conversations with my husband and children
* having the courage to not bring up tough subjects when the time isn't right
* gaining the wisdom to know what is worth the discussion and what isn't
* knowing my family well enough to know when "it is what it is"
* knowing the same about myself
* recognizing that I am far more merciful, kind and compassionate with others than I am with myself
* recognizing that I need to change that - and be more merciful with myself
* observing how great it feels to extend grace to myself
* remembering the saying I heard while watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta a few weeks ago (like I said, I watch silliness on television) - "I might have ninety-nine problems, but _______ isn't one of them." Kenya Moore filled that blank with something vulgar. I choose to fill that blank with "saggy boobs." (Gotta look on the bright side, right?)
* another time I always giggle about this double mastectomy thing is when I think about packing for trips - I never have to pack bras anymore. Small thing. But it is a thing.
* I am grateful that I don't cry every time I think back to my kanswer journey anymore
* I am grateful that I continue to find reasons to smile when I think about what I have endured
* I am grateful for the lessons I've learned on this terrible, beautiful, painful, joy-marked journey - one of which I shared in two recent Bible classes I taught. Looking at the story of Thomas, I spoke about how the resurrected Jesus shows up and shows his disciples his scars, his wounded hands and side. He doesn't hide them. He uses them as evidence of what he has endured. I think of my scars in the same way - they are signs of the awfulness that I have SURVIVED. I didn't die. I didn't lose my joy. I didn't give up. I survived. Every scar tells a story of what we have endured and what we have survived.
***** Please don't ever be ashamed of your scars or your stretch marks or your broken places. You are brave and strong and have survived so much. Tell your story. Write it down. I am a survivor and so are you!