Chosen Family (#313)

This post comes from my friend and a returning guest blogger, Riley McGrath.

My name is Riley McGrath, I am a 20 year old FTM transgender guy from Scituate Massachusetts, though home to me is really Bridgewater State University. I am studying psychology and am taking on a double minor in LGBT studies and women and gender studies. I hope to become a gender therapist where I will be helping trans folks like myself every day of my life.

Something that I’ve carried with me throughout my coming out and transitioning process is this idea of a chosen family. I grew in a big Irish Catholic family. These values have been ingrained in me, my whole life. Now that I’ve started my transition and have come out, the importance of family has changed for me.

To me, family is the people that accept and support you without any conditions. I don’t see my biological family being in my life forever unless they accept who I am and start to call me Riley. My true family is the people have been with me since I have come out and support me without exceptions. One of the beautiful things about being LGBT is being able to choose your family. Sometimes it’s after your biological family kicks you out. But you find the most amazing people to “replace” what you’ve lost. My chosen family is something I am grateful for every day of my life.

One of my favorite quotes about family is from the TV show, The Fosters. It is something I carry with me through the ups and downs of being queer and a trans male. “DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does” I really love that quote and it always reminds me of my chosen family.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My chosen family, even if some people aren’t in my life much anymore
  2. Drywall and painting
  3. My sister, who is one of my favorite people on the planet
  4. The trans community on social media (Laverne Cox, Aydian Dowling, Chella man, Chase Ross and too many more to mention)
  5. Question 3 in Massachusetts
  6. Bridgewater State University (as always)
  7. My friends Catherine and Sean, for letting me stay when I have to work early/ late… And their dogs too
  8. The crazy journey of manhood
  9. My car
  10. Both my jobs, my bosses, and my coworkers
  11. Music (for keeping me sane through the ups and downs of life)
  12. Being able to learn how to cook on my own
  13. Stories
  14. Church (for showing me that LGBT folks can be religious)
  15. My best friend and brother (for our hour-long conversations where I always end up crying)
  16. Rain
  17. Anyone that has ever doubted me
  18. Everything I’ve gone through and struggled with
  19. The crazy journey of manhood
  20. Having the right and privilege of voting
  21. Sunrises and sunsets
  22. My research group
  23. My dad (for giving everything up for me)
  24. How much I’ve grown since September
  25. The month of November (November 20th specifically)

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)!

Time To Reflect (#312)

With my fall semester coming to an end, I feel like I finally have time to breathe. I’m grateful to watch summer to fall, fall turn to winter. Each day brings something different. I remind myself change is GOOD with each breath I take.

I haven’t been perfect. I’ve certainly made mistakes but I work hard to recognize and learn from them. I’m looking forward to the new year. A year full of the unexpected.

The best is still yet to come.

12.12.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Finishing up finals
  2. Trying new things
  3. Old movies
  4. A good night’s rest
  5. Taking it day by day
  6. Authors that inspire
  7. Shared laughter
  8. Our little cabin
  9. Late night ice cream
  10. The warmth of the summer sun
  11. Songs from Anfield
  12. Big stretches
  13. Time at the gym
  14. Sharing and connecting with gratitude
  15. A few deep breaths
  16. Cozy blankets and warm sweats
  17. Safe travels
  18. Time to journal
  19. Weekends with my brother
  20. Local pizza
  21. Learning and reflection
  22. Clean water
  23. My family
  24. A successful fall semester
  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 Cambodia.

An evening at the mall (#311)

Community post #2! Thanks so much to our guest writers – I’m excited to share more. This post is by a fellow gratitude writer. We connected and talked about the power of gratitude over email and now this.

Check out Ryan’s gratitude journal at ryannjohnson.com/gratitude/.

Yesterday, I went with a friend to get dinner and ice cream at a mall nearby. It was the nicest mall I’d ever been to, featuring art installations in walkways, tall glass on every storefront, and the bustling atmosphere of the holiday season.

We arrived at the restaurant we wanted to eat at. They had an hour-long wait. My friend put down his number and we left to wander the mall until our table was ready.

The two of us walked, window shopped, tried on and bought new shoes, and lounged in one of the many sitting areas littered across the expansive public space.

Before we knew it, our table was ready and we strode over to enjoy a delicious meal together.

I’m grateful that an evening like this can be commonplace in my life. I’m aware of how terrible others’ circumstances can be, how my own fortunate circumstances were gifted to me, and that this privilege is ephemeral and it will be gone sooner than I realize.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. The safety of my friends and family.
  2. My capacity to fall in love and that I continually do so.
  3. That my body still works.
  4. That my body still works well.
  5. The people who have stepped into my life and become my mentors because of the mentors they themselves have had.
  6. My reclining couch that ruins most other couches I sit on.
  7. Books.
  8. Audiobooks.
  9. Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Wise Man’s Fear” on Audible.
  10. Being able to make and eat my own favorite meals any time I want.
  11. Having a job I inherently enjoy.
  12. That I’ve fallen into a line of work that I’m good at and is in relatively high-demand.
  13. Having co-workers who care about one another and that I genuinely enjoy spending time with.
  14. That I live in America at a time when opportunities to shape my own life have never been easier.
  15. That my psyche is still intact and hasn’t shattered under the stress of events I cannot cope with.
  16. This laptop that I got a super good deal on.
  17. My ability to learn.
  18. My curiosity that motivates me to learn.
  19. Relationships with my parents that have grown so fulfilling as I’ve gotten older.
  20. That I’ve never been part of the food chain.
  21. That I don’t live in constant fear or dread.
  22. Friendly neighbors with healthy boundaries.
  23. Explosive music for exhilarating runs.
  24. The people who love and care about me, even when I sometimes don’t feel worthy of love.
  25. That I’m still alive.

Thank you Jake for having me do a guest post on your gratitude list!

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)!

I can win this day (#310)

An exciting and new opportunity I want to start with the Gratitude Journal is to invite guest bloggers to contribute. It is with great pleasure that people can connect through gratitude and hopefully inspire others to share and reflect on their own.

Our first submission is below ~

Gratitude Journal #1

The world is complex and overwhelming, but I am strong, I have people who support me and I can win this one day.

Today I am thankful:

  • A very hot shower on a very cold day.
  • Clean laundry because my husband took care of it.
  • Cookies for breakfast, just because.
  • Time to meditate.
  • Time to relax and just breathe.
  • Warm boots.
  • Warm coat.
  • It was 11 degrees and my truck started on the first try.
  • My husband started a new job Monday and things are going great.
  • I had a problem at work and both my bosses supported me 100%.
  • I brought my 5 lb dog to work which brought me lots of happy visitors.
  • Gas is very affordable this week.
  • My freezer is full so I don’t have to go shopping.
  • My favorite show is on tonight.
  • I am halfway through holiday shopping.
  • I have enough money to be able to donate to charity.
  • My children and grandson are healthy and doing fine.
  • My younger daughter is almost finished with her thesis.
  • My older daughter has achieved work-life balance.
  • I am looking forward to my grandson’s 3rd birthday in a January.
  • There is a free holiday party at work!
  • My dog, Kylo is making so many people smile today.
  • I am busy, but I put all my obligations on a list and it feels good to mark them off.
  • I turn 57 tomorrow and I feel good about that.
  • I miss my parents but I know they live within me.

 

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)!

 

Our Comfort Zone (#308)

There are times I can be quite rigid. I stick to my routine and wouldn’t dare change it up. I think there’s value in recognizing that. Theres power in reflection.

I’m grateful for when I can return to that familiar feeling. When I can recharge and find my breath. I want to find gratitude in normalcy and the mundane but not grow fond of it. I think it’s important to find ways to expand our comfort zone, not escape it. We just have to take it one step at a time.

11.28.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Morning coffee and happy smiles
  2. My supervisor Adam
  3. A productive morning
  4. Warm tea
  5. New traditions
  6. A little understanding
  7. Patient breathing
  8. Time to read
  9. Pickup soccer after work
  10. Liverpool FC, even when they lose
  11. Making new friends
  12. Late night ice cream
  13. Classic movies
  14. My family
  15. Learning something new
  16. Clean water
  17. Those who inspire and motivate change
  18. Leadership lessons
  19. Just getting started
  20. Sitting by the train station
  21. Sharing gratitude
  22. The Shea Durgin hill
  23. Warm blankets
  24. Expressing emotions
  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.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

Featured image from Matador beach. Missing the California sun.

Quite The Combination (#305)

Breathing, Gratitude, and patience.

Three things I have worked on all year long. With gratitude, I give thanks for the challenges and moments of learning of this past year. I sit with and appreciate the support from friends and family. With patience, I understand life only happens one moment at a time. I must be patient with my process above all else. And finally, breathing. It is with my breath I tie myself to the present and release any negative energy I hold.

With these three things, I feel unstoppable.

11.24.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. FaceTimes with friends
  2. Stretching before bed
  3. Clean water
  4. Sharing gratitude
  5. A couple deep breaths
  6. Frank and Holly
  7. Random dancing
  8. Pancakes on weekends
  9. Car ride singing
  10. Fresh fruit and veggies
  11. Local bagels
  12. Good advice and mentors
  13. My family
  14. A change in season
  15. Moments of learning
  16. A little inspiration
  17. Cozy slippers
  18. Good communication
  19. Board game nights with the family
  20. My grandparents
  21. A home cooked meal
  22. Time off from work and classes
  23. Sharing music
  24. Sports
  25. The here and now

Always love hanging out with my Cat.

We Create Our Own Meaning (#304)

One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. We respond to life, we create our own meaning

Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning

11.23.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Waking up with the sunrise
  2. Summers as a camp counselor
  3. Heart to hearts with Halley
  4. Time with my cat
  5. Local bagels
  6. Homemade calzones with Julie
  7. Learning something new
  8. Apple Cup wins
  9. Hometown reunions
  10. Time with my brother
  11. A clean apartment
  12. Fresh Watermelon
  13. An opportunity to create
  14. Time at the gym
  15. My continued education
  16. Anytime I can play soccer with friends
  17. A bed that I fit on
  18. A couple deep breaths
  19. A clear night sky to see the stars
  20. My brothers in Sigma Pi
  21. Summer audio books and walking though campus at Essex
  22. Hikes through the desert
  23. Writing inspiration
  24. Daily goals
  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.

What may have been my favorite sunrise. Acadia, Maine!