Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Monday, November 4, 2013


I wrote this post shortly before I went into the hospital for my bilateral mastectomy.  Even though the rain has turned to snow, it is all still pertinent...
One of the many things I am grateful for: little, sweet, deaf Bear dog.  The loveliest dog on earth.

I have been thinking lately about how thankful I am.  At the school where I work, every day at lunch, after announcements but before we eat, they have a ritual.  It is called "Moment of Silence".  It is one of my favorite parts of the work day.  It only lasts 30 seconds or so, but it gives me a chance to slow down, take a deep breath and make conscious note of the things for which I am grateful.

Invariably, my list begins with my husband.  When I say to myself "I am thankful for Brian." it encompasses everything.  It is like having a file drawer in my mind with his name on it and when you open it, there is a whole world of gratitude.  I am thankful for his adventurous spirit and his just do it attitude, without which I would have missed out on so many wonderful experiences.  I am thankful for his encouragement and his belief that I am capable of doing things, even when I am sure I can't. He pushes me to try harder and do more, he pushes me to be a better me.  I can't really think of a better life companion.  This is of course all bundled up with his sometimes silly, always hilarious personality, his strength and bravery, his love and commitment to our animals and the life we have built together, his genuine curiosity in the world around him and his ability to engineer and build almost anything.  Yes, I am very thankful for my husband.

Of course, the list doesn't end there.  I am thankful for this place we live in.  As I write this, it is POURING rain outside, the corrals are ankle deep in mud, the sun is a distant memory,  but still I love this place.  When I look out my window, I don't see another house crowding in on us.  I don't see pavement or a busy highway or neon lights.  I see a thick wall of evergreen trees.  I see our sheep, huddling in their shed to keep out of the rain.  I don't hear traffic or people arguing or even really dogs barking (unless they are our own!). I hear the chickens clucking, the horses nickering at each other and, of course, the rain.  This stillness, this sanctuary is what I have yearned for my whole life.  When I look around and see what Brian and I have built here; physical things like the sheep shed, the hay barn, the fencing, and less tangible things like a sense of deeper purpose and a connection to the earth, I can't help but feel blessed.  

I feel doubly blessed that we can actually make a go of it here.  This is a tough place to make a living.  The economy is... well, beyond struggling.  If it were your dog, you would have put an end to its misery a long time ago.  And while we bitch, whine, moan and complain about it, we are both very thankful to be employed locally.  No one hour each way commute for another job that, face it, we would bitch, whine, moan and complain about!  It doesn't hurt that I have a super boss, who is always on my side and helps me to do my best at work.  Especially grateful for her :).

I am grateful for my health.  I know you are thinking, WAIT, you have cancer! How can you be grateful for you health? But I am deeply grateful.  Except for that one little tumor (which yucky chemo shrank away to next to nothing!) my body is a rockstar.  I admit, I took that for granted for a long time.  Before my appendix ruptured (3 years ago?) I had never been in the hospital.  Never broken a bone, never had a serious illness or injury.  Never even had stitches.  Now, of course, I know WAY too much about doctors and hospitals and needles and all that.  However, I still feel like one of the healthiest people I know. And I am determined not to take that for granted anymore.

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“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” -Albert Einstein