10 Things Grateful, plus a stellar book to buy today


Who is your favorite writer?

More to the point: How did they get there? For most of us, it’s picking up a Jennie Ritz novel or Lee Smith masterpiece or sinking your literary teeth into some Pat Conroy while on a Carolina beach trip and you find something. Something that resonates.

See, I got it all ass-backward with my favorite writer.

Corey Wheeland was a writer before she was my friend. She became a published author just last night. This same friend with a similar heart and a marvelous daughter that shines like she ate the rings of Saturn for breakfast had a book released on Thursday.

I’m buying Blessed, Beautiful Now: How I Embraced The Present By Celebrating My Past And Learned to Love Life because it’s still fresh on day two and also it’s payday.

I could write a review because I know her stories and style and synergies. I won’t gush on too long but Corey’s words over the years have been to me what cheeseburgers have been to this blog. If you’ve been around a minute, you know that’s no joke.

Buy this book.

I’d implore you to buy it more so than I would any of the books I’ve been in. Adoration seems such a trite way of putting it. Her life, her journey, her words … well, they’ve all given me hope. And I can’t wait to hear what gifts this book becomes in your hands, too.


What else am I grateful for? Glad you asked.

Sometimes, you just find the right angle.

1-A clean car. A fresh start. It’s tough when stuff rattles around on the floorboards. I cleaned it out last week for Augusta, and it’s still (relatively) clutter-free for Gatlinburg this weekend. If I could only remember where I put my work badge.

2-New shirts. It’s good to update. I got a cool dress shirt with tiny skulls and crossbones on it. You can find some gems at Servant’s Heart or the Target clearance rack. And I’ve been doing this Marie Kondo thing long before she was on Netflix, y’all.

3-Renewed energy, focus, confidence. It’s not every day but lots of days. I wasn’t feeling it much this morning, but I remembered how much I got done yesterday. And how today can be like that too.

Camdyn was a guest player last weekend in Augusta/Aiken/Evans Ga./S.C. That’s her in the middle of the back row, in the white headband. They lost in the final (Camdyn hates finalist medals!) but she scored six times – including four in a row in a match that left the home club stunned and Camdyn’s side up 5-2 for the victory.

4-Deep sleep before long days. They’re unavoidable when you have this much infiltrating your calendar. It’s like my body has synced to the app and shuts down hard the night before an impossible day.

5-My morning drive with Camdyn. We had a good talk last night on the road en route to soccer training. I get such a great snapshot of what’s going on in the girls’ worlds when we’re side-by-side in the car. It’s the perfect catch-up.

6-Mantras. “Do your best, forget the rest” for example. Just something simple like, “8 hours to pizza” even. It’s best when the mantra surfaces on its own in your mind. Or when you hear your players repeat what you’ve said when things get dicey.

Just a small detail on a pillow in the hippest Air Bnb I’ve ever stayed in. This place was radder than rad.

7-Warm blankets. It’s been cold in Carolina lately. I’m grateful to be able to pull on a cozy blanket or three when I need them. I met a young woman who wants to make sure homeless people have something warm, too. I hope to help her make that happen.

8-Abu. Yes, mischief cat makes another appearance. I’ve never been cute enough to get away with what he does, but I love his moxie. And he can catch. I need to capture this on video. The cat could be the Buffalo Bills’ No. 2 receiver.

9-Friends making progress. I love to see it. In conversations, in their outlook. We’ve all got antelope to chase. I love when you can see someone else make strides and feel joy for them. And it adds to the belief you can do it, too.

10-Planned barbecue. Like, not just dreams. But actually knowing that on Feb. 2, at dinner time, you will be in a heavenly-smelling joint with good people picking between beef brisket and pulled pork. There’s got to be a mantra for that.

What about you? What has you feeling gratitude and shit, as I so eloquently put it?



  1. Laura says:

    I love your list! Today I’m feeling grateful for Sudafed congestion (ugh), color to disappear these grays, and Moe’s Alright Alright Alright nachos with queso because YUM.
    Happy Friday!

  2. I love those elephants! This week I’m thankful for More daylight!! Not leaving work in darkness makes me smile and feel hopeful.

  3. Beth says:

    Love your list today friend! I will definitely be checking out Corey’s book, I truly enjoy her writing also. Warm blankets have been a must this week. The entire country seems to be suffering this crazy coldness! Today the temp is rising above zero for the first time in days and I never thought I’d be so happy to see 5 above. Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Beth! I’ve read yours and will comment tonight when we get to Gatlinburg and I can settle in.

      Corey is having a big day and well-deserved! Proud to say I know her.

      So the pools open in Minnesota when it gets above 10 degrees, right?

  4. Today I am thankful for warm weather, as in any number without a minus sign in front of it. I think our low was -27 with a wind chill of -48 Yuck. Sunshine, songs, feeding my squirrel and bird friends and time to write round out the top 5 today.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ve seen the forecasts – and I know I froze my ass off when it was 34 last night at soccer! #lightweight

      Your top five sounds incredibly stellar, by the way.

      1. You are so sweet. 😊

  5. Charlotte says:

    Omg that’s so awesome re: Corey and I totally LoL’d at your description of how she eats Saturns rings for breakfast: that girl has some real raw talent and her writing ALWAYS gets to me. Yay for warm blankets and good conversations in cars and helping the homeless ❤️ I think about them now especially that temps are so dangerously low. Xoxo and have a great weekend, my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She *and* her daughter are pretty awesome, Charlotte. I wish this girl I met would get back in touch with me – she was buying hand warmers and such in Target on one of my shifts, and we talked about what we could do to help, and I *want* to help.

      Also, I find it important that even when we don’t have anything we give, we look them in the eye. Say something. Treat them as they should be treated.

  6. ksbeth says:

    great list of thanks, eli. sounds like i’d better check out her book asap! i am grateful that our temperature will finally be above zero and that i have family, friends and coffee that make it better when it’s not.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s really good beth – and you should check out her blog, too. We’re in Gatlinburg, Tenn., this weekend and it’s going to be in the mid 50s. We saw snow on the way still on the ground from last week.

      Friends and coffee can make a lot of things good, can’t they?

      1. ksbeth says:

        i’ll make sure to do that, and yes, you’re right )

  7. There’s that word again… 🙂 I have to make a conscious effort not to dwell on negative things and think about what I should be grateful for. 💕

    1. My child is healthy and whole and 32 years old.. an age that one child who was killed in a bus/train accident in my hometown last week will never see. Our community is still reeling. A nine year old little girl (cousin to deceased child) was flown to Dallas Children’s and will survive as will the bus driver. Thank God they were the only 2 children on the bus. But it is a tragedy none-the-less and will take us all a long time to recover from.😢

    2. My Small Group family. We have a small group that meets on Sunday nights from church and we have been on break from the holidays. We got back together last night for a “Super Bowl” party…LOL! I watched some of the commercials with the girls as we made homemade Valentine cards for the local nursing home and the guys “watched” the whatever that thing was on TV last night. I couldn’t care less about either team but I am glad the Rams lost because I do not like them anymore and the owner is an A*^%$# who took the team away from St Louis leaving a huge gap in their economy. I digress… :-/

    3. My hubby… who is working hard on his Masters degree and providing for us at the same time. School is kicking his butt a little bit but he perseveres and is doing well in his classes. 😉

    4. Ability to go to school myself. I am glad I have the opportunity to finish my degree although it feels like a freaking lifetime to get it done since I had to drop another class this semester *groan* I’m not supposed to talk about the negatives am I? Hmmm.. sorry. 😦

    5. My beautiful dogs… especially Gracie who is doing great! She continues to improve and we love her more every day. 🐶

    That’s a good start for a Monday morning…
    Have a great week Eli! ❤

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.