The Gratitude Bridge

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The Gratitude Bridge

At the end of a farmer’s property, a gravel road narrows and gives way to a low-water bridge I have named “The Gratitude Bridge.” Each morning I drive on the gravel road part of the way to work just so I can cross this bridge.

Several months ago I bought a Jeep Wrangler, which allowed me to travel the gravel road each day. (That’s how I got started driving across this bridge.) Each morning I’d stop on the bridge when it still had water under it to look for wildlife. Some mornings I’d see heron, other mornings it was a snake or a feral cat and if I was really lucky a deer or raccoon was still out. This became my momentary pause before having to jump into my day.  Somewhere along the way, I decided to stop and also thank the universe for another day on this beautiful Earth. Each day I’d look for the wildlife, roll my windows down, and give thanks.

Slowly, as we’re in the middle of a drought, the wildlife disappeared, even the feral cats are elsewhere and the herons are long gone. But I still stop there each day, look to my left and right and leave my gratitude at the bridge for safe-keeping until the next day. Recently I began calling it The Gratitude Bridge. It might not look like much, but to me it’s where I leave my daily love note to the universe for giving me another day.

Peace and gratitude,

Brandy

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Tipping hotel housekeepers

2EF112D3-CD4F-4023-AFF2-2311E63D69BAGratitude is so vital in this world we live in from taking time to thank the universe for another day to thanking everyone around you for their role in this beautiful world.

This week I was on a business trip in Orlando, Florida, and each night before I went to bed I set aside time to write a note to the housekeeper of the hotel and included a cash tip. Each morning I’d put it on the pillow with one of my gratitude cards.

Two days in a row I ended up in my room when the housekeeper was there turning the room. The first housekeeper said over and over to me “God Bless You” and the second also thanked us. Gratitude meets gratitude.

So, why tip housekeepers? First, many are barely making minimum wage. Second, your nice clean room doesn’t happen by itself. Below I’ll offer a few tips on tips for housekeepers.

  • Leave the tip on a pillow with a note so they’re sure the money is for them.
  • Amounts vary, but I left $5/day per person.
  • Leave a tip EACH day, not at the end of the trip. When we were there we had a different housekeeper each day.

Peace and gratitude, friends. Thank someone today!

 

Commencement weekend

IMG_0303This weekend I’m covering commencement for Emporia State University. It’s such a monumental milestone for each graduate, their families, and friends. As the room erupts in cheers and screams as the graduates file on and off the stage, it’s hard not to feel the immense joy that surrounds the graduates. As I work on my second masters degree, I am reminded just how far each and every one of the students have to travel on their educational journey. It’s hard work and a lot of sacrifices and that work should be celebrated!

If you know a graduate, take the time to congratulate them today — they put in a lot of work to earn that degree. Also, take the time to congratulate those around them — parents, significant others, and children. They made a lot of sacrifices too through supporting their loved one or through sacrificing time with their loved one so they could study.

And, if you don’t know any graduates, celebrate one another today. Thank someone around you or simply thank the universe for this beautiful life.

Gratefully yours,

B.

Where has the time gone?!

3ee69-253d253futf-8253fb253fsu1hmda0otitmjaxmtaxmjqtmdk1mc5qcgc253d253f253d-718564Gasp!! I haven’t posted since DECEMBER! Ouch! My poodle to the left says that’s not good!

A quick update: it’s been a busy semester! In addition to my full-time job, I had Advanced Poetry and Advanced Fiction this semester — stellar courses from incredible professors. I’m so grateful for the massive amount of learning that took place and for the work I was able to produce during my time in their courses.

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RIP, PJ

On a sad note, we said goodbye to our sweet PJ in January. He was nearly 13 years old and within a week of receiving a kidney failure diagnosis it was time to say goodbye. Losing a pet is so difficult. My other two pets, Chewie and Mayiah, also have health issues. It’s incredibly difficult to say goodbye. I’m so grateful I was able to be their pet mom.

In other news, I’ve spent a lot of this last year prioritizing my life and focusing on what’s really important (and grad school takes up most of my free time). I’ve eliminated a lot from my crazy life, and that’s included toxic people too.

I hope to start blogging more regularly.  Though I doubt that many people actually read this.  To those who do read this, I wish you happiness, joy, and gratitude.

B.

 

 

 

 

 

That warm, fuzzy feeling

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You know the feeling you get when you KNOW you’re in the right place with the right people? And in the right time? That warm, fuzzy feeling that creeps up and feels your chest with warmth? Yes, that one!

It dawned on me recently when I was chatting with a co-worker and I felt myself filling with joy — I’m in the right place at the right moment with the right people. I’ve had many moments like that lately where I just KNOW that all is where it should be and I’m on the right path in life and it feels pretty damn good. It’s an important feeling for me as I’ve worked hard to get to this place in life. I’ve worked hard to find the right place to work and surround myself with the right people. When you are soul-searching for what’s right for you, sometimes you have to make some tough choices about your career and people in your life. I’m glad I’ve made those tough (and sometimes painful) choices. Because I’m right where I want to be and right where I should be at this point in my life.

As we head into the holiday season, I wish all of you peace, joy and that warm fuzzy feeling.

Four years ago…

11ABFD40-BF65-429F-8896-ADA624AF0D38Four years ago tomorrow, a fire took my father, Charlie Adams from us. Four years ago, my heart was broken in ways I could never imagine possible. There’s been a lot of living since then — a lot of ups and downs. I wish he was here so I could tell him all about them. Today I wanted to stop and honor him, to reflect on him and his massive impact on my life.

In honor of him — I’d like to share the eulogy that I wrote and read during his funeral. Thank you for reading.

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I had the privilege of calling this man we are honoring today, Dad.

He was the dad he didn’t have to be to us. I rarely refer to him as my stepdad — because he never once put the word “step” in front of my brother and I’s name. We were always introduced as his children. Never once did I ever feel like a stepchild.
Dad was a simple man — he loved and he loved deeply. He loved my mom with every fiber of his being. She was his world. He loved his dog, Twister — who we lost in the fire as well. We also lost their cat, Jersey in the fire. They are all somewhere — together.
Looking back I have so may wonderful memories of Dad. He helped me work on my Pontiac Sunbird — he wanted to make sure the speedometer was correct. So he drove beside me in his car on Kellogg and he help up one finger for 40 mph and two for 60. There we drove — on a FREEWAY in tandem. That’s the kind of man he was.
Then there was the time I scored two tickets to the monster truck show. We spent the evening cheering on our favorite monster trucks. He loved hanging out with us kids — no matter what it was were were doing. Again, that’s just the kind of man he was.
Looking back at family pictures, dad was frequently in them. My college graduations. Holidays. Birthdays. Life won’t ever be the same without him.
Dad knew no stranger. He would spend hours talking to people and telling stories of his life. He truly loved everyone and could bring a smile to anyone’s face. He was funny. Witty. Dedicated. And loyal. A truly amazing person.
I will miss his humor. I will miss HIM — the world lost a kind, amazing person. His life had a profound effect on mine — and on many others I’m certain.
May he rest in peace and run with his beloved dogs Twister and Flower. I’m certain he’s looking down while idly chatting someone’s ear off — telling them stories of his past and his family.
He wouldn’t want us to be sad. Or mourn him. But how can we not?
He will be missed deeply and dearly.

 

 

 

 

Turn around

wp-1477057896733.jpgAs I was walking to work the other day a lot of things were floating through my head — how much I had to do, my task list, my next paper due in classes, my novel I need to get finished, etc. And then I realized, I was allowing myself to drown in that moment of “I have so much to do.” Immediately, what came to mind was the “Turn Around Don’t Drown” phrase. Which, by the way, is a great marketing campaign — never drive into water. I’ve linked the campaign above. It’s important information and I want to give proper credit.

With that said, as my mind was swirling and planning out my day, I was missing out on some precious unplug time. I didn’t even look up at the beautiful trees on campus or stop to smile at a stranger — things I love to do. And in that moment, I told myself to “turn around.” I put my phone back into my pocket (which was open to my overused calendar app) and I just walked. I breathed in the air. I took the long way to my office and I got to enjoy the campus fountain and chat with a couple of faculty members. I took a photo and put it on my blog page. By the time I got to my office my mind was clear. My day didn’t seem so busy and the task list didn’t seem to daunting. I was ready to tackle my busy day at a job I love and yearned for some many years to obtain.

In that instant I was able to turn my mind to gratitude. I gave thanks for the wonderful universe which provided me with this incredible day and the ability to get to my incredible job.

So, take some time to turn around today. Take a deep breath and give thanks. Gratitude helps and it truly matters.

 

 

A ‘break’ from gratitude

imageToday I was reading through my blog trying to find an explanation of this project to send to someone, and I was reminded why I started all this. Today was day 1,113 of my gratitude project. To be transparent I did take a little break so it should be more than that, but we all need a break sometimes. But here’s a few things I learned on my “break” from gratitude:

  • I was less grateful (duh, should be a given)
  • I was less satisfied
  • I didn’t stop to appreciate things as much
  • I was less grateful (yes, I already said that, but I’m trying to make a point)
  • I didn’t say thank-you as much
  • I felt like something was missing (after all when you post for 1,000 days straight about something, you miss it after a while)
  • I was less grateful

I could go on and on. Gratitude has been a daily part of my life since 2013 and my little “break” just didn’t work out well for me. I missed it — a lot. Stopping to just be grateful for one thing each day — could be huge things, could be little things — really made a difference. It changed me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. I learned to give thanks each and every day, and especially on the easy days. Because those “easy days” taught me how to handle the hard days. When the hard days came around — the days where the losses were heavy — I turned to gratitude to find my way through it.

Gratitude changed the way I look at the world — if I’m having a bad day all I need to do is look around and find something to be grateful for. On the really bad days? Sure, you have to look harder. In the days following the fire that killed my father, I found gratitude in the kindness of others, so many people came through after that happened. This project was 15 days old when that happened. Gratitude got me through those dark days and through many other difficult experiences. And on the days where I’m feeling quiet, that’s the days when I need gratitude the most.

I hope this post finds my readers well. As always, I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of you.

Gratefully yours,

B.

Gratitude through a migraine

As the title of this blog post indicates, I’m pushing through a migraine today, but with gratitude. Let me explain.

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I’m a wildly driven person – full-time employee in my dream job (truly), and a graduate student who thought she was super woman and took a full-time course load over the summer. No, this isn’t a unique situation, lots of people work full time and take classes, but it does take its toll if you don’t massage in some down time.

Last week was a crazy one – lots of things out of my norm from a two-day university shut down due to a water emergency in the city to being sick Friday evening and again today with a migraine. Not to mention the epic heat wave we had the past several days.

But, I’m grateful. For a variety of reasons. First, the migraine wasn’t one of my “epic” scary migraines. It was a migraine, but a “typical” one for me.  Second, the migraine bought me a few hours of full-stop. As in full-stop in my bed with the fan full-blast. There’s a little bit of bliss in that when you’re constantly running and/or doing something. I’m grateful for the rest I got.

As I sit down to complete some homework with a refreshed mind, (albeit with a little bit of a migraine hangover still), I’m grateful for this opportunity I’m being given to learn and create.

Expecting gratitude of others

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Tonight I came to a realization in regard to expecting gratitude of others. The situation that led me to this realization isn’t important, but I feel it’s important to write about this topic.

I was bumbling around my house tonight feeling disgruntled about something. I realized (with some degree of disappointment in myself) that I was expecting gratitude out of a situation. Gratitude is central in my life — it changed my life. But, I have no right to expect gratitude. With that said, most of us like to be appreciated, but for me, it was coming down to my ego — my ego was expecting gratitude out of something. One of my favorite books by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, states this “personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me.'” By expecting gratitute out of a situation, I was doing just that — making it all about ME.

By expecting gratitute out of a situation, I was not only taking said situation personally, I was stepping out of my sense of gratitude. Should people be grateful? Well, that’s for them to decide. MY personal belief system says I should say thank-you, send hand-written notes thanking people and spending time in gratitude each day. Should other people do that? Again, it’s for them to decide. I have no right to expect gratitude out of situations and people.

As soon as I made this realization tonight, realizing that it is not about ME, I was able to step back into gratitute. I control how I feel and react to things. And I never get to expect gratitude. We’re all living in our own reality and looking through our own lenses.

With all that said, I am grateful for each and every person who reads this.

Gratefully yours,

B.