Blessing 24

…wonderful people who volunteer when you desperately need help on a civic project! Toastmasters contests couldn’t happen without a cast of dozens behind the scenes.

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On living in a neighborhood with a HOA

I’m still not sure whether a Homeowners Association is a blessing or a curse. On the blessing side: our HOA has an all-volunteer board of neighbors who care enough about the neighborhood and keeping it nice to donate their time. On the curse side: I have to go to meetings of the HOA board. And then there are the rules which sometimes seem picayune. Tonight one of the board members was trying to tell everyone that no one should be able to plant flowers by their doors, because that didn’t promote a uniform look. Good grief! One of the board members has a virtual Garden of Eden right outside her door, so that suggestion didn’t go over too well. My next-door neighbor grows irises which shame me daily. She takes such good care of her property while I pat myself on the back for keeping the bushes trimmed down. And she’s 92, which doubles the shame.

But that HOA does manage to keep our fees low – and it made sure all the houses were re-painted five years ago. So, let’s call the HOA gift no. 23.

Blessing No. 22

Today I got an unexpected birthday present … about 7 months early.

My dad gave me the Queen of Mixers … the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. In cherry red. Picture to follow. As well as many cupcakes, cakes cookies and breads.

He asked me a week or so ago what type I would like, and I thought he was planning to make this a birthday present for me later this year. When he called earlier today to tell me he and Mom were coming over with a present, I thought, oh, no, you didn’t. Then I burst into tears. Unless you cook, you just wouldn’t understand. It’s the Cadillac of mixers.

I can’t wait to make this and this and this and this.

Thank you, Dad and Mom. You’ll never regret giving me this!

Hello fellow bloggers and everyone out in blogland….

….somehow that doesn’t sound as romantic as “and all the ships at sea!” That was the phrase radio announcers of yore would use in welcoming the listening audience to their program.

The past week and a half has shown me that if I don’t write down my blessings each day then my attitude takes a plunge. I’ve seen and experienced quite a few blessings over the last few days … but the time to write them down has been elusive. (One more whine, then I’m done kvetching: when I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of another keyboard and monitor.)

But there have been many blessings. And it’s time to make lists again….because not doing so has made my last week and a half a grumpy, out-of-sorts experience.

Blessing 17: Stepping outside tonight on my way to run another errand, I stopped and truly saw the gorgeous deep blue sky, half-moon and stars. It looked like Van Gough flung his paintbrush around South Carolina.

Blessing 18: Today was a beautifully warm (79 degrees!) yet breezy day. About 3:30 I was tempted to tell my boss we all needed to shelve work and go outside to fly kites. It was that kind of day.

Blessing 19: Last week I was grateful for my 25-minute commute to work, cause it gives me a chance to sing along to the radio. When the drive is almost all Interstate at 65 mph, and practically no stop and go traffic, then commuting is a pleasure.

Blessing 20: Saturday, Feb. 25, I participated in my first 5K walk of the year. I was expecting to take 75 minutes to finish, since I’ve never been able to sustain 3.0 mph on the treadmill at the gym. But I finished in 55 minutes. Yea me!

Blessing 21: A purring kitty who loves to sit by you when you’re at home.

Pickles on the couch
Pickles is always close by.

Blessing no. 16

….is being tired from a long day – but a good tired, the kind of tired when you’ve been productive and had a great day. Not when you’re tired from the nervous exhaustion of worry or waiting or just having nothing significant to do. Today I was in an all-day training class at work. At first I thought it was just, ho-hum, oh well – a day away from my desk! But it was fascinating – about how trust can be built quickly; how to do it and how to quantify it. Now I can’t wait to finish reading the book that we got as part of the class – Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything. The author is the son of famed “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” author Stephen Covey. Talented family!

Gift No. 15 – Lunch with Friends

Today I had lunch with three friends after church at the re-opened Atlanta Bread Company (yea!) It’s so great to  be able to talk and talk about anything and everything – nothing work-related, nothing stressful. One of my friends has been going through a rough patch, so I regaled her with stories about my minor irritations. They’re the kinds of things that are funny only when you look back on them: my two-week cold, then my war with a computer virus, which led to customer support lines and a fantasy of carrying out a Facebook-Dad style shooting of my old laptop. (I finally broke down and bought a new low-end Dell.) My friend said her son could probably fix it if I wanted him to try. Earlier I’d been joking with my Dad about all the efforts I’d put into trying to save that laptop – two hour-plus calls with Dell and a trip to the Geek Squad. I felt like I was living through a digitized version of the old Ladies’ Home Journal feature “Can this Marriage Be Saved?” I’ve been through three different “counselors” already! But now, with this new offer, I feel a glimmer of hope … perhaps that busted laptop can be saved….

Lucky Number 13 …. 13th blessing that is

When I revamped my blog with the theme of consciously looking for and writing down my blessings, my first thought was how am I going to write a post a day about this? I’ve had this blog since July of 2010 and I’d only posted 121 times! I’m slammed for time (activities, activities, activities!) and frankly, I HAD been in a bad place mentally for the past three weeks, ever since I was so sick.

But the more you start counting your blessings and thinking about the gifts – the more you realize you have. Funny how a slight attitude shift changes everything.

Some new readers have stopped by recently – and that’s what I’m grateful for today. It’s so encouraging to know others are reading what you write, no matter how short. Or rushed.

Here’s one new reader’s blog which just makes me smile:  50 Things Before I turn 50. Isn’t that a great title?  Her latest post is about Love Lists – making a list of all the things you love about your home. She’s taken pictures and posted them on her blog, along with the stories behind each item.

Everyone: go check out this fantastic blog: Bucket List Publications. Lesley Carter shared an inspiring story of surviving her first day teaching school – the story isn’t what you think it is; it’s not a commentary on disrespectful teens. Go read it! And check out her bucket list giveaway. As soon as she gets $5,000 in donations she’s going to start making bucket list dreams a reality for some lucky readers.

And for lagniappe, one more blessing I just remembered from today. No. 14:  “The Big Bang Theory“. I worked out long enough on the treadmill today after work to see an entire 30-minute episode. Love me some Sheldon, Howard, Rajesh and Leonard!