Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Gratitude Exercise

Happiness comes from focusing on what you have, 

not on what's missing.

Andrew Matthews

I posted on Facebook this morning a sweet little parable teaching appreciation-- a story about a young boy who happily wore one sock every day because that is what he had.

My wise multi-talented FB friend and muse Jill Badonsky commented--she suggested an exercise where we list things that we have in our lives... then name it our "I Want List."  [Check Jill out here:

So yoo hoo, Jill et al (Latin for "and others"), here goes today's exercise in gratitude:  

My "I Have List"

1. Good health

2. Freedom. I am embarrassed to confess that I usually take my civil liberties for granted, but for some reason, I am reminded right now that I'm pretty lucky to live in the United States of America.

3. Family & so many dear friends.  I won't even attempt to name them, because I don't want to forget anyone...but I will identify the most loving, giving, supportive partner I could have imagined--Robbie Smith. We never run out of stories or emotions or ideas to share.

4. Loving pets Peanut, Chewy, Frankie

5. Beautiful home in a beautiful community

6. Fun, vibrant, gorgeous city of San Diego

7. Wise, loving, entertainingly weird parents-- Ed & Edna--who co-created a great childhood full of fantastic memories

8.  A fine, very fun baby sister with her own fine, fun, great kids--Kay-Kay, Johnny, precious nephews Britty and Conner, irresistibly cute niece Jordan

9. Bird music every morning when I awaken and if I remember to keep the feeders full, birds right at the kitchen window

10. Hummingbirds all over the yard, dashing between the red blossoms and pomegranate tree limbs

11. Flowers in my back and front yards, all over the place! even along freeways here

12. Orange trees with oranges on them year round. I got so excited the first time I saw this, moving from the desert.

13.  My new dream car--red convertible named  "R*DIANT"

14.  A working mind, good sense of humor, kindness

15. Cell phones, computers, televisions,  my iPod, iTunes. Technology! oh, and the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner

16. Running water, electricity, utilities!

17.  Ma Nature, all the beautiful, exquisite places I've seen, smelled, heard, and will experience in the future

18. Planes, boats, trains, buses, cars that have taken me to fun adventures I'd have missed without such miraculous transportation modes

19. OMG!  I cannot believe I have forgotten Food, Glorious, Food!  (The lapband is working!)

20. which brings me to, the miracles of modern medicine, e.g. my lapband that moderates my eating, contact lenses, dental veneers, antibiotics, thyroid pills, hormone replacement therapy. My life has been saved once by a doctor who stopped post-tonsillectomy hemmorhage.   And for my mama's medicines that keep her alive and vibrant at almost 78.

21.  Music, music, music, my love, my love, my love. And the fabulous pianist & my wonderful friend Tom Barabas to inspire and direct my learning curve.

22. Learning to SING, my childhood dream

23. Teachers--the ones I cherish. Greg Enriquez, for teaching me how to sing. Seth Riggs, for teaching Greg how to teach.  Rhonda Carlson, for reminding me how much fun it is to perform for others.  The English professor who urged me to change my major to journalism.  All the wonderful teachers who kept me on the path of learning, especially Mrs. Hubbard, my third grade teacher who thought I was "too bossy" but "brilliant."   I don't know if she said brilliant, but she was convinced I could skip the fourth grade.

24. A curiosity and joy to learn

25. Twenty-five years of a great marriage to Johnny Kenehan and his wonderful folks, John Sr. and my best friend all those years, his adorable mom, Mary Kenehan

26.  Some pretty fun careers--first as a young journalist merging into public relations and promotional work, then international trade work, now singing.

27.  A glorious and varied university education in Amarillo, Houston and Denver. I just love being on any college campus. I love the buildings, the smell of the books, the bustle of the students, the mental exhuberance of the learning environment.

28. I am proud of being an attorney. Licensed and not practicing. But I appreciate the education and knowledge that brought.  And the badge of diligent study it represents.

29.  Financial security.  I am glad I can afford to live in a home I am buying. I am glad I can afford to buy health insurance.  I am glad that I can be generous to others.  I am glad I can afford an occasional vacation.

30.  Consciousness.   I think I am not a rock.  And I appreciate this. Although I may become part of a rock... or a star....or both...

31.  Awareness that this list (of desires and blessings) can continue ....forever.

32. Like I forgot to list movies. I love movies!  Love, love, love them!!!

33. Especially "Amelie," which I've seen five times. So far.

34. Life's ever-expanding variety. Isn't it interesting that we keep finding new recipes.  New ways to satisfy our sweet teeth.  And new Best Songs of the Year. And new Best New Artists of the Year.

35.  Change.

36. The seasons.  I miss the drama of changing seasons, but I love having vivid memory of cozy winters and welcome springs in Denver and chaotic summers on the Texas Panhandle.

37. My new church family, and I am increasingly enjoying my chuch songleading job.  The new choir Joyful Noize is especially becoming FUN.  And I am excited to sing with A Little Noize, my new backup singers, this weekend.  Who'd a thunk when I decided to learn to sing that I'd actually "get it done."

38.  Fridge and cabinets full of healthy, yummy food

39.  Closets and dressers full of fun clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, doodads, whatchmacallits and pantyhose I rarely wear

40. Girlie stuff like scrunchies, nail polish, lipstick, mascara, you get the drift

41.  Palm trees outside my office window doing the hula (the trees are dancing, not the window)

42.  A piano calling me to come practice intervals for ear training class today and a jazz jam with friends tonight

43. Rachel Zoe and Top Chef and Flipping Out and the ridiculous un-Real Housewives of Atlanta and New York and Orange County (in short, bravo for Bravo-TV)

44. Keen senses. Love touching my pooch's curly little body... feeling the warmth of the sun on my bare skin...hearing crickets on Jill's website...seeing her whimsical drawings... smelling the breakfast pancakes ...

45.  to be continued

...and my "I Want List" 
( see above )