ThxFriday, Short Weeks and Good Deeds Edition.

Noelle TWT FTW; the never-waning novelty of Chipotle; Saturday sleep-ins; sneak attack gratitude; the smell of bacon in the air; ugly sweater/dirty Santa/bad karaoke goodness; cinnamon butts and delicious snacks; Juice Newton/Loverboy makeovers; coffee and smoothies with extra kicks; family brunch +1; playing for all the marbles; holiday card completion; the discovery of Quietude; visits from Santa; little kids getting their wishes heard (plus a few adults, too); all the people doing good in the world; mac & cheese appetizers, sushi dinners, and a delicious Southern Baptist for dessert; rising above the P/A (this aggression will not stand, man); progress on the progress front; renewed determination from all its sources, in all its forms; and a weekend ahead of rest and relaxation, treating three days off like a mini-vacation, releasing the kung-fu grip on plans and expectations, and time with family & friends to build stronger foundations.

ThxFriday, Raven and Shapeshifter Edition.

Embracing the magic of flight in the midst of delays; maintaining the peace through mechanical failures; finally reaching final destinations; kids who are excited to see you; birthday celebrations and bars in movie theaters; late-night present opening; lazy mornings filled with food; getting schooled on Magic: The Gathering; kid rock band performances, even in Union City; fuzzy sweaters; friends who brave BART and civil unrest to spend some time; a modern day Peach Pit; ALL THAT FOOD; drinks with gummy bears; waking up to rain and that Oakland Hills view; trips that last just long enough; making that flight; all the nouns I came home to (person, place, things, ideas…); days that call for burgers and beers; missing events because of the fun being had; curling up (and staying there); taking those Four Agreements in a daily embrace; deeper understandings and (slowly) increasing levels of comfort; successful holiday lunches; card-making progress; guest blogging invitations from the coolest kid; Foreigner (the band, not the epithet); and a weekend ahead of all the very best food, friends, and family (and worst sweaters and singing) that life has to offer.

ThxFriday, Hurray for the Riff Raff Edition.

ThxFriday, Hurray for the Riff Raff Edition: Post-Thanksgiving jammies day (and night); being and feeling included, all the way from here; application submissions; reminders of support; a Stone Fox brunch with jazz and charming companions; afternoon naps begetting late-night productivity; salted toffee pretzel bark; cooking the meal for after The Meal; suddenly Sunday, my favorite day of the week; valid points and welcome perspectives; leftovers and oh, that carrot cake; rin tin progress; holding up that mirror; the slow separation of emotion from event; surprise sushi time; skipping the movie for cocktails and talk/listen/dance parties; overdue friend dates; a 9-year old’s ideas about… ideas; serving as a kitten perch for Larry, Curly, and Moesha; hunkerin’ down and gettin’ ‘er done; final drafts and shifting gears; the spell of a good hair witch; Pablo Neruda, forever and ever; the early-morning flight to celebrate birthdays, visit with friends, and commune with my 11-year old spirit animal nephew; the early-morning flight that’ll bring me home again…

…and every single thing about this. (Thanks, JAG.)

ThxFriday, Snack Friday/Hokey Pokey Edition.

Fantastic food and terrible movie rants; late late nights (and even later mornings); peperoncini discoveries; perfect top down weather, if only for a while; impromptu pizza dates with at least five pounds of cheese; coffee with Amaretto (the very best way to start a Sunday); baking my little heart out; cookies wrapped with care to carry across the miles; Sunday football solace; insights and inner tranquility; winning yet another week; “by the way” holidays; early Thanksgiving feasts, with a side of Bingo and a tequila chaser (it caught me); rapid recoveries (though few and far between); making up for lost time; locking it down to the ones who count; missives from Cowshwitz; the hardship of cookies and wine (oh my); lazy holiday mornings, more wine and casseroles for breakfast; enough food for fifteen; everything we’re thankful for; Seahawks/Niners confliction; remembering that missing people just means you’ve got folks to love (and what a gift that really is); and deeming today “Snack Friday”, wherein I refuse to get out of my pajamas, I definitely don’t go shopping, and instead I simply snack all day while I handle all the business.

So very much to be thankful for.

Giving thanks and love.

I do my best to come at life from a place of gratitude, as much as I can. For me, it’s not only important, it’s critical for survival and enjoyment of what is really such a short time here on Earth. Hence, the ThxFriday posts, you know? That way, I’m hard-pressed to lose sight of just how lovely life can be, even in the midst of struggle. It helps me get (and usually stay) unstuck.

So lately, I’ve been working hard to find the positives in what are otherwise scary, difficult, or generally sad and seemingly-hopeless situations happening all the world over. Especially close to home. And I’ve come to be grateful for the gift of not-knowing, most of all, along with the ability to let go of the need to know, in order to feel safe and secure. The acknowledgement that I really just don’t know – and that I’d do well to simply keep my mouth closed, my ears and mind open. There’s so much more to learn.

In Pema Chödrön’s book, Awakening Loving Kindness, she writes:

“In Taoism there’s a famous saying that goes, ‘The Tao that can be spoken is not the ultimate Tao.’ Another way you could say that, although I’ve never seen it translated this way, is, ‘As soon as you begin to believe in something, then you can no longer see anything else.’ The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.

“Holding on to beliefs limits our experience of life. That doesn’t mean that beliefs or ideas or thinking is a problem; the stubborn attitude of having to have things be a particular way, grasping on to our beliefs and thoughts, all these cause the problems. To put it simply, using your belief system this way creates a situation in which you choose to be blind instead of being able to see, to be deaf instead of being able to hear, to be dead rather than alive, asleep rather than awake.”

The sheer awesomeness of the fact that we are alive, and here, and have the capacity to learn and grow and do better and BE better… THAT is what I’m most grateful for today.

(Well, that, and having wine and scalloped potatoes and green bean casserole for breakfast.)

And also… this. I am SO GRATEFUL for this. “Something To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving.”