Gratitude: Day 15 | Your Favorite Time of Day

My favorite time of day for as long as I can remember has been mid-morning, between 9 am and 11 am. There are a few other times of day I enjoy, some of them vary by season, but these 2 hours remain consistent. Unfortunately this ideal time of day, for me, is usually spent in a windowless room staring at boards and monitors hating everything, but on my days off this time of morning is my happiness.

Gratitude: Day 15 | Your Favorite Time of Day |

I’m not really a morning person, in that I don’t really like getting out of bed, or waking up to alarms, but I do enjoy the morning when I get to actually enjoy it rather than rush through it. If I didn’t have to get up and go to work (particularly a job I don’t enjoy) I would always be up early. I love lazy mornings, slow mornings.

When I was little my dad used to get up before dawn to go to work. I would always get up just after he left and go out and sit with my mom. She would make me hot chocolate and we would usually watch QVC. I inevitably would always fall asleep on the couch for a couple of hours and then get up again at a more normal time, but those wee hours of the morning were always special for me.

Now that I’m older the only time I’m up before dawn is when I’m stressed or otherwise have insomnia. I don’t mind being up around 7, but the earlier part of morning doesn’t carry any special feeling for me. Mid-morning is the time of day I love. It’s when the world seems to wake up. In the fall/winter the overnight frost starts to melt, in spring/summer the dew begins to dry, the birds and animals start getting active and there’s something special in the air.

These days it’s hard for me to find things that make me really happy and peaceful, even during my favorite time of day. It seems I’m always focused on the things that bring me grief and stress. It’s hard for me to focus on what I enjoy when those things are so easily drowned out by the rest of life. I’m working on changing that. I have some plans (which I’ll try to share in due time) that will hopefully help me replace some hours of anxiety with hours of peace and growth.

What is your favorite time of day?

Gratitude: Day 14 | A Basic Need That Has Been Met

Shelter. When trying to think of things to be grateful for it can sometimes be easy to focus on the big or small things, or the odd things, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the basic things. The things many of us take for granted home, food, clothes, etc. We don’t think about being grateful for these things because we always assume they will be there. For many, it is easy to forget that these basic parts of life are not a given for everyone.

Gratitude: Day 14 | A Basic Need That Has Been Met |

Having lived before without some of the basics, and having spent a good chunk of time not sure that I would be able to keep others I want to make a point now of expressing my gratitude for what I have. I chose today to be thankful for my apartment.

I live in a small (although not the smallest I’ve seen) studio apartment on the north side of the city. At this point, I feel I’ve outgrown it a bit, and I plan to move when my lease is up next year. Despite feeling a little cramped lately, this has been a great place to live. I’m very grateful I was able to find a great apartment, in a very good neighborhood, and I was able (and have consistently been able) to afford it.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life not always being sure that I would have a place to live. After my parents divorced I lived with my mom and throughout the years the line between housed and homeless was a very thin tightrope we very carefully balanced. It wasn’t until a few years ago things finally seemed to level out. Right about the time I moved to Chicago, actually.

I had been looking for a job in the city for a couple of months, and I finally found one at almost the same time we found an affordable apartment for my mom to move into. It was a whirlwind couple of weeks, we moved my mom at the end of February and I started commuting to the city for work in March. I moved in the beginning of May.

It’s been a wonderful apartment. It has its faults, it has the quirks and hiccups you might expect from an older building, but it has running water and heat. It’s a shelter from the sometimes chaotic Midwestern weather. It’s a quiet place to hide when I can’t deal with people. It’s home.

Living in a large city there are almost daily reminders of how blessed I am, even so, it’s still easy for even me to forget. It’s important to remember how good we have it. Even when the hot water goes out in the middle of your shower it’s important to remember that you have running water (been without, not great). When the old building quirks make me want to pull my hair out and run away, I need to take a moment to be grateful that I have a warm place to rest and to call home.

What is a basic need that you are thankful for?

Gratitude: Day 13 | Songs You Love

When I was young, my parents only allowed us to listen to Christian music. It wasn’t until my early teens that I was allowed to make my own decisions about what music I enjoyed. This was the mid-nineties and while most of my peers were embracing the rise of the latest boy bands I found my interests leaned more towards the classics. I loved older music, 50s, 60s, and 70s were my jam (literally). I discovered Billy Joel, who remains, to this day, one of my favorite artists.

During my early and mid teens, while my parents were divorcing and my life in general took a turn for the unstable, music was my constant. It helped me deal with the changes happening around me, and to me, that I had no say in and couldn’t control. It helped me feel less alone and inspired my dreams. This love has carried through to my adult years, and I still get super stoked every time I find a new song or artist to love.

Gratitude: Day 13 | Songs You Love |

Since I’m a big fan of a wide range of music, I thought for this post I would stick to a top 5 list. And they are…

Jonny Lang – Breaking Me

I’ve loved this song for years. Lang’s voice is unparalleled in passion and expression. He’s long been one of my favorite artists, and this song is definitely one of his best. I’ve been known to come home from a long day at work, lock myself in my room, and listen to this song on full blast to drown out the stress and anxiety of the day. To be honest, I could use just about any of Jonny Lang’s music to de-stress, but this is my favorite song of his, so it’s my go to.

Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

This song tops my workout playlist. Most of Muse’s music works well for a workout soundtrack, but this one’s opening beats are great for motivating me to get my butt moving. This song puts me in a great head space and while listening to it I feel empowered to take on the world. On a side note, it also makes me feel like punching something….but in a nice way (thinking I should take up kickboxing).

Jolene – The White Stripes (Dolly Parton cover)

I am the only person I know who doesn’t hate this cover. I love it! It is my favorite cover of any song I’ve ever heard, bar none. I’m a big fan of Dolly Parton, and a big fan of The White Stripes, while I enjoy the original version, I adore this cover. I’ve heard of couple other covers of this song, they’ve all kept pretty true to the original and I’d rather just listen to the original. Maybe that’s why I like this cover so much, it’s different and unexpected.

She Used To Be Mine – Sara Bareilles

This is a more recent addition to my most loved songs. It’s one of the main pieces in the Broadway musical “Waitress” for which Bareilles wrote the musical numbers. I know this song, I relate to this song in so many ways, I feel this song in my bones. This song is my song (minus the bit about being knocked up, ‘cause nah). In general, I’m not a huge fan of Sara Bareilles, her songs are more hit or miss with me, some I enjoy, others not so much. This song is a hit for me on so many levels, it soars above any of her other music. I can, and have, listened to it on repeat for hours.

Black – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam has long  been one of my favorite bands. While I was a bit too young to appreciate them in their prime, I discovered them not long after the demise of the Seattle rock heyday. They are one of the most iconic bands ever, due in no small part to Eddie Vedder’s distinctive voice. Black is the perfect track to appreciate all that this band has to offer, their talent is striking. It also has what is, in my opinion, the best line ever written. The last line of the entire song, listen to it, appreciate it, and be thankful.

I know I said earlier that Billy Joel is my favorite artist, and I’m pretty sure you were expecting to see him on this list because of that, and I fully intended to include him, but there are just too many songs of his that I love to narrow it down. So, I opted to leave him off the list. Maybe I should make another list for just him….hmmm.

What are some of your favorite songs?