Not enough words in the day.

Dear friends,

Some days, you end up feeling like there just isn’t enough something to keep you going.

Some days there aren’t enough minutes of sleep. Others, not enough moments of joy. And others, not enough expressions of friendship or gratitude.

Lately, though, there haven’t been enough words.

I hope I don’t sound whiny here, but I’ve been trying to write more of my mountain story. And that combined with a daily post has run me fresh out of words.

Which is a bit of an odd position for me. I hardly ever run out of words. I love words. I ply them, savor them, consider them, share them.

But I don’t have any to share right now because everything I had got spread thinly over a document called The Mountain, parts 16 and 17. And part 18? It’s not written and I don’t even remember what happened in that episode, or everything after it. Isn’t that weird? It’s the latest stuff and I don’t even remember most of the details.

I think it’s a sign I’ve lost interest in the story. Not of telling the story . . . I always love telling a story. But I’ve clearly grown tired of the plot of this one. Good thing, I guess, Mr. Mom is plugging along, working the case like he has for years. I used to brag about how determined I am, how driven, how willing to expend myself to reach a goal. But I pale in comparison to my partner who refuses to give up, never says uncle, and is chewing this lawsuit like a wild dog with a bone. Last night was a sleepless one for him, but while lying awake he remembered a detail about the case that — upon further research today — just might be important to the outcome. (I slept soundly, by the way.)

We’ve always said we’re yin and yang, the two of us. In the match called The Mountain, I’m down for the count and he’s still punching.

Or . . . maybe . . . he’s the choreographer and I’m the scriptwriter. I think I like that metaphor better.

Yeah, I like that a lot better. I’m going to head back to the words. I’ll try to come up with some good ones.

With gratitude {for a man of few words but many actions and remarkable stamina},

Joan, who discovered a new writer recently and loves her words

Never before had I known the sudden quiver of understanding that travels from word to brain to heart, the way a new language can move, coil, swim into life under the eyes, the almost savage leap of comprehension, the instantaneous, joyful release of meaning, the way the words shed their printed bodies in a flash of heat and light.
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian

Spring break and a fresh start.

Dear friends,

I’m blessed to have a multitude of friends — some lifelong ones back home, some new ones who I’m enjoying getting to know here, and some virtual ones I’ve met through blogging and who, despite their geographic distance, feel like “real” friends to me.

I introduced you to Annie in this post. She’s the talented cook, writer and photographer behind the blog Phoo-D. I’ve been following her for as long as I’ve been blogging and I always enjoy checking in on what’s new in her world.

And I learned yesterday, there’s a lot new in her world.  Click here to read about her amazing journey and transformation.

I found her post so inspiring, I’m off to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for her Kitchen Sink Soup. I haven’t been following my own advice for healthy living for a while now, running less and less, and eating more and more packaged and snack foods. It’s spring break in our world and I’m fortunate to have next week off. (It’s my last spring break, sniff sniff, while both my children live with me.) So with both the inspiration and the time to get myself back on track, I’m off to stock up on healthy and fresh foods.

With gratitude {for good friends, good food, and a glorious week of vacation ahead of me},

Joan, who’ll be eating her Kitchen Sink Soup in front of Netflix this afternoon in a last-ditch attempt to catch up on Mad Men before the Season Five premiere airs tonight

The minions want you to know the truth.

Dear friends,

Source: Library of Congress.

I have a friend who does not read my blog. Let’s call her Non-Reader. Non-Reader has known me for many years, both professionally and personally. She knew me when Mr. Mom was Mr. Business Proprietor, which is to say she’s got my number.

Non-Reader and I have a mutual friend who reads my blog. Let’s call her Reader. Reader only knows me professionally and our relationship is relatively new.

So not long ago Reader and Non-Reader were talking and my name came up. Reader began to tell Non-Reader how inspiring I am. I’m paraphrasing what Non-Reader described to me but, basically, Reader said: I love Joan! She’s uh-mazing! Have you read her blog? She’s so accomplished. She has that high-powered job and she manages to do so much. Have you seen the cakes she bakes and the meals she cooks and her beautiful tables? And she’s got such a great family life. And she runs! I don’t know how she does it all!

To which Non-Reader snickered and said: Are you kidding me?!

Non-Reader loves me (and I love her, in spite of the fact that she doesn’t read me), but she’s a friend who always calls BS when she sees it.

So, again, I’m paraphrasing, but Non-Reader said this: Look, I love Joan, too, but let me set you straight. She doesn’t do it all. Joan hasn’t folded a load of laundry or grocery shopped or vacuumed in years. I haven’t seen her cake posts, but don’t be fooled — the woman has minions behind her making that whole illusion possible. Minions!

Reader was crushed, according to Non-Reader, who relayed this story to me with such delight she snorted. (Full disclosure: I was so tickled I snorted too.)

Reader finally said: Well, she’s a really good writer, right?

To which Non-Reader replied: Yes. It’s fair to say she’s doing the actual writing.

And on behalf of the minions (who, in case you missed the credits, are named Mr. Mom, Kate and Parker), I thanked Non-Reader for her considerate acknowledgement of their behind-the-scenes labor.

Their fetching and toting, their schlepping, their food-prepping, their dish-washing and trash-hauling, their whining and griping and back-talking, is the secret ingredient in my blog magic.

And, in an election year, Non-Reader just thought you should know that.

With gratitude {for the non-paid, non-organized labor that sustains my privileged lifestyle},

Joan, who wants her minions to know she prefers the synonym “protege” and not “servant,” “bootlicker,” “lackey,” “stooge” or “toady”

Thirty days.

Dear Friends,

I was browsing Pinterest on Sunday.  (Is it my imagination, or has the internet gotten a whole lot easier and more fun to surf with Pinterest?).  And I tripped across this image, pinned by my cousin.

Source: Inchmark

Somebody suggested capturing happy memories throughout the year on pieces of paper saved in a jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve, pull out the memories and savor them, one-by-one.

“What a great idea!” I thought, before realizing that’s what I’m doing here.

This is my 30th post. The month has flown by and, so far, I’m delighted with my little gratitude project. My readership is small but devoted, though readers aren’t why I started Debt of Gratitude. I launched this blog because I wanted to deepen and enrich my appreciation for life’s small blessings and, on that count, I can say without hesitation it has worked.

It sounds too simple to be true, but it is: the discipline and routine of journaling every single day make a difference in my attitude that is distinct and profound. As I have reflected more and more on what I have to be thankful for, petty annoyances and frustrations have receded from my attention.

Every day, I find myself thinking “What will I write about tonight?” And after writing every night, I find myself thinking I’m the luckiest girl on the planet. My plan has worked like a charm, with growing contentment and balance as side benefits.

With gratitude {for each and every one of you — friend, family member or visitor — who have shared my first 30 days with me and who keep me motivated to blog on},

Joan, who wishes she could turn gratitude-discipline into fitness-discipline but needs a whole lot more than 30 days to achieve self-mastery

In contrast to my leisurely Saturday, I had a very productive Sunday. Head over to Domestic Dilettante for the evidence.