81%

HalperinFam2015HighRes69

A little over a week ago I was presented with a figure … 81%.

Eighty-one percent.

That’s the percentage of time that we spend involved in activities  NOT present. Not mindfully living the moment. That means we are somewhere else in our minds, whether that be in the past or in the future, rather than in the present. We are thinking of something that happened or predicting something that will. Not giving our complete selves to the person and/or activity we are engaged in at that exact moment.

I can only wonder if this number is behind the increased divorce rate. Or behind the lack of committed relationships and actions we all exhibit. Our minds and thoughts being pulled in a million directions by the pings of emails, texts, Facebook alerts and the technology of our world.

Yoga has taught me so much about being in the present moment but I have to admit that though I am focused on the moment in class and mindfully living out each pose, it’s difficult to extend that mindfulness into my daily life. Especially when it comes to my marriage.

Inside the walls of my marriage I take the “mindful time” opportunities we have for granted. Like many couples in the throes of raising little people, we find ourselves talking about the events of our children’s day or planning out the events of the following day to meet their needs as parents. Then the other part of our time is dispersed among chores, work, bills and then zoning out after our greatest treasures are fast asleep.

I don’t want to be part of that 81% statistic and I certainly don’t want my marriage to be within the grasps of that number either. In order to escape the villain of 81, I searched my mind for mindful moments, to identify and understand them in order to make sure I acknowledge those moments as they come to play out in my present moments before they passed by without a mindful thought.

The evening of Valentine’s Day we put the kids to bed and found ourselves on the couch just talking. Not watching the latest Netflix documentary. Not checking off the DVR list. Not a Smartphone in hand or a laptop on a lap. Just us, just talking. Mindfully talking, completely in the present. Before we knew it two hours had passed feeling like an instant. For me, such a talk is equivalent to a diamond ring. I’m a planner, a person with so many ideas filling the nooks and crannies of my brain. Sharing all these thoughts with the man I vowed my life to, makes me feel complete and cared for.

The act of teaching lead to another opportunity where I found ourselves immersed in the present moment. Completely focused on one another, my husband recently gave me my first tennis lesson. To be taught such a craft, the teacher and the student need to be in sync. My husband needed to be focused on my needs and my body movements just as I needed to be focused on his words and his movements. Being focused mindfully in the present lead to an encounter that was loving and tender.

I love the gym. I especially love the gym childcare. But I really love it all when I find myself in the lounge with my husband, just talking. Just he and I, coffee cup in hand. No televisions to be watched, no phones pinging away, no children competing for attention.  Our attention mindfully on one another as we talk about everything and anything … mindfully.

I’m grateful for the fact that I’m lucky enough to have my husband home for lunch and dinner most days of the week. When we sit across from one another, talking about the day. Or rolling our eyes at the dramatic tendencies of our children.  Or laughing at the weirdness and innocence of our household. Or sharing in the stress of whiny children who seem to be able to get along with everyone BUT their siblings while asking for a glass of milk or seconds each time we raise our own forks to our lips.  Eating our meals, not so mindful of our food, but definitely mindful of one another.

81% is just too much of life to let it go by quickly and without full acknowledgement.

I need to make my mindful presence in my marriage more often.  Rather than waiting for the moments we are alone I need to start taking advantages of the opportunities that pop up on a regular basis. As hard as it may be when children are screaming or dogs are scrambling under our feet. We vowed through richer or poorer in sickness and health and well past death do us part, so why not live all these vowed moments, good and bad completely mindfully.

How will you spend your 81%?

 

Mirror Mirror On the Wall.

broken-mirror

One of the people I love the most heard a terrible secret. What made the matter even worse was the secret came from my own mouth.

I made the mistake of uttering the words that are a deep and dark secret within. A single sentenced leaked from my lips that make up the paragraphs that I utter to myself throughout the course of every day.

I spoke the words to my husband, forgetting my eldest was in ear shot, not out of neglect but out of feeling bogged down under the feelings of the adjectives I spoke ….

“I just feel gross and ugly.”

Hearing me, my oldest son responded, “No you’re not! You’re the most beautiful person!!”

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I made the error in thinking that once I made peace with my weight that somehow I would be fixed. I was wrong. What I hadn’t known was the extreme focus I put on weight and what I ate would transfer to focusing on the faults of my appearance. A deadly obsession that seems to latch on like a life-sucking leech to a new life-source each month. Who knew that skin, eye brows, a nose, facial shape, eye shape and all the rest could be the source of much dismay???

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

To be in such distraught while looking in the mirror makes mornings sort of daunting. Being envious of the way others appear make getting ready for a public outing somewhat sad. Far from shallow, I believe everyone else to be attractive, pretty or beautiful as I stand alone in a category of misfit or outcast. I can only describe it as feeling like a handmade rag-doll that though made with hands of love, her physical characteristics are mismatched and awkward.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I want to be able to see what my son sees. I want to be at peace with who I am and what I see, but I know I am not alone. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of American women don’t like what they see in the mirror, all of us struggling each day with feelings of shame and inadequacy about our physical selves. Just the other day I read that 91% of women would not use the word beautiful to describe themselves.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Self-esteem at the reins of my body image.  A pesky little monster making me feel inadequate among the outside world, bullying my internal world with snide remarks and negative commentary on how I look. My body image a complete mess, broken and cracked. But smashed beyond repair? At present, more than a decade of self negative talk, it feels like that I’ll always be that awkward rag-doll made of bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit so well together while everyone else is a shiny new Barbie or Ken doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

The answer to my problems seem to lie in my internal “mirror”. I just need to fix it, to make it a mirror of love and acceptance. I need a hugging mirror. I need to embrace who I am at the present and not for an image of perfection that I seem to be striving for each day, one body part at a time. I think my children are the most beautiful creatures on earth, each one made up of pieces of myself and the love of my life.   It’s so easy to love their parts, then why can’t I love my own?

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I find that my thoughts drift back to the idea of embracing. Embrace > The word I keep fixating 2016 to.  Embracing my body and all it’s parts, not as something that needs to be changed but as a unique and beautiful creation that allows me to relish and live in the experiences of my every day life. A vessel that I can physically love my children with, hold my husband with and enjoy laughter and long talks with close friends.

Embracing the inner mirror.

An obvious beginning of a longer process, one in which I come to accept my body and physical attributes as they are in this very moment. When one day I’ll be able to say “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? You are.

 

 

365.

Calendar

365 days. 24 hours in a day with a minimum of 12 hours in which we are awake. 365 times 12 equals 4380. Roughly 4400 opportunities in which I can embrace the now.

4400 moments to share and love, showing myself and the ones who mean the most to me that I’m present and living mindfully.

In order to become more mindful of the present and to take advantage of these 4400 embracing opportunities I’ve devised a list of ways in which I can make the most of my 12 hours in each of my 365 days. My list is made up of actions or thoughts that I can practice in order to live presently rather than taking advantage of the present. I hope that my list will encourage you all to devise your own for these 365 days of 2016.

Each time we get into the car rather than becoming frustrated take the time to kiss each of my children.

Each time my child becomes frustrated with a puzzle or math assignment or opening a door, I will take the opportunity to let them know how proud I am of them for trying.

When I have nothing else to give or say, what I can give is a ten second hug to my little ones.

Each time I do something for someone else I will remember to do something for myself as well … even if that is sitting down to a hot lunch in the middle of a busy day.

Each time I have the extra time to give each child a separate bath I will, washing their hair slowly and rubbing their back gingerly rather than rushing a long to just get them clean.

Each time my children sing, I will comment on what beautiful voices they have rather than saying something like “Can you do that in the other room?”

Each time my husband asks for a kiss I’ll give him one.

Each time I leave the house I will tell my husband I love him.

Each time my husband enters the house I will give him a hug hello.

Each time I find myself getting angry I will ask first if it’s my perception and my doing or if it is the fault actual person or thing.

Each time I’m feeling blue I will remind myself that displacing the anger or hurt on someone I love isn’t going to solve anything.

Each time my children run through the house laughing and chasing one another out of fun and not anger, I will bite my tongue and enjoy their innocent laughter.

Each time my children ask to wear a favorite shirt for the fourth day in a row I will let them … as long as it is clean.

I will smile and say hello to at least one stranger a day.

I will be sure to always say thank you and ask how a person’s day is who is working to bring me customer service.

I will take more pictures and actually print them out of moments that I really don’t want to forget.

Each time my children ask to be carried to bed I will embrace them, hold them close and make the steps to their room.

Each time my children ask me to read a book or play a game I will let the dirty dishes and To – Do Lists go.

Each time I think of a friend or family member I will reach out to them.

Each time I think of calling my mom I will pick up the phone and dial … and not wait until nap time.

Each time I think of my husband I will take advantage of technology and send him a text.

If I am having a bad moment I won’t let it turn into a bad day. I always will take the opportunity to reroute where that moment is leading me.

Each time I think of taking a nap I will at least close my eyes and count to ten.

Each time I remember something from my childhood with my Dad I will call him to share the memory.

Each time one of my children sits next to me  I will scoot closer and hold their hand.

Each time they pull a stool up to investigate what I am doing I will share with them the steps rather then shooing them a way.

Each time my kids shed a tear I will do my best to make them smile.

Each time I find myself not mindfully in the present, I will take a moment to think of all the wonderful things, activities and people I cherish, I will reach out and touch that person or thing and dive deeper into my abilities.

 

 

 

Throw a Hug Rather Than a Punch.

HalperinFam2015HighRes29

Rather than fighting the forces of nature, why not embrace the season of life we are all in. Why not give a great big bear hug to the now we are in rather than throw a punch with what we think we should be doing . How about caressing the present instead of coming at it with blows.

I will admit my guilt when it comes to questioning the present rather than just accepting it with open arms. I’m guilty of wishing for 7 pm to come faster, for the weekend to arrive sooner, for quiet instead of loud, for sleep instead of chaos. Wishes that are only fighting the now.

I question if the way we spend our days is “enough” that if we are using our time wisely, that maybe I should have the kids in more activities or if I should be dedicating my time to even more causes and people.

I wonder if I let the kids sleep too much.

I wonder if I should have them in the “real world” more often.

I wonder if I am boring with a ten o’clock bedtime.

I wonder if I should dress sexier or drink more until I become sexier.

I wonder if my husband and I are spending too much time on the couch.

I wonder if I should be enrolling my kids in some sort of program to create geniuses rather than letting them run through the house like screaming maniacs as they pretend to be holding some sort of makeshift light saber?

I wonder if my husband and I should be having more sex.

I wonder if my kids are getting enough exercise during the winter months.

I wonder if my kids brush their teeth efficiently or if they’ll become toothless at ten.

I literally lose hours of sleep each week with the number of different “wonderings” that fly through my mind as I lay in bed.

Living in a decade of long days but short years. When feet grow quickly and hearts grow strong. An era when innocence becomes something you want to hold onto. A time in which we should really be throwing a hug instead of a punch at the life we are dealt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch. After all, my days are made up of last times. I’m not saying that today will be the last time  for everything but eventually these times and daily happenings will be a thing of the past, things that I will crave as my babies grow taller and older, and as I grow, hopefully wiser and finer.

Throw a hug rather than a punch at the daily last times.

The last time my babies will be in cribs, I cringe at the idea of what my mornings will be like when all three have the run of the house.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my kids will nap, I can only imagine what “adventures” will be had when there isn’t that short window of calm.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when my little ones will have butts little enough to fit in my lap.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when they let me choose the books to read while finding my narration fascinating.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my husband and I will sit on the couch with all three little ones asleep, in 10 to 15 years we’ll either be sharing the television with teenagers or worried about where they are and what they are doing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my little girl won’t care if her hair is brushed or if her tights match her shirt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time that hugging mom really tight and screaming her name when she picks you up from school is cool. (The day that my children no longer do this I may fall into a deep depression as I fall down the ladder of  cool people in their lives).

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

It’s okay to be who we are. It’s okay to do what we do. It’s okay to embrace our lives as they are, to love it and live it instead of planning it or molding it to what we think it should be like. It’s okay to be self-centered bitches thinking our lives and our time are important. It’s okay to make our own schedules, goals and memories. It’s okay to not follow the rules while making our own. It’s okay to throw a hug instead of a punch.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Every mundane, loud, quiet, scary, funny, sad and loving moment takes place as a piece of a divine puzzle planned for each of us. In the end, no matter how much we choose to fight it, no matter how many punches or blows we throw, it’s all going to have the same ending. The difference lies in the path to that destination, will we come out bloody, black and blue from all our resistance or will we come out wiser and finer from all that hugging and embracing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Self Centered…

HalperinFam2015HighRes11

With the new year ringing in I sat down with my better half to review the goals we had made just a year before.  We had separated the goals into categories of couple, family, Erik and Brooke. Reading over the words that streamed across the lined paper torn from a notebook, we began our year in review.

Tackling the goals under the family category we were able to place a nice and neat check mark next to each goal oriented task. Moving on to the “couple list” we were about 50% successful when it came to achieving the goals we had placed on our list. As we moved on to the objectives listed under each of our names it wasn’t even close to 50%. Though 2015 was incredibly successful to the outside world, what we had hoped for when it came to our individual achievements, it all had fallen sort of short. The first half of 2015 was full of a focus on our health and relationships, self and family. I could go on and on about the things we accomplished and experienced in the first half of 2015 that were more centered on self and family. However as the seasons changed so did our focus and responsibilities.  Looking at the lists and talking about the 365 days we had just lived out, 2015 had started exactly where and how we wanted. However, midway through the year the goals we had intended somehow had been forgotten as we became responsible for other things, other people and other responsibilities not to mention taking on bigger adventures and milestones.

Browsing homes turned into buying a home. Preparing for school turned into all three kids attending school.  A conversation grew into a new position at a new company. A vision of starting a MOPS ministry turned into building and coordinating the living breathing group. Jokes about a puppy gave birth to a new furry and energetic family member. Thoughts of volunteering turned into dedicated time to others. Lazy Saturday mornings turned into scheduled mornings of hockey, dance and karate. Savings went into new patios, house furnishings, paint and other fixer upper needs and wants.

Before we knew it the holidays came and went, with 2015 coming to a close. The birth of 2016 rushed in, right in our faces screaming like a newborn infant.  Just like giving birth to a new baby, I was literally exhausted in the first weeks of the new year. Rather than crawl into bed to hide from the cold and the planning of a new year, I rummaged through notes, calendars, old blog posts and old goals. I came up with a top-secret plan for 2016 that my family, my husband and myself could all benefit from and all enjoy in the process. Last year was the year of simplicity while this year would be “Self Centered Bitch Year”.

My hope for 2016 is to end it with check marks next to every single individual and couple goal. I want us to focus on ourselves this year. I want us to be self-centered bitches, demanding that we need time to grow and rest, doing what we want to because our hearts tell us so. I don’t want to worry if we are doing enough for others or if we are making everyone else happy or living up to the standards that Facebook subconsciously nails into our heads each day.

Being with my family makes me so incredibly happy.  Spending alone time, whether at a fancy restaurant or on the couch watching “Making a Murder,” with my husband makes my soul feel complete. Writing, reading and wandering though my mind in solitude without another soul in the vicinity puts me in balance providing enough motivation to rule the world. Why deny myself and my family of these precious moments, this happiness and passion? I cannot think of a single reason why, but I can think of five reasons why I shouldn’t … Brooke, Erik, Braxton, Travis, Hailey.

 

 

 

 

Bi-Polar Express

Bi-Polar

Confession: While Travis had the stomach bug, Polar Express was played on repeat for 7 hours. I’ve never hated the sound of Tom Hanks voice so much as I did that day.

That day has turned into a metaphor for my holiday season … a Bi-Polar Express on constant repeat with singing, chocolate, sparkles and Santa in my face taunting me like a relentless car salesman.

Choo-choo.

There’s so much that I want to see and do but there’s so much that I “have to” see and do. So much planning and conspiring. It seems this Bi-Polar Express is a common theme for women during the holiday season. I see it in the eyes of my friends. I hear it in the voice of strangers. I read it in the pages of my favorite magazines. I watch it on the cheesy Hallmark movies.

Choo-choo, the Bi-Polar Holiday Express is in full throttle.

Christmas menus. Christmas gifts. Christmas wrapping. Christmas programs. Christmas traveling. Christmas cookies. Christmas charities. Christmas trees. Christmas cards. Christmas elves. Christmas EVERY. THING.

Choo-choo.

Facebook is of no help during this season of Bi-Polar Express. I feel as if I have a scarlet letter across the chest of my Facebook profile picture as my feed pukes pictures of families doing each and every Christmas event in the 20 mile radius of our home as I travel only 5 minutes within the vincinity of my home.

Choo-choo.

As an introvert I find my self sweating just thinking about attending all 157,345 family events that are offered during Christmas in Chicagoland. Give me some really good eggnog, a present at the top of my list, Holiday Inn on the television, “Drummer Boy” playing on the radio and my family around my table and I am set. But some how my vision of the perfect holiday is one that isn’t highlighted on the cover of Family Fun magazine. I’m pretty sure that a picture of me holding a cup of eggnog, eating a GLUTEN filled cookie, in my robe on the couch as I watch the Bishop’s Wife would not get a single Facebook LIKE compared to the pictures I see of families decked out in matching Christmas attire as they walk hand in hand down the Magnificent Mile after a day of attending all 157,345 Chicagoland Christmas events, without a single child having a public meltdown.

Choo-choo.

Even the Gremlin on the Shelf is taunting me, judging me. Asking with his brightly painted blue eyes if I was doing enough in the world of elves? Was just placing his little felt demon body on a shelf good enough? According to Pinterest and Facebook, it was not. Articles with titles such as  “Most Creative Elf Sightings”  and “Clever Elf ”  fill my inbox and news feed. It turns out the phrase Elf on the Shelf is to ONLY be used when describing where you bought him/her, not where you are actually to place the tiny judgmental figurine.

Choo-choo.

So what if, like the little boy on Polar Express, I pulled that massive STOP lever. Would I be greeted by Tom Hanks telling me that I did the right thing? That yes, it was okay to only attend the 3 events I liked of the 157,345 offered events? That posting pictures of my kids sweaty and in un-matching outfits on Santa’s lap on Facebook was okay and that drinking eggnog is not a thing of the past?  That making no-bake cookies was A-Okay? Would he tell me that all “the other stuff” was just that … stuff? All the sparkle and the To-Do lists were just a mad commercialism cover-up?  Would this Tom Hanks sounding man look a little like Jesus? Or maybe even resemble your children as they ask to just stay home to watch Home Alone for the 10th time. Whatever he may be in your world, I bet he’d simply  ask “What’s your reason for the season?” And you better have a damn good reason besides the Joneses.

Choo-choo.

 

 

 

A Back Burner Babe.

Back Burner

“Look at her, she is one smoking hot Back Burner Babe.”

I’m pretty sure no one has said, “Wow she looked really sexy with her unwashed hair, no makeup and a worn-out cotton from head to toe fashion statement.” If they did, they would be talking about me.

A Back Burner Babe.

My ability to put myself on the back burner with such ease has lead me to the brink of a burnout look. I would describe my look as Back Burner Babe or Triple B. The Triple B is one that finds other tasks to fill the time rather than taking a shower, blowing out her hair or applying makeup. The Back Burner Babe can be found wearing an assortment of attire that is usually made of cotton and holds a level higher when it comes to comfort.  As an example of a back burner babe my hair is often in a pony tail or tucked under hat to hide the fact that I didn’t wash it today or didn’t feel like putting the time into “doing it.”

A Back Burner Babe.

Somewhere in the last year I’ve managed to slowly allow myself to wander closely to the edge of looking like I was just mugged in some dark alley. It’s become even easier to sport the look since joining a gym, now my fitness classes run into school pick-ups and drop-offs which lead into lunch or dinner which lead into errands and evening routines of baths, homework and stories which leads me right into bed with the same ponytail and plain face (minus  the yoga pants) that I rolled out bed with.  I’m ashamed to admit it since I have spent numerous seasons of Biggest Loser passing judgment on those that recited the cause of their situation as “I lost myself” or “It was easy to put the needs of my family before mine, and I never had the time.” I never understood and assumed it was just an excuse. But at the present day, I DO understand and have become an example of this too real excuse. It’s not an excuse these women had become Back Burner Babes too.

A Back Burner Babe.

I’ve tried my best in recent weeks to eliminate the excuse and make an effort to blow out my hair and apply more than just mascara. But when I do it’s such a foreign thing to my children that they bombard the bathroom as if it were some sort of amusement park. Scrambling to grab brushes off the counter while sticking their germy little fingers into pots of eyeliner and spreading lipstick across their tiny lips. The deed of applying makeup that I once enjoyed has become a form of torture and stress. Going without the stuff becomes a source of peace that now has turned into a shame.

Back Burner Babe.

I question if I am the only one who is doing this. What is the secret of these other put together mothers? How do they do it and what do they do with their children? Am I just in this era of struggle with priorities and sacrifice, where my children have become more important to myself rather than my self? I envy my friends that are able to put together outfits that looks as if they stepped from the pages of j.crew or leaves their home with a mane full and soft as if they just left the salon.   Surrounded by these beauties is me … the Back Burner Babe. Woe is me.

As we enter into a time of conjuring up lists of resolutions for the new year, one is at the top of my list … figure out a way to jump from that pot of forgotten muck on the back burner into the frying pan on the front burner that is smokin’ hot.

Yours Truly,

The Back Burner Babe

All I want for Christmas are two electronic keys.

hotel-room-key-card-24135768

A month ago I left my home and usual schedule for 24 hours with three dear mommy friends. We began our adventure over lunch in an adult restaurant. No kid’s menu in view. The lunch was the start to a day full of massages, pedicures, lounging, talking, adult drinks and finished with a night in crisp white sheets in a dark room of a fancy hotel where no children could be heard and no beds would be shared.

The below request from Santa was inspired by this 24 hour extravaganza. I highly recommend all parents to add two electronic keys to a fancy hotel room to their list this year. (My husband and I will be cashing ours in next weekend.)

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas are two electronic keys to a fancy hotel room.

A suite furnished with a nice comfy bed adorned with crisp white sheets that I do not have to clean or straighten. A spotless penthouse with no children or husbands to care or cook for. A giant television not playing football or cartoons but rather HGTV, Food Network or TLC. A short elevator ride to the hotel spa where I am the one pampered and cleaned, making changing Pampers diapers and cleaning butts a distant memory. A room that sparkles and gleams with a shiny telephone allowing the only finger I need to lift is one to press the number associated with room service or housekeeping. No dishes to be done and no vacuums to be pushed. No fights or screams over toys or bedtimes, only silence and the hum of a mini-fridge stocked with free snacks and drinks.

All I want for Christmas are those two electronic keys to my fancy hotel room.

Dear Santa, what I need. What I want.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

Pluck stray hairs and rid my skin of dull dry skin, polish and soften from the top of head to the tips of my toes.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

Color my hair with overpriced vibrant colors. Cut and trim my split-ends with fancy sharp scissors.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

Paint and highlight my face, fingers and toes with the perfect colors from pricey palettes of organic ingredients that would make all those with Kardashian DNA envious.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

Taking me out of my worn hoodies and skinny jeans. Stick me in lush, soft and silky underwear and clothing that you would find on Oprah’s Christmas Wish List.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

Teach me as you go and set me free with freebies and instructions on how to keep up your beautiful work.

A makeover is what I need. A makeover is what I want.

More of.

HalperinFam2015HighRes11

Grateful for Braxton’s sensitive heart and creative mind. Thankful for Travis’s strong love for his mommy and long-winded storytelling.  Filled with gratitude for Hailey’s ability to forgive and forget while finding humor in the most dull moments.

I want to be more like my children.

Thankful for my husband’s sense of humor and ability to make me laugh.  I give thanks for his gestures of touch and his need to be touched. Grateful for a partner who balances and accepts my faults.

I want to be more like my husband.

Gratitude for my closest friends, the cheerleaders of my dreams and keepers of my secrets. Thankful for the creativity and ease of motherhood with which my buddies exude on a daily basis.

I want to be more like my friends.

Thankful for the individuality of each of my family members. Grateful for the unconditional love that only strengthens with time. Filled with only gratitude as I am reminded of who I am at heart with each time I speak with my relatives.

I am who I am because of my family.

Grateful for my obsession with all things healthy and all things natural. Giving thanks for my ability to read others quickly and carefully. Thankful for my willpower and knowledge that everyday is a new day.

I want to be more my “self”.

Grateful for what I have. Thankful for those in my life. Giving thanks that I am able to grow with each day. Gratitude for the lessons I am gifted with each passing breath and the loved ones I am learning them from.

More grateful. More gratitude. More thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.