My husband, the caretaker

Yesterday, I got food poisoning.  The worst food poisoning that I have ever had.  Scombroid food poisoning. It was one of the top most painful experiences of my life.  Like, rolling around on the floor, crying, super intense pain. I probably would have gone to the emergency room if it weren’t for coronavirus.  Instead, I powered through with several different medicines. It only lasted 6 hours, thankfully, but those 6 hours were pretty horrible.

It is moments like these, however, that remind me what a great caretaker my husband is.  He really steps up to the plate and does everything in his power to help the situation. He researched what was happening, found me medicines, called a telehealth doctor, went out to buy more medicines, rinsed out my vomit bucket countless times, got me ice packs and hot packs, all while continuing to parent our six year old in the next room.

When I had my biggest medical emergency, after the birth of my daughter, he was an amazing advocate.  He did everything in his power to care for me (and our newborn) and advocate on my behalf, especially when I was unable to do so.

When our daughter gets sick or hurt, it is Daddy she calls for, not me.  He is a problem solver while still being compassionate. He fixes boo-boos and tummy aches.  She trusts him implicitly.  

He is also a caretaker in other ways.  He takes care of our house, our money, etc.  I rely on him for so many important things.  

I give my husband a hard time, most of the time.  But, he really is good. So this is my “I appreciate you” post.

Spreading Love through Music – a Celine Dion Concert Review

Last night, my sister and I attended Celine Dion’s Courage tour in New Orleans. I love attending concerts, but this one definitely blew both of us away. It was amazing!

Celine Dion was our first major stadium concert back in middle school. I was a big fan back at that time, over twenty years ago now. I remember doing a project on her once for music class.

While I have always remained a fan, I have not followed her career closely in the intervening years. Last night reminded me how completely amazing she is!

My sister and I unintentionally wore outfits that were color-coordinated. We had a laugh at our accidental twinning. Many of the fans, however, wore sparkles, sequins, and fur in dramatic silhouettes. I wished that I had dressed with a bit more glam, although my outfit was chosen to take me straight from work to the concert. Together, we decided that we need to attend more events where sequins are the norm and bring some more sparkle into our lives!

And let me tell you, Celine is someone who embraces the sparkle. She had several outfit changes. Each time, I could not wait to see the dramatic and fun look she would sport next.

Pictures that I take at concerts never turn out great, but here is a look at her six different looks.

She started the show with this sparkly red dress with a slit up to there! She is 51 years old, but she has a dancer’s body. Throughout the concert, she did squats and back bends in high heels like it was nothing!

Her next outfit was this tuxedo-inspired pantsuit with the biggest sleeves I’ve ever seen. My sister joked that she looked like a waiter carrying two tablecloths. But you know what, when you’re a diva….you pull it off!

Eventually, she ripped off the sleeves and performed in just the pantsuit.

Her next outfit was a lacy floor-length gown.

In this sassy and silver sequin jumpsuit, Celine performed a medley of covers including “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Kiss,” “Lady Marmalade,” and more. It was spectacular.

Her last outfit of the night was this dramatic poofy gown that she wore for the encore. She came out singing “My Heart Will Go On,” but actually ended the show with John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

It’s hard to put into words what made this show so amazing. It was such a positive, hopeful, and heartfelt performance. From beginning to end, Celine seemed so genuinely appreciative of her fans. She exuded kindness and gratitude. She accepted every gift handed to her from people in the front row as if it was a priceless treasure.

She was entertaining and funny, but even more, she was spreading the messages of love, courage, and peace.

When the couple seen at the top of the picture below got engaged during “Because You Love Me,” she was so excited.

Each part of the show was visually stunning without being too over the top. She highlighted several different musicians in her band. She even brought out one of her back-up singers (I presume) to do the Beauty and the Beast duet with her.

There were cool video montages playing during each of her outfit changes (which she did rather quickly).

She sang all of her big songs, both old and new. It truly was an amazing concert. My Celine Dion fandom has been revitalized. If you ever get the chance to see her live, I highly recommend it. You will walk away not only entertained, but feeling hopeful, loved, and maybe even a bit glamorous!

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude has many benefits, including improving our sleep, happiness, optimism, and connection to others. It decreases anxiety and stress. Practicing gratitude means taking the time to notice and reflect on the good things in life.

Just take a look at the name of this blog, and you will know that gratitude is something I try to cultivate in my life. In the past, I have kept a gratitude journal. I also use the A.C.T.S. format in my prayer life, which stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

A couple months ago, I decided to try a different type of gratitude journal. An art journal! I don’t write in it on a schedule. But when I have a little extra time, I try to draw something that I’m grateful for. I’m going to fill it up with my sketches. I am no artist, but that’s part of why I wanted to do it – to challenge myself. Here are a couple of my better pictures.

This year at school, I have been implementing the Jesse Lewis Choose Love curriculum with my students. The Choose Love curriculum has a four part equation to choosing love: courage + gratitude + forgiveness + compassion in action = choosing love. I’m spending one quarter on each ingredient of the equation. So I have spent the past couple months discussing gratitude with all of my students in grades k-12. I culminated the unit by having each student draw something they are grateful for on a paper square. I then put them together to make a “gratitude quilt” to hang outside my office and remind all of us that we have a lot to be grateful for.

So take a little time today (and hopefully every day) to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This is especially important when things in life are challenging.