Daily Gratitude: Life On Mars

Through time and space, I arrive anxious and uncertain. I am in a dark place, isolated by my own doing. I controlled the launch. I selected the destination. Fear of asphyxiation lies right outside the comfort of my shuttle.

What if I’m not ready?

What if I’m not good enough?

Often times, this is what self questioning and depreciation can feel like. We retreat to the darkest places of our mind, only to be met by irrational fears and a contorted view of our reality. We may not travel to Mars but these thoughts certainly can make us feel hundreds of millions of miles from anyone who can help or understand. The same two questions presented prior to any kind of major change or transition in our lives. These questions, have an answer.

You are ready.

You are good enough.

You were born for this.

I step out on to the surface of the foreign planet. The sun, warming my suit and finally reaching this side of Mars. I grow more confident with each motion forward. I forge a new path in a strange place leaving behind the comfort of my ship.


Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. 

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. 

But is there for the night a resting-place? A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 

May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn. 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? Those who have gone before. 

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? They will not keep you standing at that door. 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labour you shall find the sum. 

Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come.

As the old adage goes, we don’t know unless we try. Words of change fill and circle my mind like wind trapped in a bottle. The journey will not be easy. The answers we seek may not always be clear. But we must begin if we wish to find our way. Indecision and complacency leave us stranded in the recess of our minds, on the cold side of distant planets.

Begin today, and do it with gratitude for what got you here.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Clear blue skies and warm spring days
  2. The sound of the wind, a song and a reminder
  3. Creative outlets and opportunities
  4. Coaches, teachers, mentors, and role models
  5. Late night ice cream
  6. A couple deep breaths when I need them
  7. Time to reflect and decide
  8. Inspiration, in all its forms
  9. My family and the support they provide
  10. The here and now, this present moment

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

All About Values (#291)

Today was great! My class talked about gratitude without any prompting from me, I promise. All of the values we discussed are important and worthy of admiration. It all contributes to building positive and encouraging environments for the people around us.

These are students that want to make a difference. People who care about making positive changes in their environment. I’m so grateful to share these discussions and learn about their “why”.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Patriots football
  2. Time with my cat
  3. Making it to the gym
  4. Old man basketball with my dad
  5. Peanut butter snacks
  6. My headphones
  7. Talks about purpose
  8. Clean water
  9. Teaching CORE
  10. My education
  11. Working with my Peer Mentors
  12. Local pizza
  13. New candles for my apartment
  14. Time to breathe
  15. My family
  16. Trust and understanding
  17. Belief in others
  18. Patience for myself and others around me
  19. Life lessons and good books
  20. Gratitude!
  21. Late night ice cream
  22. Consistency and support
  23. Creativity of others and inspiration
  24. My mentors and teachers
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image of Ned and I watching the Pats win.

Checking In (#280)

Just a few pictures from the past few days. I’m grateful for all of it!


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My friends from UMass
  2. Peanut butter and bananas
  3. A sound of the train outside my house
  4. Belief in something greater
  5. Sharing ice cream
  6. Good teachers and mentors
  7. Smiling until your face hurts
  8. Clean water
  9. Trust and understanding
  10. Learning to play instruments
  11. Embracing change
  12. Running in the rain
  13. Feeling organized
  14. New music
  15. Productive practice
  16. Climbing into my warm bed at the end of the day
  17. My headphones
  18. Weekend hiking
  19. Camping under the stars
  20. Morning tea and nighttime stretches
  21. My family
  22. My summer of safe travels
  23. Leadership lessons
  24. Focus and attention
  25. Being present

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Happy Birthday, Ned! (#264)


The old man turns 11. One year again today, I adopted Eddard Stark Ames but I like to call him Ned for short. He’s not the friendliest but he sure knows how to cuddle. He’s an old man set in his ways but has brought love and affection to my family and me. When I adopted Ned, I wasn’t sure how my parents would react. They weren’t thrilled about the idea but I think they realize how special Ned is. He’s always around to listen and can appreciate a good piece of ham. Looking forward to spending many more birthdays with my cat Ned.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time with my cat
  2. Rainy days inside
  3. Sleeping in
  4. Snow days off from work
  5. Mellow music and rain mixes
  6. Time at the gym
  7. Clean water
  8. My mom for watching Ned all summer
  9. Safe travels
  10. Time to journal and reflect
  11. Talking things out
  12. The feeling after you brush your teeth
  13. A clean apartment
  14. Visiting family in California
  15. Honesty
  16. Time for photography
  17. Nighttime stretches
  18. Gratitude
  19. Warm water with lemon
  20. Making new friends
  21. Having new experiences
  22. The community of bloggers on WordPress
  23. Good directions
  24. Chipotle
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image of the birthday boy

When Life Gets Crazy (#254)

Life often feels like a balancing act between juggling responsibilities and taking care of yourself or your family. When the stress sets in, remind yourself that you still need to take care of you.

Personally, I get frustrated hearing people tell me that “they’ll be fine” or “it’s no big deal” when they’re not taking care of themselves. Finding time for you is important. It’s not always easy but it’s important. Be grateful when you can.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. New UMass residents
  2. A night for myself to relax
  3. My good health
  4. Time to listen to music
  5. Sharing desserts and talking things out
  6. Good communication
  7. Time at the gym
  8. My family
  9. The warmth of the sun
  10. When I can help others
  11. Summer games and lawn competitions
  12. The feeling after you brush your teeth
  13. My grandparents
  14. A couple deep breaths
  15. Starting my day with tea
  16. A clean apartment and a vacuumed rug
  17. The smell of fresh cut grass
  18. Clean water and my Cambodia friends
  19. Video games nights with my cousins
  20. The trees in the horizon
  21. Knowing I’m not alone
  22. When my cat Ned gets excited about dinner
  23. The fan next to my bed
  24. My supervisor Adam
  25. This very moment

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image of my ferocious cat taking a big yawn.

Time Flies (#232)

I’m really trying my best to be present. To savor and cherish every second that passes me by in a day. I get to celebrate one of my best friends, Melissa, with her family and I’m grateful. The problem is as I write this post, is that today is already over.

This goes two ways though. I feel like I’m being mindful without the constant mental reminders. I engage in conversation, I use my senses to appreciate my surroundings, I listen to others, and it all falls into place from there. I can’t believe there’s already been 11 days of August because I feel like I just got home.

Life is both long and short, we gotta make the most of it anyway we know how.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Going out on the boat
  2. Trying new things
  3. Swimming in a warm lake
  4. No traffic
  5. Delicious breakfast and cheesy eggs
  6. Premier League updates from my brother
  7. Shared laughter
  8. Finding new things in old bookstores
  9. Buffalo Chicken Calzonesssssssss
  10. My BSU friends and memories
  11. Mini golf with the Belanger’s
  12. Quick naps in the car
  13. Family adventures in the mini van
  14. A warm towel
  15. Pleasant surprises
  16. My grandma’s home made Italian food
  17. Getting organized and making plans
  18. The jet lag to help me write my blog
  19. That my family loves my cat too
  20. My discover weekly on Spotify
  21. Comfy pillows and sweatshirts
  22. The smell of rain
  23. Learning something new
  24. Reading newspaper comics with my dad
  25. The right here, right now

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image of a weird perspective from the pier. What’s your gratitude today?!

Embracing Change (#231)

I’m grateful for gratitude. It may seem like an intuitive statement but it’s true. Gratitude is powerful and sharing it allows us to be present. Change is always happening and gratitude grounds us in the here and now.


Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Ice cream trips with Mel
  2. Celebrating Mel’s birthday with her family
  3. Gratitude
  4. A clean and nice smelling car
  5. Night time stretches
  6. BSU Greek life
  7. Sharing music
  8. Honest people and good communication
  9. Chocolate dessert
  10. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!
  11. A beer with my dad
  12. Harry Potter movie marathon
  13. Crimson and Weygand memories
  14. Heat lightning
  15. Home cooked meals and good grilling
  16. Cuddling with my cat
  17. Recliners and movies
  18. Sitting on my balcony
  19. Fresh smelling plants and flowers
  20. My Peer Mentor staff
  21. Working at UMass
  22. Summer audiobooks and book clubs
  23. The start of the Pats season
  24. Game of Thrones Sunday’s
  25. Being exactly where I am
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image from my run with my mom. Grateful for her and our time together.

    My Power Within (#206)

    There are a lot of people I look up to. They’re strong, self motivated, and have this innate confidence I often wish to emulate.

    I’m grateful. I didn’t always believe I had it. I didn’t always feel capable but I know over time that’s changed. My heart ache, my moments of learning, it’s helped me recognize my own power within. My power comes from my breath and is sustained with each moment of gratitude and appreciation for this life and my place within an ever changing universe.


    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. One step at a time
    2. Orientation dance parties
    3. A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. Check out my CLEAN WATER project and see how you can get involved!
    4. Punk music with Riley
    5. Time at the gym
    6. Naps after work
    7. A few deep breaths when I’m anxious
    8. The sound and smell of rain
    9. Runs through campus
    10. College football season and PAC 12 after dark
    11. My brother hearing out my crazy dreams
    12. Honesty
    13. Reclining seats at the movies
    14. My friends who encourage and support me
    15. Embracing change
    16. PC Gaming with my dad
    17. Neighborhood wiffleball games
    18. The smell of seaweed
    19. My grandparents
    20. Real instruments
    21. Spotify music and my favorite albums
    22. My fraternity
    23. Love songs and feel good music
    24. Phone calls Home
    25. The present moment

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of Loch Ness in Scotland. The day was perfect as the ferry did a small loop in the massive lake. The sun was out and the breeze felt good. The sky was blue and it was the perfect day to spot an underwater sea monster.

    Gratitude In Food (#194)

    If you’ve been following along, it’s no secret I’m a huge fan of good cooking. I often find gratitude in food like peanut butter and buffalo chicken for more reasons than just how they taste. These foods and flavors are closely associated with fond memories and important people.

    This is also bigger than just me. There are millions of people around the world who aren’t sure what their next meal is or when it will come. I’m lucky I have so much access to food and clean cooking. There are people far worse off than I am and that’s something I’m mindful of whenever eating. I’m grateful I got to spend the day cooking good food with good company.

    Happy 4th, America!


    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. Homemade Lasagna
    2. Local Pizza
    3. Sharing birthday cake
    4. Fish and chips
    5. Granola in the morning
    6. Peanut butter
    7. Sushi
    8. Fresh fruit
    9. Anything from the grill
    10. Stir fry and Pho
    11. Taco Tuesday
    12. Beef and Broccoli
    13. Thick and creamy Alfredo
    14. A good cheeseburger
    15. Baked Fusili, a Cambodian dish
    16. Donuts coming home from basketball with my dad after both wins and loses
    17. Eggs! Omelettes, scrambled, fried, they’re all good to me
    18. Celery for snacks
    19. Watermelon in the summer
    20. Bagels on Sunday
    21. Cereal after school
    22. Desserts of all kinds
    23. New England Seafood
    24. Trying new foods
    25. Sharing the present moment

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of one of the many dishes we made today. I have a new appreciation for vegan and vegetarian food, delicious!

    “The Outcome Is Not The Outcome” (#190)

    I was listening to my new favorite podcast “Tribe of Mentors” and this was one of the quotes.

    “The outcome is not the outcome”.

    I think this quote stands out to me because I’ve seen it in my own life. Despite what happens in life, what we go through, what we accomplish, the world turns on. Successes, failures, change, it’s all constantly occurring leading us to new outcomes and learning moments.

    I think this is why gratitude can be so important. We can recognize how far we’ve come. When we were at our lowest, what it took to climb out because we know we can keep going. All we need to remember is to take it one day at a time.


    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. The month of June
    2. Time to journal
    3. Safe travels
    4. This week with my brother. Having him here really made transitioning back to England that much easier.
    5. Drake’s new album Scorpion and talking about it with my friends
    6. Catching up
    7. FaceTimes with friends and family
    8. Clean water
    9. Healthy habits
    10. Trust and honesty
    11. My red hiking bag and the places it goes
    12. Warm covers on cold nights
    13. Signs from the Universe
    14. What hard work brings
    15. My process
    16. Walks into town
    17. New beginnings
    18. A clean room
    19. Audiobooks and podcasts
    20. My family
    21. Summer on the cape
    22. Moments of learning
    23. Early morning runs
    24. Good health
    25. The present moment

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image from our travels to Liverpool. Thought the reflection looked cool.