Grateful Sunday 2018


I really enjoyed spending last year going through all that I was grateful for. In that moment in time, I reflected on what was good about 2017 instead of what I struggled with. I realize that we are always going to have struggles. However, it’s the amount of time and energy we allow our minds to focus on those issues that determines our happiness. In the years past, all I ever focused on was the pain, the hurt, the anger, the shame, and the guilt. I was stuck running in circles.


I have increased my grateful comments in my personal life to a daily list. I won’t bombard my Fledglings with all my grateful thoughts. However, I plan to continue doing my Grateful Sunday posts. Here’s the entire list for 2018 (this time in ascending order). My wish is that you too learn to do the same in your personal life. And my hope is that others will join me and post each Sunday about what they too were grateful for each week.


Let’s create a community of grateful people so that Together We Can Heal!


~ Phoenix Emery



January 7, 2018

The reading at my last 12 Step meeting was based around gratitude. In my share, I explained I had written down what I was most thankful for at the end of each week and that I had re-read all my gratitude posts on the 31st of December.


I know there were days that were difficult. I know there was time where I struggled and didn’t believe I could go on. I know there was time when I needed to reach out to a friend to give me the support I needed to survive the next hour.


However, when I looked at the good in my life for the past year, I felt a warmth spread over me. Connection, hope, happiness, and love. These emotions blossomed like the rising sun, sending the dark scattering into the shadows. My perception in my life shifted. Trials instead became pathways to growth. Pain was necessary to feel joy. A weight had been lifted off my soul.


When I finished my share, a good friend leaned over and whispered. “When you looked at all you were grateful for last year, what was top on the list? Family? Career? Travel? Recovery?”


“Family,” I answered without hesitation.


“Yes. Family is always number one,” he responded with a knowing nod and smile.


I am grateful for my family.



January 14, 2018

I’m grateful for the time I’ve taken this week for self care. I took myself out to the movies, finished a good book, worked on my cross-stitch project, got back into the gym, listened to great podcasts and caught up on one of my favorite shows. I even went out with a coworker to watch dueling piano players, enjoying singing out loud, watching and the wide variety of music that was requested (from Disney to Gangster rap – WOW).


It’s easy at times to get busy with life and forget to look inward and take care of ourselves. Love and take care of our inner children as we would our own kids. The payoffs of joy, gratitude, and self connection are priceless.



January 21, 2018

I’m grateful for Alexa and my new Echo Dot. When it comes to technology, I’m usually the last one to the party (unless it pertains to music). I think I gave up my pager for a flip phone when the first smartphone came out.


For instance, I showed up for work today and one of my coworkers commented on something I had posted on Facebook. Really? I don’t remember posting anything on Facebook lately. He said, “Yeah. It was the one where you were with your girls in your car. Looked like you were having fun. You’re doing it right, man. Spending time with your daughters. That’s awesome.” I was perplexed and checked Facebook. Nothing. I checked Instagram. Nothing.


Wait…I remember now. My daughter wanted to use my Snapchat to make sure her makeup was good and had taken a picture of both her and her sister. She asked us both if it was ok that she posted it and she typed something explaining she was going to word it like it was coming from me. Great, another social media platform I need to start staying current on.


Anyway, back to Alexa. Let’s say, this is the first time I asked a woman to do something without feeling guilt that I didn’t say please. I also need to be direct expressing my needs or else she has no idea what I want. Well, that’s going to help me in my regular life. Expressing needs and wants is a huge work in progress.


My girls and I scrolled through different commands, plugging her into one of my DJ speakers. Lots and lots of music, setting a timer while baking cookies, getting the weather, current news, and asking her for jokes and quotes. I wanted to play Jeopardy, but was nixed by my oldest. Some things I will just have to do when the girls aren’t around. I also had fun setting random reminders causing her to talk to my girls when I wasn’t in the house.


I did freak out while I was out and about and my youngest daughter called my cell phone from Alexa to ask me a question. Evidently we can call out anyone on my contacts list just by speaking the command. Some things I’ll just let my kids teach me.


A toast to life and fun toys!!



January 28, 2018

I’m grateful for my recovery program. I’ve learned that it’s not that I won’t struggle in life, but how I manage my struggles that matters. What is the story I make up? What are the tools I’m going to use when I’m feeling off? How do I allow myself to accept my emotions, work through them, and learn from them?


Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles:

E + R = O

(Event + Response) = Outcome

The basic idea is that the very outcome you experience in life (whether it is success or failure, wealth or poverty, health or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event or events in your life.


He’s reminded me, that if I don’t like the outcomes I’m currently getting in my life, I have two choices.

  1. I can blame the event (E) for my lack of results (O).
  2. I can instead change my response (R) to the events (E) – the way things are – until I get the outcome (O) I want.


This is where I am grateful for recovery. Without recovery, I wouldn’t have been fully able to accept that I still point my finger and blame. Without recovery, I wouldn’t be willing to continue to look inward and do the work I need to do so I can heal. Without recovery, I wouldn’t be able to accept that I’m not perfect and end up shaming myself for doing the same things over again. Without recovery, I wouldn’t have learned how to be gentle on myself while nurturing my inner child.


Today I’m grateful that I can accept all of me as I am, complete with all my imperfections, and love who I see. I will continue to rise from the ashes daily.




February 4, 2018

I’m grateful that even though I was only home for 24 hours this past week, I had an incredible afternoon and evening with my two daughters. Years ago, I would spend all my time focusing on what I lacked and what I missed with my family, that I became blind to the moments of connection I did have with them.


Instead of dwelling on a week of being away, I choose to remember this week as my two girls sat snuggled together on a hillside overlooking a lake, our wonderful chat on the bench with them in my arms, and the three of us goofing around and singing together.


I am truly blessed!




February 11, 2018

I’m grateful that I’ve learned to let things go and I’ve learned to roll with the punches when plans fall apart. My former spouse used to tell me “things happen for a reason” and “look at this as an adventure.” Instead, I struggled to see the positive and allowed my frustrations that everything didn’t happen just as I had planned to taint not only my happiness, but the happiness of those around me.


When I allow myself to view life from a different lens, I find that wonderful memories are formed.


This week I was scheduled to go to a job fair and had asked the family to join me. Unfortunately, due to flying stand by, we quickly had to change our schedule when airline flight loads forced us to make last minute changes. Other than changing airlines and arriving later, all would have gone as planned except…I left my iPad sitting on the front seat of our car.




February 18, 2018

I’m grateful that I had one on one time with each member of my family and that I spent most of the week at home.


My oldest daughter joined me on an overnight in Los Angeles at the beginning of the week. We spent the day in Hollywood and Beverly Hills with members of my crew. Incredible tacos, lots of photos and a ton of laughs. Grabbing an ATM cupcake was also something we just HAD to do.


My youngest daughter was my Valentine and we enjoyed spicy calamari and Mac and Cheese pizza for dinner. As weird as it sounds, the pizza was AMAZING. As well as our time together.


Towards the end of the week I enjoyed wine tasting, lunch, and a walk with my former spouse and our lab. Followed by the four of us seeing the play South Pacific.


I was filled with love the entire week.




February 25, 2018

I’m grateful for good friends who care for us when we’re feeling under the weather. I’ve come leaps and bounds with self care, however, I still struggle when I’m sick. It’s incredibly hard for me to slow down and allow my body to heal. It’s comforting to have friends who are concerned and help me watch out for my well being.


As tough as it is just to sit and heal, I’m also grateful for Red Box and Movie Pass that allowed me a couple of days to veg in front of the screen. Soup, medicine, rest, and connection with people who care definitely aids in the healing process.




March 4, 2018

Ironically, I’m grateful for my tooth extraction this past Friday. I know, I know. What in the world could a tooth extraction be grateful for?


First off, I didn’t have to deal with a tough root canal in my back bottom molar. One dentist appointment vs. two or three. Don’t like dealing with shots of Novocain. Well, I guess if I get an implant I do have to go back. However, I don’t have to worry about a potential extraction in the future had I tried to save the tooth with a root canal.


Secondly, I had a ton of emotional issues that came up during the extraction; feelings of shame, unworthiness, not being perfect, and failing my parents to name a few. Once again, this may sound bad, and yet, I saw it in a positive note. It only means I still have healing to do on my faulty beliefs.


Finally, I was reminded of the quote by Master Chief John Urgayle from the movie G.I. Jane.

“Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain?…It lets you know you’re not dead yet!”


I’m not dead.


I opened childhood wounds that I still need to address.


And, I don’t have to go back to the dentist soon. Well, that’s not quite true. I do have a teeth cleaning in a week and a half.




March 11, 2018

Oh, my. This was one rough week. I tried to tough it out and go to work. At times the pain from my tooth extraction was unbearable. I really don’t remember the healing of my wisdom teeth being this painful.


Through all that discomfort, I’m still grateful.


I’m grateful that I finally listened to what this ache was telling me. Even though it took me five days to listen, I finally took myself off my trip and came home.


Self-care is something that is easily overlooked. I know what I need to do for me, and yet, I still have a tendency to put me last.


Self-care for me includes a healthy lifestyle of eating, exercise, prayer, meditation, introspective work, and connection with friends and family.


Balance and harmony.


The pain I was feeling this past week reminded me that I was out of balance. I was placing the needs of my job and the needs of others over my own personal healing. I’m grateful that it may take a while, but I’m learning to listen to what Little Phoenix needs.


When I listen to my inner child, I give myself a huge dose of Self Love!




March 18, 2018

I’m grateful that I decided self-care and healing, instead of forcing myself to go back to work before my extraction had healed. Well, I kind of had a doctor’s note for that too. As my hygienist asked a couple of days ago while getting my teeth cleaned, “Your extraction is just taking it’s own sweet time to heal, isn’t it?” I”m grateful I was able to use some heavier medication to alleviate the pain so it could heal faster than it was previously.


I had a well balanced week with my family, friends, household work, extracurricular activities, and working program.


I appreciated my former spouse including me with meal preparation at both her place and mine, and I truly enjoyed our family meals. I’m grateful that I got to spend one on one time with both my girls and I cherished the time spent with my former spouse. I’m thankful that we can finally have deep conversations where we can listen with interest, empathy, and compassion, without feeling the same defenses, resentments, and anger pop up.


A Wrinkle in Time was an amazing movie (albeit that was now eight days ago) with the underlying message that has permeated my blogs these past fifteen months. That is, when we allow our negative thoughts become our beliefs, the dark will take over. We need love to stay in the light. And the key to that is to first love ourselves.


Walking my roommate’s and our dog with my former spouse was time well spent out doors, along with the family playing in the park one evening. It’s thrilling to learn that my roommate is pregnant and I love watching the excitement my girls and former spouse get when they learn they will get to hold another newborn child.


I’m grateful my former spouse spontaneously jumped up and said, “Come on, let’s fix your washer.” In an hour and a half, using a YouTube video, a washer that has sat in my garage for over a year was finally fixed.


I do delight in being helpful and was grateful I was home to give my former spouse a hand with the See’s Candy fundraiser she does for the school district during Easter. Not only did we hammer it out, but we were able to add more Disney Rewards points for a future family trip to Disneyland.


I ended my week attending a recovery retreat, where I once again bonded with fellowship and old friends, DJ’d a dance, worked on spirituality and my connection with God, and opened up areas about myself that I still need to work on.


What can I say about this week?


Balance. Harmony. Love.


I really can’t ask for anything more.




April 29, 2018

I’m grateful for not criticizing myself for not keeping up with my weekly Grateful Sunday blogs, Motivational Monday blogs, and Wednesday Share Day blogs. I realize that life gets busy and it’s ok if I’m not perfect keeping my site current.


I’m grateful that I started the process of a blog that I needed to write many months ago. I should have that up in a couple of days. I’ve resisted and avoided doing what I need to do, and I’m grateful that I’m finally at peace to follow what my Higher Power has been telling me over and over for the past couple of years that I need to do.


I’m grateful to relinquish control and to let it go to God, to the universe. I’m aware that I do still have the tendency to want to control outcomes and that awareness will help me catch myself quicker when that happens so I can let it go once again.


I’m grateful for Monster Trucks and spending the time with my nephew and girls. We had an incredible time, not only watching the fun, but great in-depth conversations as well.


Basically, today, I’m grateful for life!



May 6, 2018

I’m grateful for two beautiful daughters and one on one time spent with them; dinners, movies, and great conversations. I’m grateful for my coworkers, friends, my home away from home. I’m grateful for clear, smooth skies. I’m grateful for taking the time to process my thoughts. And I’m grateful for learning how to love myself. I truly am blessed.



May 13, 2018

Today I’m grateful to four influential women in my life.


I’m grateful for my mother, who did the best she could with what she knew at the time. It’s hard to believe that this will be the 11th Mother’s Day since her passing. What an interesting ride it would have been had she been around through my recovery. I know she’d been exploring her issues right by my side and I would have loved to watch an inner strength build within her as we both battled our demons from the past. In addition, she would have loved being connected in today’s world of FaceBook, Twitter, texting, mobile phones, and how Country Music has developed into a Country Pop genre. Mom, I will be looking for the beautiful sunset you and your leprechauns have planned to paint this evening. I love you!


I’m grateful for my step-mother, who pushed a father to reconnect with his stubborn, angry, teen son. Her love and persistence allowed me to get to know Daddy before he left this world much too soon. The age old argument about nature vs. nurture is no argument at all. It’s definitely both. With limited exposure growing up, my biological father and I were mirror images of each other, in many ways fighting the same insecure battles and, yet, having the same, off the wall sense of humor. In addition, I was blessed with a little, big sis, who has always thought of me as her brother. I’m so thankful that my step-mother brought our family together.


I’m grateful for my mother-in-law, who took the role as surrogate mom after my mother’s death. Even though my past actions put our family through some very hard times, her unconditional love and support of my recovery means the world to me. Watching her be a grandmother to my two daughters, I learned how to be more present with my girls and how to play. I’m grateful that every Christmas she sends my girls Christmas cards from my mom so they won’t forget their “other” grandma. Mama, you taught me what Love truly means.


And most of all, saving the best till last, I’m grateful for the mother of my two beautiful daughters. It’s easy to take for granted one who does so much, especially when it comes naturally. With my career and through separation and divorce, my former spouse has always put our girls first. In some ways, she lost herself in the process. I’m grateful that she’s learning to find who she is once more, through her new job and her own personal journey of recovery. And I’m thankful that at the same time, she still has the best interest of our girls at heart. Intuitive, aware, loving, and protective, my former spouse is one of the best mother’s my girls could ask for. Some day, they will come to the realization about how lucky they were. May you enjoy the peace and serenity of your camping trip with our girls and your sister’s family this weekend. Have a mimosa, have morning coffee at one of your favorite spots, take our dog on a walk, roast some marshmallows, and have some quiet time to read a book. Let your sister and brother-in-law pamper you. You deserve it. You are deeply loved.



May 20, 2018

I’m grateful for attending a critical response seminar and learning more about how stress and trauma affects our lives. Listening to others share their stories is both healing for them and allows me to not become so self-centered as I pull myself away from my own struggles to give compassion, empathy, strength, and hope to others.


I’m grateful for a wonderful evening with my girls and roommates enjoying dinner and playing a board game. I’m also grateful that I’ve learned to embrace what my daughters enjoy watching on TV and love to watch them get excited talking about their favorite characters. It was also fun to support their plan to go to bed at 6pm so they could wake up at midnight to watch the season finale of Riverdale making milk shakes and then heading back to bed afterwards. Love that they weren’t sure how to use the blender and instead of giving up, Googled videos to help them figure it out. Resourcefulness at work!


I’m grateful for a fun-filled day celebrating my former spouse’s birthday starting with going out to breakfast, antique and thrift store window shopping, a nap, grabbing the girls early from school for lunch, a delicious fish dinner, followed by the play, The Color Purple, and a late night slice of pizza. She cracked me up by setting up a tent in her guest room for me to crash in since I had to leave for work early the next morning, allowing me the chance to experience the camping I missed with the family the weekend before.


I’m grateful for a well-rounded week!



May 27, 2018

I’m grateful for another successful year of recurrent training. It doesn’t matter how many times I go through, my stress increases when I’m being quizzed and evaluated. Some of the scenarios we train for are emergencies I only see once each year, and others, are something I’ve never encountered before. This helps me hone my skills and keep me sharp. However, I have to watch the internal critic who’s still a master at putting myself down for being human, making mistakes, and not performing at my own personal standards.


I’m grateful for recovery, because I’ve learned not only how to keep that inner critic at bay, but also how to let things go and to give myself balance during these drills. In the past, I’d do nothing but eat, sleep and study. This year, like last, I continued to work on me by staying connected with friends, exercising, and add some enjoyment to my day. I’m grateful to have seen the Hans Solo movie opening night, Overboard, and Life of the Party while also enjoying a good book this past week. Throw in a baby shower with my coworkers, dinner with good friends, and ending the week watching the final episode of American Idol. This year’s recurrent training was pretty much a non-event.



June 3, 2018

I’m grateful for my two beautiful daughters.


My youngest daughter helped me DJ the end of school field day for the elementary school she used to go to. So missed DJing and watching everyone having a good time. Young kids are so uninhibited when it comes to singing and dancing. This is before fear of judgment (self and judgment of others) kicks in. I love their free spirit!


My oldest daughter helped me DJ a High School Grad night. We did this last year allowing us a chance to spend all evening connecting. Both of us were looking forward to the event, however, we were more prepared with what to expect. Last year I wasn’t aware that I my job would be more background music rather than a dance. There’s a lot of other activities for the grads to keep them busy and hanging out together. This year my daughter and I took Class of 2018 back in time to top hits from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. For most of the night my daughter and I danced and sang in our own world as we relived the songs WE loved to hear on the radio.


And tomorrow, I’m excited that the three of us will be spending our vacation in Vancouver, Canada to explore the sights where Riverdale is filmed. Yes, I’m very grateful for my girls.



June 10, 2018

I’m grateful for an incredible vacation and trip with my two daughters. My youngest daughter was planning a couple of months ago to go to Canada to see all the sights where Riverdale has been filmed. She has a crush on Cole Sprouse and, as she says, has purchased $424 worth of Cole Sprouse merchandise, showing to her friends, her dedication and love to this incredible star.


The interesting thing about this trip was, she never quite asked if we were going. It was implied that we were going.


And, as a father who still struggles with boundaries and saying no, she was right. It was set in stone. We went!


The three of us visited Archie’s house, Veronica’s house, Betty’s house, Cheryl’s mansion, Sweet River, the football field, the Town Hall, the Register, the Sheriff’s station, and of course, Pop’s diner. We spend about 17 hours in less than 5 days in a car, not including watching The Quiet Place at the Twilight Drive-In, another film location.


We had so much fun going from town to town on a mission throughout BC, Canada. Typical ups and downs of any vacation and a road trip with teens, although, memories that will last a lifetime. So much of what I’ve read about parenting is to embrace what your children enjoy. I admit, that has been hard, but when I’ve learned to follow that advice, the rewards are amazing!


I’m grateful for my two wonderful daughters and an adventure of a lifetime!!! Thank you and lots of love!



June 17, 2018

This Father’s Day, I’m grateful to how far I’ve come in my recovery. The month of June 2017 was truly a turning point helping me Rise from the Ashes. It was when, symbolically, Rafiki handed me my own personal staff, reminding me that I had learned how to access everything I already knew.


June was where I learned that I needed to let go of the anger surrounding the decisions that my former spouse had towards divorce. It was where I learned that I needed to pray not only to forgive my former spouse and her choice of friends that judged me, but to let go from the shackles of my resentment prison.


June was where I learned to how to love myself and truly start parenting Little Phoenix.


I had spent the previous 7+ years in recovery still holding onto pain, both emotional and physical, doing everything in my power to release it. But try as I might, I couldn’t let it go. This blog, my deep trauma work, the will to never give up, and the hope that I could pass on my wisdom to others, has given me the ability to let go of the past and focus on my own daily maintenance program.


Life always has it’s ups and downs. There are days I struggle and days where I manage well. If I’m not careful, I can easily slip away from the present moment and get into my head. However, I’m no where close to where I was and I know where I want to be. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other on that journey.


Today, I take time away from family and treat myself. I treat myself to a walk. I treat myself to a movie. I read a book. I work out. I connect with the other father’s in my life, my friends, to let them know I’m thinking about them and I’m celebrating our day together.


Today, I’m a parent to Little Phoenix, showing myself the love and validation I so much thought I needed from the outside world.


Today, I’m grateful for peace and serenity. I’m grateful for self-love. I’m grateful that I can be a Father to myself. I’m grateful for life!



June 24, 2018

I’m grateful my former spouse and youngest daughter joined me for a weekend of fun at the city where I’m based. I enjoyed DJing a fellow co-worker’s wedding reception, spending time with my airline “family”, and sharing memories with two very important people in my life. In addition, I found some fun new places to explore when I’m “stuck” at the crash pad.


I did miss my oldest daughter, but I’m grateful she’s growing up to be a secure young lady who has close friends and family that allows her the confidence to spend a weekend on her own. I’m glad she got to enjoy a live concert, which she had a blast at, and enjoyed baby sitting her younger cousins. Although, that might just cost me an Xbox for her birthday. LOL!


I’m grateful for a wonderful week!



July 1, 2018

I am so grateful for only two days of work before I was able to return home for a week off. After having an absolute blast last weekend with family and friends, I didn’t want it to end. I love my career, but the time I’m away from the sky does not match the struggles I have when I am gone for long periods.


This past weekend started with a Broadway musical under the stars with my family, a meeting and walk with my recovery brothers, and finishing off the week while relaxing on an inner tube down the river.


I’m grateful for a well rounded week that started off and ended on a positive note.



July 8, 2018

I’m grateful for a kick ass 4th of July. The girls and I watched fireworks not only on the 4th, but on the 3rd as well. I enjoyed one on one time with my former spouse on the 3rd while the girls hung out with their friends. On the 4th, I had the pleasure of dancing to a local cover band followed by an amazing show of sparkling colors that matched an incredible musical soundtrack of patriotic and upbeat songs.


I’m also grateful for program and my tools of recovery. Once I left home and headed back to my crash pad, I had internal issues I needed to work on. I’m aware that I need to blog my thoughts, but I’m grateful that the physical pain that used to accompany these stories has diminished. I’m not sure if insecurities and the emotions that come with those will ever be completely dispelled (it would be so nice if they did), however, it’s a beautiful thing not to have those feelings become so overwhelming.


I’m grateful for my Higher Power who has given me the strength, perseverance, and the ability to manage my emotions. Little Phoenix was struggling and I was able to parent him while also knowing that He was supporting me in my time of internal conflict.



July 15, 2018

I’m grateful that even though I was home for 24 hours this past week, I was able to get a lot of things accomplished in such a short period of time. In addition, I had a wonderful night watching a movie with my former spouse, getting spoiled by my oldest daughter who cooked dinner, and enjoyed listening to my youngest daughter and her friend tell me about their first day at drama camp.


I’m grateful that when I need to focus on something, I can put my energy towards getting something done and seeing results. I’m preparing to learn a new aircraft which means a lot of studying prior to getting into class. I’m grateful that I still find learning something new challenging and exciting. Instead of feeling as if it’s a job, a chore that must be done, I’m enjoying the learning process and I look forward to the new adventure that awaits.



July 22, 2018

I’m grateful that today I’m celebrating my daughter’s 15th birthday. I started the morning going to church and hanging out with a good friend. Helped my former spouse cook a meal for one of her friends. Watched Mamma Mia while cross-stitching and sang with my girls, microphone in hand. We had a spectacular Chimichanga dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant then enjoyed Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again at the theaters. Such a great movie! They did a great job with the sequel. And, of course, ended the night with cake.


I’m grateful for my 12 Step meeting and our weekend walk. So great to spend time with men who know your deepest darkest secrets and insecurities, but still love you with all your imperfections. I’m grateful they were there when I needed someone to lean on and to help prop me up when I’m struggling.


I’m grateful that I was able to have 48 hours at home. The time flew by way to fast! However, it was what I needed after being away for almost two weeks. Nice to recharge the batteries. I pray for the days when my time at home will be greater than the times I’m away.


I’m grateful that my former spouse plans to take my older daughter and her friends to the beach tomorrow and will end that day with a sleepover. She does an amazing job juggling her career, shuttling both our girls to and from activities, making sure they are loved, and trying to find balance with her needs. I’m grateful for the mother she has always been to our girls.



July 29, 2018

I’m grateful to have been asked to join a friend/co-worker with a group of people to seethe musical Pricilla, Queen of the Desert. What a fun show that was! Enjoyed the music, the costumes, and the laughs. Also had an incredible burger for dinner before the show; a kangaroo burger. Yep, you read that right. A kangaroo burger. Thought it was fitting since I was going to watch a play about the adventures of three drag queens in the Australian outback. Now I need to see the 1994 movie. Heard nothing but positive reviews on that too.


I’m grateful for the opportunity to have time to continue studying and preparing for my future. I’m grateful for going to the gym all week. I’m grateful that one of my trainees passed with flying colors the other day on her check ride.


And I’m grateful for my coffee and Sweet Italian Cream. That reminds me. It’s been a while since I’ve read Today I Love… blog. Yes, I’m grateful for Kelly Babcock’s inspirational daily writings!



August 5, 2018

I’m grateful that I was able to spend a couple of days at home. I may have only had 48 hours of non-stop running around while trying to catch up on my household chores that had been neglected since I’d been gone for 12 days, however it was wonderful not to be out on the road.


Interesting, how my gratefulness comes down to just two days. Arrived home late to a household of people. I had forgotten that I had opened my home to my roommate’s family since they were evacuated from a wildfire. Even though I had spent 16 hours on the road, both at work and commuting home, I quickly called my girls so they could come over that evening and have “baby” time (they are baby fanatics).


I’m grateful for waking up early the next morning and was able to make it to the gym prior to my Saturday morning men’s meeting. My two daughters said it was, “The best morning ever!” because they both woke up with a baby placed in their arms (there was no fighting since my youngest had woken up an hour earlier). My youngest and all the little ones (4 other kids) baked a cake for Cole Sprouse (my youngest daughter is one of his biggest fans – the reason why we went to Vancouver, Canada for vacation this summer). My oldest daughter and I enjoyed watching my youngest perform in her summer camp musical. Then we hung out with some friends celebrating yet another birthday (with one trip back to pick up my youngest after her second performance of the day) and more “baby time”.


Sunday, we got to enjoy yet another play with a different main cast followed by a really nice Chinese dinner with my oldest daughter. A great way to end the week!


I’m grateful I’m blessed to have these nuggets of connection with family and friends when I’m home.



August 12, 2018

I’m grateful for the opportunity to enjoy dinner with my step-sister and her cousin’s family. I will admit, I was quite nervous due to our relationship having had a falling out seven years ago.


I’ve noticed over the years, with my former spouse and my youngest daughter, how a younger sibling craves the acceptance, love, and validation from the older sibling. I have always considered myself an only child since my older sister didn’t live with us (she visited a weekend or two a month). I was surprised how I noticed the feelings come up the other evening that I too, crave the attention from my older sister.


Seven years ago I felt judged by how I was managing my life. Seven years ago, I was barely in recovery and due to some very bad choices I had made and the family I had hurt due to my actions, was it judgement that I believed she expressed or was it concern and wanting to see the best for me and my girls? I thought I had but up a boundary to protect myself. I realized after spending time with her, I had put up a wall because I didn’t want to hear how bad I had screwed up.


I’m grateful we had a chance to reconnect and hopefully mend our relationship. I’m grateful that my former spouse was able to be there with my family. And I’m grateful that it worked out that the one day this week where I was home for 24 hours, was the one day I got to have dinner with my sister.



August 19, 2018

I’m grateful that I was home on both of my daughters first day of school. I have missed these the past couple of years and watching my girls get ready with nervous anticipation to see their friends again brings about a warm feeling. I’m especially grateful that I was able to be supportive for my older daughter who transitioned high schools this year. I know it was a tough change for her and not one she wanted willingly and I applaud her strength and resilience as she prepares herself to make the best of it.


I’m grateful for my phone conference with a fellow pilot preparing me for an upcoming interview. Even though I had paid for the prep service, I truly appreciate the insight, knowledge, and suggestions he provided as we went through a mock interview. This helped me to look at how I phrase my answers, how to craft my stories better, and provided constructive criticism that will hopefully guide me to a successful interview and potentially a job offer.


I’m grateful for another spectacular crew as the four of us spent time hanging out together for dinner. I truly have been blessed when it comes to the people I fly with and the family we have created within our airline.



August 26, 2018

Oh my! What a wonderful grateful week this has been!


I’m grateful my former spouse invited me out to dinner and movie the night before I had to leave for my interview. Still, after 18 years, I get the excited butterflies in my stomach not only knowing we’re going to spend time together, but that she’s as excited as I am. This had been a long couple of months only being home in 24 hour or 48 hour stints and her working full time graveyard shifts (she’s a morning person who needs her sleep to recharge her batteries) that the opportunity for our schedules to match and have a Friendly Adventure Outing (FAO) hasn’t happened. I’m grateful she shared in her support and excitement over my upcoming interview. And I’m grateful for the movie we ended up watching (wasn’t our first choice, just the only one available); Christopher Robin. I was transported back in time when we first started dating and she fancied Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. Sneaking a peak at her in the theater and watching her mouth the songs silently to herself, I fell in love with her all over again.


I’m grateful for an incredible experience interviewing at an airline I seriously want to be a part of. The vision and mission of its future, the excitement and warmth I received from everyone I ran into, and the time and energy they put into the employees, added to my enthusiasm to become a part of their family. I’m grateful that I gave it my all and have left that interview knowing I did the best I could. I pray to God that I’m given the opportunity to join this great company, however, for the first time, I’m letting go of the outcome. He knows what’s best for me and I trust that whatever path He has, is the one I will be on. I’m grateful for this belief because it has allowed me to release the energy of anxiety as I must wait two weeks before I hear an answer.


I’m grateful to celebrate one of the three most important days of my life this week; the birth of my youngest daughter. As I reflect back on the day, I’m grateful that I was able to be there in the delivery room during the birth. I can’t imagine what it must have been like back in the day when fathers were not allowed in there and had to wait for the announcement that they had a boy or a girl. I’m grateful I was able to be supportive of my wife while at the same time gain the ultimate respect for moms and what they must endure during childbirth. I’m grateful I was able to witness the beauty of life my former spouse and I created and to watch her transform into an exquisite young lady.


And, I’m grateful for an upcoming week at home. No plans, other than transporting the girls back and forth from school. Time for me to recharge my batteries, not feeling the stress of constantly being on the road and living in hotel rooms and at a crash pad. Time for me to connect with my friends and program. And, most importantly, time spent with my family.



PS: My former spouse read this Grateful Sunday and gave me her opinion while we were on a walk the other day. I wanted to clarify a couple of things she pointed out. First, was how I use former spouse in much of my writing even though we are not legally divorced. If interested you can read my explanation here.


Second, she pointed out that I have a tendency to “fluff” things up; you know, make them bigger than they truly are. She said it was me who was singing all the songs in the movie theater, that she had only sung one. And that it was me who liked Winnie the Pooh…


Side note: actually, I never liked Winnie the Pooh. For one reason only; I did not like the complaining Eeyore. I did not want to subject myself to his negative energy. Which is very interesting, because in recovery, I’ve learned the things that annoy us about other people are usually the traits about ourselves that we don’t like. Let me tell you, I was a mirror image of Eeyore, and I brought that negative energy into my marriage and as a parent. After reading the Tao of Pooh a couple of years ago, my appreciation and love of A.A. Milne characters grew on me. I digress…


My former spouse/wife explained my “Fluff” like this; it’s like when you play with a child. You do something that makes the child respond positively and when the child laughs, you do it again. And again. And again. When my wife and I first started dating, I was that child. So while I thought she was completely into Winnie the Pooh, she enjoyed it due to my positive reactions towards her. Sounds like the beginning of one codependent relationship. LOL!


Yes, I am Phoenix, the incredible Fluffer. I make mountains out of molehills. I create things that are not there. I make issues that are small become overwhelming. Really though, this has been my journey. If you’ve followed my blog from the very beginning, that has been my struggle, to not make up stories where they never existed in the first place and to not make something bigger than it really is.



September 2, 2018

I’m grateful for a full week off where I’ve had time to recharge my batteries and catch up on things that I had fallen behind on.


I’m grateful I was able to help my wife transition from working graveyard shifts to day shifts (she had one day off in between the two) by taking our girls off her hands for many days. I’m grateful for our hike and dinner together. I’m grateful that I have learned how to accept her insight and listen to what she needs without flipping it and making it about me.


I’m grateful for the meetings I was able to attend, the ability to make it to church two weeks in a row, and the numerous conversations and hanging out with my fellowship peers. I’m grateful for the gym, my podcasts, and my continual recovery work.


I’m grateful for all the family time I got this past week. I loved the movie A.X.L. and playing Just Dance with my oldest daughter and my nephew. It was nice celebrating my cousin’s birthday party. I’m grateful for my 30 minute morning walks with my younger daughter before I dropped her off to school. And I’m grateful for the emotions and tears that bubbled up while sharing one of my older daughter’s favorite shows, Parenthood, with her while I sat cross-stitching my next project and our dog curled up next to me on the couch.


This has been an incredible week! I think I’m ready to retire.



September 9, 2018

I’m grateful for the opportunity to further my career with a new job next year. It’s been a long time coming! I finally will have the chance to fly to new destinations and not have to commute the day before and after a trip. Most importantly, my prayers have been answered as this will allow me more time at home. I look forward to the day where I can be a more present father with my girls and I’m able to support my wife so she doesn’t have to parent as much on her own. I’m also grateful for the excitement and support I’ve received from my family and my friends.


I’m grateful that when I have finally learned to let go and let God, some amazing and beautiful things have happened in my life. Letting go has allowed much of the stress in my life to dissipate as I no longer worry (I mean, I no longer worry as much, come on now, let’s be honest) about the future and accept what is. I’m grateful that while I go through my Step Work once again, I am seeing Step Three from a different perspective.


“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”


When I’ve let go of my own will, I found peace and serenity. I’m no longer trapped by my fear of the future or the guilt and shame of my past actions. I become present in the Now. I’m grateful for the deep work that has allowed me to reach this point in my life.


I’m grateful for multiple overnights in my home town. I’m grateful I was able to be home to enjoy an “ice cream monument” (an ice cream sundae with cookie dough, Twix, 500 Grand, Kit Kat, whipped cream, and sprinkles) at my daughter’s belated birthday sleep over. I’m grateful for my Saturday men’s meeting and being able to attend church on Sunday. And I’m grateful for the gym, where I continue my journey of self discovery via podcasts and books on tape while having more energy than I’ve had in years.


I’m grateful for life!



September 16, 2018

I’m grateful for all the support and congratulations I’ve received from my friends and family this past week. So many people have celebrated the news of my upcoming new job with me. This has continued to feed my relief and joy that I’m finally moving on.


I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue in my roll of training for the next two months at my current job. Not only will this help the pocket book, I’ll continue doing a part of my job that is rewarding and that I love.


I’m grateful my girls, wife, and I were able to spend the day celebrating the birthday of a close friend. I taught him how to make the ultimate s’more and got him hooked on my creation. (two graham crackers, two open faced double stuffed Oreos, two pieces of chocolate, and two toasted marshmallows – YUM!) I’m also grateful we could celebrate another friend’s new job offer. We had a very laid back day and a nice evening.



September 23, 2018

I’m grateful for another successful recurrent ground and simulator session. It’s fun to go back through training to sharpen and hone skills that are not used on a daily basis. There’s always something new I’m learning when I do this. I’m grateful for my two hour walk to the gym, working out, and later walking two hours back. Those hikes have become tradition to studying my flashcards for my oral exam.


I’m grateful my wife asked for us to pray and that we prayed out loud (something that we have never really done) prior to our appointment with a consultant to discuss separation of assets. I’m grateful a possible solution was given that would allow both of us a minimum of disruption in our lives. I’m grateful that we still remain amicable and are friends through this process.


I’m grateful my wife switched my dentist appointment with hers since my schedule changed due to keeping my training certification current. I’m grateful that it was my second clean bill of health since my tooth extraction at the beginning of the year.


I’m grateful for a day spent with my oldest daughter and a friend and his two kids at an airshow. I had fun keeping a three year old entertained while waiting in line to visit the flight deck of a C-17. It brought back memories about all the fun I had with my girls when they were younger. I enjoyed lounging in a chair, drinking coffee, and watching my daughter next to me get extremely excited to watch aerobatics and her face light up to hear the sounds of the jets flying by. I can’t wait till my schedule opens up so I will have the opportunity to teach her how to fly and she can join me in my passion.



September 30, 2018

I’m still riding on cloud nine, soaring with the eagles, and rising from the ashes like the Phoenix I am as I keep thinking about the next step in the journey of my life. So excited and grateful for my new job in a couple of months. Grateful for all the people who are celebrating with me. And am hoping I can bring many of my current working family with me as I convince them to jump ship and join me on the other side. Is that bad? Nah! I love my peeps!


I’m grateful for the walk I took with my two daughters, which added some depth and insight to my Perspective: The Key to Healing blog I wrote this week. Speaking about blogging, I’m grateful I had the time to sit down and write again. Life has gotten quite busy. I’m also grateful for the 30 minute walk with my youngest daughter right before school. I’ve come to truly enjoy the one on one time with her and I’m hopeful we can continue this new tradition throughout the year.


I’m grateful for the celebratory steak house dinner a good friend and his wife treated me to. Completely unexpected and one of the most AMAZING dining experiences I’ve had. Left over food for two days too. YUM! Followed by four days of trying to burn off all those extra calories through exercise, another learning experience for me. I’m grateful that I actually was able to do it too. Although, next time…I’ll just scratch it up as an off day. Those days are ok too.



October 7, 2018

I’m grateful for the opportunity to start teaching once again. I know I only have a couple of months before I move on and I also know that training while flying adds a ton to my workload, however, the rewards are amazing. I fly with some incredible people and I love giving them the enjoyable memories and learning experiences as they take that first step towards their future.


I’m grateful for stepping completely outside my comfort zone and facing my fears. I still have much processing that needs to be done as I write about my experience. What I did took much courage and yet is another step in my healing. I will hold off telling you what I did here. You’ll just have to wait and see with my upcoming blog…


I’m grateful for an incredible day spent on the bay, in the city, and watching the Blue Angles with my girls, a couple of their friends, and another father. Great adult conversations with someone on a similar journey of self improvement as myself. Loved watching my youngest daughter and her friend just be kids. Where the idea to try to negotiate getting popcorn from a boy scout or artwork from a street seller by trading a plastic fork came from, I will never know. Yet, what creative skills they are learning trying to do it. I also enjoyed watching my oldest daughter and a good friend of hers reconnect. Since she has changed high schools, she hasn’t had a chance to hang out with him and spending one on one time with people instead of being glued to a phone is an important skill this new generation is lacking.


I’m grateful for yet another wonderful week and I am blessed with the life I have.



October 14, 2018

I’m grateful for my ability to process my experiences via my blog. The Myth of the Phoenix not only helped me process getting a tattoo, but also has allowed me to continue processing my pending divorce. I’m in the process of scheduling the time to finish my tattoo with colors and shading (what some have said is harder than the outlining). I feel some fear to go back through that pain again, however, I also know that confronting my fears and pain is necessary so I will see the beauty at the end of any journey. This is what I remind myself when it comes to divorce or any other challenges that will come in my life. I’m grateful that I will have something to remind me that we can die and become reborn, stronger and more vibrant than ever.


I’m grateful for dinner with a former fellow co-pilot and his wife. Reconnecting with close friends is always rewarding.


I’m also grateful for having an overnight where the Anytime Fitness down the street has a Jacob’s Ladder. I truly enjoy this cardio work out. I will continue to climb 29,035 ft., the Climb Mt. Everest Challenge. Now if I can only convince my “home” gym to add this machine!



October 21, 2018

This was a very enjoyable week!


I’m grateful for a nice evening with my daughters. I watched the first episode of the third season of Riverdale with my youngest (she’s been so excited the new season is finally here). I also watched the first two episodes of the third season of This is Us with my older daughter. I’m grateful for the walk with my youngest daughter while we streamed the second episode of Riverdale during the walk.


I’m grateful for a nice afternoon with my wife going to the movies to see A Star is Born. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper both did an amazing job in that movie. Bradley truly shows how addiction is a debilitating disease that masks emotional pain and struggles someone has in life; a stellar performance!


I’m grateful for the decision to stay home longer than normal to enjoy coffee and a morning of errands with my wife. This decision allowed me the ability to help out the company on a training flight with a flight crew I have fun flying with. I’m grateful for a nice breakfast with the flight attendant, followed by meeting up with the other pilot and going on a three hour hike.


I’m grateful this trip allowed me to come home a day earlier. I felt useful and needed as I shuttled one daughter to the movies with her friend, my other daughter to her friend’s house, and made my infamous BBQ hamburgers for a nice family dinner.


Yup, this was an incredible week!!



October 28, 2018

I’m grateful to have been asked to DJ another wedding next year. It’s wonderful to have co-workers become such good friends that they also want you to be a part of their special day. Through the lessons I’ve learned over the years, I’m glad I’ve been able to pass my wisdom to both of them, not only to help strengthen their relationship, but to give them tools they can use in their marriage.


I’m grateful that next year my schedule will open up to allow me the opportunity to schedule more DJ gigs. These events not only brings me lots of joy, they give me the good fortune to bond with my oldest daughter. Having her assist me gives me the opportunity to teaches her work ethic, skills, and lessons that will stay with her throughout her life.


I’m grateful to have stepped outside my comfort zone to attend a conference by myself. Tonight I braved the meet and greet before the event, introducing myself to many of my future peers at my upcoming job change. It was nice to have been accepted so quickly as part of the team.



November 4, 2018

I’m grateful for the professional mental health conference I attended at the beginning of the week. I’m so glad I decided to go, even though I wasn’t supported by either my company or my union. Two years ago I attended a conference, which led me to ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics); where I learned that it was normal for my emotional pain to be felt in my physical body. For the first time, I realized I was not crazy. This was what led me to step outside of myself, my blog, and helped me heal.


The conference I just attended will allow me to reach out to others who are suffering in my career; to give them courage, strength, and hope as they battle the demons that plague them. I can be their beacon of light when all they see is darkness. I’ve been down that road and I know the importance of having someone to cling onto, to keep from drowning in the abyss. I too, want to give back what was given to me so selflessly.


I’m grateful for morning coffee and breakfast with my wife, having my daughter finish the chores she had agreed to do, followed by an hour conversation with her on an elliptical at the gym and then teaching her how to lift weights. I’m grateful my daughter showed me the ab routine she does in dance class (that pretty much kicked my ass). And I’m grateful we didn’t get caught as I pressed her weight on the leg press machine (she was much lighter than I expected and I almost threw her off).


I’m grateful both my girls and I helped out with Challenge Air, a Fly Day event that was “created to change the perception of children with special needs through the gift flight. By eliminating the belief that they are limited, the children can grow to their full potential. They are given the opportunity to find courage within themselves and build in areas where they lack self-esteem. Challenge Air provides an unforgettable growing experience that opens the door to possibilities while allowing the children to see if they can fly a plane they can do anything.”


I’m grateful the rain held out for the event, that we were able to make it on our flights to and from the event with no issues, and that the three of us had the opportunity to fly a small twin-engine plane. I believe it’s time to start teaching my oldest how to fly.


I’m extremely grateful my blog has led to continual healing, new adventures, and the opportunity to change and help the lives of others. I’m looking forward to next year where I hope I can have the time to continue to expand my vision to help others Rise up from the Ashes and to F.L.Y. with the Eagles!


The sky is the limit!



November 11, 2018

I’m grateful to have had three overnights in my home town this past week. It’s one thing to leave the day before a trip, fly for four days, then commute home the next day. It’s another when three of the nights I get paid to sleep in my own bed! No hotels. Leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon. Time with friends. Time with family. Time getting household chores and errands done without having to wait a week to do them. It’s kind of like a real job. WOW!


I’m grateful for the beautiful weather so I could hand fly in and out of the airport I instructed at over 19 years ago. I’m grateful I was able to fly the traffic pattern, not once, but three times, reminding me what it used to be like doing touch and go’s the entire day. I’m grateful there’s still one tower controller who had first started when I was teaching, adding to the camaraderie and comfortableness of us bantering back and forth over the radio frequency.


I’m grateful for dinner and lunch with good friends. I’m grateful for vulnerable phone conversations. I’m grateful my peers in program and my friends take the time and effort to be there for me when needed. I’m grateful for their insight, their support, and their love.


I’m grateful for a short two-day trip flown with the flight attendant who I’ve been crashing at her place for the past six years. I’m grateful for her friendship, her love, and her support. I’m grateful for the second home she provided when I was away from mine, the crews that have stayed there, the incredible meals she has both cooked and the popular martini parties she is know for.


I’m grateful I was able to meet a former first officer’s baby girl. She’s adorable. What a beautiful family they have!


I’m grateful for the time I’ve had the past couple of months to maintain my exercise routine, eat mindfully and healthily, and the time I’ve had to prepare for training coming up soon. Life has definitely been busy, yet it’s been incredibly full and rewarding.



November 18, 2018

I’m grateful for my last trip training a captain upgrade. I’m glad we were able to get his required observation flight accomplished so I could sign him off at the end of the trip. I’m grateful that we had a four day trip with many long legs so I could pass on a wealth of information and give him the ability to learn as much as possible from me.


I’m grateful for the blowup my older daughter had when I came home. I know one may ask, why would you be grateful for that kind of stress? I’m grateful because it forced the four of us to sit down and talk. It allowed frustrations and anger to come to the surface. My wife was able to ask “how can we make this better for all of us?” and “what can we do to make it easier for us?” questions which helped empower our girls and open the door to looking at some of our own issues. Lot’s of repressed thoughts and emotions came out that we were able to put on the table and process.


I’m grateful for the one on one time I got to spend with my younger daughter watching Riverdale and The Haunting of Hill House. I truly enjoy the time we spend connecting and I have missed her snuggled up in my arms. My little girl doesn’t like to do that as much as she used to, so I cherish anytime she allows herself to be vulnerable with me.



November 25, 2018

This was one crazy, wild, and fun week! It was the ending of an era; 18 years of moving from one airline for the next destination at another. Sadness as I leave a piece of my heart behind and move away from many coworkers who are family to me. Yet excitement at the prospects that lie ahead and the new family I’m joining. I pray that my schedule will finally open up so I no longer have to commute and will spend the time in my own bed that I used to spend out on the road. I pray I will have the time with my family I have longed to have.


This week has been a hurricane of emotions; love, happiness, loss, grief, excitement, and fear. A lot to process. I’m grateful that my journey of recovery has allowed me the ability to stay present with it all.


My birthday was a cool way to start the week with one on one time for me, going to the gym and participating in a phone conference for my new job. I later spent the rest of the day hanging out with my youngest daughter and my wife and having my older daughter join us for dinner. I’m so grateful my wife wanted to share my day with me, taking my younger daughter, a friend of hers, and myself to lunch, coffee, a leisurely day of hanging out at stores, and an incredible dinner. I’m grateful both daughters had friends and they had the opportunity to experience fondue for the first time at The Melting Pot. I was completely spoiled and this will go down as one of my more memorable birthdays. I’d do this day again in a heartbeat!


This week was my last week with my current airline. I’m grateful for the crew members I was scheduled to fly with and the triple overnight in my hometown. We started the first evening prepping for Thanksgiving. I’m grateful one of my crew members took over in the kitchen while I still had to run back and forth to the store for supplies. I’m grateful my sister and brother in law saved the day by grabbing our prepped food to cook when my oven decided to stop working. And I’m grateful for the Thanksgiving feast they put on for us at their place after we had a 12 hour day at work. The dinner was amazing!


I’m grateful for a final evening at Applebees and playing a game with my wife, younger daughter, and my crew. With ten hours between two twelve hour shifts and waiting up for an additional three hours until we touched down, I’m grateful for the sacrifice my wife gave so she and our daughter could hang out with me on my very last night. Really, that means more to me than words can say.


I’m grateful my younger daughter spent two evenings with me at the hotel and she was able to be a part of the family of people I work with. I’m grateful for yummy continental breakfasts with not just my crew, but another crew as well. Cards Against Humanity was a fun way to start off my final day. I’m grateful for the four ramp agent send off from my home airport and the birthday treats they brought out to the crew.


And I’m grateful I was able to spend some time with my wife on our Anniversary. She had to work Thanksgiving day, but I was able to spend an hour or so with her at work and she joined us her sister’s house after she got off. I’m grateful my crew got along so well with her family that I was able to sneak away to spend time with her. I’m grateful for 15 years of marriage. I’m grateful for her friendship, the mother she is to our two beautiful daughters, and her willingness to always work around the schedule of my career. The holidays are always difficult for both of us and I’m grateful for her openness, vulnerability, and continual checking in with one another and our emotions.


I have no idea what the future holds, and yet today, I’m grateful that anger, resentment, and bitterness coupled with the emotions of guilt, shame, and feeling like a victim, has been absorbed by forgiveness, love, and understanding. I still struggle with fear, grief, and potential loss, however, those are the normal emotions I will have as I continue to process my journey of letting go. I’m grateful I can recognize my emotions, have the tools to care for myself and the friends I can reach out to help when I need it, and that I no longer feel the need or the necessity to medicate my pain.


I’m grateful my car gave one final valiant effort to get me home. She’s had a bad clutch and transmission for many years now and the fact she got me within a AAA tow for the final 59 miles and stopped not on the side of a busy highway, but in a small town, showed me her love to take care of me till the bitter end. 22 years of love we’ve shared. It’s sad, but it’s time to let her go.


2018…lot’s of goodbyes; as I said, the ending of an era. And yet, while there is sadness and grief, what I feel most is LOVE. There’s so much to be grateful for. In addition, I feel like something GRAND is coming in 2019 and can’t wait to see what comes.



December 2, 2018

I’m grateful I survived this week!


As mentioned in my last Grateful Sunday, my double oven broke down and my car of 22 years shuffled off his mortal coil. I had one week to transition from one job to preparing to spend the next two months in training many states away from home. I wasn’t sure I could get everything accomplished, and yet, somehow I did. I’m grateful for my tenacity and my ability to step up to the plate when needed. I’m grateful that even though this was one of the most hectic weeks to prepare me from one job to another, that I was able to tie up all loose ends prior to my starting training.


I’m grateful my wife allowed me to park my car in her driveway until I have a chance to take care of it when I return in February. I’m grateful her cousin helped me attempt to fix my oven and when, after a couple of days and many man hours working together and we were unable to fix it, I was able to find a replacement double-oven on Craigslist for only $100. I’m grateful my wife drove with me the hour down and back to pick up the oven when she had limited sleep from work. And I’m grateful her cousin continued to help out so we could have it installed before I had to leave. I have no idea how we managed to pull that off, which makes me so grateful, not only for the money spent, but that it was installed for my roommates in time for their first Christmas with their newborn baby boy.


I’m grateful for my first ever Dungeon and Dragons game night with my male friends. I’m grateful for their patience as I learned how to create a character and learned how to play the game. I’m grateful this new adventure we will create together, while also spending time hanging out as a group. I’ve never had a group of men where we just hung out with with one another. It’s quite a warm feeling to finally be a part of a “man club”.


I’m excited that tomorrow my wife plans to join me for my welcome dinner and the first day of class the next day. It’s been years since the two of us have taken a trip together and I’m grateful we’ll have two days alone without they business of life to get in the way. In addition, it was over 18 years ago when I started my professional journey with her and I’m grateful I get to continue my dreams with her by my side.


I’m grateful for the opportunity to play Santa and that my youngest daughter helped me on this volunteer mission. I’m grateful she was willing to take three hours out of her day to help take pictures of me with different animals. I’m also grateful for the second year in a row that we took a Christmas picture together; the “Santa talk to the hand annoyed photo.”


I’m grateful for adding color to my tattoo. OMG! It’s looking good. I was at first hopeful that we would finish it this session, however seeing how beautiful it’s coming out, I’m not as worried about the time line any longer. The tattoo has gone through many different stages of pain and recovery, which clearly matches my process of recovery from addiction and my still pending divorce; the reopening of wounds, working through the pain, more healing, and seeing more beauty come out the other side.



December 9, 2018

I’m ever so grateful that my wife joined me on my first couple of days with my new job. I’m grateful that we had no plans, that forgetting my work shoes from my previous crash pad, caused us to go Christmas shopping at the mall. Somehow, we’ve always ended up at the mall on vacation with our girls and here we were, at the mall once again. I’m grateful that we took that time to shop together for our girls. This is something that’s been important to her and I’ve always been gone on trips and have never been around to do that with her.


I’m grateful my wife dressed up for dinner. She looked absolutely stunning and just as beautiful as the day we got married! I’m grateful that she can easily just jump into conversation with others and that she was able to meet many other spouses of the pilots I’ll be in training with. I’m grateful that this will give her a support network of other women going through the same struggles while all of us pilots are deep in training.


I’m grateful my wife took over the role of going through the different medical plans and helped get all dependent information signed up for me. She took care of the busy work, so I was able to focus on my studies. I’m so appreciative that she took the time to take that responsibility and pressure off my plate.


I’m grateful for my new company and my new Family. I’m grateful that everyone, and I mean Everyone, is so warm and welcoming to us new hires. Never have I experienced that much love from an organization before. I’m grateful that we started right before Christmas and were able to attend numerous parties. I’m grateful that I spoke up and asked about a party at the end of the week and I ended up on the dance floor with a number of other members of my team.


I’m grateful for such a tight group of young men in training. I love that they have no problem tapping into their fun, child-like side, while at the same time are professional, detailed, and working hard to learn the new material. I’m grateful everyone is willing to help everyone out, study hard and competitively, then are willing to hang out and be loose at the end of the day. I’m also grateful for the challenge to learn a new airplane.



December 16, 2019

I’m grateful this week for connection. This is the most connected I’ve felt with my wife for, God, I don’t know how long. Maybe ever in my career. Constant texts during class and Facetime as I studied late at night while she’s working graveyard shifts. It’s interesting noticing how being connected changes my perspective about being stuck in a hotel room; it doesn’t feel as lonely and on a cellular level, my body feels more at peace.


I’m grateful for technology. I went to CVS this week and printed out about 30 pictures of the family; my wife and I, my wife and girls, my girls together, and my girls with me. My hotel room is decorated with Christmas lights, pictures, and the gifts I keep getting from my airline. I’ve left the little sugar bear from one of the desserts my wife and I had on the top right corner of my TV and also the two Christmas sugar cookies that I “saved” from the Christmas party last week (my wife said they were too cute to eat and to save them). This has transformed my hotel into a cozy living space to get me through the next six weeks of training (not that I’m counting mind you).


I’m grateful for coffee and exercise. I have drank waaaay too much coffee. It’s been my staple to keep me awake (or so the excuse I keep giving myself). As my wife would say, “my coffee is an internal warm hug”. However, I have kept my exercise routine up, which allows me time to study while on the elliptical or stationary bike. Also, using the stairs to go up and down 10th floor has kept my metabolism high. Exercise helps me stay connected to myself and my body and I don’t feel the guilt for all the cream and hot chocolate I put in my coffee to sweeten it up.


I’m grateful for the close nit of guys we have in our group. As I mentioned last week, they are awesome!



December 23, 2018

I’m grateful for my training and my personal discipline when it comes to studying. This has got to be one of the toughest oral exams to prepare for and even though everyone tells us not to worry, I have still stressed out big time when it came to my test. Everything seemed to come together at the end, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice, having a pre-oral to practice, and all the help each of us gave each other. I’m grateful phase one of my training is completed.


I’m grateful for doing a bit of “man-scaping”. I never thought of waxing my back (I know, maybe this is TMI), however, with my tattoo, I figured it would look better without small patches of hair here and there. What was cool was how talking about tattoos got me asking questions about the different tattoos this woman had who worked the front counter at the spa. Who would have known that one of her many tattoos, a musical staff, would lead her to explaining that she was on The Voice and me listening to a number of her songs online. She has an amazing voice!


I’m most grateful that I get to come home for the holidays. I will have three whole days and they will be spent at my wife’s house. I’m looking forward to spending time with my three favorite women for Christmas!



December 30, 2018

I’m grateful I was able to spend one of my favorite holidays with my family. I’m grateful I was able to make it to my wife’s house while she was working a graveyard shift and that my youngest daughter helped me get the house immaculately clean; this included catching up on all the laundry and a personal welcome home sign she made for my wife. After an all night shift, when my wife arrived home at 7am, she didn’t have to worry about anything for the next few days. She could relax and enjoy the holidays.


I’m grateful for baking cookies with my girls, our tradition of hot chocolate (well, coffee) and seeing the Christmas lights. I’m grateful for my wife and I working together to build my older daughter’s bed, fix my younger daughter’s lock on her bedroom door, last minute Christmas shopping and errands, and cooking dinners together. I’m grateful my wife and younger daughter were able to enjoy the movie The Spy Who Dumped Me.


I’m grateful for a laid-back Christmas where we basically didn’t do much. Lounging around was the theme of the day and I enjoyed the walk with just my wife and I. The sun was bright, people were cheerful, and I felt closer to her than I have in such a long time. I’m grateful for the hour and a half the family spent with my wife’s male friend and his kids. I’m grateful that I no longer had this feeling I was fighting the tiger; I felt grounded and content.


I’m grateful I chose the first flight out in the morning. Leaving the house at 3am was tough, however, my flight ended up landing on time, whereas other members of class were diverted and delayed for a winter storm that came just hours after I landed.