Thankfulness is a Frame of Mind

Hey World,

Rain has started pattering down onto our roof almost daily and our yard is thirstily soaking it up. It's been a long four months without rain; I forgot how soothing the sound of rain is. The air smells alive. Seeds and trees and grasses are awakening, as am I. Change is coming, and it's starting today.


Ray Charles has been crooning to me about a woman he's got that's good to him. I'm smiling, because I know that feeling. I've changed my iTunes to a RC-only playlist for most of the week, and I haven't regretted it for a second.


I found gourds at the market this week. GOURDS! Tea lights are still scattered over our dining room table, the remnants of a fantastic Friendsgiving potluck dinner. I'm pretty sure I'm still full from the inhumane amounts of stuffing I devoured (thanks for the recipe Mom!), and there's so much more gravy left in the fridge...


After receiving my first-ever plaid / flannel shirt in the mail a couple weeks ago, I finally broke one out of the closet. Why did no one ever tell me how soft flannel is?!?! I've been missing out on a massively comfortable trend for so very long. Thank goodness rainy season brings with it cooler temperatures.


I cooked with freshly picked basil last night, and the scent whisked me back to my grandmother's kitchen. Then it whisked me forward to the giant margarita pizza I'm going to order the second I arrive in Naples next month.

And then I returned to where I was - standing in my kitchen, making pasta sauce from scratch out of farm-fresh ingredients - and thought, how lucky am I?


Today is Thanksgiving, and I'm counting down the minutes until my family is assembled at the dinner table so I can video call in (internet, don't fail me now!). The power cord for my computer is working on overtime to get charged up.


This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the recent realization that distance, happiness, success, and satisfaction are all but a frame of mind. They are feelings that you can manage and manipulate.

The shroud that kept me down for so long (though perfectly warranted) is slowly lifting.

Sometimes, you need to laugh about something when you really want to cry.
Sometimes, you need to sit alone and think about how cool this planet is and how lucky you are to be a micro-drop in it.
And sometimes, it's actually all about the basil. Or Ray Charles. Or a flannel shirt.

So today, and every day, relish the little moments:

 The perfect texture of your mashed potatoes.
The gleaming smiles of your friends/family around a shared table. 
The skull you tripped on by accident (or is that still just me?).
This picture of a pig in a tutu:

Whatever it is, be thankful that you're alive and well and able to enjoy it -- because thankfulness is a frame of mind too. 


PS: I am always open to exchanging emails with cute animals wearing clothes. If you want in, let's do it. 

Feeling Full and Empty: The Missing Piece

Hey World,

It's been a while. 

I never finished my posts on Malawi, and I stopped writing my "Dear World" posts every Sunday. I probably could have shared with you a million little thoughts about a number of things and some notable experiences, but I simply haven't.

Overall, things are going fine. Life is just plugging right along. 

 I love my work, and my co-workers. I love my boxing gloves and my access to both Pringles and cheddar cheese. I love the contact I have with friends and family back home, and the website "Project Free TV" that allows me to binge on all shows (good and bad). If you asked me if I was living the dream, I would be inclined to tell you a resounding yes.

So many good things are happening, I can't help but go to bed each night feeling fulfilled and grateful. And on top of that, Christmas vacation is less than six weeks away. 2015 is less than eight. 
Before the new year, I'll visit two new countries and check them off my bucket list. Could I really want anything more? 


I wish Gus wasn't dead

Our last picture together; less than 24 hours before. 

In fact, I think the foremost reason I have stayed away from blogging is that I'm still reeling from the loss of my Muffin Man. Losing him has seriously affected me, and it's affected my ability to share my life on this blog.

So without beating around the bush, here's the whole truth:

My beautiful Gus Muffin died 6 weeks ago. I was there; it was instant. There was nothing that could be done but wrap him in one of my favorite kangas, bury him outside my bedroom window, and lay on the cold tired floor gawping for air as I heaved out tears.

If you want to see me at my worst, I'll be cold, alone, and mourning the loss of a love that left me too soon. It doesn't happen often (thank goodness), but when it does, I am inconsolable.

Even though it has been six weeks, there are daily objects, reminders, and heart pangs that remind me that his love is no longer here with me {i carry it in my heart}.

 I miss his warmth, and his dependency.
I miss how his toenails alternated color based on the surrounding fur.
I miss those darn ears.


I miss our selfies, and our walks, and his impatience when I was stirring milk into his dinner bowl. 
I miss his neck snuggles and our reading time and his midnight whines to be pet back to sleep. 
I miss his funky little puppy smell, and the fact that he sat with his tail under his legs. 

But most of all, I miss the overwhelming sense of home he gave me.
I miss the sense of purpose he brought to my non-professional life.
I miss that he was the puzzle piece that made everything here feel right.

It's hard to put into words, but without those things, my life is now somehow both fulfilling and empty. There are so many things that I am proud of and excited about, and's all incomplete.

I hope my pangs of emotion reduce to a bearable throb.
 I hope seeing my mother in December centers me.
I hope time brings me balance.
I hope the New Year washes me with hope.

And ultimately, I hope I find another beautiful spirit to love with all of my heart sometime soon -- one that can hopefully endure the test of time.