3.26.18 My view this morning (3)
Morning View after arriving in South Dakota

Having arrived at our destination a few days ago, we proceeded to unpack, set up and settle in. We’ll be in this site for at least one month.  It’s good to have all the rest of my kitchen equipment out and be coming out of “travel mode”. We arrived after a short and challenging stay in Lusk, WY. Challenging because the RV site we took had some electric issues and we were unable to pull the full 30 amps that it takes to run all of our equipment. It was not a huge deal, and frankly not worth moving the rig for. We just had to turn off the microwave in order to run the heater, turn off the heater to run the hot pot, you get the picture.

We arrived here in SD the next day, got unpacked, made a quick run into WalMart for water and a few groceries because we were due for snow last night. Yep, and we got it too. Woke up to 3-4 inches of the fluffy white stuff accumulated on everything. Now, I’m in the midst of an autoimmune flare, right now that means that my muscles all hurt and my joints are stiff and painful. Sitting at the computer causes pain in my hips and fingers. All of this brings me to today’s topic, gratitude.

We all realize that spoonies are a special lot, many of us endure daily pain, limited mobility and some suffer true disability. Please don’t be offended but I don’t consider myself truly disabled. I can walk, I can work (a little), I can cook and do the things I need to do to lead a relatively normal life. It takes me longer, costs me more in the pain department and requires some adaptations, but I get by. If you can’t let me say I’m so sorry you have to endure this but believe me when I say I’ve probably been there. I’ve been in wheel chairs and walkers and casts, been on narcotic pain killers, cough controllers, ventilators (the list is endless) and the most important thing I have learned is this: Gratitude is a choice.

Let me say it again, “Gratitude is a choice that I can make every day.” When you’re in pain every day, gratitude is not naturally the first thing that comes to mind. That’s where the choice comes in. On a good day, it’s easier to find other things to be grateful for, on bad days, not so much. Some days you really have to dig deep and what you do find seems trivial and unimportant, but trust me, start noticing all those little things you’re grateful for and it can change your life.

Today, instead of resenting the snow and the cold, I am grateful for it. It is that beautiful fluffy snow that clings to the trees and bushes and makes the whole world look magical. I am grateful that we were safely snuggled into our site before it came, because as much as I love the look of snow, I hate driving in it. I am grateful that I was able to “layer up” which is how I refer to adding additional layers of clothing to help keep me warm. I am grateful that I was able to do laundry, even though I had to have Superhubs help to make the bed. Sometimes it’s just about finding something to be grateful for in a difficult situation. I am very grateful right now for Aleve and “breath easy” tea.

When dealing with chronic illness, it’s often the little but oh so important things in life that bring us gratitude and joy. A trip to the store, the kind words of a spouse or friend, the snuggle of a child or a fur baby. Sometimes we all get down and just feel like life sucks and some days it does. But find one tiny thing to be grateful for and you’ll be on your way to better days.  Write it in your journal, a blank notebook, facebook, twitter. Doesn’t matter where, just write it down. Look around and find something to be grateful for and express it.

A recipe for you tonight — black bean and beet bowl

Ingredients – Power Bowl
1 Pack of “Love Beets” (I get them from Costco in a 4 pack) or 1 can of beets, drained and rinsed
1 Cup cooked brown rice or rice/quinoa blend
1 Cup black beans drained and rinsed
1 Cup cooked squash (I used left over spaghetti squash from another night, but you can substitute frozen butternut squash cooked in the microwave)
1 Cup broccoli (I use frozen)
Some dried seaweed (I used Wakame, yeah I know but it adds an interesting umami flavor and it’s REALLY good for you.)

Preheat oven to about 425 f, cover baking sheet with foil.
Cut beets into 1″ cubes (if using sliced canned beets, cut them in half), place in single layer on pan, spray with olive oil spray. Cook for about 10 minutes, stir/flip them and return to oven for about another 10 minutes.
Cover the seaweed with a little hot water and let it sit.
While the beets are roasting, heat up all of the other ingredients (I use the microwave).
Assemble two bowls, placing rice, beets, cooked squash, black beans, and broccoli in a layered assembly. I use the half bowl assembly, which splits the bowl in half, rice on one half, squash on the other half, you get the idea.
Drizzle with dressing of your choice. Ranch or ceasar dressings are nice, use whatever you think will go well with the flavors.

Thought for the day: “Gratitude is a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it grows.”
~ Alan Cohen

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