14 Days of Gratitude Round-Up

So the 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge is over and after each challenge Celes host, she likes us to do a round up and give an overview of what we thought about the challenge.  Here are the 5 important questions she ask:

Reflect over the following questions today:

  1. How has the gratitude challenge been for you? (Have you found the tasks helpful in cultivating gratitude?)
  2. What has been your favorite task(s)? Why?
  3. What have you learned in the challenge? What have you learned about gratitude? Elaborate.
  4. How do you plan to integrate gratitude into your life moving forward?
  5. Anything you would like to see at PE moving forward? If so, what is it?

The gratitude challenge has been very helpful for me.  I suffer from depression, so to go each day and be aware of things in my life to be grateful for, helped me see there is a lot of good in my life.  My favorite task besides the meditation task, was the sharing task.  It feels wonderful to give to other people, especially in a day and age when they are wondering what you want in return.  I have learned from the challenge to show appreciation to loved ones, even if it’s just a small act of gratitude.  I learned more about what’s important and what’s not.  Moving forward, I plan to continue each day to write in my handwritten journal 3 things a day I’m grateful for and to continue practicing meditation along with reflecting on my mistakes.  I love the challenges at P.E. I began out in the 21 day journal challenge and still have those saved.  I also have saved how to find out the water intake I need, and I kept all this written down from the Health Challenge I participated in.  I think Celes does a fantastic job and considering how busy she is, hosting these free challenges are awesome.  If another challenge were to form and take place, I’d like to see another journal challenge with task on what to write on, or maybe, an challenge that helps individuals become more organized, save money, that type of thing.  Thank you all. 

Day 13 and Day 14 #Gratitude

  1. Thank about at least two mistakes you have made before which you felt bad about. They can be small or big mistakes; the point is that you felt bad over them at some point in time–perhaps at the very point when the mistakes were incurred.
  2. Identify three things you gained from each mistake. They can be intangible things like self-realizations, life lessons, or an improvement in your well-being. They can be tangible things like gaining (or losing) a physical object, a new person you met as a result (who subsequently became your good friend or even partner), or even the improvement of your health.
  3. Now, I would like you to review each mistake. Have you become a better person as a result of each mistake? Was each mistake truly a “mistake”, or actually a gift in disguise? You decide; it’s your own conclusion.

I’m not cheating by combining Day 13 and Day 14 of the 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge.  I practice Day 13, meditation on a regular basis.  It relaxes me as well as helps clear my mind so I can sleep.  I normally like to waiting until the children are in bed and I sit in the living room because it’s my favorite room.  There I sit comfortably crossed legged, with good posture, listen to soft piano/meditation music, and practice my breathing.  Thoughts of the day, yesterday, and tomorrow will go through my mind, but they leave as soon as I have acknowledged them and I feel better.  I cannot lie.  There are some days when I’m stressed and I know meditation would help and perhaps some yoga butb I get in a funk where I just don’t want to.  This would be my only fault in using this technique is not being consistent with it.  I plan on working on that beginning tonight. 

Moving on to Day 14.  Two mistakes takes some narrowing down over my 36 years.  I would say one of the hugest is getting addicted to opiates in 2000 when my grandmother, whom raised me passed away.  The other huge mistake is legal trouble I got into and some of it was due to bad choices made because of an addictive nature.  3 things I learned about not going back to my good job in 2000 and instead chose to use would be 1.  at the end of it all, and being in a program for 2 years, when I was no longer high at the end of 2010, my granny was still dead, and 98% of all my problems, I brought on myself.  I also realized, I loved my children, but I could do better if I learned to love myself.    I realized I hurt a lot of people that cared about me, as well as hurting myself.      The legal trouble I had gotten into made me realize my life was unmanageable.  I realized I was letting addiction control my thinking and behavior and doing things I normally would have never thought of doing.  Even now, I have no license, owe a lot of money to get one back, and this has hurt me in job wise, taking my children places and not having to be dependent on anyone else.  If I lived in a community or city where public transportation was possible it wouldn’t be so bad. I live in a small coal mining town, population literally of about 400 people, the community has a post office, two churches, a fire  department, and a lot of gossip.  I have lived here my entire life though.  It’s a gorgeous area, and I love in the warm weather, especially summer, walking the mile to the river that runs through my community, and swimming  with my daughters.  However, any jobs, stores, of anything like that is at least a 20 to 25 minute drive.  I have no one to blame but myself for the lack of transportation.

The last thing ask on here, was these truly mistakes or gifts in disguise.  I can’t answer just one way.  There is too much grey in the middle.  My addiction was a huge mistake.  At the same time, it’s a gift.  It’s made me more compassionate toward people, more understanding of people’s lifestyles and hardships.  I regret my past sometimes follows me around, and I don’t want this to have a negative impact on my children.  At the same time, I have experienced rehabs, jail, no license, (as they notice now), relapses, losing almost everything, and just about anything an addict can experience.  I feel like my children know they can communicate openly with me and based on their age, I communicate with them about some of the consequences of using drugs cause.  I have had a couple of therapist that were addicts.  I always thought they were the best ones.  They were clean, had went to school for their job, and they understood me better than someone who had never been in my shoes.  I plan on taking a photography class in the spring, but I also wanted to check on being a social worker for addicts.  I need more clean time, and as of January 2014, I can have my record expunged and get my voting and gun rights back.  My conviction was a non-violent conviction, in which I paid my fines, was on supervised probation for 2 years, sent to different out patient treatment centers, and I have been off of probation since January 2011 and have not so much as jay walked.    The legal trouble: was it truly a mistake or a gift in disguise.  For the most part I want to say a huge mistake, no gifts involved.   Even that isn’t true.  I have realized if I hadn’t gotten into trouble and been put on supervised probation with the threat of jail over my head, I would probably be dead by now.  I couldn’t stand my probation officer at first.  I felt like it was unreasonable to request things from me when she knew I had no steady income, ect.  When I got off of probation almost 3 years ago, I sincerely hugged her and thanked her.  She saved my life.  I also realized the value of not owing money to courts and different things.  In America, or at least here in Virginia, all I heard was how driving is a gift, not a right.  I understand that to the fullest and as I begin the Virginia Alcohol and Addiction Program, the last step into regaining my license, I know once I regain my license, I won’t take it for granted again. 

Now I’m at the part of my 3 things I’m thankful for on each day:  1.  Thankful I do have a sense of humor.  2.  Thankful I have an honest heart because everyone around here cannot stand the probation officer I had.  She went above and beyond for me because I never lied to her.  If I knew I wouldn’t pass a urine screening, I told her.  She respected my honesty.  As far as respect go, my word is about all I have other than my children.  I’m glad I’m trustworthy.  3.  I just said this, but it’s worth repeating, I’m glad people find me trustworthy and that I have not caused them to regret that.  4.  I am thankful that my grandparents raised me right, so that even at my lowest, I didn’t do things, such as steal from someone, to get drugs.  I was raised different.  5. I am thankful people have forgiven me for mistakes along the way and stood by me.  6.  I am so thankful to participate in another of Celes’ challenges and learn about myself by doing them.  

Day 12 of #Gratitude

I was looking over my 3 things I listed for Day 11.   So here is Day 12 of the 14 Days of  Gratitude Challenge.  I mentioned sometimes I take for granted that I have a computer an internet.  Though I don’t mind sharing these things, I also had mentioned I take my boyfriend for granted with little things he does.  So last night, I turned my computer off super early and simply watched a movie with my boyfriend while my daughters stayed with friends.  He appreciated the time together and so did I.  I thought a lot about taking simple things for granted and had an idea pop into my head for Christmas.  

In 2011, my oldest daughter brought me home from school a Wandering Jew plant for Mother’s Day.  It is becoming fuller and beautiful.  I decided for my boyfriend’s mother and for his sister-n-law, I’m getting some cute pots and I already have starters in a vase that are sprouting roots.  I normally put these back into my plant to keep it thick looking.  I’m going to plant these starters in new pots and give them to his mother and sister-n-law because they adore my plant, and it’s a gift that keeps growing.  

3 things I’m thankful for today:  It’s Labor Day weekend, so the girls and I will have an extra day to sleep in.  I’m thankful that after going on 3 weeks, they are still enjoying school.  I am also grateful for the moderate weather, not to cold and not too hot.      What are you grateful for??

Day 11 – Taken For Granted

3 things I take for granted:  that is the task today for the 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge.  

1.  I can say that sometimes I take my boyfriend for granted.  I get used to the things he does for me and forget to tell or show him how thankful I am.  I am working on this.  Just simply saying thank you to him, makes him feel appreciated. There are a lot of other things I can do also.

2.  I know I take having a computer and internet for granted.  There are a lot of my friends that don’t have either.  Although, I can’t buy them one, I do encourage them to come use mine anytime they want.

3.  I believe sometimes I take the nice weather for granted.  I’ll miss it when winter comes around.  So, today I want to take my children to do some outdoor activities. 

3 things I’m grateful for:  1.  I realized things and people I take for granted.   2.  Grateful I can fix these things and enjoy the nice weather.  3.  I am grateful my children love our neighbor’s baby and since our neighbor lost her mother during the spring, my children go over on weekends and help her with the baby. My children are great. 

Day 10 – Tipping

Reading over Celes’ 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge,  I find it interesting that in Singapore, tipping is not custom as it is here in the United States.  I haven’t had any service recently, but I can share my last service and also about me working for tips.   I worked as a bartender for our local Moose Lodge from 2002 to 2005.  Most places in my area in Virginia, if you receive tips or can receive tips, the pay hourly is very low.  Last time I worked somewhere like that was in 2007 and that was at the Waffle House.  I think my hourly pay was $3.50.  Working night shift though, I done well on tips.  The Moose Lodge was an exception.  I started out hourly pay $6.00, and then received a raise of $6.50 an hour, plus my tips. The tips were good there for me.  I worked on weekends, stayed until closing which was 2 a.m. and they held a dance on Saturday nights that brought in a lot of guest.  I’m not bragging but I work hard at any job I have and I worked hard there.  Half the time it seemed I was running because I never let a customer go without a drink in place, food they ordered, and I made sure the bar area was stocked and clean, the ice bins, and other things to make it easier on the next person coming in the next morning.  

The last service I have had, that a tip is expected, is a place called Happy Nails.  I adore the way they do my nails, but money is tight so I go there to get my eyebrows waxed. The charge for that has went up the past year, which isn’t bad.  It cost $8.00 to have your eyebrows waxed and they do an extremely good job.  Plus, I hate the pain of tweezers. I suppose if I were going by the 15% rule, I’d tip $1.20 or round that up to $1.50.  I always usually have $10 and just tip whomever waxes my eyebrows, $2.00.  For one thing, I have went there for years.  I was going there in 2003 to lay in the tanning bed that is no longer there, and have my nails done. Also, my eyebrows and lips.  I have dark hair so I tend to get bushy eyebrows and a dark line above my lip. Since I have been using their service for so many years, they know my name, my daughters’ names., my boyfriend’s name, ect.  I’m never left waiting long.  This is a husband and wife business.  They get a lot of people in there for nails, pedicures, and things like that.  When they see me walk in, they know I only want about 10 minutes of their time, where as someone getting nails put on can take well over 30 minutes.  So, they will go ahead and take me to the back.  It’s the friendliness and personal level I have gotten used to.  In fact there was one time i had no change, so I tipped the wife $5.00.  So, I paid all in all, $13.00 for my eyebrows. 

I won’t lie.  There have been times, I won’t tip.  In fact, there was an incident last summer where my boyfriend laid tip money on the table and I picked it back up, disgusted at his way of going along with how things are done, instead of thinking about how the waitress was as helpful as a doctor would have been working there n the dining room.  It seemed to piss her off that she wrote down the orders wrong and I requested the right order.  Then, god forbid, I wanted another White Russian.  Though the place was not busy and she had one or two other tables.  She seemed to be more interested in staying up front to speak to the cooks and it was a hassle to even get the bill.  I was surprised she had it correct.  So, no, I refuse to tip people who don’t deserve it.  I figure they should invest in a new line of work.  There are several places that are now adding the tip in with the bill, such as Applebees.  In a way, I feel like that’s unfair.  The bottom line is the waiter/ waitress can be rude, incompetent, and not care because they know they’ll still receive tips. 

Moving on, 3 things I’m grateful for today:  1.  I am grateful I had the money to give both my children this morning for activities at school, yes already. lol.   2.  I am grateful that my boyfriend’s daughter, who just turned 22 years old, found her a reliable car to drive.  3.  I am actually grateful that his daughter loves my children and doesn’t harbor any resentment toward them because her dad and mom couldn’t work out, so they split up.  Where he’s been in my girls’ life for going on 8 years, plus he’s gotten older, so he’s more settled down.  She held some jealousy for a year or two.  She has grown to be a gorgeous woman and she treats my daughters and tells everyone, they are her sisters.  For this I am completely happy.  She also calls me her step mom and I feel good about that.  

My step daughter, Kayla with a good friend, Robert. 2013
My step daughter, Kayla with a good friend, Robert. 2013