Thankful Thursday

Every day we should stop to really think about our true gifts, especially the ones we don’t always recognize but are right there too.

Tonight I challenge you to think about something or someone who is bugging you.  And then I want you to turn your thoughts around and think about why you’re lucky to have that person or that particular problem. Try and list three things you’re thankful for about your current situation. Maybe even write down your thoughts so you can see your gratitude on paper. See if your feelings change after you practice gratitude. It works for me.

Count your blessings, not your gaps. What we focus our attention and minds on is what we create. 


Filling Up


This was my post from yesterday that didn’t post for some reason. I’m trying again now.


Have you filled your gratitude jar lately?

I wrote a piece about my then octogenarian friend and her gratitude jar almost 2 years ago and today I learned she passed away. I guess the good Lord was ready for her now.

She kept a gratitude jar on her table and would fill it up with thankful notes as she experienced joy. She said she often would go back and reread them and could always find something to be grateful for.  She was a wise woman.

In her honor, I wanted to fill my virtual gratitude jar here and challenge you to fill yours too.

Today I was grateful when my kids were all home from school and we didn’t have to rush out anywhere. Juliana and I sat on the couch and watched The Bachelor together. I made a cup of coffee and cooked two double chocolate chip cookies from the frozen dough I have hidden away. We laughed together and had fun noticing similar things in the show and saying the same things at the same time. 

While we were relaxing on the couch in the middle of the day (which we never do!!), the boys went outside to shoot some hoops. They then rode their bikes to the park and I was thankful that they too were enjoying each others company.

Today I was grateful for the unrushed time, enjoying my big kids.

Thank you Dot for reminding me to be filled with gratitude and thank you for being a blessing to us. Rest in peace.


Being Vulnerable

“Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce. ” – Brene Brown

I’m vulnerable. Today and most days. Aren’t we all? Today,  I’m especially aware of my vulnerability because I am still in pain and actually needed help. I needed help with having Tiger Balm rubbed into my back, shoulder and neck muscles.  I needed help at the grocery store and got help with kid pickup and kitchen cleanup and filling the rice containers.  I don’t like to be needy. I like to be the one giving help. I was still able to do some things, but at 50% the level and speed as usual. This made me incredibly vulnerable, a bit uncomfortable and a lot thankful.

As I slowed down, my family picked up the pace. I loved that they were helping me and looking at me with love and concern in their eyes. They are not used to me like this and I’m not comfortable just sitting. I’m not dying and I’m not trying to exaggerate, I’m just dealing with and waiting for the pain to pass. It definitely has a hold on me and I am not sure how long the wait will be. I’m getting lots of kisses and hugs and offers for help and I’m just trying to breathe and be patient. Thank you family and thank you friends for your ideas and advice.

While I wait, I will be thankful that I have people that love me and take care of me too and for this vulnerability space. Maybe this is part of my togetherness vision for the year,  just in a different form than I expected.

Life is good, even with a pulled muscle.

Veteran’s Day – Veterans and Honor

We had the best conversation with Jeff’s 94 year old Granddad tonight to honor him on Veteran’s Day. The kids and I called him and he shared that he was asked to speak at the Air Force academy because they wanted to talk with someone who knew General Patton.  Colonel Hughes worked with Patton and even had dinner at his house.  I’m sure the cadets were in awe meeting and hearing first hand from a WWII Legend, who is so humble and inspiring.

poppop veterans day from cassie

He told us that he was also asked to share his knowledge about the West Point Honor Code as the cadets at the Air Force Academy also had a code of conduct that they held high and were required to enforce amongst themselves and their peers.  I shared with him that I chose to marry my husband and his grandson for several reasons, and one of these included his sincere regard for the honor code that he believed in and practiced during his days at West Point.  The honor code is like getting a receipt, that you’re marrying an honest and trustworthy person that is honorable to himself, to his peers and to his country. I was hoping that these principles would apply to marriage as well, and I was right.

I think that if we all upheld an honor code and knew that we shared this code of honor in our communities, we would be a much happier lot of people.  Below are the honor codes from the various US Service Academies:

Honor Code from West Point:

“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Honor Code at the Air Force Academy:

“The bedrock of moral and character education at the United States Air Force Academy begins with a internalization of the cadet honor code. This code was created by cadets and is owned by cadets. They are responsible for maintaining the Code as well as for the process by which those who break it are assessed. The Code is based on a fundamental, positive principles of honesty, respect, fairness, and support.

Understanding the Code

Honor Code: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

Honor Oath: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.  Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, (so help me God).

Spirit of the Code: Do the right thing and live honorably.”

Honor Concept from the US Naval Academy:

“Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right.

They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

They embrace fairness in all actions. They ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. They do not cheat.

They respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. They do not steal.”

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have lead and served and sacrifices for our freedom. Thank you.


Gratitude Jar

Today I was thankful that I sat next to my 89 year old friend at breakfast this morning. I haven’t seen her in over a year and just hearing her southern accent and seeing her sweet soul shine made me happy. Her eyes sparkle and she talks with you and asks you questions, that show her genuine interest and she is just charming and doesn’t even know it.

I used to see her more regularly, but as she has aged, she feels more comfortable staying home and not going out in the evenings, which is when I would usually see her. I appreciated her honesty and sharing her knowledge, knowing her own limitations and being comfortable with life’s transitions. I have so much to learn from her and wanted to know more about how she spends her days, as I was curious. So I began asking questions and she shared her wisdom, while I listened intently.

She told me how she looked forward to her son’s visits, how she really enjoys cooking, playing cards with her friends at the Senior Center and spending time with her church friends and community. She said she used to have about 22 friends at church, but now there were only 4 left, because most had passed away or moved into assisted living homes. I asked her what this felt like, and she said it was lonely, but that she was thankful to still be alive, and that the good Lord still had work for her to do. I couldn’t agree more! She said that some of her friends were unhappy and questioning why they were still here. She didn’t understand that, and said that she had so much to be thankful for. She then proceeded to tell me a simple story about how she was thankful today.

She said she was in her kitchen and her bottom drawer was stuck and she just couldn’t get it open, even as hard as she tried. She felt frustrated and thought maybe it was time to have someone come in to help her, but it wasn’t what she really wanted. She likes living on her own and taking care of herself, so she looked for another solution. She put a folded towel on the floor and sat down on top of it and then pushed and pulled and pushed and pulled while she wiggled and jiggled the contents until she was able to dislodge the lid that was blocking the drawer. She was so happy and proud of herself that she was able to do it on her own. She said that she decided to write this down and put it in her gratitude jar on the table. I was in awe. I asked her if she reread her blessings after they had been shared and she said yes. She said she could always find things to be grateful for and which made her happy to be alive. I couldn’t agree more and felt so inspired by her. I’m so thankful that she chose to come out this morning and that we had time together to sit and share a meaningful conversation. I love that I have friends that are more than twice my age and I Am thankful for her!! xoxo

Do you have a gratitude jar? If you did, what would you put in it today?

GGG – Day 29 – Joy

Now that Thanksgiving is over we can move on to the next season and celebrate joy!!

I think joy comes in many forms and that you can celebrate joy even when you’re sad or mad, if you open up your heart to receive it.

Mary and Steve stopped by today and brought pecan pie to share for breakfast. Gotta love the day after Thanksgiving and a loving neighborhood!! This is the first year without Irma and there was a lot of sadness to be felt, while at the same time we laughed and shared stories and pictures and felt joy. Mary Lee stopped
In too and we all sat around the table for a little longer. Joy.

Opa brought joy to the kids by bringing them to the donut shop this morning to pick out their favorites. This is a tradition we’ve shared since I was a kid. Seeing my kids enjoy my dad and chocolate chip donuts and maple bars and cinnamon rolls made me happy.

Shellee came to visit today with her girls and new friend. Hugging her again after 3 years filled my heart, even if it was just for a short visit. We grew up together and are only 3 weeks apart. She was one of my first best friends and I’ve missed her!!

I find joy everywhere…I seek it out, do you? I find joy in little things and big things but mostly through relationships and connections and babies and nature. What fills your heart?

I found joy in leaving Thousand Oaks and admiring the rolling hills and beautiful sunset as we began our journey home.

And I’ll share one more joy before closing out Black Friday. Charlie wanted to stop in San Luis Obispo to go to Powell’s Sweet Shop and Jeff said yes! We decided to spend a couple hours in SLO town and not rush back too quickly. What a fun way to almost end the day.

Kids in a candy store!

Life is sweet and filled will joy.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, found all the sale items you were seeking if you braved the crazy Black Friday shopping hours, and are seeking out joy as we carry on into Christmas and through Hanukkah and into the New Year!


“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank

GGG – Day 24 – Family

“Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” ― Annette Funicello

Gratitude Gift Giving Day 24 – I’m almost done with my daily awareness of what I’m thankful for, not that I’ll ever be done, but I’m looking forward to sharing more stories on daily living besides my gratitude challenge this month.

Today I’m thinking of my crazy family.

My philosophy is to live it up, and love it out. I also believe that we are all perfectly imperfect. It’s ok to make mistakes, especially when we are trying and doing great things, like being kids and parenting.


This was one of the highlights of my simple day.  Two of my kids came to join me to sit and chat and share stories while I was working on my Christmas strategy.  This was one of the gifts I received from not being busy.  I had time to sit and snuggle and I am thankful for that.

I love that the little one sat on the couch with me this morning and we shared a blanket and ottoman and had our legs intertwined, as he finished his book and I read the Sunday paper, while drinking my cup of coffee.

I’m thankful that Jeff makes my coffee every day and that we have time together before things get busy, as they normally do.

I love the little things that my family gives and shares with me, despite all the daily struggles of parenting 3 big kids with big voices and opinions. I choose to share the highlights despite the daily tribulations that we face and learn how to navigate as we go through the journey of living together.  No life is perfect. We all have our challenges and I choose not to judge and to do my best, despite the chaos that life presents while we’re living it up and loving it out. And if I fail today, tomorrow is less than 24 hours away to begin again and start fresh.

I am grateful for my wonderful crazy, loving, smart and funny family. Life is good.

What do you love about your family?




GGG – Day 16 – Home

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Jane Austen

My family just wants to be home. I understand. I get it and I’ve decided to join them. I’m the one that usually wants to plan family outings and shared experiences. The kids have told me we have enough togetherness and don’t really need any more special outings every weekend. I understand, really I do. At first, I felt a bit sad and disappointed. But I listen to them and know that you can’t force things and cling on to things as they are changing, and they are growing up. I don’t always want to push my agenda and so I adapt. And guess what? Life is really good that way, for all of us.

Soccer season just ended and we didn’t have any plans to go anywhere. I decided to embrace home life and just being home. I love to cook and try new things and so that’s what I decided to do today. I opened my Julia Child’s cookbook and spent the day cooking Beef Bourguignon. It takes several hours to prepare and cook this dish and the entire house has smelled delicious all day. It brought back wonderful memories of Marco and Kathy back at business school, when Marco would cook this dish and spoil us. I loved being in the kitchen and having my family come in to see what I was doing and to tell me how good it smelled.

While I was cooking, Charlie and Juliana were outside playing in the front yard with the fallen leaves and creating huge piles on the grass with our neighbor friends. They were so cute working for hours together, creating their stock pile and jumping on their mountain. They played hide the turkey and threw leaves in the air, laughing and diving in the piles. I enjoyed hearing them play and had to go outside to take pictures and share their joy.


Juliana and J came in to make carmel brownies for dessert and April and Steve came over to join us for a laid-back, casual/fancy slow-cooked meal.

And so today I’m thankful for my family for teaching me to relax and to just enjoy being home without having to go anywhere. And learning that sometimes what you’re trying to create can just come naturally and be so simple. Everyone was happy and relaxed and got to do what they wanted to do. And in the end, togetherness just happened. I am happy, at home. Life is good.

How did you spend your day? What do you love most about your home?

GGG – Day 10 – Favorite Treasure

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

Gratitude Gift Giving – Day 10 – What is your favorite treasure? What do you treasure?

First, let me say thank you for being here, following and reading along with me as we think about what we’re thankful for and why. Whether you’re thinking about what you’re thankful for or sharing your ideas here with me and/or with others, we’re changing the conversation. We are being the change we want to see in the world by talking about and thinking about all that is good in our lives. We have so much to be thankful for despite all the circumstances and events that might prove otherwise. Keep up the passion and sharing and thinking good thoughts. Because what we think, we become. Keep being great.

So today’s gift is to think about what you treasure. What are things that you look at or touch and feel that make you happy? And why does your treasure evoke positive feelings?

I have a treasure chest. It’s a real, treasure box that Jeff and I bought in Marin at an antique shop years ago before we had kids. I wanted a treasure box to store mementos from our lives as we started to build our family. I think it may have been an Indonesian wedding chest, that would have been used to store linens or treasures, but I haven’t really done any research on it and instead just use my imagination to make it what I want it to be.

I wanted a treasure chest to store little mementos and love notes from Jeff and the kids . My intention was to keep filling it with memories without looking back until some time in the future. I don’t think I’ve actually gone back and looked yet, although I know little hands have been found digging around in there as evidenced by what is stacked on top as I opened it to take a picture tonight. Someday I will enjoy going back in time and looking back and remembering the love we’ve shared and experienced together over the years. This is my treasure. My family and my treasure box that reminds me of all that is good.



GGG – Day 2 – Food, Glorious Food

Gratitude Gift Giving (GGG) – Day 2

What food makes you happy? What type of food do you love and crave?

““All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz

I love food. I don’t discriminate or judge. I just love it all. It’s probably why it’s so hard to lose weight, because I love it so much. I get such pleasure from just looking at food, shopping for it, cooking it, eating it and going out for it and sharing it with family and friends.

I don’t know if I could pick just one favorite. But today, my favorite food was the Dark Chocolate covered Rice Krispy Treats with Sea Salt sprinkled on top with Halloween Sprinkles too. April made these and brought them over to our Halloween party. There were some left over and they made for a great breakfast treat this morning!

Thank you April, for fulfilling my chocolate fantasy!! Oh, they were so good!!