10 things grateful, plus cheeseburgers and Charles Barkley

stormtrooper antiques
Always a good opportunity for stormtrooper art when we visit antique stores.

There are no timeouts in soccer.

I wanted to call one, once. We’d taken a 1-0 lead against the state championship runners up from last season. They’d beaten up on us for years. But today, as we broke for halftime, we were up 1-0.

“Guys,” I said, “look casual, but let’s see if we can get to the parking lot without anyone noticing us …”

The girls laughed. We thought if we could sneak away now … well, they couldn’t score on us, could they? We lost 3-1. But that moment proved we’d reached a level we’d strived for. For years, really. We were good enough to get ahead of a bitter rival.

We get a lot of those moments in life and don’t always notice.

Life is often measured in the final scores. We lose sight of the value of losing 4 pounds and not 10, of getting most of the answers right, of making it almost all month, meditating every day. Those incremental wins mean something, too.

I’m grateful for them. What else am I grateful for today? Glad you asked.

taco bell nachos midnight snack
Just enjoy the sight. No negativity, please.

1-Hayden having found a college home. In a backward turn of events, yesterday she received her acceptance letter. She signed her letter of intent a couple of weeks ago. The doctor says she can start running next week!

2-The increasing ability to remain level. Like getting up on Community School of Davidson for a flash, it sometimes shows quickly and fades. But my Zen muscles are getting stronger.

3-Progress. I can see progress. It’s like, microscopic sometimes, but it’s there. I haven’t missed a day yet of Couch to 5K. I’ve meditated for 31 consecutive days. And I haven’t lost my wallet for hours.

Hi-Wire beer spring lager Asheville
If you can’t go to Asheville, you get some Asheville from the grocery store and drink it. She’s kinda dreamy, ain’t she?

4-Being closer to who I want to be. Notice a theme? It’s kind of internal. I feel I’m better than I was last week. Things keep happening. I just find better ways to cope. And notice. And share when the chance arises. Also, to stay quiet.

5-Plans. Even when bumpy. I’ve kept grids for daily, weekly and monthly goals. Another sheet for the pie-in-sky stuff. (mmm. Pie.) Some days I check things off like a champ. Other times, it gets less traffic than the New York Knicks playoff hotline.

6-A renewed sense of peace. The circumstances don’t change much, but it’s what we do with it in our heads. I read that if we live in the past, we feel depressed. If we live in the future, we feel anxious. Only in the present can we avoid either one.

Red Robin burger
We’ve got tonight. Who needs tomorrow?

7-Those opportunities. Thank you universe! You never know when they’ll come and if you’re looking for the home run ball and only the home run ball, you’ll miss out. Sometimes they’re as subtle as vanilla ice cream but they.are.there.

8-Hayden’s recovery and outlook. Yes, Hayden again. She makes the fewest blog appearances of my girls. But I’m amazed at how diligent and patient she is in her recovery. She has such a great perspective when others might feel despair.

9-The chance to go to All-Star Weekend. Parts were rocky. But overall, how incredible. I met awesome people, saw the best NBA players and legends, and took a pic with Sue Bird. Oh, and Tony Dungy and the Utah Build-a-Bear. Oh, and this dude:

Eli Pacheco Charles Barkley
We’re both round, Charles Barkley and me. He’s a little taller.

10-Surprising vibes. This universe has a sense of humor. I’ve curbed my expectations, not just to protect myself, but to open myself to things possible I hadn’t dreamed of. I’m ready. For lost laptop chargers and jackets found I thought were long gone. And all else.

What about you? What are you grateful for today?

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been. (2)


  1. Eli, I so enjoyed this post and it was right on time. Moving into a new home this week has provided many challenges and I’ve had opportunities to find peace in the moment. It makes all the difference. Today, more than any day this week, this post reminded me of so much…and I am deeply grateful. Thank you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad it resonated, Carrie. I’ve always found in the din of a move that it helps to stop and imagine how you want some part of the home to feel like, when all has settled.

      Wishing you even more moments of peace today and tomorrow and beyond, Carrie.

  2. Beth says:

    That is an awesome picture of you with Charles Barkley! So cool you got to meet him! I’m glad Hayden is doing well. Your love for your girls is so inspiring. You’re a great dad. I have been feeling that shift towards being the person I want to be also, as I am sure you’ve seen through some of my blog posts this year – it’s a great feeling isn’t it? Embrace and enjoy it my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! I saw him around a few times, and he was done working at that point, and pretty relaxed. Cool dude.

      These girls are everything! I feel so honored to be their dad.

      Yes, your shift is showing, for sure. There’s a good balance of contentment and striving in your words, if that makes sense. You want for more but not at the expense of the riches you already have.

  3. Wonderful post, Eli. Yes, there is a shift in the air. The universe is poised, waiting…

  4. susi_snaps says:

    Such a great post. I’m trying to incorporate more gratefulness into my every day. My friend got me the Five Minute Journal – I’ve started of strong but haven’t used it too much in the past week. Time to pick it up again. I also do my daily #onegoodthing post on Insta. It’s good to put things in perspective… and appreciate what you have.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you, Susi! When gratitude becomes a habit, it grows on its own. I’ve adopted my own version of the five minute journal, and I know I’ve strayed for a while, but it always feels good to come back.

      I’m going to look for your #onegoodthing Instagram posts! It’s great to connect with you there, too. I’ll be back to your blog soon!

  5. 1jaded1 says:

    There are no time outs in soccer and that’s what makes it one of my favorite sports, Eli. Yay for Hayden’s recovery.

    I’m grateful for reading your posts and the food pictures that you share. Yum.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      So true, LJ – you have to make adjustments in soccer on the fly, just as in life! I’m grateful to share these posts and food pics with you. I could go for a burger right now, and I haven’t even had breakfast!

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        Burgers make for a tasty breakfast (pizza too). Eggs make for a delicious meal at any time. 🙂 It’s unconventional, for sure. I feel bad for third shift workers who crave a burger because 9AM is their dinner time, but have to eat the traditional breakfast, unless they cook at home. Haven’t been to a restaurant in awhile, so maybe things have changed.

  6. ksbeth says:

    grateful for another week with my kinders, loving the work i do. for another week playing with my grannies, having coffee with my daughters, and sometimes for online dating.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They’re so lucky to have you, Beth. What a blessed life. How’s the online dating treating you?

      1. ksbeth says:

        always an adventure

  7. Mmm. Nachos! And cheeseburger! Thanks for letting me enjoy them, even if I can’t eat cheese these days. I can remember the yum. I so love the recognition of progress, of sticking with things and how it’s ok to not necessarily check every box every day. That’s big. Lately, I’m grateful for snow. The bright white.

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 )

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.