My guest writer today is Terri Webster Schrandt from Second Wind Leisure. I have known Terri for a couple of years now and in fact just recently celebrated that friendship on Facebook. Although we have never met face to face we have many things in common, especially keeping fit and healthy as we age. Terri is also a wonderful photographer and posts many beautiful photographs on her website Second Wind Leisure. In fact, she also wrote a book about photography ‘Better Blogging with Photography’.
As part of my Month of Gratitude, Terri is sharing her thoughts on her life experiences and what she is especially grateful for. I do encourage you to check out Terri’s website and social media links which are located at the end of this post.
Gratitude for Every Mood
When Sue approached me to write a guest post for November with the theme of “gratitude” I had no idea what I could write. Recent months have proven that I have much for which to be grateful.
The theme for my life in 2017 sadly, has been this new emotion called anxiety. We are becoming a little too familiar with each other. I have a new respect for folks who experience anxiety as a result of depression. Although I exhibited symptoms of mild depression from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), signs of anxiety showed themselves.
I participated in the Sentence a Day June in Review with other bloggers for the first time. I was grateful for the opportunity to link up with new bloggers and read the stories of their busy lives. A Sentence a day – June in Review
The month of June was busy as you can tell if you stopped to read the post. Between road trips, a family engagement and a windsurf clinic, anxiety was lurking about.
Despite anxiety’s flirtation, I found I was grateful for many things. I got to spend a weekend with my 80-year old father in the Sierra foothills. Although my windsurfing clinic didn’t turn out as I expected due to my limitations, at the end of the month the wind put on a fabulous show enabling me to photograph some action images of pro and amateur windsurfers. Sometimes one does not have to physically engage in a sport to really appreciate its attraction. And for that, my semi-bruised body and I are grateful.
Dog Days of July
The mood for much of July was fear and sadness, when my puppy Brodie was surprisingly diagnosed with canine parvo virus. Surprised because Brodie was given all of his puppy vaccinations. Not only is treating the disease scary in and of itself because the dog must be isolated due to the extreme threat of infection, but also that same treatment is incredibly expensive.
If you missed it, you can read more about Brodie’s experience in the post: Dog Days of Summer: Recognizing Canine Parvo-Virus
Despite my fear and sadness of maybe losing Brodie and watching hard-earned money fly out the window, I managed to find immediate gratitude in the situation. The veterinary staff were incredibly kind, loving and competent; communicating with me every step of the way. I was told that because we were diligent in giving Brodie his shots during his first four months of life, we had a case to request a refund from the pharmaceutical company who issued the vaccine. Brodie is happy and healthy as he now nears his first birthday.
In early September, we received the check from Merck Pharmaceuticals reimbursing us for the entire amount ($2300.). My gratitude is endless for these compassionate doctors and staff who care for our beloved pets, and for the office manager who advocated on our behalf.
July proved to be a month of celebrations. My father turned 81, we spent a weekend in Lake Tahoe with friends, and my blog celebrated 1000 followers. I was speechless with gratitude for these milestones.
August Was the Breaks
As if dealing with a sick pup wasn’t enough, breaking my right hand while routinely walking my dogs just did the trick in creating my mood of…helplessness!
I am grateful to my poor, stressed out, overworked hubby who literally was my right hand on many occasions for three weeks. Tasks like cutting a steak, turning a lock on a sticky front door, or merely lifting the heavy ice chest into the car, were painful. Being fiercely independent takes a backseat when your hand is in a brace. I can say at this point I was grateful the orthopedist did not put a cast on my hand/wrist.
I also took a “sort-of” blogging break, just participating in the weekly photo challenges. I had intended to write my No Excuses Fitness book, and prep for teaching in September, but my feelings of helplessness, coupled with my new buddy anxiety, with a dash of pain for flavor, stopped the writing in its tracks. I simply ran out of gas. I needed to focus on preparing for the semester’s three classes—that was a priority I could not negotiate!
In my 20 months of success in Weight Watchers (losing 30 pounds), I gained three pounds in July and August even though I still followed a modified workout regimen. Failure was starting to feel like a new friend. The vicious circle of pain, doubt, stress and failure played with my mind and almost convinced me to give up the blog, the book, and windsurfing.
But again, August did not go by without some opportunities for gratitude! My blog and I were featured on Jodie’s Touch of Style
helping her demonstrate outdoors fashion in hiking and water sports. My blog’s page views went ca-ray-zee that week! Folks in the US were grateful to view the total solar eclipse, an experience that only comes around once or twice in a lifetime.
Wake Me Up When September Ends
That used to be my anthem song when I spent intense summers (and the rest of the year) overseeing 20+ swimming pools for parks and rec. Although this summer had its ups and downs, I was secretly glad to be back into the routine of working…in my case, teaching as a lecturer at a nearby university. Until…
I received news from our department chair that university-wide changes will have far-reaching effects for my job. It seems to be time to dust off the resume and perhaps seek part-time work. Part of the formula for me to take retirement at age 55 was to be able to teach 12-15 units a year, and this is expected to change.
July’s sadness and fear morphed into August’s helplessness, which made way for September’s uncertainty. I am grateful for my three-year contract and the support of the faculty. Being one of many long-time practitioners able to teach in the parks and rec major offers that much more depth to the students’ educational experience.
Despite this uncertainty, I am actually excited for an opportunity to seek beyond my comfort zone and explore a different act—perhaps my third? I’m thinking of becoming a Certified Personal Trainer—what do you think?
September also provided two opportunities to network and meet with other bloggers locally in Sacramento as WordCamp and International Food Bloggers Conferences came to town on two separate weekends.
Even with the looming uncertainty, I had more than my share of fun meeting and spending time with new (and veteran) bloggers. I am grateful to the sponsors of WordCamp Sacramento 2017 for providing their support and my FREE (yes, free) ticket to two days of information-packed WordPress sessions. The IFBC had so much swag and free food and goodies, I had to skip weight watchers the week after!
Overall, I am grateful for my blogging friends, my family, and my various hobbies. While wildfires are raging in the West (at this writing) and the south is dealing with severe hurricanes and storms, I know that life is anything but static, and change, good and bad will happen.
“The world will go as it will, not as you or I would have it.” (quoted by various characters from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series)
With every challenge, there is opportunity and a reason to be grateful. Thank you, Sue, for allowing me to focus on the positive energy of gratitude.
Terri is a writer, self-published author and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!
Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and… Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about leisure, fitness and photography.