“November 2021: 30 Days of Thankfulness – Challenge Accepted!”

Day #1 – November 1st:

“Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.”

I have always loved this quote and strive to practice it every day but, this month, I’m taking it a step further by joining in on the #30DaysOfThankfulnessChallenge .

To kick it off, I want to send a shout out to my Team at Family Chiropractic – I consider myself so lucky to have a job that I love, with people that I love, and I absolutely love how we make the most out of every single day we get to spend together!

“Monday morning dread” is 💯 a thing of the past and going to “work” has never been more fun – we literally amuse ourselves! 🎈🤣

Day #2 – November 2nd:

“Love isn’t only love, sweetheart. It’s hard work, and trust, and tears, with even a few glimpses of devastation. But at the end of each day, if you can still look at the person at your side and can’t imagine anyone else you’d rather have there, the pain and heartache and the ups and downs of love are worth it.” – Nicole Williams

I am so, so thankful for my Honey – not only that I found him and fell in love with him, but that he loves me in return and that, together, there is nothing we can not get through. ♥️

Even after all these years and everything we have been through, we both still DO! 💋

Day #3 – November 3rd:

Words have an incredibly persuasive effect on us. Think about how incredible it is when someone speaks directly to what you’re feeling or thinking or fearfung. The right words spoken at the right time can make you feel recognized ona a deepmsoul level and can be so powerful as to inspire entire nations of smart people to vote idiots into office or an entire community to drink lethal Kool-Aid.

That being said, the right words spoken at the right time can also, when repeated, time and time again over the course of several weeks, months, and years, become so powerful as to break self-limiting barriers, disrupt self-sabotaging thought patterns, and heal generational trauma – completely changing the narrative inside a person’s mind which can, in turn, change that person’s habits and behaviors and, as a result, help them to monumentally improve their Life!

This is exactly what Dr. Michael has done for me.

We met in 2002, when I was working as an E.M.T.. Dr. Michael and his wife, Darlene, were assisting Medic Rescue Ambulance Service with counseling services as part of their “E.A.P.” – Employee Assistance Program.

Not only did he help with C.I.S.D. (critical incident stress debriefing) following difficult 9-1-1 calls and M.C.I. (mass casualty incidents), he also assisted me on a very personal level as I navigated my way through a divorce, excommunication from the religion in which my parents had raised me, and life as a single parent, while I was working several different jobs for 4 separate employers and attending school 3 nights per week in order to become a Paramedic.

At some point in time, when I thought I had it all figured out, I simply let our appointments slip away. It wasn’t until years later, following the deaths of my parents, as I was drowning in the details of a very complicated grief and persistent denial of P.T.S.D., that I reconnected with him and sought out the assistance of his Life coaching and counseling services.

His calm, comforting, peaceful demeanor, paired with his simple wisdom and voice of reason has never steered me wrong. Through the years, this man has done more than just save my Life – he has helped me to completely transform it!

I have no idea where I would be right now without him – but I do know that I would not be nearly as healthy, happy, or as balanced were it not for his help!

I’ve said it so many times in the past, but it is definitely worth saying again:

I am so grateful for you, Dr. Michael 🙏🏼 – and I thank you!!!

Day #4 – November 4th:

An early morning moonlit sky, checkered with stars – moments like this help to get me out of my own head. It puts things in perspective, reminding me that I am just one small piece of a much larger world. 🌎

Day #5 – November 5th:

I used to hate it when my Mom would say: “Be nice to your sister. Your friends will come and go, but you will always have your sister. And I promise that someday – she will be your best friend.” 

Little did I know how right she would be!

My sister knows absolutely everything about me – the good, the bad, the ugly – yet, she loves me anyway.

If ever I need a good laugh, a good cry, or just some really good advice – my sister is always there! We have proven time and time again, especially in these past 4 years, that there is absolutely nothing that we can not get through together!

There are not enough words in this world to tell her how much I love her, look up to her, and appreciate her… but I will never stop trying!

C*C* – you ‘da BEST! 😘

Day #6 – November 6th:

☕️ That first sip feeling.♥️

Day #7 – November 7th:

Lazy mornings & quiet evenings.

Even RunRun likes sleeping in.

Day #8 – November 8th:

My daughter doesn’t even realize it yet, but the simple fact that she EXISTS has pulled me through some of the darkest days of my life.
She may not be “Baby Cidney” anymore, but she will always be my “Kiddo”. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s funny, she has an empathetic heart of gold and, man, can this girl SING! 🎶
I Love You, Cid – forever, for always, and no matter what! 💕

Day #9 – November 9th:

From work partners who were predicted to hate each other – to the smooth, efficient “Broad Squad BooBoo Bus” (that may have “occasionally” deviated from post in order to get our preferred choice in coffee) that we came to be…🚑💨
From our “Wanna go see a movie?” day-trip dates to our liquid lunch adventures in the spring – to the summer long pool days and beach bumming, beer drinking buddies that we became. 🏖 🍻
From tears to tattoos, happy cats and rotties, hurricanes and shenanigans, skydiving injuries and speeding tickets, park rangers with handcuffs and creepy Mexican drug dealers – we have amassed so many great “Stella & Lucille” adventures and memories, as well as, heartbreaking and hilarious stories to keep us “entertaining ourselves” for the rest of our lives… 🤣… and I am thankful for them all, just as I am thankful for YOU, Carrie! 💙

Day #10 – November 10th:

I love empaths and old souls, wild hearts and gypsy dreamers. Great communicators who not only seek to know, but to truly understand.

The ones who reflect upon you like a mirror, an honest, yet loving depiction of what it is that you are showing to them, no matter how ugly, beautiful, right or wrong. The ones who do so, not to judge or ridicule you for your flaws, but to allow you to truly SEE. The ones who take their stand beside you, steadfast and true, as you do the work to fix your own imperfections, and then celebrate in the cleaner, clearer, “more better” version of YOU.

The ones who concern themselves, not with the ordinary (the who, the what, the when or the where) but rather, the extraordinary kind of concepts – the basis of life altering dreams.

The ones who cringe at meaningless small talk, yet dive right into the depths of life and death, sex and magic, intellect and experiences, song lyrics and books, faraway galaxies and your desire to fly, the lies you’ve told, your flaws, your favorite colors and scents, your childhood, what keeps you up at night, your insecurities and your fears. I like people with depth, with vision, who speak with emotion, and laugh at our twisted minds.

The ones who do not judge you by the size of your body or bank account, the heaviness of your mind, nor the weight of your past mistakes – but by the size of your heart, the weight of your character, and the most valuable lessons you have learned along the way.

I hope you are as lucky as I am, to have a friend just like this – like “my” Sarah… and if you do, I urge you to always do your best to be that friend, in return.

Day #11 – November 11th:

🎶MUSIC!🎶

As someone who, at times, struggles to navigate complicated personal feelings and emotions, music has repeatedly proven to be my safeguard and my savior – a way to process through emotions I do not always understand and can not accurately explain on my own. And, for those who know me well, there is rarely a song lyric or chorus far from mind… I even like to ad-lib them and “bury” them deep in the minds of others so that they will never NOT sing it my way ever again! 🤣

Day #12 – November 12th:

This beach, this boardwalk, this pier, and all the memories from my childhood that I get to re-live whenever we come back here.

Ocean City, Maryland will always have a special place in my heart and I am so thankful for every moment spent there – past, present, and future!

Day #13 – November 13th:

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

– Emil Zatopek

Running has taken me from unhealthy and overweight, to active and fit through thousands of miles and hundreds of races across 8 states.
I have gained countless friends and made unforgettable memories, all while shedding 40+lbs from my body and an almost unbearable weight from mind.

Thanks to the lessons that running has taught me and the strength that I have gained by simply continuing to move forward, one step at a time, I have literally found myself peering into the depths of Hell, yet was able to successfully turn myself around and experience what I can only describe as the most liberating “Heaven” on Earth… and I am so grateful for it all!

Day #14 – November 14th:

✨The 125th Boston Marathon✨

Start Line to Finish Line, and all the experiences I was honored to have in between Hopkinton and Boston have literally changed my Life, transformed my mindset, elevated my confidence, and reignited my passion for running!

When you finally learn to just relax and embrace the simple act of running, in and of itself, your self-imposed limitations disappear and there’s literally no limit to how far you can run!

In the days, weeks, and months leading up to Boston, so many people kept asking me, but I refused to discuss the details of my training. When your mind is made up, you do not need the input, advice, or opinions of others to validate or encourage you. You simply need to keep yourself determined, accept no excuses, refuse to entertain any doubts, get out there and just APPRECIATE your ability to run!

My longest run leading up to the Boston Marathon was just 7 miles – and I only ran that long once.

I have run many marathons, twice as many half marathons – I am not ignorant when it comes to understanding what it takes to accomplish these kinds of goals. Considering my recent and very significant injuries, even I would feel concern and express great caution, possibly even plead for reconsideration, if conversing this same scenario with a fellow running friend. But I did not want to hear it – my mind was made up. There was no way that I was not going to go run Boston… and, as always, I REGRET NOTHING!
Accomplishing this goal is, by far, the greatest experience of my running life… thus far.🙃

Day #15 – November 15th:

My running Coach, Shep – THANK YOU for always believing in me, never once doubting me, and for always “jumping on board” to help train my body for whatever it is my mind dreams of running – no matter how “crazy” or “overreaching” the average person might think it is.

Day #16 – November 16th:

How lucky am I to have had a friend that made saying goodbye so damn hard.

Matt was more than my friend – he was the greatest partner I have ever had the honor of working with. I am grateful for every shift – no matter how terrifying, frustrating, or hilarious our calls together may have been, every walk in the park with our dogs, and every talk or text message we ever exchanged. A piece of my heart went with him when he died… and a piece of his has remained with me ever since. 🐾

Rest in peace, Matt-Man… I’ve got Quint for you . Forever, for always, and no matter what.💙

Day #17 – November 17th:

…and each one carries with them a valuable lesson.

To the friends who show up and refuse to ever leave – you’ve taught me what it means to be loyal; I thank you for this trust.

To the friends I thought would never walk away – your leaving taught me what it means to depend only upon myself; I thank you for this strength.

To the friends who pick right back up wherever we’ve left off, no matter how much time has passed – the ones who never interpret silence as a threat or distance as disrespect, the ones too humble to judge and too positive to ever be mean. The friends so busy living their own lives and chasing their own dreams that they do not need to concern themselves with every minute detail of yours – the ones creating their own “adventures” and taking ownership of their own personal growth, yet who still find ways to clap for every “win” and offer comfort for any “loss”… I could go on and on, but I won’t. You know who you are – and I am so grateful for you all! 🙏🏼💙

Day #18 – November 18th:

(May 2021, Skydive PA)

🪂Skydiving… all the incredible people it’s led me to meet, all the friends I’ve gained along the way, and all of the lessons it has taught me about Life – the simplicity and fragility of it all, as well as, my desire to live it to the fullest!

Day #19 – November 19th:

Lunar eclipse 11/19/2021

I’ve always been a “Look at the stars! Look at the moon!”, get up early and watch the sun rise kind of person. Today, I was lucky enough to be able to watch another celestial phenomenon – and it really got me thinking.

A wise man once said:


“We all cast a shadow, but we do not ever need to throw shade on anyone.”

– Tony Garcia

This early morning lunar eclipse makes me realize that even heavenly bodies can’t help but cast a shadow now and then – and even though we may at times get caught in someone’s “shade”, it will never last forever. It’s only a matter of time until you rise again – you’ve just gotta keep shining! 🌙 ✨

Day #20 – November 20th:

“The mountain set before you, it must be climbed. Not for what waits on the other side; but for who you become during the ascent.”

– Tony Garcia

It does not matter if the “mountain” is physical or metaphorical… without the struggle of the climb, we could not appreciate the view from the top. 🏔 💙

Day #21 – November 21st:

Small, quiet moments – the ones when you shut out the world, with all its busyness and noise, silence your cell phones, and banish any ipad, laptop, or computer to another room.

The moments when you push aside that To-Do list, leave those tasks for another day, and snuggle up for an afternoon nap or brew some coffee and lose yourself amidst the pages of a good book or old-timey movie with no worries and no distractions.

Or simply the kinds of moments that make you forget to check your phone… and, in those moments, you notice how heightened your senses are? When you can see all the people and all the things all around you with striking clarity, not just those that are right in front of your face. You can hear everything – yet no sound is overpowering, distracting or overwhelming. You can smell all the smells, taste all the flavors, and enjoy every texture and touch.

These are the moments when you can truly see how beautiful this Life is – and appreciate just how lucky you really are to be living in it.

Day #22 – November 22nd:

“I didn’t become an EMT to get a front-row seat to other people’s tragedies. I did it because I knew the world was bleeding, and so was I – and somewhere inside I knew that the only way to stop my own bleeding was to learn how to stop someone else’s.”

– Daniel José Older, E.M.T.

My time in EMS… it was exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. It gave me the strength to stand up – for myself and my beliefs, which were contrary to the way I’d been raised. It gave me the courage to step forward – out into the world, where I learned that, when it comes right down to it, we are all the same. We are all human. We breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, and are all in desperate need of the same patience, love and understanding.

It taught me that even a quiet, contemplative introvert like myself could become a more outgoing, aggressive and ambitious, Type-A personality when it comes to matters of life or death and the split second decision making that determInes which direction the outcome might go. My many years working as a Paramedic taught me tolerance and gratitude, it sharpened my intuition, self-awareness and, unfortunately, also gave me a severe case of P.T.S.D.. These things, too, were a blessing in disguise though because it showed me when it was time to move on – and, while I am glad that I finally did, I am still very grateful for my time spent there.

Day #23 – November 23rd:

“The meaning of Life is to find your gift. The purpose of Life is to give it away.”

– Pablo Picasso

At 8:00 a.m on May 31st, 2019, I showed up for an interview at a nearby chiropractic clinic. FOUR HOURS LATER, I emerged feeling as if my life was about to change for the better… and I was right!

I can not put into words what happened that morning, but I can tell you that I finally know what people mean when they say “everything happens for a reason”. It feels as if every hard moment that I have ever had to face over the past several years was leading me to this place. In that moment, on that morning, I was “interviewed” and conversed with in a manner that I can only describe as “transcendent”. I was not seen for where I was back then or what I had been through up until that point but, rather, for who I am at the very core of my being and what I can be, when placed in the right environment, surrounded by the right people, and supported with positive energy and genuine intentions.

Dr. Amanda – I am forever grateful to you for what you saw in me back then, and the opportunity you gave me to not only join your team, but to step forward in every area of my Life and reclaim the confidence and belief in myself that I had somehow lost so long ago.

The Universe really does speak to us… I’m so glad we both chose to listen. 💙

Day #24 – November 24th:

If you aren’t an animal lover, don’t ever come to visit in our house. 🤣 With 4 cats and 2 dogs, it’s impossible not to notice them… and their very different and colorful personalities!

Just like myself and the handful of friends I’ve come to consider my “family”, none of these comical characters are related by blood.

Every single one of their stories is marked by love, loss, trauma or abuse, and eventual abandonment, either intentional or unforeseen.

Each and every one of them came into our lives in need of some kind of help (physical or emotional), a lot of love, and a stable home.

Now here they all are… healthy, happy, and in their “forever” home.

We never intended to have a house this full, but we feel so incredibly grateful for each and every one of these furry fools.

Runner
Quint
Boo
Milo
Bravo
Black-Cat

Day #25 – November 25th:

“Sometimes you just need to talk to a 4-year old and an 84-year old to understand life again.”

– Kristen Butler

I met these kiddos in the summer of 2019… and immediately fell in love with them! They’re incredibly smart, beautiful, funny, and kind. I completely lose track of time when I am with them and find myself immersed in their energy, their interests, and the depths of their souls.

Ali is just 9 years old but already so beautiful, intelligent, brave and bold. She’s got a heart of gold wrapped in a tough as nails exterior. I love her courageous spirit and the fact that she is always up for an adventure with me, no matter what it entails. “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”, is the quote that echoes in my mind when I am around her and I feel like an incredibly lucky “Aunt” to have been blessed with even just a little bit of Ali in my life.

Alex is now 7 years old. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s loving and spunky! She sees with her heart and feels through colors. She’s beautiful and amazing, and it’s simply impossible not to love her. I wish there was something I could do to keep her young and small – so I could always hold her and be reminded of what it felt like to hold my own daughter so many years ago.

Day #26 – November 26th:

I was raised in a home that did not celebrate holidays or birthdays, but that did not stop us from having our own little traditions… like cookouts in the summer at my Pap’s farm, dinners at my Gram’s house around the same time as the “worldly” holidays, Tony’s pizza on the first night of summer vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, skiing at Seven Springs on Christmas Day, and roller coaster riding at Geuga Lake every Father’s Day.

Years later, when I met Rick, we celebrated my very first Birthday – at the age of 25! From that moment on, we jumped right in, creating “traditions” of our own in this life that we chose to begin building together.

One of my absolute favorites is how we always put up our Christmas tree together on Thanksgiving Day, while listening to Christmas music on the radio, static and all, like “back in the day” before digital downloads and live streaming. Then we shut off all the other lights in the house and watch old-timey movies while sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine out of our SNOOPY Christmas mugs.♥️ Cuddled up, just him and I, in this house we’ve made our home. It doesn’t get any better than this, and I am so grateful for it all.♥️🎄⭐️

Day #27 – November 27th:

🎶 “Someday I’m gonna have to mark my skin,
to show you what I’ve seen and where I’ve been…”🎶

(*Song lyrics: “All The Things I’ve Wanted”- The Clarks.)

The tattoos that mark my skin most definitely tell some stories… not all of which I choose to speak aloud about.

When I was 25, I chose my first tattoo – a butterfly, to signify the beautiful transition that I was making in my life at that time. I was leaving the religion in which I was raised, going through a divorce after nearly 7 years of marriage, sharing 50/50 custody of our daughter, as well as transitioning myself professionally from an EMT to a Paramedic. For the very first time in my entire life, I was living and working 💯 alone and on my own.

Something about mentally overcoming the physical pain of that tattoo was instantly addicting. I knew it would not be my only one. I did not know, however, that I would come to crave that physical pain and depend upon my ability to overcome and endure it in order to find relief from all “other things” that caused emotional distress in my life. It wasn’t until years later, when a friend asked me exactly how many tattoos I have, that I had a mental breakthrough.

I was taking a long shower and began to count and take note of each of my tattoos, the stories that they hold, and my reasoning behind the creation of each and every one of them. For the first time in my life, I felt shame. I wondered why I chose to mark my body with so many difficult and tragic milestone moments from so many of my life’s experiences? In this moment, it struck me that this kind of tattooing is the adult equivalent of childhood cutting.

I sat down in the shower that evening and cried.
For the first time in my life, I could see myself just as I see my own daughter… perhaps even just the same as how my own mother may have seen me?
Inside my own mind, I could hear my mom’s voice asking me: “Why would you do this to someone that I love?”.

From this moment, I have grown, and I am so thankful for this growth. I took this realization to therapy and with the help of Dr. Michael, whom I mentioned earlier this month in another thankfulness post. With his professional help and direction, I am now capable of actually facing my emotions, processing them, and releasing them without the need to physically endure or overcome any sensation of pain in order to heal. This is not to say that I will never opt to get another tattoo… because I already have and most likely will again 🙃 – but the tattoo designs themselves and the reasons behind my getting them are no longer weighed down by deep, dark stories or unreleased emotions.

🎶”Somebody told me sadness makes a space,
Inside your soul where wisdom takes its place…”🎶

(*Song lyrics: “All The Things I’ve Wanted”- The Clarks.)

Day #28 – November 28th:

My Dad.

Funny how, some things, the mind just never forgets. Like the strength of his presence when standing beside me, the way he looked at and fiercly protected my daughter, and how gently he loved my mom. This man taught me so many things! He gifted me with the ability to write, he taught me to read, and instilled in me a love of books. He encouraged me to run, taught me to drive, and cultivated the “extrovert” to my naturally introverted personality with a passion for fun, exhilarating experiences, as well as, a deep appreciation for quiet moments and the natural beauty of this world. (Not to mention, the therapeutic value of cranking up the volume on some really great music!)

We didn’t always see eye to eye and our stubbornness could at times set us as far apart as two complete strangers. If I’m being honest, I don’t think he ever forgave me for growing up. He wanted his daughters to stay little forever… but then I had my own daughter, and I will never forget the way he looked at her – like a man who just received the chance to live life all over again!

Through the years, my dad taught me so many things, but the greatest lesson of all has been to never take one single moment for granted because one day, in the blink of an eye, it will all be gone.

Day #29 – November 29th:

“I never understood the love of my mother, until I became a mother, myself.”

For growing up a classic “Mama’s Girl”, you’d think I’d have all the words to say when it comes to my mom… but I don’t. I just have all the “feels”.

If you could collect every single memory and emotion from utero to adulthood and lay it all out across this page in word format, there’s jist no way that it could ever be enough. There are just not enough words in the English language to describe my mom, or the depth of her love – and, no matter how hard I try, I simply can not do it justice.

I guess it really is true:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, but just felt in the heart.”

– Helen Keller ♥️

Day #30 – November 30th:

“The best things in life aren’t things.“

– John Ruskin

Today is the final day of my “30 Days of Thankfulness” Challenge and I can hardly believe that it’s over!

I consider myself very lucky that this “challenge” has been so easy to complete. There are so many people, places, memories and moments that, when combined, make up the story of my Life. I am so very thankful for each and every piece of this perfectly imperfect journey and find it, all in all, so damn beautiful!

I have so much to be thankful for and I choose to take nothing for granted… so, as I bring this 30-day challenge to a close, I wish to end it by simply saying that I am so very thankful for my LIFE!🤍

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

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