#AtoZChallenge: E is for Every Day Gratitude

stormtrooper pepsi 2018 thirsty antique shop
I’m grateful for photo ops in antique stores when I happen to have a stormtrooper in my pocket.

My journal has taken a beating.

AtoZ2019ELiterally and figuratively. Before last night, I hadn’t written in it for weeks. Also, the back cover has fallen off. There are about five pages left in her, and it looks like it spent a season getting kicked around on Gilligan’s Island.

Gratitude is easy to come back to, it seems.

It wasn’t as if I’d abandoned #gratitudeandshit. It’s part of every day. It just wasn’t getting written down. So I had some old things in there. Things such as, I’m grateful for new episodes of Silver Spoons and I’m grateful for my new calculator watch.

(That’s not true. My parents never got me a calculator watch.)

I am happy that lots of gratitude are ongoing. And not so petty. Sure, I’m grateful Mr. Havarti invented cheese and Brooke Shields has an active Instagram account, but there’s so much more to be thankful for, too. Including you. Reading this. Thanks, boo.

What else am I grateful for, you might be wondering …

panther christmas 2018 game bank of america stadium
I’m grateful to have spent every season since the Carolina Panthers’ inception covering them for someone or other.

1-New friends, excited about #GirlsRock. I have the honor of some incredible women interviewing now for future posts. This is important to me. My girls know there are no limits to what they can do. These women live that.

2-Madison’s coaching tendencies. She’s helping on Camdyn’s team. I love to see parts of my influence on her mixed with what she brings exclusively her own. She’s a smart, compassionate leader who loves when she can help a player make a breakthrough.

3-Camdyn’s leadership. She plays on an inexperienced team and finds herself doing lots of the work. I know it’s frustrating. But ultimately, she helps her teammates and wants them to love the game as she does. And it’s working. I love that she thrives in this.

me mountain dew float 2018 refreshment bank of america stadium pressbox
There’s a soft-serve ice cream machine in the Panthers’ press box. When I’m feeling sleepy, I make a Mountain Dew Ice Cream Float. It’s basically a salad.

4-Hayden’s patience. I so miss watching Madison and Hayden play. I know it’s tough to miss your senior season, to see games lost that she could have impacted. But she’s imparting knowledge on a young team and with us every step of the way.

5-Runs in the park when the air is so cold. Not so much these days, but a couple of weeks ago … the cold air burns your lungs. It reminds me of basketball practices in Colorado with gym doors open to the harsh winter air. It’s invigorating.

6-Habit ladders. Oh, I have plenty of habits. Destroying cans of Coke Zero. Crushing bags of animal cookies. Binging on Reign on Netflix (Hi, Queen Elizabeth!) Habit ladders help me to combine good things together to make the group more routine.

me coffee 2018 meeting sarah brakeman's coffee
I’m a coffee drinker now. It was supposed to replace Coke Zero. Now, it keeps me from drinking Coke Zero until at LEAST 9:07 a.m. #progress

7-Tomato timers and grids. The Tomato Timer served me well but isn’t part of my routine anymore. I keep a to-do grid and have decided to reward myself through a complex system of productivity tracking. If I do well, I’ll buy myself a new lid here.

8-Walking onto the field. Our sideline. There’s just a lift that you get in your soul when you arrive on the playing grounds with your side. It’s pride, and it’s optimism. It’s getting there early enough to talk to players before things get real.

9-Meditation. It grounds and sustains me. I have a 70-day streak of meditating. It doesn’t make me perfect, but it does perfectly open my eyes to my good and weak points. It keeps me engaged where I am. It helps me not freak over the Rockies’ rocky start.

south carolina end zone 2019 covering belk bowl bank of america stadium
I’m grateful Belk Bowl officials let us go on the field in the last 2 minutes. It’s cool to get a feel for the game down there. It wasn’t such a good day for the Gamecocks.

10-Peeling away expectation and listening. The expectation is such a finite endpoint. To be open to an array of possibility is so liberating. Forgoing attachment to outcomes. The universe has such a better imagination than I.

What are you grateful for today?

A to Z Challenge:

A is for Almost (and also At Last)

B is for Baggett (as in Laura, the actress, and #GirlsRock interview)

C is for Cursive, Cats, and Chinese Restaurants (Go Ask Daddy about them)

D is for Drawing the Line

waitley quote gratitude



  1. joyroses13 says:

    Love your list, gratitude is so important, for there is always something to be thankful for no matter what!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sometimes you have to dig to find it – and other times, it’s right there on top.

  2. Beth says:

    Some good things here my friend. I love how much your girls are always on your list – and how much it sounds like they help each other too. That’s awesome and you’re an awesome dad. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Akaleistar says:

    What a wonderful list of things to be thankful for!

  4. Your family brings you a lot of joy, i like reading about that.

  5. XmasDolly says:

    OH MY GOSH, THAT’S YOUUUUUUUU????????? OMG OMG OMG I know who you are! hahahaha you asked to be friends with me on FB plus I found a Post by you and then I just got an email from you, but I never put the two together until just now! hahahahahaha HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII OLD FRIEND! I don’t think I ever seen a picture of you before… just names ya know!!! Oh, this is too funny! Anyway, great Post and love your thoughts. I have so much to be thankful for! It’s been many years since we’ve spoken, but since then my family got larger and my body has fallen apart. At this time I am not disabled. It’s a long story my friend, but I’m thankful for my husband and he does for me and I do for him… we just help each other! I don’t ask God for much, but I do let the Lord know how thankful I am. Have a great weekend!!! Glad we’re back together!

  6. ksbeth says:

    I can walk in the woods without a coat today. p.s. a well-worn journal is a badge of honor

  7. Charlotte says:

    Drats! Just left a long and juicy comment and it’s gone into the ether! Why does that keep happening 😩

    Your calculator watch comment made me lol and makes me think of my cousin’s bar mitzvah which had a computers theme, and doesn’t that make me sound like a dinosaur?! Glad this is a safe space 😊

    This is an incredible list and you should feel so proud of your meditation streak!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      (I fixed it!) I hate when the juicy comments get eaten – probably the wordpress goblins have an appetite for them in particular.

      Did the computer theme feature black and bright green, like old-school computers? Dot-matrix printers? See, you’re not that old 😉

      I’m quite proud of the mediation streak, although the other night, I nearly broke it. Then, I fell asleep during it. Still counts.


  8. my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    Wonderful gratitude list and I love that your girls are on your lists. You are such a great Dad.
    Meditation is really amazing – only started late last year and still learning but wow – it really is something I should have learnt long ago.
    That quote on happiness is so true but sometimes we need a reminder so thank you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They’re always high on it! Or somehow involved. They’re great kids. Well, don’t worry too much about lost time meditating – that you’re in it now is all that matters! I feel like this quote really resonates today.

  9. Lauren Becker says:

    I’m not a Mountain Dew person, but give me a root bear float and I’ll be happy. 😉 I need to get into a routine of meditating. I love it when I DO it.


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wish there was root beer in the press box! Make meditation part of your wake-up routine, that’s the easiest way to get in. Isn’t it the best?

  10. All great things to be grateful for… You do realize the ice cream in the cup looks like a chicken floating in water, right? 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I see it now, Courtney! Also, like two pairs of butt cheeks sticking up.

      1. 😂😂😂😂😂

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