Thursday, November 26, 2009

Grateful for Li'Z'zy

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bjork06 0001

Z is for LiZzy

It's my blog and I'll cheat if I want to. Lizzy is my dear sweet K9 companion and I love her so. She's an old soul who is infinitely patient and loyal. Her needs are simple; feed her, take her potty and love her, love her, love her. She isn't in the least bit demanding and gives so much in return. She's in the twilight of her life but I think she'll live forever. Yes, she certainly will.

I am grateful for her today and the calm love she brings to our home. She rounds out our family in the most perfect way.

This has been a very fun month of gratitude. I think I will make it an annual tradition with no repeats allowed. That should be great fun (especially around X). I hope you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving and we all remember what we are grateful for.

I'll be back in a few days kicking off advent. But for now, I'm off to a morning hike with my brood before the feast. Cheers to you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grateful for 'Y'outh

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2008-Erin Jones

Y is for youth

I am grateful today for youth that surrounds me. My childhood was very serious. Now that I am an adult with kids I feel like I have a second chance at youthfulness. I love the innocence and purity that comes with that. Being genuine and carefree with little regard for the trappings that can hold one back.

We have great fun as a family. I married a very responsible, caring, giving man who has a really good time, most of the time. He is just plain silly some times and I love that. I love that our family follows his lead.

I hope I am still young when I am old.

We're almost through our grateful alphabet. What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grateful for Generation 'X'

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the way i see it #289., originally uploaded by niki </3.

X is for Generation X

Seriously, did you think I was going to post gratitude for x-rays or xylophones? C'mon now. While this is a bit of a stretch, it think it still fits.

I'm talking about Generation X, Billy Idol's punk band. No, not really.

Generation X are my peeps. We're a group that has a reputation for being apathetic (I disagree.) but are really the most educated generation of all time. We question. We are a generation that still had childhoods that involved outside play. We have a strong latch key contingency that created self reliant people with inginuity.

I am grateful to be part of a Generation X that is is adaptable and tolerant. I think I exemplify a true Xer value of working to live rather than living to work. I appreciate that I still hold on to the possibility of working at something I enjoy - dare I say, love - rather than just punching a clock to collect a check (a little hoooray for the entrepenuers!). Work hard, play hard rules.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grateful for 'W'riting

Monday, November 23, 2009

W is for writing

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
~William Wordsworth

Grateful for 'V'illage


V is for village

Remember this crew? Neighbors and friends who we see and depend on regularly and then choose to vacation with!

I am so grateful for this group of friends. We're like one big compound family. Among the great friendships developed, we dig in and help each other with the most basic of chores (TJ run, need anything? Popping into Costco, want some eggs, avocado and bananas?). We bend each other's ears when it comes to the tough parenting challenges. We are the second, or third eye to a necessary room re-do. And even have a blossoming babysitter swap in play.

This group knows each other so well, its not a conversation in hypotheticals. They know my kids quirks and gifts and how to deal with them. I feel as close to them as family and am immensly grateful we landed here.

We got lucky with this group and we feel so blessed to be a part of this village.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grateful for 'U'niqueness

Saturday, November 21, 2009


U is for uniqueness

Aren't we lucky God made us special and different?
Different strokes for different folks.
It takes all types to make the world go round.
I am grateful that we can celebrate that freely and appreciation all of our unique gifts.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grateful for 'T'hriving

Friday, November 20, 2009


That's my brave girl going for it!

T is for thriving

A big theme for me this year has been thriving. With a few setbacks and bruises from the economic dip we have been evaluating all sorts of things. It's been a very good process and I know I sound like a freak but I do appreciate the chance to really review things. Why are we making the choices we're making? Can we do better?

I'm not a fan of default thinking and just getting by. Living with intention and striving are core values for me. So we have been thinking a lot about what stays and what goes and what is optional and what is not. I can assure you with full confidence that some of what we have assessed to stick around (thus stretching us fully) would be optional for others.

With not a thought of judgement or evaluation for anyone else's choices, we have been very aware of the decisions that don't just result in survival but in actually thriving. A key question we often use as a filter is, "Is this the best we can do? Or can we/they (the kids) thrive with a different choice?"

I'm fiercely protective of things which can't be undone; exposure that can't be explained away. So, we've chosen to run a tight ship by some standards but certainly feel that that the rewards are in the fruit. The kids have opportunities to thrive rather than just get by.

We constantly evaluate our decision and adjust as needed. I am so grateful for the choices I have to allow myself and my family to thrive; not just get by.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grateful for 'S'trength

Thursday, November 19, 2009


S is for strength

Today's gratitude pushed it's way into the foreground. I have a loose list of where I want these A-Z grateful posts to go but a few have changed a long the way and today's strength is certainly one of those. So, sorry siblings. I am so very grateful for you but today I am honoring and thanking the power of strength in my life.

I've been granted a whole lot of strength and am tirelessly grateful. Early on I think it was a gift I used for survival. Not to be too heavy on you but certain life circumstances forced me to rely on a unusual amount of strength to pull through (somewhat intact). Sometimes we are seemingly weakened in order to grow in our power and strength to navigate life's circumstances. It's up to us to realize our strength and step into it. I was lucky enough to understand that at a very early age and it has served me well.

Now, with more 'common' day-to-day challenges to face I find my strength subsiding. And today specifically I feel called to step into the strength I've been gifted and use it to strive for those things that are next in my life. That is, for me to realize my strength and to use it beyond survival. I had the notion that I was through with the hard stuff and life is good now. Life is so good, not without challenge, but so good. BUT, I'm not using my strength to push beyond what is here and obvious. I know there is more for me and my service to my family and community.

Today I am grateful for strength but also for the realization that it is time for me to step into that strength and do something that really stretches me to a new and wonderful space. I pray that my earnings will rise to the surface and strength will carry me through to deliver on that so I may truly soar. That is the example of strength I want to exemplify for my kids.

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grateful for 'R'ah rah

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


R is for rah rah (and redemption)

This may seem like a stretch for a gratitude post, but it isn't for me. It's not that I don't have enough R words to pull from (reading, recreation, risks, etc), but this sentiment speaks to me clearly today and I choose to be grateful for the opportunities.

You see, among the hats I wear around here one of them is head cheerleader. I am the rah rah leader for my kids, my husband, my friends and even myself when I can really tap into that. I have the halftime (down by 14) 'can do' speech wired, if I may say so myself.

But the part I choose to be grateful for is that I GET to be someone who encourages. I love that I see Anna's ability to read, even though she thinks she can't (simply because one word on the page is hard for her). "You can do that. No problem."

Or that I can play along with an observation Christopher may be questioning. "Great thinking, buddy. You are a smart cookie."

Or that Parker is sometimes reminded that he is the littlest one around here and not at all happy about it. "Big things come in small packages, little man. You are up to some great things."

Or that on those days when the husband is feeling the pressure and occasional defeat of providing for all of us, I can remind him that we have each other and we're really good. It's not lip service. "Go team, Go! Go, fight, win!" (Yo, you know you want to choreograph that number, don't you?!)

When we're feeling down, I am grateful for redemption and the opportunity to be the rah rah in my favorite people's lives. I'm the lucky one since I see their gifts and get to remind them. I appreciate that we can make mistakes or feel low and know that there is redemption. As Dorie says in Nemo, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grateful for 'Q'uiet

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

self portrait

Q is for quiet(ness)
While I realize my posts can sometime be quite boring on the surface, I often have inside funnies embedded within my rambles. Sometimes they are so inside that no one else even gets the joke. I realize this is somewhat of a disconnect with my 'audience' (what do I call you lurkers?) but it's fun for me.

Anyway, this post is one such joke. For starters, I am sincerely grateful for quiet moments. With a family of five that functions like a bee swarm and is always together, quiet moments are rare and utterly cherished. I realized a few years ago when I was certain our house was too small for our growing family that it wouldn't matter what size our house was, these lovely children would still want to get ready in the morning in MY bathroom and use MY bathtub at night, all the while sharing most every thought in their precious little heads.

So, I digress. The more stimulation I have on a constant basis that is not generated by choice (clearly referencing my sweet children), the lower my threshold for handling the noise. We have been working quite hard to have quiet awake times in our home. These walls are where we are calm and caring. Wild and crazy is outdoor fun. It mostly works.

When I was nursing Parker he couldn't handle any stimulation or else he wouldn't eat (still the case, but no longer nursing). I tucked away to his dark, quiet room and let him get some nourishment. Having that calm, quiet time allowed my thoughts to catch up with me and that's when some of my best, most creative ideas flowed.

Nowadays I don't get to tuck away in a dark quiet room every few hours, but I do try to spend some time letting my thoughts catch up to me each day and just being in the quiet (do I sound old or what?!). No TV, not even any music (shudder!). And I've noticed the big kids doing the same in their rooms (oh sweet victories). Poor little Parker goes a little haywire if it's too loud, so he really appreciates the quiet.

So, what's the inside joke part? Honestly not as funny when I have to explain it, but my dear, sweet husband has adopted a few marginal 'words' that he now uses regularly. Most of his 'words' have a -ness ending or -ocity. QuietNESS and quietnessocity (!) are among his favs. Quietness is a word but I don't believe he uses it properly. I am certain my kids will be using a whole new vernacular that is very normal to them but not so proper. Hmmm, helping their education? He would say yes, it expands their minds; teaches them root word construction...blah, blah, blah.

Nonetheless, I am grateful for the quiet moments and for the humor my husband's efforts towards quietness brings.

Image via Hayley Jayne.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grateful for 'P'arker

Monday, November 16, 2009


P is for Parker

You had to see this one coming, right? My little helper! He's a joy and a half. He's also a ton of work. Six months of bedrest to some hiccups at birth to a challenging first couple of years to a busy little boy leaves a very tired but grateful mama writing a post on her littlest boy.

I always tell people who are not sure if they are going to have more kids that you will know when your family is complete. Before Parker we had two healthy kids. A beautiful and happy girl and a sweet handsome boy. Our first few years were busy with them being under a year apart. We didn't rule out other children but we didn't have much energy to consider adding more to our plate either. And then, at just about the same time, we thought perhaps our family had room for one more. After he was born we had a wonderful feeling of wholeness and we were assured that our family was complete.

He is the baby of our brood, but don't tell him that. He has that 'can do' attitude and holds his own with the big kids. I find myself finally (as I emerge from the fog of the past few years) savoring his rites of passage a little longer. He is, afterall, the baby. With my older kids, I celebrate and embrace these moments. With Parker, I realize he is the last to share them with us and they are so sweet.

He, on the other hand, has some hyped up agenda to get through as much as he can as fast as can (which must explain why he hasn't ever felt the need to sleep like a normal human). Somewhere along the way, we reconcile his sweet transition to a preschooler...and beyond.

I am so very grateful for all that he has brought out in our family. The completeness we all feel and the appreciation we have for his life. There were many moments where we weren't guaranteed anything and that lesson is not lost on me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grateful for 'O'ptimism

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the glass is half full

O is for optimism

I believe that life is good. Period. There are bumps and hurdles but I truly see things as half full. There is always a silver lining. Sometimes it's buried and finding it can be a challenge, but it is always there.

I am grateful for the gumption of optimism; that it allows for aiming towards a plentiful path rather than looking back and wallowing. Better to try and learn - even if it means having to try again - then to never have tried at all.

Image via here.

Grateful for 'N'ature

2009-July-Lake Powell_21

N is for Nature

How does the saying go? Look at your calendar and checkbook and that is a summary of your values and what's truly important to you. When I look back on our vacations and how we spend our 'free' time (and money) it most always includes an adventure in nature. We are drawn to be out in it like magnets. It's where we connect, discover and recharge.

Our map is thoroughly tagged with places to visit and areas to explore that allow us to reconnect with the most basic of beauties. I am grateful for the abundance of natural glory and the appreciation my kiddos are developing for it. I hope we can preserve it for eons to come.

The picture above is from our houseboating trip to Lake Powell last summer. We had the best time, completely remote and totally immersed in all that is so purely natural.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grateful for 'M'usic

Friday, November 13, 2009

2009-July-Lake Powell_2

M is for music

If you've been around here for long you know I love music and have hopes of our little version of the Partridge family branching out beyond our current garage band status. You must understand I played violin in 5th grade music class. I had a small stint with a recorder and I'm pretty sure my vocal 'experience' is for not since I have trouble maintaining pitch (I may be tone deaf).

So, my love for song stems from a deep appreciation and from a resonance in my core. I can't imagine our home without music or a ride in the car without some sort of sing-along (our current favorite is Sunshine Day). Snooze cruises with my little helper always involve some instrumental interlude (thank you, XM Pops). Good times, bad times, fun times and down times all involve some kind of music accompaniment (even if it's in my head).

Think about your favorite moments in life and even your darkest hours. Can't you relate most of them to a song? It may have been the song that was playing when he first kissed you. Or the love ballad that perfectly summarized your crushed heart. Or that groovy dance beat you just can't shake, eventhough the lyrics are completely superficial and insanely repetetive.

Whatever the moment, I am so grateful for the creative expression of music and that it can so positively feed our souls. And since we're on the subject, I would be remiss and let down a few readers if I continued without a shout out to John 'M'ayer (another very important M). His new album is dropping next Tuesday and I highly suggest you march out and get a copy (or download from iTunes, whatever strikes your fancy).

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grateful for 'L'aughter

Thursday, November 12, 2009


L is for laughter
Mercy, what would life be without laughter? I don't even want to imagine. I am so grateful for what is not at all trite or compulsory. Laughter is an authentic positive emotion that is completely contagious. I am so incredibly grateful for the funny people in my life.

You know, laughter is how my husband really got my attention (he's a covert riot). It's the reward in a mundane day when an out-of-state friend calls to check on me (Nic shout out). And it's the daily (ok, sometimes multi-daily) log into Hedger Communications for a much needed chat and review (read: spin) name it. I am so grateful for my immediate short list of quick fixes for laughter. You get me through and I am grateful.

P.S. When was the last time you laughed so hard you peed your pants? Don't remember? Oh, I do and I wasn't a child. Uh huh, that's what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grateful for 'K'nowledge

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


K is for knowledge

I'm not young enough to know everything.
~ Oscar Wilde

Grateful for 'J'ourneys


J is for joy-filled journeys

We are adventurers and love to get out and go whenever we can. I am grateful for the opportunities big and small, literal and figurative. It's on these journeys that we grow and dream and gain perspective.

Traveling as a family is high on our list of musts. We value discovering new places, people, food and nature together. And also the way we pull in and operate as a totally dependent unit. We're pretty tight around the homestead but traveling bonds us even more and I am grateful for those moments of being together in a place other than our home. We've had good, bad and ugly and the memories we make and cherish most always include simple times on our path to....

And, of course, I do love wondering what might be around the bend.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Grateful for 'I'ntuition

Monday, November 9, 2009


I is for intuition

I am grateful for a strong intuition that I rely on every single day. It's that spirit inside that guides and steers. Life has so many shades of grey and I am grateful that my intuition helps me move along and progress when the correct path isn't always so obvious or even visible.

Without intuition how would I have known, at that moment in my office in 1999, to pick up the phone and change my fate? I had a very specific moment in time when a feeling came over me that my now-husband was different than the others, in a good way. I recall thinking that the flowers he had just sent me were beautiful but so much more. They were a bridge to a new level of awareness about us. Up until that moment I had not valued the relationship in its infancy. I was too distracted and frankly, thought I wasn't interested in seriously dating for awhile.

At that moment I had a very strong sense that he was special and this was very different. I had an about-face and realized it would be up to me to acknowledge these feelings and not screw things up (truly the thought I had). I could have ignored my gut, and stuck to my plan to not date anyone for awhile, but I knew it was a pivotal moment and my intuition guided me to him. (For story sake I will add that he played his cards exceptionally well from that point forward. Looks like we both had a little intuition intervention.)

So, for intuition guiding me to my dear husband and throughout my life, I am grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

Grateful for 'H'ealth


H is for good health

I had originally planned to post on how grateful I am for our home. That it is such an important place of rest and restoration, heart and soul. That is, until my second choice trumped home and warranted a first place position.

So, I bring you my gratitude for health. My oldest was hit by THE flu this week/weekend. And while I conceptually believe in good health we don't get sick very often and don't have to feel deep pains of severe health challenges. For that I am grateful.

We take the approach of being as healthy as we can and work to prevent illness and disease as much as possible. We strive for all five of us (including Parker--even though he seems to be on a different agenda) to have good rest, healthy diets (low sugar, little-to-no processed food, little meat, low dairy and high on whole foods and veggies), plus some favored supplements. We are sure to get our extra vitamin A&D, high on vitamin C right now in flu season, and probiotics. A few supplements come into play here and there but we try to arm our immune system to be ready for battle. There is far more power on that side than once we've been hit, know what I mean?

Christopher is seemingly on the mend and with any luck the rest of us have dodged the bullet (fingers and toes crossed). The irony of this post being due on a day when I was contemplating a trip to urgent care (I REALLY don't like hospitals or germ infested places so that's saying a lot), is not lost on me. I think it's no coincidence that my gratitude for good health (relatively speaking) is punctuated with a challenge.

Let us take nothing for granted and appreciate the very basic wellness we have most days of our lives.

P.S. Extra shout out to Emily. I know she shares in my gratitude for good health!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grateful for 'G'race

Saturday, November 7, 2009


G is for grace

Grace is such a powerful virtue.
It is with grace that icky things are made tolerable and mediocre can be beautiful.
For this I am grateful.

Note: Applying the word of the day, I find this is an especially suitable post. I have some kiddos that are not up to snuff. My well-laid plans for these few days are out and we have to just rest and mend. And God willing keep this flu quarantined (Mama doesn't get any sick days!) In the midst of all, there is grace.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grateful for 'F'aith, 'F'amily and 'F'riends

Friday, November 6, 2009


F is for 'F'aith, 'F'amily and 'F'riends

I realize I'm sort of cheating on this one but I just couldn't go without any of these.

Faith has completely sustained me. I would be a big mess without it. I am grateful that I don't struggle with faith the way some do. I truly can't imagine life without it.

Family is my world. I am a willing servant to my family and I completley relish in these three kids and husband that I get to share each day with. They are my 'job' and my life. I am grateful for extended family and only wish we were closer and could be together more. (Biggie in the con column.)

Friends: I am very fortunate to have the friends I have. I am surrounded by fantastic, talented, grounded people who keep me planted. For that I am thankful. In my lifetime I have made some exceptional friends who have crossed over into the family category. We not be of the same blood but our connection runs deep and I am so incredibly grateful for them (You know who you are).

I am blessed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grateful for 'E'xpression

Thursday, November 5, 2009


E is for expression

Self expression can manifest is such a variety of ways. Many of which inspire me deeply. Some may say that expression should be reserved and is prettiest when wrapped up in a perfectly honed box, but for me trying and getting 'it' out is a good start.

I am grateful for effective communicative expression (no hard feelings that way--you always know where you stand and nothing harbors or builds).

I am grateful for creative expression--ALL TYPES. So much of my creative inspiration comes from expression through music, photography, written word and varying art forms.

I am grateful for occasional exuberant expression. The unexpected is so refreshing and alive. And we are meant to live, people!

I am grateful for eccentric expression. It's not so much the direction I would personally go to express myself but it just underscores the uniqueness of us all and I can very much appreciate an eccentric expression, for the sake of expression and honoring that.

I am grateful for Madonna who so perfectly commanded us to "vogue..and express ourselves."

I saw a lapse yesterday. Some of you emailed me directly. Don't be shy. EXPRESS YOURSELF. What are you grateful for (today is 'E')?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grateful for 'D'ad

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


D is for Dad

In addition to being grateful to my Dad for life itself, I am so thankful for the lessons and foundation he instilled in me early on. Discipline, perseverance and hard work; the pillars of who I am today started with my Dad.

I am grateful for him teaching me to ask questions; for often it is the question that can be more telling than the answer. I appreciate his encouragement for me to be independent and to value integrity, in myself and others.

And I must mention his love for Southern California beaches and taco shops. The torch has been passed and my little guy is a chip off the old block.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grateful for 'C'hristopher

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


C is for Christopher

Aren't all mothers grateful for their children? I am certain so. My gratitude for my oldest son touches my core deeply as does his sweet and tender spirit. I am grateful for his caring nature--always noticing the one who needs a subtle "Are you ok" nudge or comforting gaze from his empathetic eyes. I am incredibly grateful for his thoughtfully inquisitive way that completely inspires me daily to learn and seek all that I can.

He is a blessed gift to me (us) that I cherish so incredibly dearly. Every delivery story is unique and precious just like each child born of it. I am reminded and so humbly grateful that God choose us to be his parents. His thirst for God and spirituality is infectious and so comforting. He stretches me exactly how I am supposed to be and I am so grateful for it. But most of all I am grateful to share each day with him and long for the moments when I see the world through his eyes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grateful for 'B'each (walks)

Monday, November 2, 2009


B is for beach (walks)

We are fortunate enough to live by the beach. I realized several years ago I need to be near water; it is how I relax, recharge and refresh. So hitting the beach trail with my babe is the perfect way for me to start my day. I am grateful we live in a place where I am moments away from that which completely and authentically renews my step. When I am at the beach I wonder why I don't spend every waking moment there. (Well, because I have three kids and a husband who need me to carry my weight around the homestead too, that's why.)

I'm grateful that while I don't tap into it enough, I know how to reboot with a simple beach visit or walk.
Play along, blog stalkers. What are you grateful for today (B)?

Grateful for 'A'nna

I've seen a few renditions of this floating around and am inspired to adopt it and make it my own. I love Thanksgiving so spending the month reminding myself of all that I am grateful for sound just perfect to me. So, with that, I am kicking off with a letter a day until Thanksgiving. I'd LOVE it if you shared your letters with me too. What are you grateful for?


A is for Anna

I've gushed my love for my girl many times and I will flow over with love for her. She is all I could ever want in a daughter. It's funny how your personality traits can surface in your kids. I am so grateful that because she is in my life I am learning to be more patient and forgiving (with myself, bonus!). She is so aware of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, especially all that I do. Nothing squeaks by her and I am grateful that just knowing she is watching makes me want to be my best. What a complete delight she is to me--all of her.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week's Menu

Sunday, November 1, 2009
Broccoli mushroom and pesto pasta
Pear and chevre Salad

Chicken curry with potatoes and carrots
Pita with tzatziki

Tuna casserole (Mom out)

Turkey and chili enchiladas
Cabbage salad
Spanish rice

Photo from here.