NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. I used the context to “guess” when I actually wrote it so if anything about this publication date seems off to future me…I wanted this note here to explain possible errors.

My friend told me yesterday she’s trying to get back in the habit of writing down the things she’s grateful for and I thought, Yes. I need to get back in the habit of doing something like that too. And then – because my brain tends to go overboard when thinking about things – I became obsessed with gratitude the rest of the day. And for once I found myself very happy to have compulsive tendencies. This chaos of driving back and forth to Tennessee once or twice a week and staying there for 3-5 days has actually filled me with gratitude amongst the chaos.

I found myself thinking about all of the great opportunities I’ve had with these trips back and forth to Knoxville. Obviously getting to see childhood friends has been a joy, I’ve not been great about scheduling visits with them the few times I’m in town over the course of a year. I’m usually in town so quickly I’m lucky if I can squeeze in a meal. But I’ve also gotten to share meals with their parents, people who hold such big spots in my memories and in my development, but who I probably would not have connected with again as you don’t make time to visit your friend’s parents when you pop into town quickly for a weekend a few times a year. I’ve also gotten to visit with my friend’s CHILDREN which is LOVELY. Learning about their sports tryouts and the college classes they’re taking over the summer. I’ve just been so happy with the extra good that I have discovered amidst this chaos.

I found myself thinking about my friends in Huntsville who check in with me even though I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I don’t go to board meetings anymore and I’ve missed book club. I don’t show up at group runs or social events. Yet they text me for walks or updates or just to let me know they’re thinking of me and it makes me want to be a better friend, the kind they deserve as well.

I found myself grateful for friends who like to walk. Walking has been my salvation in BOTH cities. Walking is amazing as are people who like to do it with me.

I found myself thinking about how lucky I am to have such an amazing brother during chaos with family. He and I have been there for each other through several parental illnesses and I’m just eternally grateful that I have him and that we make such a good team. He runs his own business as does his wife and they have two small boys and yet he finds time to check in with me regularly and sends my kids birthday videos. I really hope my kids will be as close as adults as we are.

I found myself thinking about how lucky I am to have access to amazing writers on Twitter. I know that sounds like a silly thing but chaos abounds lately and when I’m ready to get my worldly updates I have a curated Twitter account where I can easily check in and see the wise words and links to journalism pieces from some of our times best minds. I just love that it’s all right there waiting for me when I need it.

I found myself thinking about how grateful I am for podcasts when I’m now spending 7-14 hours a week driving to/from Tennessee by myself.

I found myself thinking about how grateful I am for Donnie and Eliah, my support team extraordinaire. Donnie’s life has been shifted in every which way every day as he is a single parent half of every week now. And the Eliah has been on-call to fill in the blanks that pop up. Yesterday the tops of Wesley’s feet got sunburned at field day and he had his teacher call us because he did NOT want to walk home. But I’m in Tennessee and Donnie can’t leave work during the day so Eliah stepped up and left HIS job – HIS REAL JOB – to pop over and drive Wes home after school.

This is hard. I’m not going to lie. I’m exhausted and tired and worn out and relying heavily on synonyms for “fatigued” because that’s basically my constant state right now. But oh my LORD, I have so much to be grateful for during all of this and it’s more than a silver lining, it really makes this situation weigh much more heavily on the POSITIVE than on the NEGATIVE side of things.

This chaos has made my life more stressful, but also better in 100 different ways for which I’m full of gratitude.

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