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Blissful Reflection: Singing in the Park

{Blissful Reflection is a series of short essays that highlight a story and photo that made my week meaningful.}

The hot air seemed to stick to my skin. However, I was distracted from the heat because my two year-old niece Ella, was dancing on her tiptoes in the bright green grass. Her necklace set off her blue eyes and she had on a bright pink t-shirt that said, “Life is Sweet.” The sentiment reflected her carefree mood. Kids, like Ella, have a way of gently reminding me that life doesn’t have to be so serious and that a little singing and dancing in the park can make a hot day a whole lot more bearable and fun. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a few days with Ella. She reminded me to be lighthearted and to be grateful for my wonderful life.

In addition to spending time with Ella, I hung out with a lot of friends and family members over the last few weeks. As my fingers fly across the keyboard, scenes from my California trip roll through my mind. I’m exited to see Logan and all my wonderful Portland friends. Yet, I already miss California.

The song lyric, “I left my heart in San Francisco,” keeps popping into my head. I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco, but little bits of my heart are scattered all over Northern California.

Rather than focusing on my feelings of sadness, I decided to focus on gratitude. Here are a few of the micro-actions I’m going to take this week.

– I’m going to say “thank you” more often and mean it. People can tell when you’re being fake.
The Postcard Project will be part of my daily routine and I’ll continue to look for fun new ways to express gratitude to friends and family members.
– I will share something lovely with my digital friends.

I’m happy that we moved to Portland. It’s been a tremendous growth opportunity for Logan and I. However, I also know that I need to be closer to my family. We haven’t decided when or where we’re going to move, but it will probably happen sometime next year. The lovely city of Ashland is on our list because it’s near family.

If we’re closer, I might get to sing and dance in the park more often with Ella.

How do you show gratitude? Leave your tips in the comments section.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • traci sabia August 28, 2011, 11:31 am

    there are 2 people i know who had the same “moving” struggle as you are having. My one friend moved away for college at 18. college came grad school and grad school came hawaii. now mind you we live in northeast Pa. Hawaii is a long way off but a job pushed him in that direction, along with living the tropical life. He stayed there for a few years then struggled as to what he would do about moving back home. he would say over and over again: my siblings are all back home and my parents are getting older…….my friend decided to come home. he had 8 or so years with his mother when she suddenly died. he was answering his own questions. he found his wife and had 3 babies and he has never been happier.
    another person i know, my husband, let at 18 for the navy. he stayed away for 18 years. he traveled the world, had been to 37 countries, rescued in katrina and tsunami and went to war 3 times. as his career was coming close to retirement he kept saying: should i stay in San Diego? its beautiful here and i have many friends BUT my family is back home in PA, my dad is getting older…….he was answering his own internal question all along. he came home just shy of his 19th anniversary in the navy. now he has a wife and 2 beaiful girls and can hug his father every day…..
    i think you are answering your own internal question when it comes to moving.

  • Judy August 28, 2011, 2:38 pm

    I’ve transplanted to Northern CA five years ago this coming January 23. There are many parts of my life here that are good, even very good. And I live in my tiny house on my oldest son’s property, and this includes 8 of my 14 grandchildren.
    However, I have two children (and the remaining six grandchildren) as well as my sister in Northern IL. The pull is strong to return, because in addition to the loved ones, it’s also about the green in the summer, crisp air with fall colors in the trees, falling snowing at 10 PM with the dog chasing up and down the lane, and spring freshness that makes everything seem possible. It’s familiar, even where there’s change in the landscape. Its the ways and mores of the Midwest. I’ve lived about half my adult life away from Northern IL and half elsewhere, including out of country.
    I’m visiting family and friends in late Sept-early October. (It’s about the Fall color in the trees.) Frankly, I’m “trying it on”. So, more to come …

  • Roberta August 28, 2011, 9:31 pm

    I’m reading the Gift of Imperfection by BrenΓ© Brown. I discarded 3 couches the dogs had trashed. The open space is still open. Oh, I wanted that space for a time. After reading BrenΓ©’s chapter on creativity, I decided to go for it and paint the walls (I’d been planning to but have never painted a wall in my life). They will be lavender with a high rail painted white. Who knows what next!
    BTW, I am sorry I left my family and moved away. I didn’t move back before my parents died; I wasn’t there for them and my sister except by phone and the last few days (hours in the case of my mom). I regret not having more intimate time with them in their latter years.

  • Sunday August 29, 2011, 4:24 am

    i was just researching Ashland yesterday!! fabulous little city.

  • Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear August 29, 2011, 5:08 am

    Tammy, I love your ‘storytelling’ posts ~ they open a window into your mind + heart.
    I know what you mean about children ~ ironic how, as adults, we miss the wisdom of enjoyment that they grasp so naturally!
    I could also relate to this post, because I’ve just come back from visiting my family in NJ. Way to be honest + upfront about your need for connection! Will be thinking of you guys as you discern your next steps. πŸ™‚

    • Tammy Strobel August 29, 2011, 3:55 pm

      Thanks Caroline. πŸ™‚ I don’t know what the next year will bring. If we move, it won’t be until summer of 2012. In the meantime, I’ll be making more trips to California.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Patty August 29, 2011, 6:05 am

    Ashland has been on our list for awhile too… just love it… Though as a bay area native (who lives only a mile from the house I grew up in – where my parents still live!)… getting me away from here will be tough. But every time we drive up to see a piece of property, I think to myself “This is where I belong!” Have you been to the Ashland co-op? My husband and I were like kids in a candy store… it’s the best grocery store in the WORLD!

    • Tammy Strobel August 29, 2011, 3:57 pm

      @Patty – Logan and I are planning a trip to Northern CA in September and we always drive right by Ashland. I’ll have to stop at the co-op. Sounds like a fun place!

      Maybe I’ll see you in Ashland in a few years? πŸ™‚

  • Natalie August 29, 2011, 7:58 am

    Hi Tammy,

    The thoughts in your post are very appropriate for my life right now, so I can relate. I just visited Seattle and Portland for 7 days, and it’s all I can think of. I feel a strong urge to move somewhere with more nature and green living, than my current location. However, my family is here, and I know that if I leave I will be alone in more ways than one. It seems easy and exciting to think of relocating, but on the other hand it’s hard to imagine leaving a support/familial system entirely. Good luck with your upcoming decisions. With your tiny house, you will always have the option of continuing on to new places πŸ™‚


    • Tammy Strobel August 29, 2011, 3:59 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Natalie! Having a little house on wheels will make future moves a whole lot easier. πŸ™‚

      Good luck with your big decision too. Portland and Seattle are beautiful cities!

  • meagan August 29, 2011, 8:37 pm

    Oh hey! I live in Ashland! I’ve been subscribed to your blog for quite awhile, not sure if I’ve ever commented before though. How fun to hear talk of Ashland in this post. If ever you do pass through and want to meet up with a local, you’ve got a loyal reader here! πŸ™‚

    • Tammy Strobel August 30, 2011, 6:06 am

      @Meagan – Thank you! That’s so sweet. πŸ™‚ I’d love to meet up for coffee sometime. We’ll probably make a trip to northern california in September. I’ll send you a note and hopefully we can connect.

  • Miss Zen August 30, 2011, 8:03 am

    I really really understand you. I’m in Paris for 10 years now but want to go back to Brussels to be closer from my family and have easier access to a garden so my son can play and fool around . Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy but I know…..

  • Nor Aziah September 5, 2011, 1:23 am

    How do I show my gratitude? By accepting things as they are, sincerely. Flowing water is my inspiration. Always gentle with whatever it encounters. It cleanses whatever it passes by and cleanses itself as it passes through obstacles. Whatever comes into my life I accept it with open heart and try my best to make the best out of it and be beneficial in return.

    • Tammy Strobel September 5, 2011, 6:23 am

      @Nor – Your comment touched me. πŸ™‚ Beautiful words and a beautiful sentiment. Thanks for sharing.

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