We got about two and a half feet of snow this weekend.  The news told everyone to expect power outages.  I have never lost power at my home during a storm, but this storm sounded like a monster, so I got worried.  I was prepared.  Batteries, candles, matches, food that could be prepared without electricity, but I was still nervous.

The storm came through with a vengeance.


But through it all, I never lost power.

Happy Feet

This morning, after very little sleep, I woke up with the closing scene from the movie “Happy Feet” in my head.  I’ll never be able to dance like Savion Glover.  For that matter, I won’t ever be a dancing penguin.  Lol.  But in the solitude of my home, Matilda is the only one that will ever see me groove so hard that you can’t tell me that I’m not matching Savion/Mumble step for step.

Enjoy this clip, do your happy dance today, and don’t forget to be thankful!

Feeding America

This weekend, I had the inexplicable desire to cook lots of food.  I made two ham, green pepper, mushroom, and onion quiches,


a turkey breast,


and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.20151003_133601I think my desire to cook had something to do with the weather.  It was raining and windy all weekend and the temperature has dropped into autumn.

I gave one of the quiches to a friend, but even with that, it’s going to take me awhile to finish all of this food.  I have more than I need this week.

This was good practice for Thanksgiving.  I’m having family over this year, and I’ve only prepared Thanksgiving dinner once.  I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to pull it off without embarrassing myself now.

All of this made me think about all of the people who won’t be sitting around a table with family and friends this Thanksgiving; about all of the people who can’t think that far into the future because they don’t know where they will find their next meal.  I was reminded of the blog post I wrote last year about my desire to feed people and decided that now is as good a time as any to do something about it.  It’s time to put my feelings of gratitude into action.

Over on my Facebook page, there are almost 19,000 people who know how important it is to be thankful.  I’m asking them and anyone else that is reading this to help me in my quest to feed 100,000 people in need.  I learned from Feeding America that $1 can provide 11 meals.  With that information in mind, I’m asking y’all to support my virtual food drive by making a contribution of $1 or more.  I’m hoping that by Thanksgiving, I’m able to raise $10,000 for Feeding America.  Won’t you help me by clicking here and making a donation?


New Beginnings

I love the beginning of the year. It’s filled which such hope and possibility. For me, it’s like the first day of school – brand new clothes and a bookbag filled with new pencils and notebooks. Remember that excited feeling? I feel that way every January 1st, but somewhere about noonish, the excitement wanes.

I always make big plans to clean the house from top to bottom and I usually end up just washing dishes and doing laundry. Years ago, I stopped making resolutions when I found that I never really resolved in my spirit to make the changes. I learned that making the list isn’t enough. Making plans is not enough. Going through the motions just isn’t good enough if you haven’t resolved in your heart and mind to make the change.

This year, I am being much more realistic. Instead of resolving to do things differently, I’ve decided to do things I’ve never done before. I’m going on a few journeys this year, both literally and figuratively. I’m pulling out my favorite bookbag and I’m buying a new pack of pens. This is going to be an eventful year and I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

My one resolution – scratch that – My one promise to myself is to be present in every moment. This new year is a gift.  I am thankful for the fresh start and I will be thankful for all that it brings.

Grandma Update

Grandma went to the hospital on Monday of this week. On Wednesday, we were told that she would be going home.  A few hours later, we were told they were going to keep her one more night.  Still later, we were told they were releasing her.

The uncertainty made me nervous.

She went home on Wednesday night only to be rushed back to the ER today.  She’s been (re)admitted to the hospital and has been waiting for a few hours to be placed in a room.

Since this blog is all about being thankful, let me first say that I am thankful that she is in a place that has the capacity to take care of her if something really bad happens.  The alternative would have her at home suffering with no help in sight.

Now that I’ve said that, I also need to say how upset and angry I am that things are happening in this way.  If they had to vacillate between keeping her and sending her home, why not just keep her to be safe?  Was the decision to send her home based on some other factor than what was in her best interest?  Why is she now having to wait for a bed?  Considering her symptoms and her age, why is she not more of a priority? They do realize that she is somebody’s grandma, right?

I am angry.  I am hurt.  I am scared.  I am far away.  I am powerless.  I am praying.

I’m going to have a slice of The Sweet Potato Pie and go to bed.

Me and Grandma at our local version of The Taste in 2013.

Me and Grandma at our local version of The Taste in 2013.

Grandma and The Sweet Potato Pie

Yesterday morning, my Grandma was taken to the hospital by ambulance. My sister called to give me the news. It was hard to make out what she was saying between her heaving and teary breaths.

Let me make an aside here. It’s actually kind of crazy how the news was disseminated. My Grandma in Virginia called my aunt in North Carolina to say she wasn’t feeling well and was going to the hospital. At least that’s what I think happened. My aunt then called my mother, who was in northern Virginia, to tell her what was going on. Mom didn’t answer because she was busy with my nephew and missed the called. My aunt then called me, but I too missed the call. I was pumping gas and had left my phone in the car. My aunt then called my sister in D.C. who should never be the first person in the family to get bad news about grandma. She and Grandma are super tight and my sister doesn’t handle even the idea of Grandma being sick very well. My sister then called me in Maryland and I in turn called Mom. Mom was using her irritated fussy voice with me when explaining to me that Grandma had yet to call 911. Grandma decided it best to get dressed first. That irritated Mom to no end. I don’t know if she fussed at Grandma, but she certainly used her fussy voice with me about the whole thing.

The symptoms that Grandma described were very serious and so we were all a little nervous and a lot scared once we heard what was going on.

Grandma’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks and the first thing I thought was, “Please don’t let her leave during this time of year. That would just be awful.” Then I started thinking about this time of year, which conjured up thoughts of Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie. My Grandma makes the best sweet potato pie in this universe and the next. I know you think your grandma’s pie is the best, but you’re wrong. My Grandma’s pie can beat your grandma’s pie on any given day. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas I can be sure that Grandma will send me home with a pie.

A couple of years ago, I got her to teach me how to make the pie. I know I wrote down what she told me, but when I went to try to make the pie a few months ago, I couldn’t find the instructions anywhere. The result was horrible. I forgot some important ingredient and the thing didn’t bake up right at all. So right before Thanksgiving this year, I called Grandma with pen and paper in hand, so that I could once and for all have this recipe.

“Grandma, I can’t remember how to make The Sweet Potato Pie. I have three or four large sweet potatoes. How much butter do I need?”

“Three or four large potatoes? How big are they?”

“I don’t know. They’re big, but they all fit in my big pot without a problem.”

“Hmmm…. well, you’ll probably need three or four sticks of butter.”

“Three or four?”

“Yes. I bake by seeing, so if they’re big potatoes, I think three or four sticks should do it.”


She went on to give me other general guesstimates of amounts of the other ingredients, but when it came to sugar, her tune changed.

“How much sugar should I use, Grandma?”

“You’ll need one cup of sugar.”

“Just one cup?”

“Yep. You’ll need one cup of sugar.”

Her sudden exactness made me laugh to myself. I made mention of it in the notes I was taking so that I would always remember it.

I made the pie filling the night before Thanksgiving. I baked one pie and froze the remaining filling. The night before I got the call that Grandma was going to the hospital, I unthawed that filling and baked the pie. Right before I got the call, I was thinking about how good that pie was going to taste for dessert that night.

I love Grandma for many, many reasons. She is loving and loyal, steadfast and resilient, funny, strong, and kind. Whenever I taste her Sweet Potato Pie I think of her; I think of who she is and all that she means to me. Now that I know how to make it, I can be sure that those thoughts and memories will never fade, for if they do, all I have to do is pull out my recipe to conjure them up again.

I talked to Grandma last night and she seemed her regular spunky self. She should be discharged tonight or tomorrow.

Tonight, when I eat a slice of pie, not only will I bless the food, I’ll also be asking a special blessing for my Grandma, the originator of the best sweet potato pie known to mankind.


Me and Grandma at my law school graduation in 2006.


Socks Postscript

Last night, just as I was about to turn off the lights for the night, my mom called. She wanted me to know that her friend, “Ann”, read my blog post on socks and was “moved”. I’ll call her “Ann” because she lives in a loft….Ann Taylor Loft…get it? Anyway, Ann said that she learned something about lupus, was moved by the post, and felt like she wanted to do something. She called my mom to figure out what she could do.

Mom’s birthday is coming up and she had already told me that she wanted to do a canned food drive for her birthday. Now she and Ann are organizing a socks, gloves, and canned food drive.

When I first started this blog, it was a completely selfish venture. I was trying to change my life and my perspective by forcing myself to find something to be thankful for everyday. “Something” is completely inaccurate. I wanted to force myself to pay attention to the small, sometimes seemingly insignificant things in life and to be thankful for those things. Writing every day kept me accountable. Somewhere along the line it has evolved into a mission. I think the advent of the FB page changed things for me. Now I still write to hold myself accountable, but my secondary purpose is to urge people to look at life differently and to be thankful for everything. When Mom told me that her friend was moved by my little 413-word post about socks, I got a little teary. To think that someone else in this world will have the simple pleasure of warm feet just because I took 30 minutes to share with the world why I am thankful for something as ordinary as socks is just so incredible to me.

Thank you, Ann, for reading the blog and taking some action.


These are the extra thick hunting socks that Mom gets me for Christmas. This is my heather gray pair that is still in tact.


“Changing Your Focus” Day Six – It’s the Little Things

tydbannerDay SixDietrich Bonhoeffer

I have always been detail oriented. Whenever I work on a project or event, I take pride in the attention I give to the minor details because I believe that those are the things that separate a good project or event from a great one.

I find joy in the little things. The perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio in a Reese’s Cup, the beautiful colors created by the sunset, the ability to move and feel and think and sleep without difficulty; there are so many small things in life that, if you take the time to reflect and be thankful about them, will bring you great joy.

Today’s exercise is to pay attention to the little things in your life that you should be thankful for. Spend five minutes reflecting on those things and add them to the list you started on Day One.

“Changing Your Focus”: Day One – Make a List


Welcome to the first day of my blog series “Changing Your Focus: Learning to Look at the World Through a Lens of Thankfulness”.  I’m so excited to share these simple exercises with you.  I hope you’ll check in over the next two weeks as I roll out 10 exercises to help you begin to look at the world through a lens of thankfulness.

Day One jpeg

Willie Nelson

I’ve always been fond of making lists.  I love lists because they make me mentally dump everything I want to focus on onto a piece of paper, which allows me to see things much more clearly.  If I can reduce my issues to a list, I’m usually much more capable of accomplishing whatever is necessary.

Today’s exercise is to simply make a list of things for which you are thankful.  Give yourself a time limit of one or two minutes and write down everything you can think of, big or small.  Don’t overthink this.  Just write down whatever comes to you.  I’m a big fan of pen and paper, but you can create this list electronically if you choose.  However you do it, but sure to save it, because we will be supplementing the list and referring back to it over the coming weeks.

I was able to spend about 45 seconds writing a list before someone barged into my office.  Here’s what I came up with.list

Enjoy this process and don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for the next installment in this series.