Why I Am Grateful: It’s Absolutely Not What You Expect. (Plus Some Thanksgiving Pictures.)

*Edit:  I started this post yesterday morning, however, cooking then my 12 mile run, before heading to my celebration, took over the day.  Let the extra long post and the gratitude commence!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!  As we approach the holiday season, I find that many humans start to feel a sense of gratitude, or say how grateful they are, which is something that they normally don’t feel or say everyday.  It’s also totally normal.  The holidays bring out a sense of magic in us.  We see tons (and I mean tons) of posts today, on social media, with bursts of thankfulness for partners, spouses, children, friends, family, the food on the table, etc.  I think it’s wonderful.  I enjoy seeing everyone’s pictures.  I hope you all spend this day with someone, or people that you love, and who love you right back in that stinkin’ beautiful face of yours.

For others, the holiday season can be tough.  It can be painful reminders of specific situations, running (figuratively this time) into relatives that you no longer have a relationship with (wait, that really happens?  Relatives that DON’T speak?!  Tell me more about that phenomenon!) or memories of the past.  For those who find these next few weeks tough, I feel you and I pray, to the Universe, that you all get through it and have the best weeks that you can.

Today  I am going to write about gratitude and what I am grateful for.  I’ve found myself using the word “grateful”, like, way too frequently recently (yes, on more than just Thanksgiving).  Gratitude is an attitude.  When you practice it, you live in it.  I am grateful for so many things but recently, what I am grateful for isn’t your basic “my spouse, my house, my family, my dog, my cats, the food on my table or  Dr. Breslow’s office” – that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate those things… Because, hell, I do, way more than you know. 

And leggings, duh, especially today.

Hashtag this is thirty three.  Hashtag blessed. 

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(I hope you caught my sarcasm there because hashtag blessed drives me bonkers especially when I see it comes after a new LV bag.)

  • I am grateful for my friends and family who continuously show up when I shut down.  Who text me to make sure I am alive when they haven’t heard from me in days.  Or when friends who I haven’t seen in years shoot me a text, from hundreds of miles away, at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning, to remind me that they’re Thankful for meeting “THE REAL ANGELA” not the one that they just see in passing on social media.  The ones who cry when I cry.  Or my friend that prays for me.  The ones who remind me that I am being really, really extra and need to get my awareness in check.  Or the one who buys me compression socks, after I mention that I need them to help with my running, because of my jacked tendon.  The people who want to see me achieve my personal goals, even if running extra miles means nothing to them.  Anyone can say they’re hashtag blessed for their family and friends… but do you truly speak it.  Do you write it down?  Do you believe it?  I’m grateful for them when I know I am hard to love.  I appreciate that they and myself would rather have that difficult conversation and say “you’re hurting me” or change their behavior rather than lose someone good, for good.


  • I’m grateful for boundaries.
  • I’m grateful for those who reach out to me first.
  • I’m grateful for those who prove that they care.
  • I’m grateful that I don’t have runner’s feet for as much as I run.


  • 2016 wasn’t my best year ever.  Did it have its amazing moments?  Absolutely!  Some really great things happened to me.  It really had its “who left the mierda in the toilet and didn’t flush?!!?” moments, too.  Believe that.  Some of that mierda also hit the ceiling fan.  While the fan was on.  And it just kept spinning.  Why am I grateful for sh***y  situations?  Am I insane?  No.  I am grateful because they’re lessons, people!  I am grateful for anything that teaches me something.  They taught me how to get things into control if I am able to.  To not let sh*t spiral.  Fix it.  Get the f**k up.  Control is an illusion, nobody has control, we can’t control what people do to us or situations that arise, but we can control how we react to them and how we can fix them going forward.  Easy?  Not always.  But it has to be done.

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  • I’m grateful for people who say “I am sorry” and prove it with changed behavior.


  • I don’t have a relationship with my parents.  While yes, it’s extremely hard, sad, frustrating and unfortunate, I think it prepared me for whatever else life can throw at me.  I’m grateful for the strength that they always instilled in me.  My Mignoli (nee) Mom is a tough cookie who never backed down.  My Amaro Dad always reminded me, “you’re an Amaro, you can handle anything.”  He whispered it to me from my days at preschool when I didn’t want him to drop me off (I remember busting out of the room to look for him, crying hysterically, to find him sitting outside the door waiting for me), to him walking me down the aisle at my wedding, which any bride can attest, that walk is nerve racking.  But I also needed that reminder.  Now, more than ever, I am forever grateful for how strong they made me.


    • I am also grateful that I know how to cook, beyond well, because of my Mom and grandmother, big Angelina
    • I am grateful for the Hallmark Christmas Channel
    • Christmas Cookie Candles
    • I am also grateful for alliteration


  • I’m grateful for complete soul shattering experiences.  Not only did they help me dig deep into my own soul, have me reevaluate myself and love myself more but they helped me realize how much I don’t want to carry certain characteristics of those people who or situations that have hurt me.  They made me realize who I want to be and who I choose to surround myself with.  They made me realize that my intuition can sometimes be my best kept secret (I just shared my secret with you all, gah, I have a big mouth sometimes) and I was able to recognize patterns, that helped my awareness, and needed to be stopped.


  • I’m grateful for growth and transformation.  If you’ve grown this year, please, right now, pause, and clap for your damn self!  GROWTH IS NOT EASY.  GROWTH IS PAINFUL.  CHANGE IS EXTRAORDINARY.  You have to pick apart yourself to see what needs to go and what needs to stay and be worked on.  You have to face things you may not want to face about yourself or someone else.  You have to be alone with your own thoughts.  You need to step outside of your comfort zone.  You may have to think:  “I’m the s**tty person.  I am the person who hurt others” or “This isn’t working in my life so why am I accepting this?” or “Why am I accepting of complacency?”  or the worst one… “I am the toxic person right now.”  You may have to do things you don’t want to do.  Do you think the caterpillar knew it was going to become the butterfly?  Do you think the seed knew it was going to turn into a big, beautiful flower?  Probably not.


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  • I am grateful for my health.  Through it all, my health has never let me down.  I wake up every day, my heart is still beating and my mind is moving, my limbs work, I beat my body down during workouts and through it all my health never lets me down.


  • I’m grateful for the future.  I have no clue what’s coming.  Some things I know for sure.  Others, it’s a total surprise.  And I just have to let life surprise me.
  • I am grateful for rejection, for it puts me on the path that I am meant to be on.


Overall, I am grateful for things that most people wouldn’t be grateful for.  It took me thirty three years to realize that these, to me, are almost just as important than the basics that we see and hear.  I hope you all had an amazing day yesterday, whether you were with friends, family or decided to spend the day alone (which, hey, I get it!).  I am lucky enough, to have an extended family that all gets along, and the day was spent with close and extended family.  And five rescue dogs which was the gravy on the turkey that I don’t eat.


6:30am and begin (not cutting people, just food).

Stuffing prep.

Angela’s stuffed mushrooms.

Mama dressed me for Thanksgiving and I hate this bow.

BamBam, the really, really vicious blue nosed rescue Pittie.

My cousin Kristen (middle), her wife, Katie:  two of my closest buds.

MayberryMoo the rescued senior citizen, tripawed Chihuahua.  Catch her life on her Instagram @mayberrymoo!

Rescue pup Husky, Maverick, and Hildie.

Everyone loves Uncle Victor (when he has fresh turkey).

Three rescue dogs from Alabama walk into a NJ Thanksgiving… Wait, it’s not a joke, it’s real, I’ve got nothing.

Through it all.


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