I’m grateful for my Valentine’s Day breakfast and dinner. As mentioned last week, I had planned to make Monte Crisco Eggs Benedict, which was absolutely amazing! Plus, I had leftovers the next morning for breakfast. And the Mac and Cheese Pizza was the bomb. I ate leftovers for two days! I’m grateful my girlfriend and I wrapped Valentine’s Day presents together and decorated the kitchen table while the kids slept, so it looked inviting for them when they woke up. I may have gotten too much chocolate, although, I’m grateful for the sweet snacks throughout the rest of the time I spent at her house. Wait! One really can never get too much chocolate! I’m grateful for a laid back day as we prepared for the winter storm that was coming.

 

I’m grateful we all survived the polar vortex that hit the US, especially that my girlfriend had water and electricity the entire time (no burst pipes or power outages). It may have been cold, where the heaters were working overtime and not quite warming the house, however, I’m grateful for blankets and body heat to soften the blow. I’m grateful my daughter, my girlfriend’s son and I decided to be safe and hunker down Monday, staying out of the weather, and there were no major accidents for my girlfriend to deal with on her way to and from work. I’m grateful Monday night where my girlfriend, daughter and I watch a show explaining all about Mardi Gras, their various parades and the history behind them, and learning that Mardi Gras is not about what the media sensationalizes (breasts, beads, and alcohol), but is a family event of celebration right before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

 

I’m grateful that after my daughter finished school via Zoom (which makes it so much nicer to be able to travel during the school week) on Mardi Gras Day, my girlfriend, daughter and I drove around various decorated houses of the Krewe of House Floats. Some of these were absolutely amazing! The ideas and creativity from everyone keeping the spirit of Mardi Gras alive during the pandemic was so encouraging. We can rise. We can prevail. We can enjoy and live life to the fullest, even when certain things are taken away. I’m also grateful for ice cream in the middle of winter when New Orleans was experiencing the coldest Mardi Gras on record since 1899. It’s never too cold for ice cream!

 

I’m grateful for the learning experience of workshopping a few of the chapters in the upcoming book I’m a part of. This took me completely outside my comfort zone, as I learned how to critique someone else’s writing in a way that was constructive yet not critical. As a people pleaser, it’s hard for me to tell someone else what they need to work on, which not only opened my eyes to the importance of accepting criticism from someone else, but realizing that what they’re telling me may have also been hard for them as well. I’m grateful I started earlier, rather than procrastinate, so I was able to enjoy my weekend.

 

I’m grateful that even though there was uncertainty if my daughter and I were going to get home, how we were going to do that traveling space available when flights were full and canceled due to the winter storm, that we were still able to make it home without a problem. I know my daughter wanted more of an adventure, going to some random city to stay in some random hotel with a bathtub and take a bath bomb bath (she got some “fancy” bath bombs for Valentine’s Day). Even though we weren’t able to do that, I’m grateful we were able to get home, so I had time to unpack, do laundry, catch up on housework, and mentally prepare myself for my four days of being on call. Both of my daughters have agreed that some day we need to plan a week where we go to the airport, randomly pick where we want to end up for the day, then a couple of days later do the same thing. I look forward to making that happen for them.

 

I’m grateful my older daughter decided to watch, and ended up enjoying, the Star Wars movies with her boyfriend. I would have loved to watch them with her, and yet, I’m grateful his influence not only allowed her the opportunity to experience the joy of what someone else loves, but also learn about such a classic cult movie series and the lessons that come from it. I can’t wait to see the pictures that will be taken the day Disneyland opens back up and her boyfriend dresses up in full costume to take her to Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. I’m also grateful my younger daughter has agreed to watch the Marvel Movies with me, going in chronological order via the timeline, all the way from the beginning. I’ve been wanting to do that, but not alone. We’re only halfway through Captain America and I can’t wait to finish that one. Maybe we can watch via FaceTime when I’m on a trip?

 

I’m grateful that on this four-day block of being on call for work, I was assigned a trip to fly back out to Hawaii. I’m grateful for 22 hours in Honolulu and that I took the time to unwind and relax (the Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory is so delicious). I’m grateful that one of my overnights allowed me to have dinner with a friend from my writing group and that her schedule is open enough to make last minute plans. I’m grateful for our discussions and it’s nice talking with someone who has similar experiences in recovery, divorce, and growing out of the ashes when life has not quite gone as we had planned. I look forward to reading the book she wrote this next week as it comes out for publication on February 24th. So exciting to watch members of my writing group complete projects they started while being quarantined last year.

 

I’m also grateful for being available to provide courage, strength, and hope to a friend who made the decision to take a needed break from her husband to gather her thoughts about communication difficulties in their marriage. There’s the reminder that the pain of separation is real, felt both on a physical and emotional level that only those who have been there before can truly understand. The knowledge that she’s not alone and yet the encouragement to take all she’s learned on her path of therapy, both individual and couple therapy, to see the work her husband has done to also change, while also understanding that there are certain needs and wants she has sacrificed, allowed her enough breathing room for her to discharge much of her negative energy and the ability to reconnect with her husband on a calmer level when he eventually contacted her. I’m grateful they were able to talk and be less reactive which shows healing and growth going on. I’m grateful my past experiences can be healing for someone else, which continues to remind me that the Universe has a plan, have faith, and realize I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

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