Tag Archives: gratitude

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 4…


It’s day 4 of my Gratitude Challenge.  And as I went about my day, both at work and at rest, some very specific things jumped out at me that I am really grateful for.

You see, it was just a year ago on July 27th, 2013 that I fell down my brother’s staircase and broke my right leg (just above the ankle).  It happened at the tail end of an incredible 4-week cross-country road trip with my teens.

Unlike most people who break their ankle/leg, I didn’t just twist it to break it.  My foot ended up caught on the stair case behind me.  As I fell backward on top of it, I slid down the stairs with my foot trapped behind me.  Which of course, did a bang-up job.  It wasn’t just a spiral fracture and a couple of bone chips.  My ankle had separated and required serious surgery to put back together.

Sooo….

1. Today as I showered and scrubbed my feet, looking over my scar, I felt deeply grateful for my surgeon Dr. Parker who put my ankle back together. 

Because I can maneuver a wet surface without slipping today. 

Have you ever watched the TV show “Royal Pains?”  Dr. Parker is totally like Dr. Jeremiah Sacani. My surgeon is really a surgical puzzle genius, but he’s not the most conversational doctor in the world.  He has assistants to handle that.  Mostly, he’s interested in putting you back together.

It took a long while for me to recover, as I suffered some complications.  First, my body tried to reject some of the stitches. There was a subsequent infection.  Then I developed an allergy to the antibiotics plus a DVT in my leg from the surgery, and had to be on a blood thinner called Xarelto for 4+ months.  (Expensive stuff.)  Which really slowed down my recovery.  (Not to mention the drug made me feel weak and senile.)

As a result, my incision didn’t fully heal until January of this year when I finally got off the blood thinner.  Five months is a long time to deal with a large incision like that.

However, getting past it all, my ankle is strong and I almost don’t notice it anymore.  It’s not quite as flexible as it was, and it doesn’t feel quite the same as it did, but it works and works well.  I can even dance now, though my pivoting is not quite where I’d like it.  And I know I got through the whole thing better thanks to the skillful Dr. Parker.

2. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m grateful that my husband was laid off shortly after my surgery. 

It was not ideal from a financial point of view, by any means.  But he was able to be there for me and take care of me and the kids.  I don’t remember much of August or September last year, and thankfully I didn’t need to.  And when his dad was hospitalized, hubby was able to be there for that too.  I honestly am not sure how we would have been able to deal with things if hubby hadn’t have been home.  Not to mention, he’s a great cook and no one starved!

3. In spite of the physical and financial set back, I got to go to Spain with my daughter on her high school trip last spring. 

It wasn’t some last minute decision, in case you’re wondering.  We’d signed contracts and started fund-raising 2 years prior.  So it was the culmination of a lot of time and work. 

We finished raising the money, some amazing people donated and my leg held up with all the walking.  I was a little slow, but I was there.  It was my first time to ever see another country besides the U.S..  And the experience was amazing.  I didn’t see all the crochet I’d hoped to, but I did get to see things I couldn’t have imagined and I did meet a fellow Raveler in Barcelona. 

And the architecture – let me just say there’s nothing like being somewhere in person.

And that’s it for tonight.  Sleep well friends…

Aberrant Crochet - Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba - Spain

Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba, Spain. Click image to see a larger view.



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Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 3… more or less…


My day yesterday was such that it was impossible for me to write on my blog here.  So today will be my day 3. The challenge said nothing about consecutive days, so I’ll take it.

I did think about what I’m grateful for though.  It was on my mind yesterday.  So I haven’t really skated on the job.

And  this isn’t NaBloPoMo after all (few things are).  Though this week has me pondering on how easy NaBloPoMo will be (or not) this year.  It’s less than 2 months away.  And I always, always compete. Even last year in a medical haze of medicine and recovery from a broken ankle, I competed.  And won my challenge.  But I wasn’t seeking and taking all the contract work then that I am today.  Hmmm….

Today, I’m grateful for people.

Aberrant Crochet - friendship quote - Muhammad Ali

1. I’m blessed to have good friends who don’t let the time and space between us dictate the quality of our friendship.  Friends who are just as real today was they were 5, 10, 20 years ago.  Friends who have no trouble picking up where we left off, no matter how long it’s been and don’t somehow expect our friendship to evaporate if it’s not constantly stroked and entertained and plied with drinks.

In general I believe that when I make a real friend, it’s for life.  It’s not a whim, a fad or a mood.  But I am a physical being with limitations and there are only so many hours in a day.  (Btw, this does not mean I support staying in a damaging relationship of any kind with anyone, because I don’t.)

Our modern world has made our circles of reality both bigger and smaller.  Smaller in reach and bigger on the inside.  Kind of like a TARDIS.  I’m grateful for friends who get that and believe in the same quality of friendship I do.  For the most part, I really have no fear when it comes to seeing old friends.  Our souls are the same.

2.  I’m grateful for the plethora of positive people who continually cross my path in the social and blogosphere.  Not to mention the amazing collection of just cool personalities, interests and information shared.  The support, encouragement and kindness of people never ceases to astound me.  People who don’t know me have helped me when I really needed it.  I’ve seen moods lifted, attitudes shifted and suicide thwarted… ON THE INTERNET.

Some say our fascination with digital life and technology is a sign of cultural degradation and bad for our psyche.  I’m not sure that I can ever really see it that way.  I realize I roam in a small niche of creative personalities in a sea of possible experiences, but gratefully, my experiences have taught me things and added to my life.  And I can’t say any have taken from it.

Again and again I see the inherent goodness of people and appreciate it.  It makes my day, reminds me to lift others too and keeps me going.

3.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today, nor have the skills I do if it weren’t for many mentors who provided love, guidance and foundation in my life.  One in particular was Mrs. Kay Johnson, my school principal and personal teacher for 4 years.

Mrs. Johnson wielded one of the largest influences in my writing and research skills and an attitude of pursuing excellence in everything.  I would even say she gave me some personality traits I might not have otherwise picked up.  And she taught me that even tiny people can command respect and move the world.  As a kind of runt, and an almost painfully shy child, I needed that living example. She was one of the smallest and most powerful women I’ve had the blessing to know in my life and sharp as a tack. I’d love to tell her in person some day.  I’m sure she doesn’t realize she impacted me that way.

To you Mrs. Johnson.  You weren’t easy on us and you always expected the best.  And I know I sometimes frustrated you.  But you were one of the best things that happened to my childhood and I thank you.

Well… so there it is.
Time for me to get back to work now.

Y’all have a great one!


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Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 2…


In keeping with my 5 day Gratitude Challenge, I’m to pick 3 things that I’m grateful for every day.  At the end of my 5 day challenge, I then pick 3 other people to take the challenge and keep the gratitude flowing.

I could keep this simple.  Just bullet point it, leave it at that and bam – I’m outta here.

But I’m not likely to.

It’s hard for me to see the worth in the time.  Because to be grateful, you’re supposed to spend a little time on that feeling, right?  Marinate a bit, let it sink in, and maybe let it transform your attitude a little.  And also because I’m starved for writing for the love of it.  (Someone please just hire me to write interest pieces like this all day long.)

Well, so here goes….

Today – after 19 hours of errands and work yesterday – I have some very specific things in mind to be thankful for.

1. Sleep Number Bed – I love you. 

Aberrant Crochet - I have a date tonight with my bed - Gratitude for Sleep

Truly.  Hook, line and sinker.  I wish there was a perk for me to write about this, because I’d absolutely take a new pillow top.  Hell yes.  But there’s not and the fact remains, I can sleep thanks to you and I’m grateful.

Back in 2005 I was in a terrible highway collision.  One of those events you aren’t supposed to walk away from and yet somehow you do.  I was on a road trip to see my grandparents.  Thank God I decided at the last minute to leave the kids home with my husband, because the entire backside of my car was destroyed.   Within two hours of being hit by a construction/demolition truck, with a demolition hitch on the front (which looks like the front of a snow plow), I was completely numb on my left side.  You never realize what a gift being able to have sensation in your hand is, until you don’t have it.  The truck was so big and so high up, it missed my bumper altogether.  It center punched and ran over the back-end of my car, slamming me into the guy ahead of me.  My air bag never deployed and my shoulder and neck sustained major injury.  And without a normal grate on the front of his truck, none of the energy was defrayed like it should have been.  It all channeled right through the center of my car to my body, which tried to fly out of my shoulder belt.

Two surgeons wanted me to have spinal surgery, but I’m allergic to a lot of the stuff used in the surgery, including most antibiotics.  One of my surgeons believed it was worth exploring other options.  So I spent over a year in physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy just working to regain feeling and strength in my left arm and hand again.  I couldn’t crochet for months.  It hurt for my kids to lean on me, much less sit in my lap.  It sucked, in so very many ways.  Not to mention, my husband deployed for overseas duty right after it happened.  And I still have problems with my left shoulder and arm from it today.

But Sleep Number – you were there for me.  Towards the end of my therapy, I was blessed with a prescription for one of your beds.  I finally began to sleep, not just pass out.  And it still cradles me to sleep today.

2. Melatonin and the people who discovered you
– I salute you!

It’s probably because I’m exhausted, but I have to be grateful for the knowledge and availability of melatonin as an important factor in quality sleep.  Did you know that melatonin governs the quality of your sleep and has a relationship with serotonin?  That it may boost your immune system and help prevent/treat some cancers?  And that light destroys melatonin in your body, especially the blue spectrum of light?  Yeah.  All that late night computer work is not helpful.  So melatonin supplementation can be a very useful thing for someone like me.

You really need to be able to sleep at least 6 hours if you’re going to take melatonin though, because it helps you get into deep levels of sleep that you need time to wake from.  It’s not about making you sleep longer; it’s about regulating your cycle and getting to a deeper level of sleep, which is more effective than light sleep.  It also increases dreaming, especially if you haven’t dreamed (or recalled one) in awhile.

Melatonin supplementation is a modern convenience I am very grateful for.  And those people who study that stuff – you rock!

3. F.Lux – You are amazing!

F.lux™ is a computer app that helps your computer screen simulate sunlight according to the time of day, removing the blue spectrum for a warmer glow at night.  It gradually fades the light into a more relaxing warm tone and it definitely makes it easier for me to disconnect from my work and sleep better when I use the app.  It also has an option to delay its launch, say when you have graphic work to do, etc.. But it’s a great little tool, a free one at that and I’m grateful for it.  Again, I’m not gaining anything by telling you about this little invention, but I appreciate that someone thought it up!  Thank you! :) 

Oh, and F.Luxalso has a nice little page full of research articles about light and sleep here.  You should totally check it out.  I only just noticed it when I was grabbing links for this article, so I’m just looking through it too.  Sweet!

Sensing a theme here? 

Yeah, 4.5 hours of sleep last night is kind of on my mind.  (But hey, not only is the project done, but I rocked it.) And while in a perfect world I’d be sleeping 9 hours every day, these guys above help me along when I can’t.  What would I do without you?

So thanks Mr. Sleep Number Melatonin F.lux™ guy. I salute you!


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Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge…


I have been nominated by my soul sister, Laurie Wheeler (a.k.a. Fearless Leader of The Crochet Liberation Front) to participate in the Gratitude Challenge for the next 5 days. Each day I am to post 3 things I am thankful for, and then nominate three friends to take on the challenge.

This started on Facebook, but I decided to share it here too.  What better way to reboot my blog than with gratitude?  Here goes….

Aberrant Crochet's Gratitude Challenge - 6,400 seconds today - Have you used one to smile?

I just fell in love with this guy! You?

1. I am grateful for social media. It sounds like some sort of modern cliché, but the fact remains, be it Facebook, Twitter or Ravelry, I would not be in touch with a whole lot of cool people (and some cool family) if it weren’t for social media. And sometimes that’s what keeps me going.  Keeps me praying for others.  Helps me to remember.

2. After years of a completely different reality, I’m grateful to now live in a well-built home that isn’t threatening my sanity every day.  And there are fish ponds! :)  I ♥♥ my house!

3. I’m grateful for work. Nearly every lick of which has been brought my way thanks to a friend and word of mouth somehow.  Because the people I know rock.  And I will give them my all for believing in me.

Now to pour myself a cup of energy, dust off some courage and get to the day….

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I Have Some Thank You’s To Share


There are some important people and groups to be grateful for today.  I received two contributions this week for my Spain trip.  I know how to reach Doug to thank him, but Donna, EF is very secure, so I have no way to contact you personally to say thank you for your help!  (Thank you for leaving a name!)  So, Doug/Donna – thank you so  very much for your kind words and support: both for my work and for my upcoming trip.

I can’t believe we leave in 98 days!!!  crochethook

If you are unfamiliar with the story about my wish to travel the world to study crochet hooks and the hands that hold them, please read my post: I Want To Travel The World And Meet Other Women Through Crochet!  (Again, not a pickup line.)  That post tells the back story of this crazy idea I have about making a documentary about crocheters around the world, about all the very different kinds of hooks on every continent in the world, and about the hands and stories of the women who own them.

It’s crazy!  And yet, I’ve never been outside the contiguous United States ever in my life.  Ever.  I’ve never even seen Alaska or Hawaii.

So I’m set up to go as a chaperone on my daughter’s AP Spanish trip to Spain.  However, because I’m not staff and because I’m not a student, I’m on my own for all fundraising.  So that’s where selling all my crochet and asking for help comes in, because I’m running out of time.

Thank you so much for the help guys!

I also want to take time to express gratitude for two young marines I know who will not get to spend Thanksgiving home with their family.  Instead of sitting back and relaxing after a hefty meal, they and many other US service people around the world  are working their butts off for us.

So here’s a shout out to all the soldiers, police officers, firemen, doctors and emergency personnel who are working today, keeping watch and being there should they be needed.  To all the people who respond to emergency situations, to the agencies that keep things running and the night watchmen who let us sleep, and to those who volunteer at the food kitchens and keep the roads and transportation open:

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


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When Dreams Are More – A Story About Gratitude – NaBloPoMo


It’s the month of November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving.  The month we supposedly deeply feel, express and show gratitude in all its forms.  And yet, right out of the gates, I have felt like complaining this first week.  I’ve read things that have gotten under my skin, been irritated with tasks I’ve been volunteered for (ahem, voluntold for), there are things I want to get done and haven’t been able to, and there’s my struggling to be and do everything, everywhere, all at once.  Plus there are very real and unfair things taking place at this time in my life.  Things I can’t control and just have to deal with or ignore.  If anyone has a right to complain just a little, it’s me.

And yet there are blessings too.  And there are times I think, when the only way to deal with things is to shift our state and be reminded of our blessings.

And so I often find inspiration comes in unusual forms in my life, if I’ll just but listen.

I am a dreamer.  It is part of who I am.  I have always dreamed dreams of significance.  As such, it is really interesting sometimes the things that come out as wonderful experiences and lessons that often only the dream world can provide.  I keep saying I’ll write a book about my dreams.  Maybe someday.

One night I had an opportunity to reflect within during my sleep.  There were all sorts of things dreaming through my head that night, but at one point, I suddenly became aware of a single state of being – Gratitude.

In my dream, all the people of my childhood began to flow before my eyes, like a river of stories.  But they weren’t the major figures that are easy to look back upon and remember.  The people I was reminded of were those who played small but important roles, whether I was aware of them as a child or not.  Some of them had faces and others, I did not know them, but I was shown stories of the roles they played that at some point made way into my life.

The grade school principal who I rarely saw or was aware of, but who depended heavily upon my mother as PTA president, the parent volunteers who put together the carnival I bought my first jewelry at, the mother who part-time coached my basketball and volleyball team one year, the grandmother from church who rode the bus with my brother to make sure he got to basketball tournaments without mishap, the friends of my parents who were great about supporting their role as parents and sometimes took us kids to give them a break, the lady at the concession stand who always had a smile, the mothers who volunteered to cook in that hot cabin kitchen at summer camp whose faces I can’t even see, the teenagers who listened to my stories as a kid, the girl who taught me to make mud pies.  And there were so many more.  Such small and even tiny events in my life throughout my childhood and then on into my adulthood.

So many people who had indirect and yet important positive influence upon my life.  And it was time for every one of them to be told “Thank You.”  Thank you for who you were then and who you are now.  Thank you for the small roles you have played, even if you didn’t think it mattered or anyone noticed.  Thank you for doing things the best you could or stepping out to do a small thing that had a trickle down effect upon the Soul that I AM.  Thank you for taking the time to Smile and to Listen.  Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t know you.  Thank you for playing chase with a couple of bored kids stuck at an adult gathering. Thank you for loving my parents and believing that their job was important enough to support, even when you did not have children of your own.  Thank you for judging and encouraging me at the science fair. Thank you for sending my teacher that info on volunteer opportunities for young kids. Thank you for taking the time at the grocery store to tell me that a bag of apples can help you make a long drive better than gallons of coffee.  It’s saved me time and again!

Yes – those carnivals you slaved over meant something and positively affected us as kids.  Yes, taking the time to laugh at our jokes and look at our creations made a difference.  Yes, that piggyback ride at the church picnic made for a positive reference point in my sense of community. Yes, that handful of change you gave me at the store, when you didn’t even know me, touched my heart. Yes, that heart-felt talk you had at the city council meeting changed my life for the better, even if you weren’t sure what you were going to say or who would agree with you.

Your insecurities don’t matter.  What does matter is what you did in spite of them and I thank you.

Thank you for the sense of community you fostered and gave me as an internal foundation to return to time and time again.  You have been a great teacher to me, even if you don’t remember me and we pass unknowingly on the street today.

We have connected, you and I.  And I am so very grateful!

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Life Has Taught Me That All Too Often You’re Better Off On Your Own


People let you down.  Teams, bosses and employees let you down.  Friends make promises they don’t keep.  Family members have insane expectations.  Colleagues take advantage of you and your work.  Leaders pretend to be people they aren’t.  Managers abuse their power.  Religious people prove to be hypocrites.  Atheists and politicians too.  Armchair warriors who can’t help but to give out a cyber punch/ jab/ pinch.  Like an abuser, justify it with “They deserved it.”  The people with those handicapped tags that aren’t really disabled and who cut you off in a parking lot so they can swoop quickly into that front row parking space before you pass it.  I’ve been cut off in parking lots by more people with temporary handicap tags lately than ever.  Wtf?

People who pretend to be experts at something they are not.  Receivers with no sense of gratitude or conscience.  And the guilty who take their guilt out on others when they fail.

And it generally boils down to a selfishness at heart.  A general disregard for a fellow human being.  The one right next to you, not the stranger from another culture you’re trying to impress.

It’s kind of like how family all too often treat each other worse than they would a stranger.  Biting the hands that feed and nurture them. Devolving into a vicious cycle of dysfunctional relationship and communication to rule the rest.  And now days, a couple of conversations online makes you familiar enough to take a punch, familiar enough to receive judgement and be devoid of rights to safety. Familiar enough to be disliked or hated, never having met face to face. And based solely on a paragraph or two.  I feel like a bit of my soul bruises every time I hear someone talk about how they hate someone else.

Have people disappointed me lately?  You bet.  People with enough life and professional experience to know better.  People who’ve received enough kindness too.  People who should know the value of a team, of a cause, of a single person or an act of selflessness.  How a betrayal of trust ruins it for all.  And how gratitude always wins.

Has it been everyone?  No. Not by a long shot.  But enough repeats to get to me.  I know better than most how tough life can be, so as patient and laid back as I can be, it takes a while to build up.  I wrote the emotionally charged title on purpose.  Because I know it speaks to the feelings of a lot of people lately.

This Thanksgiving, of all times, let’s think about this.  And not just football.  Take accounting, of ourselves, of the relationships we allow in our lives, of the examples we allow our children to see.  Recognize reality for what it is.  Take responsibility for ourselves, because others are not as invested.  Demonstrate patience and tenderness with others, because we know what pain is.  And savor the gems in our lives, rarer today than ever.

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts