5Another proven technique to bring joy into our lives is to focus on what we’re grateful for. Each Sunday I will add an appreciative observation I had this past week. I ask all my Fledglings to join me and express thanks each Sunday for what they too found beautiful. Together, let’s learn how to make gratitude a daily positive routine.
December 31, 2017
I’m grateful for a wonderful holiday week with family and friends. I’m grateful for a laid back Christmas day and an extraordinary Christmas dinner at my former spouse’s house. I’m grateful for the music in The Greatest Showman and the humor in Jumanji. I’m grateful for spending the day in the city with my daughter and her boyfriend. I’m grateful to celebrate New Year’s Eve with my daughters and my close friends out of state for the 2nd year in a row.
What I am most grateful for is, this past year. Life always has it’s ups and downs, bumps and bruises, but all in all, 2017 has been a terrific year for me. I never would have guessed my life would turn around. Part of that experience has been learning to finally step outside my story, continue working on self-love, stay present in the now, and appreciating life rather than dwelling on my pain. A lot of that has been writing about my struggles, growing through my writing, and my hope that my Fledglings will also rise from the ashes, become reborn, and soar with the eagles. This blog for me was what I needed to help me improve.
When I look back at what I had planned to accomplish over the year, there are still many areas I want to focus on; goals I have yet to achieve. And yet, I know, eventually I’ll get there. Two steps forward and one step back. A year ago I saw that as failure. Today I see it as growth. It’s all a matter of perspective.
December 24, 2017
I’m grateful for helping my former spouse with last minute Christmas shopping for our girls followed later that evening going to a restaurant and watching a Christmas play with her. It was a nice friend adventure outing. I’m grateful making Christmas cookies with my girls, wrapping presents, and finalizing plans for Christmas dinner. And I’m looking forward to spending the day with my family tomorrow.
December 17, 2017
I’m grateful for self love. There’s a peace that has shifted within myself now that I’ve learned how to take care of Little Phoenix. I actually enjoy my time with me! I’m content with who I am. I no longer attack myself and shame myself for my flaws. Acceptance, self compassion, and learning how to give me what I need, whether it’s taking myself out to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to calling a friend when I’m struggling, to enjoying walks, to relaxing in front of a fireplace alone in my hotel room, to healing through my writing, I’ve learned to feel solitude, not isolation. That is the gift of recovery, the gift of being reborn, the gift of the Phoenix.
December 10, 2017
I’m grateful for great movies such as Wonder and Coco. Watching Wonder transported me back in time to the struggles I had growing up and trying to fit in. It allowed me to have empathy for what my daughters are going through as pre-teens and teenagers. I have placed this on my book list as a must read. Coco helped me better understand the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, and the importance of remembering our ancestors. It’s enjoyable to not only have an afternoon with yourself, but to reflect afterwards on engaging movies.
December 3, 2017
I’m grateful for plays and musicals. I enjoyed watching my daughter and her friends perform one night, followed by a Christmas musical the next. This is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit while spending time with the ones I love. I am blessed.
November 26, 2017
There used to be times when I believed that life had to be sunshine and roses all the time. Instead of my energy centering on the good, I’d ruminate about the bad. I’d make things all about me and then, only bring to myself what I believed. When I take the time to allow space, accept all emotions from others, and focus on the good, I find I am more grounded and content.
I’m grateful for a wonderful weekend with my older daughter. Even though the holiday weekend was quite busy, with some ups and downs, I’m thankful for the brief moments of connection with my teen; when she sang me to sleep one night, followed by me singing her to sleep the next, watching her perform on stage in her play, both of us singing at the top of our lungs while driving with the windows rolled down, and racing against her on an indoor electric G0-Kart course. Those little reflections warms the soul and reminds me how beautiful life can be.
November 19, 2017
I’m grateful for the time spent with co-workers. When I’m always on the road, it’s comforting that I enjoy the people I work with. Makes the days away from home that much more bearable. Some days may be long, but when you are with the right people, time seems to fly by. No pun intended. Or there might have been a little bit of a pun there…
November 12, 2017
I’m grateful for an evening at the cabaret with my family. We had a wonderful night of wine (well not my girls mind you), music, and community. We enjoyed songs that spanned generations and genre’s. All and all, a fabulous time spent together.
The following is some of the music we enjoyed (in case you’re interested and want some inspirational, uplifting, “come together” songs to brighten your day):
You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
We Build – Nicole Nordeman
Don’t Rain on My Parade – Barbara Streisand
You Will Be Found – from Dear Evan Hansen
True Colors – Cyndi Lauper
The Song That Goes Like This – from Spamalot
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (just learned today during a podcast about Monty Python that this is the number one song played at funerals in England – who would have ever thought…)
Feeling Good – this is the Michael Buble version
I Believe – from The Book of Mormon
I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
Count Your Blessings – Bing Crosby from White Christmas
Let it Be – The Beatles
Shout – Otis Day and the Knights as performed in Animal House
For Good – from Wicked
Tomorrow – from Annie
Seasons of Love – from Rent
November 5, 2017
I’m grateful for family traditions. There are those traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree is a simple example. And then, there’s adding the tradition of hiding a pickle ornament in the tree Christmas Eve and the person who finds it gets the “extra” present. Each family blends traditions from their childhood and continues it with children of their own.
However, sometimes, the best family traditions are those that sneak up out of nowhere and become an annual event. This happened three years ago with Pumpkin Baseball. After Halloween, we gather our carved pumpkins (and any other pumpkins we can find – which is nearly close to impossible by November 2nd), a few baseball bats, and have some fun. Today, not only will my former spouse and girls make pumpkins explode in their backyard, but we’ve invited friends and family to join us. I’m grateful for the annual customs that brings our family together.
October 29, 2017
I am grateful for sunsets. I am grateful for clear skies. I’m grateful for healing and I’m grateful for love.
There are times when life can seem like an incredible struggle, when the world is against us. Those are the days we are stuck in the past, reliving the painful emotions of what had hurt us. Or we may be stuck in fear of what will happen to us in the future. These are the are the days when we aren’t present.
As I recollect the blogs I wrote in February, I can sense the pain, the desperation, the grasping for straws. I see how I struggled and how, when I thought I understood and was moving forward, I ended up back where I was to begin with. I try to look at these with empathy while thinking of my teen girls, knowing what it’s like to be stuck, but not know how to tell others what it is I’m feeling or what I need to feel better.
A year ago, I never would have thought I would be where I am today. Such fear of the future and such pain from the past. Today I am grateful for recovery. I am grateful for that journey. My eyes are open and I am here in the present.
I am grateful for sunsets. I am grateful for clear skies. I am grateful for healing and I am grateful for love.
October 22, 2017
I’m grateful for recovery. Recovery has taught me to not only be aware of my thoughts, but to stay in tune to my physical body as well. I’ve learned that when I’m off, I need to access the tools I have to take care of myself. This allows me to come back to center more quickly, stay emotionally grounded, and more importantly, doesn’t hurt or take advantage of others in the process. I accept that I can’t control all aspects of my life, while at the same time I have confidence that I can successfully handle all that is given to me. I no longer am a victim of an unfair and unkind world, but I’m a survivor overcoming any obstacles that get in my way. As I gain experience caring for me, I continue to love me a little more each day.
October 15, 2017
I’m grateful that physical labor allows me to release pent up energy. The work I performed this weekend allowed my body to release endorphins, reduce stress, and helped me easily fall asleep rather than my mind spinning nonstop like a hamster sprinting on that wheel. I’m grateful the time to myself allowed me to process and conquer fears that, at times, seemed triggering and overwhelming.
October 8, 2017
I’m grateful for the opportunity of interviewing at another company to further my career. It’s hard to believe that I started my professional journey 28 years ago. I’m hopeful that I will finally reach the ultimate goal I have strived for. In addition, I continue to pray for more time to spend with my family and the ability to provide for them. I have come to accept what my Higher Power has planned for me, whatever that may be. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be.
October 1, 2017
I’m grateful that my interpretation about challenges in my life has changed. In the past, I would look at set backs as God’s will proving that he was holding me back in everything I did. That belief created negative energy that permeated my life and the people I loved most suffered from it.
Today, as I was getting out of my car at the airport to fly across the country for an interview, I realized I had left my suit on my kitchen counter. My first thought was that I had leaned on my former spouse and daughter to provide a female’s perspective on shirt color and tie (I really didn’t trust my fashion taste) and now my interview wasn’t going to be successful.
I immediately took a deep breath, looked up, and asked, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” And the answer I received was to believe in myself. Five hours later, when I arrived at my destination, I rented a car and drove to Men’s Wearhouse to purchase a new suit and casual wear. This will make a great story tomorrow during the interview and has given me more confidence that I can overcome obstacles when they arise.
September 24, 2017
I’m grateful for spending another week at home being a father, studying for an upcoming interview, a wonderful morning and afternoon with with my former spouse, dinners together with our daughters, finalizing taxes (yes, we took the extension and pretty much waited until the last minute), and watching a high school football game. It was a well balanced week and I’m grateful for the time I had at home with my family.
September 17, 2017
I’m grateful for the support my former spouse gave as I recovered from Chicken Pox. I was no longer disgusted with the idea that I had been bitten by bed bugs, however, I actually wished that had been the case. Bed bug bites would have healed the next day, whereas the Chicken Pox kept adding new blisters for many days. Thankfully, they’re starting to heal.
I’m grateful to have been humbled with God telling me to “slow down”. I have come to the realization that if I don’t allow myself to slow down, He will make me.
September 10, 2017
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have seen a sunset and sunrise in Kauai. My daughter’s boyfriend and I may have only flown out to Hawaii for 28 hours, but it was memorable. I enjoyed our swim in the ocean, pee-wee golf, scavenging in the sand for sea glass, and time spent with my girls. The beauty and peacefulness of the island was rejuvenating, but what I am grateful for the most was dinner and morning coffee with my former spouse. Oh, and the book The Alchemist. An incredible find!
September 3, 2017
I’m grateful for watching the sunset on the beach in LA. It’s cool to think that my family just watched the same sunset three hours earlier in Hawaii. We may be in different places in the world, yet the thought of enjoying the same sights allows me to feel connected to them.
August 27, 2017
I’m grateful to celebrate one of the most important days of my life, recalling the birth of my youngest daughter. There are certain events where we can be transported in time just like it was yesterday. This week was one of them. I remember the strength and courage of my former spouse. I can sense the urgency when the doctor returned from lunch and asked her to do a practice push, then immediately asked her to stop while he rushed into his scrubs. And I feel overwhelmed with love during the next push as my precious little girl made her grand entrance into the world. Watching her this week reinforced the unconditional love I have always had for her.
August 20, 2017
I’m grateful that I was able to be home for my family when we had to say goodbye to another beloved pet. My youngest daughter’s guinea pig had been struggling for a few weeks. It’s not easy to make the decision to ease an animal’s suffering, but I’m glad my former spouse and girls didn’t have to do it alone.
August 13, 2017
I’m grateful to have survived a busy week of “catch up” and errand running. While it may have been stressful at times, it’s comforting to know that my To Do List shrunk a little bit. My week ended on a positive note with Top Gun, the county Fair, and a collection of Broadway Musical songs in an evening under the stars with my family.
I’m also grateful to hear stories of healing from others. I feel joy knowing that others are working to release the painful blockage of their past, are open and vulnerable to discuss it, and are striving towards a more balanced life of peace and happiness.
And speaking of being grateful, I don’t think I ever mentioned how grateful I was a week ago to connect with Angelia (The Pilot Wife Life). I am honored to have a sister, as she says, “join me on the battlefront” to help others learn how to first love yourself – F.L.Y.
August 6, 2017
I’m grateful and blessed to have DJ’d my cousin and his beautiful bride’s wedding. As I get older and my life becomes more busy co-parenting my daughters and maintaining a household while spending the majority of the week gone on the road, extended family gets left behind. I’m fortunate for the ability to reconnect as if no time had passed between us.
I’m also grateful to watch both my daughters perform in The Lion King. Not only is this one of my favorite Disney movies, it’s where Rafiki was born. And…I’m learning to avoid his staff.
July 30, 2017
I’m grateful for releasing a weight off my shoulders and sharing this blog with my former spouse. I no longer feel as if I am keeping yet another secret from her. In addition, I’ve also opened the door to learn more about myself from the one person who knows me better than I do. This week has been one of deep processing and lots of connections. I’m also grateful that as I looked at my “Committed Action Worksheets” – my written New Year’s Resolutions – I see that I’m on course to following what I had planned at the beginning of the year. Now that is a first!
July 23, 2017
I’m grateful for taking a risk, stepping out of my comfort zone, and submitting my first blog entry to The Cafe, a place for people in recovery to share their art, poetry, photography and blogs. I didn’t expect such a quick response and will have the honor of my piece being published this next week.
July 16, 2017
I’m grateful for a great weekend with my family going to a musical and swimming with friends. It’s still difficult not to future trip about “what could be”, however, when I’m able to stay present, I truly enjoy the time spent with my daughters and former spouse.
July 9, 2017
I’m grateful for a wonderful morning of coffee, discussion, and connection with my former spouse. It’s a blessing to be able to talk freely about the past without the physical and emotional pain that used to become so overwhelming that I was left fighting my tiger for days and weeks on end. This has allowed me to finally be able to hear her and understand her on a level I’ve been blind and deaf to for years.
“Hey, Rafiki,” I beam. “I’m dancing with my tiger!!! Six months ago I would have never thought that possible.”
I’m also grateful that after a rough patch with parenting this morning and afternoon, that my two girls and I were able to work through our anger, put it aside, and while they hung out with friends, I ended my day with Rafiki learning how to play Bocce Ball, listening to a reggae band in the park, and another few hours of relaxing conversation. This Sunday was a well rounded day!
July 2, 2017
I’m grateful for the desire to continue digging deeper at my core issues. In believing that I’m an empath, I started this book and realized that my former spouse is more an empath than I am. Especially in my addiction and through most my recovery, I found out that I was an Energy Vampire sucking the life and energy out of her. This realization is helping me understand her choices and to further work toward forgiving her for the decisions she has made in our marriage.
“Awareness is the first step towards change,” Rafiki continuously reminds me.
June 25, 2017
I’m grateful for my writing. Many times, I start my blogs with the motivation to complain about things that bother me and I end up learning valuable life lessons instead.
June 18, 2017
I’m grateful for learning how to love myself and understand that peers are more important in my daughter’s life than Dad. I had three great days with both of them and I’m comfortable and OK that they would prefer to hang out with their friends then feeling obligated to celebrate Father’s Day with me.
June 11, 2017
I am grateful for my stir fry. The idea to add bacon and cook the vegetables in the grease makes my stir fry taste oh so yummy! It’s a lot of work, but it made seven meals. In the long run…well worth it.
June 4, 2017
I’m grateful for the coworkers I can call friends here at my job. Many times it’s easy for me to fall back into loneliness and the “want” to isolate because I’m not with family. When I allow myself to connect with the people I work with, I’m reminded that they ARE my extended family and my 2nd home.
May 28, 2017
I’m grateful for a successful week of recurrent training. It’s always good return back to the basics, review procedures, and be challenged with new scenarios.
May 21, 2017
I’m grateful I was able to survive a 10 mile run without stopping. It’s been many years since I ran that distance in one shot and was quite pleased with completing it within 1 hour 29 minutes. I was even grateful that my legs were incredibly sore the next couple of days. They reminded me that “pain is my friend.”
May 14, 2017
I’m grateful I was able to enjoy the company of my youngest daughter on a trip to see two friends get married and make it back home in time to watch my older daughter perform in a play she had auditioned for. As they continue to grow each day, so does my love for both of them.
May 7, 2017
I’m grateful for the extra hours of overtime I was able to get this week. This will help me in my effort to pay down debt and learn to live within my means.
April 30, 2017
I’m grateful for the opportunity to DJ for the YMCA celebrating Kid Day. Always enjoy watching parents glow when their children are having a good time. Music does touch the soul.
April 23, 2017
I’m grateful for the opportunity to take both my daughters and one friend flying in a small plane. Not only did each of them get a chance to sit in the front seat but we enjoyed watching the sun set from the air and flying over the lights of the city at night.
April 16, 2017
I’m grateful for a wonderful Easter Weekend with friends and family; a spaghetti dinner and stuffing 1,500 eggs the night before Easter, a beautiful Easter breakfast with my ex and both girls, and a fun Easter Hunt and lunch with great friends. We were blessed this weekend!
April 9, 2017
I’m grateful for Brene Brown’s Kitchen Table Parenting Bundle. The art project she had for the family to do about having a safe environment in the home to express emotions and the definition of love brought me peace. While my girls may not have done the actual homework, I’m grateful they joined me on their own creative journey with water colors.
April 2, 2017
I’m grateful for the meditation and tapping challenge my sister-in-law and I are embarking on. They say it takes 90 days to make something a habit. My hope is that by holding each other accountable, we both can make mediation and tapping a daily habit and help lower the stress and anxiety in our lives.
March 26, 2017
I’m grateful for processing my emotions through blogging this past month. I can really see that a shift is occurring and a lot of that is due to my intention of looking from the outside in. So many things have come up, especially with the new movie Beauty and the Beast. I can feel myself releasing energy that I’ve been holding onto for years.
March 19, 2017
I’m grateful for my family and I having the opportunity to see Beauty and the Beast on opening day, an incredible retreat filled with lessons, connection, and love, and being invited to my ex’s parent’s house for a couple of days with her family. So much peace and love this weekend!
March 12, 2017
I’m grateful to have been a speaker at one of my SAA meetings. Not only did it allow me to take a look back on my past actions and remember how unmanageable my life had been, it opened my eyes to how deep my wounds were, my negative self talk, and how far I’ve come in recovery after all these years. I’m grateful to have never given up on healing and learning how to parent my inner child.
March 5, 2017
I’m grateful to have taken a cruise on my own. Not only did I step outside my box, it allowed me to connect closer with my inner child and learn that I will be OK not in a relationship with my ex. This trip taught me how to take care of and love Little Phoenix on a much deeper level.
February 26, 2017
I’m grateful for so much this past week: My EMDR session where I believe I truly broke through a wall, DJing for my Godfather’s 95th birthday party, and DJing with my older daughter a Father/Daughter dance. It was at this event that I had the honor of dancing with my daughter and realizing that my “Beast” has always had the love of “Belle”.
February 19, 2017
I’m grateful that my older daughter joined me on a trip. Walking on the beach, having her open up and trust me once again with what’s going on in her life, playing ping pong with her against my co-workers, and finding out that even though she fights with her sister, she considers her sister her closest friend.
February 12, 2017
I’m grateful for the middle school event where my youngest daughter was an MC and celebrated my Godfather with all the students in her class. She gave an incredible speech and looked absolutely beautiful and was in her element while she talked to the group.
February 5, 2017
I’m grateful to hearing a past story about how I over reacted many years ago when my two daughters were fighting in the back seat of our car. All three of us realized how far I’ve grown in recovery. “You don’t do that anymore Dad. We don’t want that going to your head though. You’re not perfect. You still make mistakes.”
January 29, 2017
I’m grateful that when I got pulled over for a moving violation, not only was I able to maintain my emotional composure, but I was able use this as a learning lesson for my daughters. My girls learned that not knowing a rule or law is not an excuse for not receiving a ticket.
January 22, 2017
I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend a job faire and a wonderful day with a former coworker. What a great couple of days.
January 15, 2017
I’m grateful that I started the idea of blogging and building a website. I have no idea where this will go or what will happen, and yet I have this feeling that I will grow and learn a lot from doing this. I do hope that others can get out of it as much as I have gotten out of my first seven blogs.