Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for giving in.  I have lived my life according to what I am “supposed” to do.  And the truth is it always felt incomplete, forced, and lacking.  I always knew there was more to it—I always felt it in my bones and that feeling drove me to always search for something.  The reality is that in order to experience that something more you need to be in touch with what it is you want.  More importantly you have to be in touch with what you are meant to do, not what you are told to do.  So I gave into what I had always heard my intuition telling me: just live.  This is the first step of many, but heeding that voice without question or hesitation felt 100% right.

Today I am grateful for progress.  Yes, I have been grateful for progress before, and no matter how redundant, I will always be grateful for it.  Progress is the evidence that life isn’t stagnant.  Progress is the yielded result.  And as cliché as it sounds, that little bit of effort every day adds up.

Today I am grateful for rest.  I did not sleep well last night—I haven’t been sleeping well for the last three weeks to be honest—and I had a ton of work to get done today.  I woke up at 5:30AM expecting to have to clean up nothing but mess and a laundry list I feared would never get done.  All I could do was simply put one foot in front of the other and start.  Slowly but surely the things got done.  I listened to my body and rested when I needed to.  A quick 30 minute power nap did the trick and kept me going.

Today I am grateful for our health.  Last week we lost a close friend of ours due to some unexpected complications during surgery.  There are a slew of things related to his passing and his lifestyle choices that made us take pause in where we are.  Neither my husband nor myself are kids anymore and seeing how vulnerable we are, how vulnerable we ALL are made us think about our lifestyle choices and how we need to take care of ourselves moving forward.

Today I am grateful for the direction my life is going.  Not long ago I felt discontent with where I was.  I had to force myself to do anything.  Motivation was nonexistent.  Happiness felt fleeting.  While things haven’t magically resolved themselves, I did a lot of soul searching and owned that I felt that way because of my own choices.  The simple action of ownership made me snap out of it.  We have one life and the bottom line is we can’t sit around waiting for things to fall into our laps to make us happy.  We have to consciously choose to change the things that no longer fit for us.

Today I am grateful to take action.  There isn’t a feeling quite like when you finish something.  The  universe works in our favor when we decide to act.  As a perfectionist I spent a lot of time waiting for the right moment to act—we all know how that story goes: nothing gets done.  I spent even more time benching myself because I was either nervous about looking like a fool or not confident in my ability to learn as I went.  The truth is not as many people pay attention to you as you think so I heeded that advice and started doing the things I enjoyed doing.  And the universe responded.  The bottom line is the universe will move on no matter what you do—you may as well do what you love and join the game.  Learn to play your hand and see where it takes you.

Four Words

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I’ve noticed that when I feel especially down that signs tend to flow even faster into my life.  It is usually during those times that I find more signs about perseverance and continuing on than I normally do.  I was scrolling through Instagram and I happened across an inspirational word-search puzzle.  The instructions were “The first four words describe your position right now.”  I was already feeling down and out and I figured if this was at least inspirational I couldn’t be any worse off.  So I played.

The first word for me was Self-care.  I found this to be perfect timing considering I have been feeling so out of sorts lately.  Self-care was high on my priority list as I felt the call to take better care and to take more time for care for myself.

The second word for me was Miracles.  Just when I had been feeling like all of my work was for nothing and that things weren’t panning out as they were meant to, I received the message that just because things weren’t happening as quickly as I thought they should be, it didn’t mean that things weren’t (or aren’t) coming together in the time they should.  That is a small miracle.  You see, the big results are often the result of the small steps we take every day so the reminder to keep going felt incredibly profound.

The third word for me was Intuition.  This is when it felt like lightening hit me.  During all of this external (and resulting internal) turmoil, I had been telling myself that I couldn’t hear my intuition—but that I needed to.  I already intuitively knew that I needed to listen to my intuition.  This is a challenge for me because you can’t just listen to your intuition—you have to trust it and then act on it.  The underlying issue really isn’t that I DON’T hear my intuition, it’s that I don’t TRUST it.

The fourth word for me was Family.  This has totally been at the forefront of my thoughts for the last few months.  I’m preparing to help my parents decide on their next steps in life—full retirement, moving, selling their house.  I’m also preparing to move my family into a bigger home.  All of the work I’ve been doing has been to secure this future.

Maybe it was just the mood I was in but clearly I connected with these words at that time.  So I kept going and found the next four. They were Gratitude, Money, Connection, Purpose.  BAM!!  I felt like these would actually logically be the next step after laying the foundation of self-care, believing in miracles, following intuition, and then caring for family.  With gratitude you open up to more miracles including money and connections—specifically connections to find and fulfill your purpose.

I didn’t stop there.  The next four were Strength, Breakthrough, Change, and Creation.  Mic Drop!!  Again, the logical next steps.  Once you find your purpose, you need strength to follow your intuition to fulfill your purpose.  This is often the breakthrough.  And breakthrough leads to change because of what we are creating.  Once we find our purpose we are often incited to create change.

You got it, I kept going.  The last three words I found were Love, Lessons, and Alignment.  Oh my friends, by this point I was weeping.  Change is not only brought about by creation and purpose, but also by love.  By finding our purpose, we are doing what we love.  And in love we learn the universal lesson that we are all human and we are all fundamentally worthy.  Aligning with that truth will always keep us aligned with our purpose.

The simple random act of crossing this puzzle and finding the links between those random words in that random order made it so evidently clear that the world, the universe is not random.  We are meant to find things at the right time.  This nudge profoundly reminded me of my connection to the universe, and I felt my sadness begin to wane.  I felt peace.  In these words I felt like I found the key to my path.  The steps.  Keep looking for your words my friends because the lessons are often in the most unexpected places.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for amazing time spent with my family.  In celebration of Father’s Day, my husband, son, and I went fishing at the little lake by our house.  My brother called while we were out and asked us to come over and celebrate with our father as well.  So we packed up and drove over and we all spent the morning and early afternoon fishing by them.  It was such a lovely time and a moment I will cherish forever.

Today I am grateful for time spent outdoors.  Not only were we together, we were in nature enjoying the quiet, the stillness, and the absolute peace and simplicity of being outside.  It felt wonderful to connect with nature and to leave everything else aside.

Today I am grateful for things turning out unexpectedly.  My control issues have repeatedly come to focus this last week and I have struggled to let go when things looked like they weren’t turning out as planned.  But cosmic humor prevailed showing me that just because it didn’t look like I thought it would, everything still turned out how it was meant to.  And it is all fine.

Today I am grateful for the reminder to pause.  This is something I have been grateful for many times and it amazes me how it’s a lesson I need continual reminding of.  I KNOW how good it feels to let go and trust yet I allow myself to get caught up in the machine of routine and drive.  Sometimes not accomplishing something is exactly what you need to do to get done what needs to.

Today I am grateful for the universe showing me what is really important—the things I have really asked for.  Being with family, doing something healthy, taking care of each other, creating memories—those are the things that matter.  Using the time we have to do the things we enjoy with the people we love:  those are the things to never take for granted.

Today I am grateful for rest.  My mind has been in overdrive for the last week with no clear direction.  That means that nothing truly productive has been done.  It was all activity, not productivity.  Taking that pause really served as a reset.  Sometimes it isn’t right to push through and we have to stop in order to see which way to go.

Today I am grateful for life.  Echoing what I discussed above about being in sync with what is really important, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to make different decisions once those little reminders set in.  Life is the moments we create, it is doing what makes you feel alive, it is experience.  The experiences today nudged me in the direction I really want to go.

Fun on Purpose Part Two

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I wonder about the nature of signs from the universe.  I’ve been asking for a long time for signs about what I’m supposed to do.  Yesterday I was planning on finding a way to leave work early today.  This morning I had the immediate feeling of not wanting to go in (more detail below).

Today started at 1:30AM with my husband getting sick.  Full on stomach evacuation from both ends.  My kid promptly crawled into bed and had to be moved back.  We woke up a few hours later and got ready for the day.  We got in the car and literally 2 blocks later, my kid had an AR attack and got sick all over himself.  Not a huge deal, I turned around and we went back home, I got him upstairs and changed him.  We got back in the car and we were about 10 miles further down the road when he had another attack.  This time I turned around and lost it on my husband—he had already not been feeling well so he should have stayed home.  Meanwhile kiddo is still getting sick and I’m trying to figure out what to do with work.

I am starting to see that the universe definitely puts you on the path that shows you who you are.  It isn’t up to me to reject the lesson just because it isn’t what I thought it would look like.  This morning for example, I know that the universe was telling me I need to focus on my family and take care of us.  But I felt immediate frustration because the plan for the day was to work, get done, and come home.  Perhaps the universe was telling me to forget work entirely.  Not unsurprising given my talk of joy and play the other day.  The universe is telling me to let go.

I remember as a child that my mother always put work first.  And I completely understand why: she needed to work.  I didn’t want to do that to my child and here I was smack in the middle of him needing me and I was still trying to get to work.  Now this is a sticky situation for me because I value my career and I need to bring in that income.  It makes me feel resentful that I am always the one who has to be flexible and to sacrifice the work I need to do in order to take care of the family.  At the same time I want to be able to have the freedom to help my family.

Perhaps this is one of those in-between moments where I have to realize that just because this doesn’t look how I want it to, I am still living the life I wanted.  I am able to work from home and take care of my kid even if it wasn’t the type of work I planned.  Perhaps I wasn’t specific enough.

The one thing that is clear is that I need to slow down.  That is the hardest thing in the world for me.  I feel so sensitive and like I’m being pulled in a million directions and my mind is always moving.  And I HATE stopping for anything.  I feel the need to keep moving.  Ironically, the Super Attractor deck was telling me, “In stillness I receive.”  I guess that is where I will leave it—learning to be still.

Fun on Purpose

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The universe works in some pretty amazing ways sometimes. Yesterday we discussed the need to release the masks we create in order to live the life we are meant to.  We also discussed learning to settle in the in-between where we can learn more about who we are.  Today began with me waking up early to break my routine a little.  Really it was just to pay a bill I had forgotten to pay, but that is not something I would normally do.  My neurotic brain would normally worry and worry all day and then force myself to try and remember to pay it when I got home from work.  The whole day would have been filled with stress to remember to pay it.  Yes, I have been that crazy where I wouldn’t wake up 10 minutes early to simply pay a bill because it wasn’t my routine.

When it comes to taking control and directing my course, I realized that everything is about perspective.  I listened to a live event from Gabby Bernstein today and she was answering questions from the audience.  Someone was discussing their constant pushing.  The constant need to have control and push through.  How they couldn’t let go and always needed to be doing something to make progress toward their goals: and they were getting nowhere.  Gabby’s response was beautiful.  She said, “I hear no joy.  Absolutely no joy.  I’m prescribing you to 30 days of fun.  You need to have fun again.”  At these words something in my head just clicked.

I haven’t left a single centimeter of space in my life for fun.  I am always working.  Always obsessing over my goals.  I feel like any action not done in pursuit of that goal means that I am lazy and that I am not making any progress toward the life I want.  The audience member had laid out a similar story and Gabby also said, “It is in letting go and in having fun and not forcing our purpose that we find how to fulfill our purpose.  It is in having fun that we learn what to do.”  BAM.

So, with the million and one things that are going on in the world and in my life right now, I understand that I needed a reminder to have fun.  Having fun doesn’t negate or downgrade the seriousness of what is going on in the world nor does it mean that I am ignoring my purpose.  Having fun is the simplest way to invite the life back in.  It is the most effective way to bring you back to your path and experience what is both joyful and purposeful.

We can live without happiness or joy but that is all it will be: It is an existence but it is not a life.  Fulfilling our purpose and the path we take to get there is unique to each of us is what makes our life worth living.  It is the joy, the fun that opens us up to the possibilities that are meant for us.  A life that is purpose driven is necessary but it is equally necessary to enjoy it.

It is ok to take a break from the seriousness we create and to relish in the silliness and beauty.  Taking a moment to enjoy doesn’t mean we will lose that happiness and it doesn’t mean that we don’t take our purpose seriously.  We are meant to be happy.  We are meant to dance.  Find the song that calls to you and turn up the music.  Once you have your beat the rest will fall in place.

Resistance to Flow

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I wanted to share some thoughts tonight as we are all in the throws of change.  I feel some resistance in my life right now.  From trying to break unhealthy habits to breaking unhealthy thoughts, my intuition knows what I need to do—but I’m finding the doing challenging.  It almost feels like a lack of motivation.  And I know it’s the letting go that is hard.  Increasing flexibility is hard.  I know I am still clinging to control.

The truth is that there is so much to let go of, I could pick anything and just stop and it would help.  I don’t even know why I’m trying to hold onto it all.  Perhaps it’s the known that is safe so I’m fighting for it.  I am open to the changes but I fear I’m following the wrong signs.  It’s the perfectionism that prevents me from being vulnerable.

Maybe this is something we can all relate to—I’m really struggling to release the mask I created but I’m acutely aware of the new mask I’m creating.  It’s this in between where I am still learning to settle.  I’m trying to find the next me.  Each mask is heavy with the expectations and dreams of others so I assume the responsibility of those dreams—rather than listening to my own. They aren’t my own.

I’ve missed the fundamental point that moving forward form here requires I lay down ALL masks.  And that can be said to anyone.  In order for real progress to be made, we can’t carry that burden.  To get through the resistance I must walk exposed, open, honest and vulnerable in who I am.  This is where I carry nothing else with me.  No shielding.

It’s authentic ownership of self and learning to dance with the flow of life.  I have to give up the illusion of control. There is nothing I can control except to direct my course.  I have to stop appearing how I think people want me to and live how I am meant to.  There is freedom in letting go of shame and there is freedom in knowing that your choices are yours to make.  I’ve spent a lifetime dancing to everyone’s drum but my own.

Glennon Doyle says quite simply, “we can do hard things.”  When we give up the pretense that we can’t do it, we ignite our lives.  Letting go is hard.  But I can do hard things—and all this resistance is just fear.  So maybe I (and we) just needed a reminder of that.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for finding center.  Over the last two days I’ve had the joy to speak with family and friends and to help direct me where I need to.  With the overwhelm and the uncertainty weighing heavy the last few weeks, it felt good to speak with people who bring you back.

Today I am grateful for doing the work.  There has been a lot going on in my life, personally and professionally, and I’ve allowed that to contribute to my overwhelm.  I woke up today and realized that it was enough.  It was enough complaining and telling myself that I didn’t know what to do.  It was time to take action.

Today I am grateful to prepare.  Things have been progressing but on hold at the same time.  We are looking at options for our family and making decisions about what we want to do, the type of life we want to have in the future.  In order for those things to happen, we need to do the work.  We know that it will take some time and we had been waiting to start.  We didn’t want to get our hopes up and lose on the opportunity we hope we have so we didn’t do much.  But today we had to make a choice.  Living in limbo wasn’t cutting it and it was causing more anxiety.  So we just began.  We began with clearing.  We are creating the way for the future to come in.

Today I am grateful to recognize my patterns.  I have been clinging so tightly to control.  I am so fearful of letting go.  I am fearful of not being prepared for any inevitability.  Being that fearful has taken me out of the present moment.  That is far too heavy a burden to carry.  I’ve been feeling so off lately, trying to find where I need to change, where I have gotten in my own way.  Recognizing the issue is the first step.

Today I am grateful for communication.  My husband and I got into an argument today and it could have been really heated.  After 19 years together, I saw my pattern and I paused.  I looked at how he was feeling in the situation and recognized where I had the opportunity to do something differently.

Anxiety in Shifting Times

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“Anxiety is sort of the opposite of ego.  You’re so sure you’ll do everything wrong you’re afraid to do anything at all.  Often this, rather than laziness is the real reason you find it hard to get started” – Robert Pirsig.

We’ve all been feeling a little anxious lately.  The world is upheaval and so many still seem to be missing the point of the message: it is time to unify, forget about the system and remember our shared humanity.  Simply put: it is time to reprioritize.

That is where the quote above struck me.  There is so much I want to do but I’m not sure of my ability to see it through so I’ve sat by when I could be doing something.  Then I see how quickly things are changing and I get the fear of missing out—like I should have been doing more.  I know I’m also giving into distraction way too easily.  I’m not doing enough to remove those distractions.  At the same time I’m really emotional.

When emotions and distraction are involved we are not clear.  I certainly know that I’m not thinking at my peak right now.  That alone is enough to cause anxiety.  We are trying to make decisions quickly and from a place we have never been before.  There is no way to know what the outcome will be from the decisions we make today.

So many people are reacting on a hair trigger.  I actually get it because we are all so emotionally charged.  We feel the anger at the lack of support from this system we have created but we aren’t quite sure what the future will look like.  There are amazing things happening but there is still so much work to do.  There are laws being passed, there are community changes being made but we still face this pandemic.  This limbo we are in, where things are moving forward but not quite resolved, is incredibly trying.  But no matter what level of discomfort we are going through or what emotions we may have about it, the world needs this change.

So here is what I’m doing:

I’m giving in. I am accepting.  I am taking what is in front of me in this moment and I am going to work with it.  I will not make excuses for why things didn’t get done.

I’m giving up.  I am letting go of my idea of what I think should be happening right now.  I am redefining my goal about what the outcome needs to be.

I’m taking responsibility.  I am going to focus on what I need to and I am going to act within my power.  I am going to focus on my part and work on the things that I need to. If I want a certain outcome, I have to do the work.

I’m clearing.  I am getting rid of what no longer serves.  Everything from emotional baggage to physical clutter; from expectations of others to clothes that don’t fit.

I’m clarifying.  I am eliminating the distractions I’ve allowed to become habit and I am going to put my energy where it needs to be.  Marie Forleo says, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”  So that is what is next: engaging.

I’m practicing.  I will try and try until I get where I am meant to be.  I won’t let one strike take me out of the game.  I will be grateful for what I know now and for what I learn tomorrow.  I will be grateful for the tools I have and for what I can make with them.

I’m still going.  I have learned that my comfort zone isn’t enough anymore.  Just when I think that the lesson is complete, there is more.  There is always more to do or learn.  That is true for all of us: Don’t stop where you think your limitations are.  Destroy those limitations and keep going.

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

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I was looking at some reports at work the other day and it astounded me that some of the numbers were incredibly close to pre Covid levels.  They were almost normal.  I started thinking about what our goals are at this stage.  So many people have been fighting and crying and trying to get back to “normal.”  I recall a mere 10 weeks ago talking about how we had such an amazing opportunity with this disease to shift things.  For a while it seemed like we were doing just that.  And now it seems like the cries of everyone who complained outweigh the need for change.

But the world works in funny ways and with the horrible events over memorial day, the world again is screaming for change.  What else could it possibly take for us to act on this message?  It is plain that we need to shift.  It is even more plain that collective action works.  So let’s do something FOR the collective.

When I saw those numbers at work, I started thinking that even in adversity we will fight for the status quo because the norm is the known—and that is safe.  No matter how atrocious or painful, the known is better than the unknown.  Even in adversity, the system moves on.  I have watched as a company meant to care for people has shifted practice to support the bottom line—and it has worked.  The system moves on for the benefit of the bottom line.  In spite of the chaos, the miscommunication, the pulling in different directions, we are still crying to make it how it was.

Rather than get angry or disappointed, I began to think that perhaps it simply is the natural order of things to evolve and devolve and then change again.  We change.  We like to think (with our perceived power) that we will never have to give up who we think we are. But real power comes from adaptability and that too is the natural order of things.

We have this image of how life will go, how we believe it is supposed to function.  I’ve always stopped imagining my life at a certain point—like I couldn’t see beyond a certain stage.  I wanted to avoid things that are inevitable and still scare me.  I fear the loss of my parents and my siblings and dying.  But it will happen. And I know that this is what is happening with the collective now: we are afraid of the death of what we know.

Learning to be present and stay in the moment is key.  We remember things from our past so vividly (at least I do) and it stays with us in so many ways.  In truth, in spite of all the challenges I had, I’ve had a very fortunate life.  I allowed myself to get swept up in what life was built for me rather than the creation of my own life.  I didn’t want to disappoint anyone so I went with what was given to me with no concept of making something on my own.  But now is the awakening.  I feel a sense of coming to my senses, a coming into my own.

This is the moment where we can all ask what we really want.  For me, I want to call the shots in my life.  That is the only way to make the life I want happen.  I’m not talking about grandeur and riches, I’m talking about not being weighed down by a system that doesn’t serve the collective any longer.

For me, now is the time to make something and provide for my family.  This phase of my life is about creation.  In spite of what appears to be falling apart, this is the opportunity to build.  Sometimes devastation is opportunity disguised as loss.  It’s a clearing.  Even the phoenix has to burn in order to rise from the ashes.

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens” — Rumi

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for the small splurges in life.  I went to the store with my son and found a pair of shorts for less than $5 so I bought them.  It was in that moment that I felt the most connected to myself in a long while.  A stupid pair of $5 shorts.  I asked myself if I wanted them, I did, so I acted.  I’m not saying I needed to be materialistic to connect to myself, but I was able to recognize what I wanted in the moment and to go for it.  With everything that is going on right now, we need to learn to connect with our inner voice.

Today I am grateful to shift roles in my family.  My parents have recently suffered a loss of a pet and they’ve been struggling with their choice.  One of my sisters and I have been talking with them and we were able to help them shift to a place of acceptance.  The missed the companionship of their pet (who was 18 years old) and wanted to bring that back.  I went with them to the shelter and they adopted an 8 year old partially blind cat.  It kept me centered in the moment to help them through that.

Today I am grateful to understand the dynamics of my family a little more.  To piggy back on helping my parents and my shifting relationship with them, I spent some time with my sister this weekend as it was my niece’s birthday.  She talked to me about some of her long-held feelings about my relationship with my parents and we had a dialogue about it.  It’s those conversations where you realize you’re more similar than you are different, especially as you’re cut from the same cloth.  It also woke me up to the fact that some of the feelings I thought we had long ago resolved were still pressing for her.

Today I am grateful to be learning more about my next steps and my place in the world.  I feel my work evolving, my opinions quieting, and my need for facts changing.  I find my tone changing as well and that is so necessary right now.  Now is all about reflection and doing the work.

Today I am grateful to pay more attention to what needs to be done on my side of the court as it relates to my personal life, my public life, and my professional life.  I’ve been struggling with who I am.  The conversation with my sister actually brought a lot of that up for me because I spent so much time trying to make other people happy that I never found myself.  In doing that, I never formed a solid foundation for who I am.  Right now, I have feelings that make my stance very clear and I no longer feel the need to perform.  I have struggles and I am ok admitting to them because that ownership takes you to healing.

Today I am grateful to open up.  I took some time to prep for the week and to clean but we also spent a lot of time together as a family.  I feel like I opened up to a state of allowing.  At the beginning of the week I felt myself being pulled by the current and I was fighting it—but today I went with it.  And no matter how many times that happens to me, I am always amazed at the reminder of how well things go when you are in a state of flow.  No control.  Just going with it.

Today I am grateful for reality checks.  There is a lot of work I need to do to get to where I want to be.  While outside forces may have contributed to me not getting there sooner, I can no longer hide behind the fact that I need to take a stand and to do the work.  I’ve managed to tow the line that allowed me to simultaneously be productive while not getting there.  Now it has been made very clear that in order to get where I want to be, it can’t be a half-hearted effort—I need to be all in.  There is only one shot at this and now is the time.  It’s ok to trust the sign when it comes: take the leap.

Today I am grateful for the annoyances I feel.  They mean there is opportunity for me to make changes.  They mean there is opportunity for me to let go more and to get in flow.  And honestly, to have annoyances means that there is privilege.  I am alive and I have choices that I can do something with.  This is something I don’t take for granted any longer.  There is no place for that.  We all have to use our talents, our gifts for what we are meant to do.  That is our responsibility.  To recognize that is a gift.