working the muscles…

I, like the rest of our country, could sit here and list out the hundreds of thousands of reasons why last year was a total nightmare. Of course, the reasons vary by the person penning the list. At any rate, most of us stand in agreement of one thing: 2016 was an unnaturally horrible year. By the time the last two months hit, we were all so jaded and exhausted that any effort to redeem it seemed a waste and overwhelming. Here we stand now, four days into our blank canvas year. I keep reminding myself (ever the Realist) that 2017 will also hold its share of tragedy, heartache and horror. This is how this life goes, and we really have little choice but to accept it. As such, I continue to ask myself what I can do to ensure my perspective stays secure on the gratitude and positive perspective… To answer this question, I had to go back and consider the brighter parts of last year.

My older son and daughter each give me grandchildren made the obvious high point list. Coming home to Michigan to be with my family. So much time with my older daughter and grandson. My younger daughter recovering from her overdose in May. My marriage growing and healing, bit by bit. These, naturally, are all positive things. These too are the easy things to look at and feel grateful for. What if I were to dig deeper?

Getting to spend two precious months with my beautiful dog, before she passed away. As painful as it was, it would have been incomprehensible to imagine, had she died while I was still in Idaho.

My daughter’s overdose. While she still has a long way to go, it did open her eyes to some things she needed to see and it woke my husband up. These are beautiful things for which I will still be grateful when I am old and grey.

The passing of someone who has been so very dear to me for 16 years. While her death is a terrible tragedy, I was so fortunate to know and love her. I was also fortunate to travel to her memorial service and have some healing time with others who loved her.

The thing is, life is like this too… Beauty intertwined with the horror, but we have to be willing to see it. I can honestly say that I wasn’t always, but this year I want to do better. No, I WILL do better.

The last thing I did was think smaller. Maybe not smaller as much as more shallow. What things did I find, last year, which made even a small difference in my quality of life? I have to be honest, as I started pondering, it was really difficult to think of even a few. True to expectation however, the more I tried, the easier it got. And there in lies the lesson: Gratitude is like a muscle. We must be intentional to work it, before it will become our second nature.

As for that list?

  • Clinique Matte foundation For nearly the whole of my adult life, I have had a hate/hate relationship with foundation. When I was trained as an Esthetician I felt like I really needed to make peace with this. The journey of ELEVEN foundations later, and it was a total fluke (after I’d given up) that I stumbled upon this. For me, it is PERFECT. For someone else, it may not be. Skin is like personalities, everyone is different.
  • Reusable paper towels I flirted with the idea of these for a couple of years, and bit the bullet this year. Not only do we save a lot of money and eliminate waste (*note: we still buy paper towels for grosser clean up, like dog vomit, etc.) but they are cuter too!
  • Hempz triple moisture lotion I was working at Ulta when I found this gem. It’s pretty spendy, but so worth it. I have perpetually dry skin and this lotion helps that tremendously while also smelling fresh and not overly fragrant. LOVE this lotion!
  • DoTerra essential oils This is honestly the only thing that helps my depression (yes, even seasonal), takes the extreme edge off of headaches and that is just the tip of it.
  • Deva Curl Curly haired girls will get me… It has been a seldom pleasant journey to get to the place where you find a product you are happy with. Much like my foundation quest, I had given up on this too. Then someone turned me on to Deva Curl and I’ll be honest- I did NOT believe it would work for me. It does. I LOVE these products.
  • Buxom lip gloss BEST Lip Gloss. Hand’s down. There are days I simply moisturize, throw on a bit of mascara and call it a day, but I NEVER skip this gloss.
  • Wool Dryer Balls They are kind of everywhere right now. Indie shops, farmers markets, etc. They seemed more hype than good, but honestly I’ve fallen in love with them.
  • Honey If you don’t use Honey, you should. Anytime you are shopping online, Honey will automatically scan the item(s) in your cart and tell you the best price. At Christmas, Honey was a real asset!
  • Blue Q Socks a girlfriend introduced me to these socks. Some of them are pretty crass while others are just funny. I remember when I was in driver’s ed, my teacher said “always make sure you’re wearing cute underwear. If you get in an accident you don’t want the EMT’s to judge you for your granny panties.” Looking back I’m just thinking this is ridiculous for an adult to say to teens. However, as a woman, there is something really confidence building about wearing nice undergarments. I am not kidding, the snark in these socks has that same effect. It may seem ridiculous but there have been days when my Blue Q socks, (even when I was the only one who knew they were there) kept me a little grounded in sanity.
  • Swell Bottles The knock offs aren’t the same. Honest. And yes, these bottle are spendy, but as one who HAS to have ice-cold water at hand- having my bottle stay icy through hot summer days in the car, through the long migraine riddled nights, etc. BEST WATER BOTTLE EVER…

Can you think of your best 2016 bits? Be they memories, silver linings or products you discovered, I’d love to hear them!

2 thoughts on “working the muscles…

  1. My son is going to be a senior next year. In 2016 I realized that it’s coming whether I like it or not. I’m going to embrace it, make memories, store them up in my heart, and enjoy it. I’m choosing not to dread it, I’m saving my sadness for when he has actually moved to college.

    Middle school girls get a pretty bad wrap most of the time. But, I love mine! Yes I need frequent breaks, but my girls and their good friends are fun. 2016 was a fun parenting year and I want that to continue in 2017.

    I’m a sucker for cute dresses, and I found a cute swing dress with long sleeves at Old Navy. The long sleeved ones are clearance priced right now, so the colors and sizes are limited. I bought a grey one, wore it once, went back online and ordered a navy one. It is so comfy, it’s like wearing pjs all day long. When I get dressed in the morning, all I can think about is how soon is too soon to wear the dress again?

    Just like everyone else, we are watching This Is Us on NBC. It is the best TV show I’ve watched in a very long time. Best. I might have a girl crush on Mandy Moore. When they make a movie about my life I want her to play me:)

    We are finally having a snowy winter here in CO, and I love it. It is SO beautiful and it automatically makes life, in all aspects, SLOW DOWN.

  2. This reminds me of the grateful journal you gave me many birthdays ago. There were days that it was easy to be grateful but other days that were impossible. It seemed frivolous to be grateful for things like lotion, lip gloss, socks RAZORS but those are creature comforts that can help keep us in check, and reminds us that the little things can be as great as the big things. Love you Misty!

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