📔 10 things grateful, plus a beat up journal | #gratitudeandshit

stormtrooper daddy today need my desk

I’m on the last page of my first gratitude journal.

The thing’s destroyed. The back cover? Gone with the wind. If it wasn’t Star Wars themed, it might look like something a general in the Korean War might have kept. Or a messenger in the Spanish-American War.

Or just a dad with a messy bag and penchant for kettle chips.

It’s served me well. Not just physically. A completed journal means something to me. It means I had what it took to stick with something. I spent my childhood hearing I couldn’t stick with anything. It wasn’t false. But I’d have picked a different narrative.

When I get through shit like this, it helps create a new narrative.

It’s like that first 5K or making it 3 minutes without a tortilla. But are accomplishments and portend something greater. What? Wow, I’ll find out someday. If I can do this, and I can do this +13. It’s just the kind of momentum a snackin’ dad needs.

What are you grateful for this week?

fox mug christmas cute target
Foxes are kind of kickass.

1-A desire to improve all processes. It takes much of my day to gather the momentum I need to start it with, but I’m committed to finding a way. I want to write better, father better, live better, love better, snack better, keep my car clear better. All the betters.

2-A parental double-team that has done pretty damned awesome. It started with baby talk and gentle parenting, natural childbirth, and nursing on demand. It led to popcorn words and fun times and attention and compassion from us both.

3-Days to celebrate these girls. We had a couple last week. But I’m learning that the real celebration isn’t in scholarships or championships or graduations. It’s in character. Nothing else matters if the girls aren’t good people. I’m more proud of this part of them.

color guard panthers 2018 merica bank of america stadium
Is it football season yet?

4-That spot on the couch where I write. It’s on the left-hand side, where the fan blows, where I can see daylight out the window. It’s on Abu the Cat’s track of mischief, too, so sometimes there’s a squabble. But it’s comfortable and mostly mine.

5-Convictions, and conviction to follow them. A man I interviewed recently told me the obstacles aren’t on your path; they ARE your path. He’d taken that from somewhere else. Without conviction to see your vision through, you’ll go nowhere. Bring it on.

6-Places to help and connect. I’ve had such fulfilling experiences volunteering with the girls. Giving blood and scoring packs of Oreos and tiny cans of Coke. Mostly, it’s the people you work with or are stuck with needles by that make the effort worthwhile.

hayden asteroids christmas tshirt home
Hayden wears this even though she has never played Asteroids. (Also her dad was shit at this game as a kid.)

7-Forgotten comments and their follow-ups. I ran across a smattering of unanswered comments from a year ago recently. I answered them as if they were a fresh batch. Know what happened? Those lovely people commented again as if they were.

8-Moments of peace, however fleeting. It used to be much harder to clear my head of noise. Sometimes the world gets downright clamorous, but there’s always a moment or two I can stave it off.

9-Chance meetings and genuine connections. I never know how long they’ll last. Or if they’ll return after years and years. A one-time meeting could change in an instant. I’ve learned to be grateful in that moment – and the next, if and when it comes.

bill murray portrait 2018 regality lincolns haberdashery
A portrait of Bill Murray in the men’s room at Lincoln’s Haberdashery. He might be a pope. Or a cardinal? I don’t know. But there’s another portrait in there I took a picture. You’ll see someday.

10-Pictures and texts from Camdyn. The kid has a way of bringing me to moments she has. Volunteering at Special Olympics. Misbehaving at the Christmas Show. I love that at that moment she thought of ol’ dad.


Beattie quote gratitude


  1. Parents who told us we can’t stick to anything did more harm than good, i’m glad you are working to erase that tape in your head.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What were they thinking? I can’t imagine telling my kids stuff like that.

  2. Katie Arnold says:

    I totally get those feelings of silence and peace and how lovely they can be in the sea of chaos and monkey mind! Are you meditating in those moments?! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s like a universe of things that can happen all at once, Katie. And yes – I find that I almost instinctively slip into that meditative mind at that point, which can mean lots of things: labeling the noise, and setting it aside; confronting it, and extinguishing it; or simply concentrating on what I choose to. All have such value for me.

  3. Beth says:

    I’m glad you found so many moments of gratitude this week Eli! And I always have that content feeling when I finish a journal too, like wow, I really filled this thing up! Sometimes it can take awhile to do so too!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The problem is always narrowing them down, Beth! The filled journal was a testiment to what I can actually do when I make it a habit.

      I think it taking so long made it even more gratifying in the end!

  4. Excellent post. I have always liked you writing Eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Mick. I’ve always liked to write (and I’ve always liked yours, too.)

      1. Aww gosh thank you Eli. I’ve always liked writing too. Like minds 😉

  5. ksbeth says:

    grateful for the moments

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      me too. even when the rockies get rocked.

  6. Sara Strand says:

    I’m really struggling with clearing my head, which is frustrating because I also can’t focus on one thing to work on it either so it always feels like static of problems in my head. That’s fun.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Is it because you’re thinking of everything at once? I found a way to help me: I started writing all the things I have to do on notecards. And I’ll make lists on these cards for step-by-step. I found that getting the list out of my head and onto cards helped me focus!

  7. My mind is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of my processes, lol. And now I have a craving for kettle chips, and it’s all your fault! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s a constant battle for me – but also something I find fascinating to no end. Maybe we should try rewarding ourselves for 2 hours of focus with one bag of kettle chips!

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