10 Things Thankful, and a bit of self-forgiveness

best barbecue in gatlinburg, stormtrooper pics, black and white pics
Hayden snapped this photo at Bennett’s Real Smoke Barbecue Pit in Gatlinburg. We celebrated a season with a rack of ribs and a pint of homebrew. (This class mysteriously disappeared from our table, however.)

The toughest person to forgive is often ourselves.

I’ve two Go Ask Daddy posts unpublished. Crazy, huh? If I can’t finish on my self-imposed deadline, I won’t publish. I’ll save them. I’m holding my blog hostage. I force myself to finish freelance work (veggies) before I get to blogging (snickerdoodle cookies.)

Heard of the Pomodoro timer?

I’m using that too. I’m rewarding myself for hours of distraction-free work with writing for fun. It keeps me hungry (not for snickerdoodles, although …) to put in the work to get to what feeds my soul most.

I’m grateful for the sense of accomplishment – and thankful that if I don’t finish everything in a day, I go easy on myself.

What are you grateful for this week? I’m forgiving myself for repeating some things. What’s to say we can give gratitude (and shit!) only once? That’s like eating just one waffle. What in the holy haystacks is that all about?

I’m grateful for …

rest stop signs, funny signs, nah dip
I put this one up on Insta, too. I want to know the actions that led up to someone ordering these sin=

1-Confidence in recent opportunities. I’ve met people by chance who happen to have writing needs. I love that I spoke up and that we made the connection! I’m writing about things I didn’t know much about – and realizing that I’ve learned a lot over the years.

2-Time with family in Gatlinburg. So many moments brought me joy just as they were. Watching Camdyn play larger than life, seeing the girls take a chairlift ride, swiping a beer glass from a barbecue joint … these are a few of my favorite things.

3-25-cent chocolate bars. I stopped in Dollar Tree on lunch to get Hayden bandages for her surgery incisions (always in kid designs) and found Christmas clearance. Not since Opie Taylor has a dude in North Carolina found such a sweet candy deal.

were to eat in gatlinburg, best pancake house in gatlinburg, what kids should eat in Gatlinburg
We stopped at a pancake house after the final game and no one got pancakes. Hayden has crepes filled with custard. That’s chicken and waffles on Camdyn’s plate. The family behind us is from Ohio. Cool uniforms, but they lost their final game.

4-A return to blogging. I showed up this week like the Los Angeles Rams showed up last Sunday in the Super Bowl. It’s true. But this is who I am, and when I use it as a reward, it feels like I’m covering good ground to get here.

5-Quiet, mind-settling drives to work. My commute’s been cut in half since I worked at Red Ventures. I can tune in 88.9 WDAV, soak in a little Scarlatti or Telemann and down a pint of Coke Zero on the ride in and be ready for anything. Literally anything.

6-My journal. It helps to keep the wheels on. I skipped it for several days. It was like using my rudder for kindling. Never again. Days that start and end with a journal and meditation feel like free-grilled cheese sandwich day.

And not with the cheap sliced cheese from Wal-mart, either.

joy of soccer, tournaments in gatlinburg, tryouts in charlotte area
After beating quality teams from Knoxville, Atlanta, and Lexington, Ky., Camdyn’s team were declared champs. They tossed their prize beanies in the air. “Just like Mary Tyler Moore!” I DIDN’T yell. (Some of the parents are too young to remember that show.)

7-Help from colleagues. I feel alone, or at least isolated, at most jobs. Now and then, a co-worker will come through and take care of something for me. Cover me, when there’s a ton of calls for electronics, or show me how to save an image to the server. I dig that.

8-My new doctor. She’s patient. And kind. That means so much. Really, I’ve seen a terrific set of physicians in the past year. Understanding, sympathetic. Genuine. They inspire me to get my health right and stick around for years and years.

9-The Denver Nuggets! What a season. I get to cover the NBA All-Star Game here in Charlotte next weekend. I’m not excited to see King James or Kevin Durant. Nicola Jokic, though? Hell yeah. Sorry in advance for blitzing Instagram.

Dr. Oz is even going to be here, man.

10-A day for catch-up. Not ketchup, although you never know. Sunday. I have one game to coach. That means I could do stuff in 23 other hours. Productive stuff. Or, not. Whether I work on my novel or make edible cookie dough with Camdyn, it’s a win.

What say you? What has you feeling gratitude and shit?

gratitude quote buddhist proverb


  1. Miriam says:

    Hi Eli, happy new year to you, even though we’re already in February! Hope you’re well. My writing’s also started off slowly this year and I can relate to the procrastination. I’m an expert at that. Journaling is great and my Gratitude Diary actually keeps me sane. Thinking of the little things at the end of the day that I’m grateful for, whether it’s pizza, music or a hug from my son, makes all the difference. Take care and hope 2019 is kind to you. 😊

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s not too late for the new year until it’s the next new year, Meer. Hope you’re doing well too – I miss your page! We’ll find our groove. I find lots of ideas for posts in the gratitude journal too – now I just need the space to write them! Pizza, good music with your son would be stellar, wouldn’t it? Even hug-worthy.

      1. Miriam says:

        Absolutely hug worthy. I sent you an email with my six words (and a few extra as well). Have a great weekend Eli.

  2. 1jaded1 says:

    Hi Eli. Your first sentence pretty much sums it up. The rest of the post is pizza toppings. Peace to you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’re pretty tough on ourselves, aren’t we LJ? I’m finding more room for myself. You hit the jackpot with pizza toppings talk on Pizza Friday! Peace (and extra toppings) to you, my friend.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        We are our own worst enemies. Today is National Pizza Day, useless fact, I know. Will you be celebrating with pizza?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Any fact about pizza is anything but useless, LJ! I celebrate almost every day as if it’s Pizza Day.

  3. ksbeth says:

    at least you’re not like the half-time show, tepid. this week, i am happy for the day off of school due to ice. ice never looked so good.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Tepid is a kind way of putting it beth! Ice will cool your jets, especially on a Friday. How will you spend it?

      1. ksbeth says:

        Hanging out with some of my tribe)

  4. my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    I’m laughing out loud at the leaf blower rule! What on earth must have happened to need that sign? Whatever it was must make an amazing story!
    Great list and love the comment on one waffle 🙂 Glad you had a wonderful time with your family and well done to Camdyn and her team!
    You must be so happy with your new commute. Less time in traffic is always a blessing.
    Have a great weekend and enjoy your beer glass!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d like to try a leaf blower in the house just once, Anthea! What’s the taste of one waffle sitting? Maybe that’s the next ponderance I need to consider.

      She didn’t like the beanie so I might steal it. She got really beat up and the chiropractor saw her the other day – I’m sure he wasn’t pleased at everything he fixed up being all mixed up again!

  5. A most enjoyable read, Eli. I really like the way you make forgiveness and gratitude sooooo real and accessible for all. Just plain good stuff here. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Carrie! There’s a closeness between the two, and I want to write about it – in relation to traffic. Stay tuned.

  6. Beth says:

    Loving your list this week my friend. I love that you all went to the Pancake House and didn’t order pancakes! We’ve gone to a burger joint up here that has burger in the title and then not ordered burgers too. Ha! And let’s talk about this beer glass swiping business….do I have to put you on time out? LOL

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Beth! I’ll swap you a chunk of waffle for some hummus and 17 pita wedges (I’m ambitious!)

      I kind of have a problem with ordering non-burgers at a burger joint. But it’s not as bad as ordering chicken at a seafood restaurant. There’s logic in there somewhere, I know it.

      I try to be kind and let people in traffic and don’t get pissy in the grocery store line. I feel this exempts me from guilt for snagging a beer glass a time or two a year! (I got a cool one in San Jose and had to wait to brag that I was taking it until *after* I left the restaurant.)

  7. One of my clients once had to tell a yard guy who had blown leaves through the open door of the condo i’d just cleaned that, no, she did not want him to come inside and blow them back out. There are people out there…

    Being mindful (for me, it’s prayer and Bible or devotional reading) at the beginning and end of a day makes all the difference in the world.

  8. Kathy G says:

    Tomorrow is a catch-up day for me, too. I’m excited to finish projects and get rid of the paper scrap reminders floating around my kitchen.

  9. Sara Strand says:

    I got a new opportunity last week and I was really overwhelmed and almost quit. This week, I can do it and it’s not so bad. So I felt pretty good about it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes! Love to hear that, Sara. Keep me updated.

  10. Always love reading your lists… it gives me inspiration. I need a new list! My goal for today! Thanks Eli! 😚💕

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you like it, Courtney! Put a new list on your list.

  11. Charlotte says:

    Lovely to read this and know that life is treating you well, friend ❤️ And sometimes glasses mysteriously vanish from my table too, what a weird coincidence!

    Your pancake less lunch at a pancake house sounds delicious. I’d say “what about those rams!?” As though I was paying attention to anything happening during the game, but really I was focused on the food and Adam Levine’s shirtless body (just keeping it 💯).

    Yay for a return to blogging and methods that keep us accountable. Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Charlotte! I think we are just moving out old glasses in support of new ones, right? It’s an ecology 🙂

      That place rocked, and it was good to eat something extravagant after Camdyn had to eat light(ish) all weekend. I hope you enjoyed Adam Levine. I was busy making more bingo cards and dreaming about Katy Perry. Well, her halftime show a few years ago. But yeah, Katy Perry!

  12. Emily says:

    Spending time with family and 25 cent chocolate bars are great! I’m so glad to hear that you are journaling. I think everyone should have a journal…it’s a great way to reflect on the day and it can be very therapeutic.

    I hope you are having a great day.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kinda sweet, right Emily? I forgot to journal this morning and it’s kind of bugging me, to be honest. I’ve almost filled my first one – can’t wait to look back on it.

  13. Lindsay says:

    That sign is EPIC, LOL!
    I love the pic of your girls, too, and I love that they’re not afraid to show their silly side. 🙂

    Beth’s comment has me chuckling, too,. Great list my friend and hope you had a great week. TGIF tomorrow, woop woop! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Isn’t it? I wonder if it gets stolent a lot! My girls never ever worry about their silly side. Mine, on the other hand …

      Yes, Beth’s a good contributor, isn’t she? Glad you liked the list! It’ll have to suffice for this week too, unfortunately. I’m still wrestling with time and refuse to go down for the count.

  14. “The toughest person to forgive is often ourselves.” Oh so very true. In fact, when we struggle to forgive another person, it’s actually something within ourselves that we’re unable to forgive. I know it’s a mind bender, but once you find that part of yourself that’s so unacceptable, and can accept it, it can be a life changer. The best thing about forgiving ourselves is how it allows us to open up again. To breathe easy. To get back into the flow. There’s no prize in life (or death) for self recrimination.

    I love this post, all the gratitude! Lately, I’m grateful that it finally snowed. I love the white stuff, brightening everything up. Making everything outside seem more magical. One night when it was around midnight, both my son and I weren’t ready to go to bed yet, and went out to bring in firewood. The temps were below freezing, so the snow was light, powdery and dry (very rare for here). It sparkled as it caught light, and practically squeaked under our boots. My favorite.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Loved your thoughts on forgiveness! I find the best place to practice forgiveness and mindfulness is traffic. I’m not aggressive on the road, but I have aggressive thoughts. Work in progress.

      Love the snow story! There’s something about snow at night. I have wonderful memories in Colorado of so many different types of night snows. Glad you helped me to remember it.

  15. I enjoyed your post!
    I’m on a journey of healing – mind, body, and spirit. I’m only recently understanding how vital forgiveness is for the healing process. It’s the first time I’ve ever forgiven myself and offered myself grace. That alone has brought me to a new place in my healing journey.
    I am grateful for the gift of forgiveness. I believe it comes straight from the heart of God.
    Well, I’m new here and look forward to reading more from you!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you! I got the sense of your journey reading your comments on Susan’s blog, which led me to yours.

      I feel like a lot of things will begin to fall into place for you. It’s not easy to offer yourself grace – I find that it’s tougher for me when I first wake up. That’s when I’m down on myself the most. Meditation breaks that for me.

      It’s so New Testament and it’s also so much of other world religions, that power of forgiveness. It’s what clears the way for what’s next. I saw a quote that said if you feel depressed, you’re living in the past. If you feel anxious, you’re living in the future.

      If you are in the moment, there is only calm.

      I look forward to reading your work, too!

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