Day 3 ~ The miles. The miles that have kept the mind monkeys at bay, reminding me that my body is still steady and strong (albeit slow), and that it's true that so much of life draws directly from the rhythm of the breath.
Day 2 ~ Our new, centrally located, public library. I teared up the first time I visited. It is truly a thing of beauty for all of the residents of our fair city. I guess that's a perk of growing bigger...we're 'growing up' a bit too. <3
When despair grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I started this little personal project of acknowledging daily gratitudes for 30 days when I was sitting at kind of a low point in my life, back in December of 2009. It proved to be transformative to seek out and celebrate what I feel truly blessed to have in our lives, during a time of year that is so steeped in expectation, wants and commercialism. Each year since, I have committed to this same meditation in gratitude.
From 2011:"My Papa always said that it takes 30 days to break a habit, or 30 days of meditation to really begin to effect a change within you. Focusing on daily gratitudes has helped me to recommit myself to the things that move and inspire me during a very hectic and stressful time of year. Some of these gratitudes are small and silly, some of them bind me to my community and are woven in the deeper strands of my heart. It's the moment that you take the pause and find the glimmer...that's where the good stuff is...in that moment, in that pause, in that gratitude...no matter how simple, right?"
So here we go with year 9....and this is where I ask you if you'd like to join me. It seems like coming together and sharing gratitudes on even this small level might help lift us ever so slightly above the mess that is our country right now, but I don't know. Every year, I think that year just might be too bleak to find the shiny things in the dust, but this year really does feel particularly so. I don't really know what this is going to look like...but I just feel like I have to try.
There's no pressure, no rules, no expectations...but if you'd like to bumble along this path with me...with us, I'd love to have you along. As usual, my goal is to finish on New Year's Eve. It seems like a fitting way to kick 2017 to the curb and welcome 2018, no? I know that December has 31 days, but this way I have a 'gimme' somewhere along the way in case I need it. Some days it’s just hard to get it to all come together. If you want to shout out your gratitude, feel free to put it in the comments, link to your blog, your Flickr, your Instagram, Facebook it up...whatever works for you. Over the years we've had many folks join us in a whole host of different ways. I've cleared out last year's participants from the blog-roll over there on the right hand side. If you'd like to be re-added or wanna give it a fresh go, I'd love to add you, just let me know. Want to hold your gratitude in silence? Already finished a 30 day gratitude project? Or maybe not feeling it this year? Needless to say....understood.
Feeling like you want to join? Tomorrow is the day.
The people that day in, day out, move the ball forward for Environs (unfortunately, not all have been photographed yet). In an intense industry, this team consistently puts forward every effort to produce good, quality work, usually under challenging deadlines. The base of employees has grown slowly over the years, and there is very little turnover, so some of these guys have been with us in one way or another since almost the beginning. I love that when I pop into the shop, along with the work chatter, I can hear the banter of friendship throughout. As much as a place of work can feel like family...it feels like family. So incredibly grateful for that.
Maggie moved out here to Texas when Liam was just a wee baby. At the time, he was her only grandchild, and she was ready for a change of scenery. She settled here, made a fresh start, met and married Fred and they both worked out their days until retirement. They moved back out to Western North Carolina this year, to start their next adventure (homesteading, farming, chicken wrangling). We have been so blessed to have had them in Texas for the time that we did. Never have you met a more welcoming, generous, kind, wise, hilarious pair. I'm just so grateful to have won the family lottery so many years ago...and can't wait to get back out to the farm to soak up more of their goodness. <3
The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
Day 27 ~ This aging, yet still forgiving, body of mine. With all of its creaks and cramps and spasms, it still moves slowly forward...providing a catalyst for the steady in and out breath that helps me clear my mind.
The SAFE Alliance is a structured partnership between SafePlace and Austin Children’s Shelter, two organizations that serve the survivors of child abuse and neglect, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence.
To lead in ending sexual assault and exploitation, child abuse and domestic violence through prevention, intervention and advocacy for change.
A just and safe community free from violence and abuse.
Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof. It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some spirit, some small god, who abides there.
If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing continuously. I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming back from wherever I went.
Compassionate caregiver, healer, mama, midwife, teacher, student of life. She has taught me to try and always lead with my heart, even especially when it's most challenging to do so. She has taught me that you can always handle more than you think you can. From her I've learned to value people and experiences over the things you buy at the store. From her I got my love of reading, my devotion to the underdog, abundant optimism and the best soup recipes around. She, more than anyone else, has shown me what it is to just be in a space while the world feels like it's breaking apart, whether it be through chronic illness, death or a long and arduous labor that leaves a mama feeling like she just simply can't anymore. She is the calm in the storm, the safe harbor, the balanced voice of love and reason. She carries the weight of not being able to fix all of the things for everyone, but rolls up her sleeves and carries on, steadfastly led by the work of the heart anyway. My gratitude for my mama extends way beyond what she has given to me. What she has given to so many throughout her lifetime, is where the gratitude is so deeply rooted.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Travis County believes every child who's been abused or neglected deserves to have a dedicated advocate speaking up for their best interest in court, at school and in our community. To accomplish this, CASA educates and empowers diverse community volunteers who ensure each child's needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. When the state steps in to protect a child's safety because the people responsible for protecting them have not, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations and help the judge decide what's best for the child.