Tag: hiking

Valentine’s Day (#352)

For many years, I was “alone” on Valentine’s Day. A Hallmark holiday that ultimately made me feel worse about my relationship status more than anything else. This year, a friend opened my eyes to a new perspective.

Valentine’s Day is about spreading love celebrating the heart. It’s not about if you’re dating anyone or going to the fanciest candlelight restaurant. The day is about gratitude for those you care about most. That’s something I can get behind.

02.14.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Store bought frosting
  2. Time to take care of my to-do list
  3. My classes and continued education
  4. Clean water and texts from Cambodia
  5. Catching the morning sunrise
  6. Hanging out with my cat, Ned
  7. My family
  8. The sound of the train passing in the night by my house
  9. Time at the gym
  10. Teachers, mentors, and coaches
  11. The upcoming weekend
  12. Practice, practice, and more practice
  13. Eating right and feeling good
  14. Working together to achieve something
  15. People who inspire
  16. The sound of birds chirping outside my window in the morning
  17. New learning
  18. Time to journal and reflect
  19. Summer grilling with my dad
  20. Ultimate frisbee friends
  21. Hanging out with my siblings in NY
  22. Safe travels and good health
  23. An opportunity to try
  24. Moments I can redefine myself
  25. The precious 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.

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

Classic picture of Ned

It’s About The Process (#351)

Lifelong learning is not something that just happens over night. It is trials and tribulations, tests and practice that helps us learn important lessons and skills. For me gratitude takes practice too.

I may not have the best day every day but I can try my hardest to have a better day after. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the support I’ve received. I know that I’m not alone and that asking for help goes a long way. I didn’t always know this. It’s been something I have picked up because of mistakes and honest conversation. Ultimately, all I can do is try my best. The rest will figure itself out. It’s a process.

02.13.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Warm summer days
  2. Waking up with my cat
  3. Nights in Acadia
  4. Stepping outside my comfort zone
  5. BSU friends and mentors
  6. Local pizza and bagels
  7. The opportunity to teach and educate
  8. Late night ice cream
  9. Safe travels
  10. Liverpool games
  11. Warm blankets and comfy pillows
  12. Learning new things
  13. Time outside
  14. A chance to journal and reflect
  15. Home cooked meals
  16. My family
  17. Getting things done
  18. Time for myself
  19. A little help and support
  20. Cooking with Julie
  21. Game of Thrones Sunday’s
  22. Talking with my parents
  23. Better dreams
  24. Letting things go
  25. The precious 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.

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

The icy tundra outside my apartment.

Hope and Gratitude (#350)

Like a sweet duet, finely balanced in perfect harmony, hope and gratitude bring us to the present.

Hope – a positive energy focused towards the future. A belief that things will get better with time.

Gratitude – a chance to recognize the best of what was. Found surprisingly in both the big things and the little things.

A balance of the two allow us to live in the here and now. Gratitude for what brought us here and hope in what’s to come.

02.11.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. A reminder to breathe
  2. Embracing change
  3. Positive thoughts and inner kindness
  4. A contagious smile
  5. Teaching CORE with Lila
  6. My Peer Mentor staff and supervisors
  7. Time to get stuff done
  8. Talks with my mom
  9. Waking up on time after forgetting to set an alarm
  10. A clear night sky to see the stars
  11. Summer working orientation at BSU
  12. New Music Friday on Spotify
  13. Spending meaningful time together
  14. Escaping to the gym
  15. Teachers, mentors, and coaches
  16. A little help and support
  17. The warm summer sun
  18. Sharing gratitude
  19. The morning sunrise shrouded in fog
  20. Home cooking
  21. Time to reflect and breathe
  22. Signs from the Universe
  23. A much needed hug
  24. A good book
  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.

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

A view from Cambodia 🇰🇭

Precious Time (#349)

Time is a mysterious thing. Some days feel long and arduous. Other days fly by in the blink of an eye. Life is short but made up of an infinite number of moments and seconds when you add it up. Eric Roth says,

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

I think I’ve learned that anything is possible with gratitude. As our lives change, as we dream of new dreams, gratitude can be our constant. If time is relative then let gratitude be our anchor. Tie it to the best things in your life. Little things, big things, it does not matter. I’m grateful for the time I have and life I live. Just trying to remember to take it one day at a time.

02.09.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time with my siblings
  2. Adventures in New York
  3. Shared laughter
  4. My home and a roof over my head
  5. Julie taking care of Ned this weekend
  6. Long drives and good music
  7. Delicious food and trying new things
  8. Good health
  9. Productive time and journaling
  10. Trust and honesty
  11. Game of Thrones Sunday’s
  12. Time outside and hikes in NH
  13. Teamwork, sports, and real collaboration
  14. The warmth of the sun
  15. Sharing gratitude
  16. Teachers, coaches, and mentors
  17. People who inspire my best self
  18. A clean apartment
  19. Comfy pillows and late naps
  20. The sound of the ocean waves
  21. Writing tips, tricks, and lessons
  22. People who inspire MORE
  23. Safe travels
  24. Embracing change
  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.

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

My siblings and I in Brooklyn! Had to rep my Celtics despite them not being there.

It Must Be A Balance (#348)

What a week it’s been!

I’ve certainly had my work cut out for me but I know my semester is just beginning. It was only a couple days ago my week started with watching Tom Brady win his sixth Super Bowl with my family. When Bill Belicheck was asked if he thought about retirement, he responded with joy. He said,

It’s about trust.

“There is an old saying about the strength of the wolf is the pack, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. On a football team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.”

It’s about being present.

“To live in the past is to die in the present.”

It’s about growth.

“I think that we’ll continue to try to look at ourselves in the mirror and see where we can do a better job, maybe where we can improve the process. But I think the fundamentals of the process will remain the same.”

Life must be a balance as gratitude is something that ties it all together. We are capable of anything through continual growth and patient perseverance. Gratitude can be your fuel. It can re-energize you after a long week. I am grateful for a lot, but being here in this moment, is what matters most.

02.07.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Summer audiobooks and podcasts
  2. A reminder to breathe
  3. Friends from home
  4. My cat Ned coming back to UMass
  5. Football with my family
  6. Time with my family
  7. Sharing gratitude
  8. The morning fog with the sunrise
  9. Clean water and staying hydrated
  10. A good night’s rest
  11. Time at the gym to clear my head
  12. Store bought frosting
  13. My Peer Mentors
  14. My friend Neth, from Cambodia
  15. Clean water
  16. Leadership lessons
  17. Teachers, coaches, and mentors
  18. My agenda to keep me organized
  19. Quiet, foggy mornings
  20. A cup of tea to keep me going
  21. Nighttime routines
  22. Signs from the Universe
  23. My job here at UMass
  24. Making new connections
  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.

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

Featured image from Edinburgh. One of my favorite days abroad.

Dancing in the rain (#347)

Another community post from my best friend, Riley! Check it out!

My name is Riley McGrath. I’m a 21-year-old FTM transgender guy from East Bridgewater Massachusetts. I’m creative, wise, a little bit crazy, really hard-working, honest, and pretty shy until you get to know me (then I won’t shut up) but most importantly, someone who’s who still here and trying.

Here is a personal story about learning to dance in the rain

We wish for a lot of things as human beings. Sometimes we wish for obtainable things. Like a new car, or a family of our own in the future. But when we wish for unobtainable things like a better mom or for things from our past to change, that’s when we become miserable. We focus on the things we don’t have or wish we have too much. Why can’t we focus on the things we are lucky to have, or the amazing people in our lives?

That’s where I get lost sometimes. I get so miserable thinking about the mom I don’t have to realize that I have my own amazing family. I have two amazing places that I have the privilege of calling home. Yet I’m focused on the pain of not really having a mom or any sort of mother figure in my life.

I remember one day when I was in high school. I was a few months into my journey of ending my addiction to self-harm. That day, no one was home and I danced in the rain. Dancing in the rain is always in movies, people talk about it all the time. If you think of dancing in the rain metaphorically, it could be interpreted as taking something bad and learning to accept it as it is and enjoy it. Learning to dance in the rain is one of the many things that worked on my journey to end a terrible, unhealthy habit.

Dancing in the rain that day, though I felt slightly crazy, changed my life. For once, my heart wasn’t so heavy and there wasn’t a pain in my chest. I felt happy and free. Doing things like dancing in the rain, singing in the car, drawing trees, and listening to music are the things that fuel my creativity, inspire me, and keep me going, especially through hard times. Throughout my first year of recovery, finding things like dancing in the rain was what kept me from going back to old habits. I was able to start college with that past mostly behind me. It was an amazing thing for me.

My advice is this:

Dance in the rain, but also let it rain without dancing sometimes.

Every bad thing is a good thing. But every good thing is a bad thing too. Despite that, every good thing, every bad thing teaches you something new about yourself. That’s a beautiful thing.Today I’m Grateful For…
1. Heated blankets
2. The ability to create my own space for the first time in my life
3. Pine scented candles
4. Every challenge and obstacle I’ve ever had to face.
5. My cat, Ginger
6. No bullshit in 2019
7. Being back at BSU
8. Everyone that thought I couldn’t get this far
9. The complexities of human beings
10. Both my jobs, my bosses and my coworker
11. Nearly being 3 years free from self-harm
12. SUITS!!!
13. Anyone that works in the service industry, our janitors, food workers, nurses, EMT’s or is rarely thanked for the work they do
14. Wisdom
15. Making Dean’s list despite how hard last semester was
16. My sister
17. Stories of the past
18. Ben Rector and Vance Joys music
19. My mentors, who always give me a voice
20. All the places I’ve been, all the people I have met
21. My car
22. My amazing, amazing friends that are always there for me
23. Sunsets and sunrises
24. My family. For being both the good and bad in my life
25. The amazing, yet crazy journey towards manhood

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.

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

A picture taken by Riley

Life’s Essentials (#346)

For me, I think there are aspects of life I always seem to take for granted. Health, safety, and food are three big ones I want to focus on. Most times, I’m not thinking about these three aspects unless something is wrong. I personally do not get sick often but I know my grandma is on a roller coaster of improvement. I almost never consider my safety until I feel unsafe. With food, it’s easy for me to run to the local grocery store and buy a wide selection of food both in season and specially imported for customers. We know food insecurity, malnutrition, and child starvation is a real issue not only here in America but all around the world.

These three essential elements help me live. For some reason, I don’t give attention to them until life goes wrong.

When we intentionally breathe with gratitude, we can recognize these elements along with many more aspects of life we may take for granted. It’s important that we stay present and use gratitude to give power to these aspects right now.

01.29.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Snow days at UMass
  2. Breakfast for dinner at home
  3. My family
  4. Good communication
  5. Walks around the pond with my grandma
  6. The warmth of the summer sun
  7. Sharing new music
  8. A clear night sky to see the stars
  9. The sound of the train passing in the night
  10. Home cooked meals
  11. Old man basketball with my dad
  12. My continued education
  13. Tuesday night soccer
  14. My Peer Mentor staff
  15. Teaching CORE and working with DB to help improve the class
  16. Patient Perseverance
  17. Sings from the Universe
  18. Beautiful, colored sunsets
  19. Friends from Cambodia
  20. Teachers, coaches, and mentors
  21. My beating heart and good health
  22. Safe travels and returns
  23. Food security and access
  24. Learning new things
  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.

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

Down by the (frozen) water in Vermont

Just Another Day (#345)

In both victory and defeat there are lessons to be learned. I just finished reading The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown and absolutely loved it. The crew had to show resilience on their journey leading up to Hitler’s 1936 Olympics.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. Not only was it incredibly well written and descriptive, but personal accounts provided by these real people brought the story to life.

Brown writes,

It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.

Everyday we are faced with new challenges. Whether we succeed brilliantly or utterly fail our task, it’s just another day. We can use gratitude to remind ourselves that we’ve made it this far. We can say the sun will rise again tomorrow. We have another opportunity to make things right, to try, try again. Gratitude and patience give us this power and it’s ours to wield.

The Boys In The Boat are special cases of what can happen with true collaboration and trust. Their incredible adventure was spurred by rowing but made possible by their hearts.

01.28.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My family
  2. Warm blankets and comfy pillows
  3. Fixing things when they need to be fixed
  4. A little understanding
  5. Patient reminders from the Universe
  6. Walks through an empty campus
  7. The Boyden steps at BSU
  8. Friends from home
  9. Clean water
  10. My girlfriend, JV
  11. Sledding down the hill as a kid
  12. Summer audiobooks and podcasts
  13. Time at the gym
  14. Friends from Cambodia and the UK
  15. Learning new things
  16. Being on time
  17. My Peer Mentors at UMass
  18. Embracing change
  19. My process
  20. Sharing gratitude and having a platform to process
  21. Healthy cooking together
  22. Time to journal and reflect
  23. Safe travels and good health
  24. Clean teeth
  25. The precious 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.

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

Featured image of the sunset

A Greater Purpose (#344)

Yesterday was defined by a single traumatic moment. As Julie and I were driving back from Vermont, snow fell quickly from the sky. The weather seemed to batter and push each car on the road on our route. All of a sudden, we began to spin out at 50 miles per hour.

In that moment, I’m not sure I fully grasped what was happening. We had spun 180 degrees around to the point where we could clearly see the cars behind us, now facing us directly. Julie managed to turn the car back around and gently guide our skid over to the side of the road. Everything happened so fast. I blinked and we were safe, unharmed, and car undamaged.

Logically, I know Julie executed the proper driving technique to bring us to safety. She kept her hands on the wheel, she slowed the car down, and turned into the skid to bring us to safety. Part of me knows it has to be something greater. Whether it was Julie’s grandparents looking out for us, our own destiny keeping us safe, or a combination of something else, it was a small miracle we landed safely considering the conditions.

I thought it was fitting. We quickly understood it wasn’t safe on the shoulder of the freeway and we had to keep moving. Despite our trauma, despite the feelings and adversity, we had to carry on. Things were tense afterward but arrived safely back in Amherst later that night.

This moment on the highway fills me with gratitude. We drove on and passed several cars who were not as lucky as we were. That could have been us, I told myself. I restrained from asking myself what if any further.

Yesterday affirms that I have a purpose greater than what I’ve accomplished in 24 years. This is meant as no disrespect to those who have passed away at young ages and in slightly different circumstances, we may have joined them. What I do know is that I can’t take life for granted. That every day deserves gratitude and I want to share that with as many people as possible. I have the opportunity to spread positivity, to give myself in service to others, and inspire people to make a difference.

Now more than ever, I know this to be true.

01.27.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My family
  2. Shared laughter
  3. Time at the gym
  4. A lifetime of learning
  5. Clean water
  6. New music and something to dance to
  7. A couple deep breaths
  8. The morning sunrise of a new day
  9. My own bed
  10. Cooking dinner together
  11. A hot shower to clear the mind
  12. Finding new places
  13. Time to get organized and prepared for the week ahead
  14. A little understanding
  15. Roadside burgers
  16. Walks through campus
  17. Sharing gratitude to process
  18. A helping hand
  19. An opportunity to look back and reflect in my journal
  20. Patient reactions
  21. A good book
  22. Teachers, mentors, and coaches
  23. A weekend away
  24. My continued education
  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.

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

Featured image of Julie at the famous red covered bridge in Vermont

Finding New Places (#343)

Julie and I are heading back from our weekend in Vermont. It was a blast to finally make our way to the Ben and Jerry’s factory on top of exploring bits of Burlington. We spent most of our time in our cozy cabin playing scrabble and cooking meals together. It was exactly what I needed to get away and prepare for another semester full of work.

One of my goals for 2019 is to find new places. To me that means stepping outside of my comfort zone, trying new things, getting out of my routine so that I can make lasting memories. This weekend was chalk full of important moments.

I’m grateful for Julie for many reasons but one thing she’s great at is going with the flow. She’s a master of adapting and isn’t afraid of what comes next. Whether we were conquering mountains or retreating back to the cabin, she was on board with the plan and ready to make the most of it.

Vermont isn’t too far from Amherst and I often take for granted what’s outside my bubble at school. It’s not easy for me to break my routine but I’m glad I got to do it with her.

01.26.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Warm tea on cold days
  2. Patient Perseverance
  3. A sky full of painted colors
  4. The warmth of the summer sun
  5. Impactful people
  6. Late night ice cream
  7. Teachers, mentors, and coaches
  8. Bubbles and candles
  9. Walks through the town market
  10. Safe travels
  11. The movement of the ocean
  12. Leftover pasta
  13. Refusing to turn back
  14. Kindness and consideration
  15. Nights by the fireplace
  16. Adequate preparation
  17. Time in the car and time to journal
  18. Card games and scrabble
  19. My family and my cat Ned
  20. Cereal snacks and potato bread
  21. New beginnings and adventures
  22. A well placed ottoman
  23. Clean water
  24. My girlfriend, JV
  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.

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

Featured image of us on a rock