I’m not sure, but I may be finally getting it.  Whatever “it” is!  I’ve always heard that we can choose to be happy any time we want.  That it’s not a matter of “getting” any thing or relationship or recognition or money or weather or anything else.  We simply need to be grateful for what is.  Whatever is.  Right now!  The thing is, it feels like I can now do it better than ever!  I don’t think it’s because external things are all that different; I think something’s different inside of me.  I don’t think it’s me doing it on willpower alone, but I do get the benefits.  I think I’m tapping into supernatural powers.  Yay!  How did it happen?  I don’t really know, but it’s been a long path with a lot of mistakes.  Perhaps I have enough honesty and open-mindedness to see my self-centeredness more clearly now.  Maybe regularly returning to surrender and consistently using good ideas like gratitude lists when life felt hard.  Perhaps I’ve finally prayed and meditated enough on spiritual truths that they are sinking in deeper.  

I found some reasons for gratitude in my weekend travels:

  1. Joyous, funny, provocative and inspirational conversations with family and friends at my niece Lauren’s graduation party and at the home of my sister Barb, my brother-in-law Ryan and their girls Claire and Isabel.  Familial love is such an amazing treasure.  One of the most memorable things my Dad ever told me was that friends may come and go, but family will always be there for you.  It’s been true in my life.  I have nothing bad to say about the awesome friends I’ve been blessed with.  My family has been and is incredible!  In our conversations, I was able to let everyone’s opinions be their own, taking what I could use and leaving the rest.
  2. Shopping for great bargains on clothes and other things we needed.  My daughter Annie is fun to shop with, and she’s such a great fashion adviser for me.  When we get together, it’s like the fun shopping part of the “What not to wear” television show.  Now I’ll be styling!  The clothes are so much less important than the precious time with Annie.
  3. Annie and I ate the biggest lobster they had!  We ate a three-pounder and a two-pounder for Annie’s first ever taste of lobster.  Yum!  Yes, we were blessed to have lobster this time, but we’ve been just as happy with our meals in our poorer days.
  4. Annie and I headed out to ride our bicycles from Pullman to Moscow on the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail.  It was a beautiful, sunny spring day.  We treated ourselves to frozen yogurt in Moscow as we basked in the sun in Adirondack chairs.  The sun and blood flow were awesome rewards, as was Annie’s wonderful company.  Yippee!
  5. After riding back to Annie’s place, we enjoyed tasty grilled turkey-mozzarella-cream cheese sandwiches on Dave’s Killer Bread.  His bread is the BEST I’ve ever tasted!  Yum!!!
  6. We then went to the Washington State University Recreation center and lifted weights for an hour or two.  Annie can now leg press more than me!  Go Annie!  ( :
  7. On my drive home tonight, I watched and heard a spray plane fly directly at and directly over me at a VERY low altitude.  Within a few hundred feet, another spray plane did the same thing!  Life is dangerous and exciting!
  8. A few miles later, I saw a coyote, stalking a rodent near the highway.  He was a thing of beauty, in his own way.  All life relies on other life!  ( :
  9. A small bird bounced hard off my windshield, reminding me of the precious and fleeting nature of life.  For however long I’m blessed with this incredible gift of life, how can I make the most of it?
  10. I arrived home safely and unloaded the bicycles without injuring my elbow.  God wants the best for me.
  11. I woke up again, I get to go to work today, to see how much positivity I can bring to dozens of other people.  I’m excited to see them!
  12. I was reminded while driving of some wonderful events that have transpired in my life, like love affairs, friendships, etc.  I was able to feel their warmth and let them go, moving back to gratitude for what is right now.  I don’t have the wife I’ve always thought would make me happy, but I have the happiness!  Hey!  Does that mean happiness really is just a choice, freely available at all times?
  13. I wonder what else may be coming?  I’m so excited!  I hope I get to see!!!   ( :