Thankful Thursday | Rituals


Getting out of bed in the morning sure has changed.

For one thing, it takes a lot longer. There’s a series of stretches that must be done before I actually get up, as my back and legs are a “tad” stiff.

But, that’s after removing the night splint I use to ease the plantar fasciitis in my right foot.

Of course, I have to first take off the cotton gloves that cover the Bag Balm, slathered on my hands the night before to treat the dry skin of psoriasis. Otherwise, the gloves get stuck on the velcro straps of the night split.

Gone are the days when I hit the ground running. Running to get the kids off to school and myself to work. Thankfully, I didn’t require stretching or anything else, because there simply wasn’t time.

When I think back to those days it amazes me what I accomplished inside of twenty-four hours. These days I have to pace myself or risk pulling a muscle. 😉

One thing I’m truly grateful for this week (and everyday) is my morning coffee. And, more importantly, the time I have to enjoy it.

Knowing the Keurig awaits is all the incentive I need to get out of bed despite the annoying delays.

What is it about a simple cup of Joe that gets coffee lovers moving in the morning? One estimate says 64% of Americans drink coffee everyday. Is it the bold taste of the beans or the caffeine rush? Is it the heady aroma that tantalizes our olfactory nerves?

I believe it’s a combination of all those things, as well as the ritual itself. Humans are known to be creatures of habit. Our habits or rituals give us a sense of security and provide structure to our schedules and meaning to our everyday lives. 

man wearing black crew neck shirt and black jeans

Photo by Andrew Neel on

But, when we’re younger we often don’t have the opportunity to truly enjoy them. Careers and family responsibilities take up a great amount of our time and energy. That cup of coffee is usually gulped down from a travel cup as we make a hurried commute to our next destination.

For example, the young man in the photo above is putting on his shoes as his coffee sits cooling in the background. The building across the street signals that he lives in the city and there’s probably a steady stream of interesting people on the sidewalk below. If it were me, I’d be drawn to the window, to relax, sip the java, and people-watch. But, he probably has to get to work, school, the gym, or someplace else. He probably won’t have time for another 30 years, or so.

These days I have the luxury of less work and more time. The kids are grown and flown. My job is part-time with long weekends and the summers off. The housework doesn’t require the same level of attention as before. Everything is easier, albeit somewhat emptier, at times. However, my hobbies and ongoing projects fill up any voids that come along. 

The morning routine is to enjoy my cup of Joe at a leisurely pace, planning the day’s chores and activities according to my schedule. While this schedule demands some age-related conditions like morning stretches, it also allows a little dreaming over a second and, sometimes, a third cup of coffee.

And that’s a ritual I can really get behind!







Thankful Thursday


As part of the audit I’m doing with my blog I’ve been thinking about how to write more on the mindfulness aspect of it. That was one of the objectives when I created Following Seas, along with self-reflection and living intentionally. 

Mindfulness is defined as the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something. We can’t appreciate things if we’re not aware of them.

So, to be more grateful we must be more aware. Aware of all the things that make us happy, both large and small. The big things always get the attention, while we don’t think much about the small stuff.

I recently wrote a post about  Simple Pleasures, which gave me the idea for Thankful Thursday. My goal here is to recognize one thing each week that brings me joy. We generally think of these as “important things,” like people, special events, milestones, great accomplishments, and such.

Of course I’m thankful for my family and friends. I’m also thankful for continuing good health and having a job that I enjoy. But, the rule here is to choose something ordinary and nondescript. The things we don’t consider when counting our blessings. Those everyday items or occurrences that go unnoticed, but are truly valuable to us in some unremarkable way.

It’s also important to acknowledge what makes us unhappy…and why. 

I’m not setting any kind of requirements for this; no specific word count, structure, etc. Nothing is too silly or strange. It may be a picture with a couple sentences. It may be a longform essay. Regardless of the delivery, it will be something I’m grateful for and makes me smile.

I hope it inspires you to be aware of the little things that are special in your own world. And please, do share!

I believe if we look hard enough we may just see the extraordinary in the unassuming ordinary!


Gratitude: The First Virtue


Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all the other virtues.”  ~Cicero