35 (a gratitude list, and the day in pictures)

every year, for the last 5 or 6 years, I've made a list on my birthday of things I'm grateful for and things that strike my fancy.  I keep on going until I've got a list of things equaling the number of years old that I am.  and so today, 35.  some, of course, carry (much) more weight than others, but you know that.  I'm not peeking back to previous years' lists until I finish this one, but I know there are several that will show up not for the first time.  and so, I am grateful for.....

- this sweet ball of fur, who is content to plop his soft-as-silk self in my lap for as long as possible, filling a void that was bigger than I realized since we said goodbye to Ziggy this spring
- the wonderful crew of folks that I call friends, and that I've been open to finding my way to a few new dear ones over this past year or two
- our new wood stove, waiting to be put to good use in the probably-not-so-distant future
- the dozens and dozens of jars on the pantry shelves.  the most we've ever put up in a year, from maple syrup to honey to pickled beets, peppers, okra and green beans to whole, sauced, and roasted tomatoes and a variety of jams and salsas.
- the incredible little human that calls me mama, and for all of the things she is constantly teaching me, even if some (and the reflection of myself they make clear to me) are at times hard to swallow and somewhat unexpected.  mostly, it's a joyful wonder, and all of it, surely, is a gift.
- this steady, needed, weekend-long, soaking rain, even if it meant my yoga-in-the-park and birthday camping plans didn't quite pan out
- steaming mugs of hot tea on chilly fall mornings
- birthday morning coffee in bed
- my family
- my job, and for all of the flexibility and fun (and time off!) that comes with it
- indoor plumbing and electricity
- watching her as she confidently learns her way around horses and gracefully dedicates Saturday mornings to ballet
- strong hugs (if you're going to commit to hugging someone, do it right. if you don't really want to hug someone with a bit of gusto, maybe you don't need to be hugging them...)
- strong handshakes
- old radios
- bees
- morning birdsong
- thunderstorms
- fermented carrots (and other such deliciousness)
- buttery toast (buttery anything)
- music
- kind words
- real letters in the mail
- my exceedingly kind, generous, genuinely sincere, and loving in-laws
- salty ocean air and crashing waves
- the balmy, salty way my skin feels after spending time at the coast
- the smell of the forest in the fall... tangy and rotten, yet sweet and grounding
- for Mike.  we've known each other nearly as long as we haven't and as crazy as we drive each other sometimes, we also know each other inside and out and when it comes down to it I never, ever question how beautiful a thing it is to have him in my corner and by my side.  he is dependable and funny and kind and he is an amazing papa.  also, he splits and stacks a ton of firewood to keep us warm all winter long
- for the 'habit' of running that I picked up last fall, and for my plans to rekindle that habit in the very near future
- the garden, and all the goodness that comes out of it when we tend it with our time and our love (in the form of not only produce but also virtually free therapy)
- for books.  books that I hold in my hand and smell and hear as I flip the pages.
- for modern medicine and for caring, skilled, attentive nurses who are wonderful caregivers and patient advocates. especially those who helped to save my mom's life when she was so, so ill last year.  (love you, mom!)
-and also for the not-so-modern witches' brews stewing in our hutch as I find my way to more of my own medicine making.  it is a fun and empowering world to dive into.
- living where I live, with the resources I have.  to not be floating at sea trying to get to a safer shore. to have been able to send a little bit of help to those who are.
- being the sensitive individual that I am.  because even if it makes things more challenging sometimes, (for myself and no doubt for those closest to me) I have come to (usually) appreciate the way it allows me to so fully experience things and connect deeply.  I feel.  a lot.

here are some photos from the day, starting with gifts (delivered to me in bed along with coffee) made by my sweet one:

and then papa lovingly recreated a favorite breakfast of mine from our trip to NYC last year~

a dear friend came bearing a tray of gifts and stayed for lunch,

(which was fish tacos made by papa, complete with a delicious homemade avocado cream sauce, pickled onions, and some queso fresco)

I then made a batch of chocolate-drizzled tahini cookies to bring along to the brewery, where we were meeting friends for a bit of afternoon fun and (as it turned out) a bit of local trivia (we won a box of cupcakes from a local bakery for coming in second (um, of three) teams!)

the rain slowed long enough for the kids to run crazy outdoors while we sat at the table just inside and drank and made (some educated, some not so much) guesses about local history.  (that pretty little pot of succulents was a very thoughtful and very perfect gift put together by a good friend)

and here we are, we three:

we came home to a stew he prepared hours before.... it was delicious.  his goal of serving me three fantastic meals on my birthday was certainly realized.  yum, yum, yum.

and then, a candle in some ice cream and a birthday song.  I decided to put off a bigger birthday dessert for another time.  maybe cheesecake for dinner one night this week.....


  1. Happy belated birthday, sounds like you had an amazing day. I love your tradition of listing things that you are grateful for, such a nice idea.

    1. it really was a great day.

      I picked that up when I turned 30.... I know I saw someone else had done it somewhere, but I can't remember where. and yes, it is definitely a habit that stuck, and that I look forward to each year!

  2. Happy Birthday to you and many, many more years filled with happiness and health.

  3. What a divine day! Happy Birthday!!!

  4. Replies
    1. it was a sweet and easy day filled with good food and good friends. pretty much exactly up my alley...

  5. HAPPY birthday, indeed. May the coming year be filled to overflowing with gratitude and all good things! My birthday camping plans are unraveling as we speak, thanks to this rain. A postponement is in order but if BOTH my birthdays are half as good as yours it will be a treat.

    1. thank you, Amanda. ah yes, our camping plans dissolved due to 5 straight days of rain~ but I'm hoping to try again in a couple weeks!

      happy birthday to you!


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