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12 September 2016

An Ordinary Day In Indiantown & Gratefulness

Greece - where we were headed to on 9/11


Yesterday I was thinking about the fact that fifteen years ago Scott and I were waiting at the airport in Portland, Oregon for our flight to JFK. From there we were due to catch a connecting flight to Athens, Greece. Needless to say, that trip didn't happen. We sat in the airport watching events unfold on the TV monitors in shock, grateful that we were safe.

With the events of 9/11 in my thoughts, I spent the day yesterday trying to be mindful of all that I have to be grateful for. It was a very ordinary day. Nothing special. Nothing too exciting. Just ordinary. But even in the most ordinary of days, if you pay attention, there are things to be grateful for.


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Like food storage...

Even when I haven't been to the grocery store for a while, I know that there's always plenty to eat squirreled away on the boat. I might not have the fixings for a gourmet dinner, but I can always find something to throw together, like canned soup and Ryvita crispbread.

That sentence there - "I can always find something to eat." That's something to be grateful for. So many people struggle to find anything to eat on a daily basis. The only hunger I've known is self-induced from some crazy diet. I've never experienced true hunger, for which I'm grateful.


And meeting interesting people...

I was hanging out at the communal kitchen at our marina yesterday with some friends and met the most interesting couple who were passing through on their boat. They shared stories of their Cajun culture and what it's like to live in Cajun country in Louisiana (which I learned has nothing to do with New Orleans). They painted such a vivid picture of large family gatherings, big pots of gumbo and dancing to zydeco music.

It made me grateful for the reminder of the rich cultural diversity we have in the States and the importance of valuing that diversity.


Getting frustrated with writing...

I spent much of the day endlessly revising a short story and getting very frustrated in the process. And then I thought about a friend of mine who struggled with dyslexia growing up long before they even knew what dyslexia was. Reading and writing was a real challenge for him in school.

So while I tore my hair out yesterday trying to find the perfect words and turn of phrase, I reminded myself that many people struggle with dyslexia and literacy, with basic reading and writing. I was lucky - reading came easily and I choose to write stories for fun. A good reminder that my frustrations are of my own making and that they're frustrations others might be grateful to have instead of the true hardships that they face on a daily basis.

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So, that's what was on my mind yesterday. I know, not the usual silly fare that you've come to expect from the blog, but sometimes it's good to just take a step back and reflect on things. But don't worry, I'll be sure to make it up to you later in this week when we get back to our normal programming.

What does an ordinary day in your life look like? What are you grateful for?

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25 comments:

  1. Yesterday we went for a bike ride. I pushed myself to go longer, go farther, and even though it was tough, I reminded myself to be thankful for our health, the fact that we can move the way we can, the great area where we live. This morning, out on a walk, we saw the sun rise against layers of clouds and it was gorgeous. Paying attention is my new thing. :)

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    1. I'm going to try to pay more attention these days too. So much to be grateful for, you just have to see it.

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  2. Ellen,

    if you're frustrated with writing because of your inner perfectionist it may help to write for others and get paid for it. Doesn't matter if it's porn, pulp-fiction romance or any other trash paid by the word. The goal is the invoice and you can improve your success by increasing your hourly wage. This can be a good antidote against over-thinking things and it gets you writing. If a story pays $20 it should be one in one hour. If it takes 4 hours, there's room for improvement.

    I had a similar revelation with retouching photographs: If I need to retouch 10 per hour to get a reasonable hourly wage - in my case it was slightly less than what I'd made flipping burgers - every picture needed to be done in 6 minutes. With a little practice, I achieved that turn-around with sufficient quality and now I don't dread this any more. I know I just can do it efficiently if needed.

    Sometimes it's liberating to be able to produce second-rate work.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I've definitely got perfectionist issues which can hold me back at times. I really like the idea of willingly doing "second-rate" work and being cool with that.

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  3. I did a lot of thinking about 9-11 yesterday too. Like you I think of all the things I'm thankful for. That's just about everything and I'm thankful every single day.

    Have a fabulous day Ellen. ☺

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  4. Right now I am grateful for the sound of laughter from young adults cooking in my kitchen. I love having our son and his friends in our home.

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    1. Just a couple of tears in my eyes from your post. I really miss my children, spouses, and grandchildren. I'm grateful that they are all leading healthy, happy lives.

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    2. Melissa - that must be such a joy to have them around! Donna - your teary eyes just made my eyes a bit teary :-)

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  5. I wish my life was more ordinary sometimes, but I know I really am lucky to have such an un-ordinary life. We have been dealing with some health issues that making things like work and moving around so much harder. It is very frustrating and stressful - but we have a great support network and I think about people who aren't as lucky as us and how any one little thing can throw you off track in serious ways. I just want the van to be done, to be traveling again, to not have to take care of anyone's pets and to be in my own space where i can find a colander or a strainer to drain my pasta with - but we are lucky -- we continue to have a roof over our head, great friends and only four more weeks of house sitting until we start our van adventure.

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    1. I cannot wait until you guys get back out here in your van! Thinking of you guys, especially with all that's going on. Just sent you an email too.

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  6. Being at the airport when it happens means you have a different perspective on the event.
    There are people who are hungry and those who can't write. We should be grateful for our messy stories and that nearly empty bag of candy, even if we really were prepared to devour the whole bag by ourselves.

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    1. Being at the airport and being on our way to JFK really did give us quite a different perspective. Hmmm...my bags of candy never seem to be nearly empty, they're always 100% empty.

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  7. We flew out of Newark about 36 hours before the first plane hit so, like you, were grateful to be safe and sound and that we hadn't planned for our vacation to end a couple of days later. It will never stop being shocking.

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    1. Wow - definitely something to be grateful for that you were back safe and sound before it happened.

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  8. I am grateful every moment to have such a wonderful partner in life. And I am very grateful that my mother didn't let me watch TV and my school really pushed reading and writing. Reading takes me on so many adventure, it's a wonderful gift.

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    1. Aww...that's so sweet! My mom didn't let us watch much TV growing up either. We had to do chores to earn TV time.

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  9. I know what you mean. That's the reason I diligently write a gratitude list at the end of each month. So much to be thankful for in life.

    Sharing my last with you - http://happinessandfood.com/gratitude-list-august-2016/

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    1. Parul - writing a gratitude list each month sound like a great habit to get into.

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  10. I'm grateful for time. Like you I'm struggling with a short. If I didn't have the time I would have given up already. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Time is very much something to be grateful for - having time in one's busy day and just having time left on planet Earth to enjoy life.

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  11. It's good to stop and reflect sometimes. Good post.

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  12. Reflecting on the good things in life - as small as they sometimes might be - is a practice that I wish more people would turn to, especially the spoiled ones that complain about the smallest things. Or, the ones that have a negative and blameful mindset. That being said, it can be difficult when you are really feeling frustrated or down. :-) I am very grateful for the comfort, pressurized showers and unlimited electricity and internet I have at this point in my life. I am also grateful to have enjoyed a five day vacation with my husband, the first in seven years! :-)

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    1. It can be so difficult to be grateful when you're having a bad run of luck and feeling dispirited. I know some people keep running journals of things that they're grateful for and look back on them during troubled times which helps a bit. Doesn't solve the issues at hand, but reminds them that this too shall pass.

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