The Juice- Top Secret Surprise Visits, Jumping in Freezing Lakes, and Finding the Perfect (Free) Jumpsuit

Welcome to the Juice, a weekly public gratitude list where I share what’s been keeping my heart full, and encourage you to think about what you’re grateful for in your own life.

Our health, family, friends, and food, are good starting points, but a major shift happens when we go beyond the basics and take the kaleidoscopic view and see all the things we’re grateful for, and how the more we seem to notice them, the more they seem to multiply, and become even more vivid.

Here’s what I am feeling especially grateful for this week:

<3 When restrictions began to lift a little, after two months of self quarantine, my sister and I decided to surprise my parents at a lake house. (We took extreme precautions in sanitizing airplane clothes, luggage, etc.) They had been inviting me for weeks, and had no idea I was coming. I showed up in a blonde wig, mask, sunglasses, and full-on Minnesotan accent pretending to be a cleaning lady and completely fooled my own brother and dad (even when I took my mask off!) and my sister caught it all on film. Once the wig came off, hugs and tears ensued.

<3 Being able to spend precious time with family after not seeing them for about a year, and having a renewed appreciation and love for my perfectly imperfect family. Perspective is everything, and this pandemic has provided plenty of it.

<3 Social distance meeting my other sisters new baby and being able to spend time together, even if it was ten feet apart.

<3 My sister giving me bags of pre-baby clothes she was getting rid of and finding my new favorite dress, new favorite cardigan, and the perfect black jumpsuit that feels like pajamas, but could easily be dressed up

<3 Jumping in freezing cold lakes and feeling completely awake and refreshed after. Then doing it again before a hot shower

<3 Floating and swimming in a cold lake with my niece and sister in the sunshine with a drink in my floatie cup holder.

<3 A random boat passing by cheering on my niece to jump in the lake

<3 Making brownie ice cream sundaes for my mom, niece and I while we watched Frozen 2

<3 Laughing so hard I couldn’t talk playing What Do You Meme? If you haven’t played this, there’s a few versions, we played the barely safe for work version but it is easy to learn, a real crowd pleaser, and absolutely hysterical. A quarantine MUST. Definitely buy this game. Plus, you can play it while social distancing.

<3 Doing manicures and pedicures with my niece late at night and laughing so hard I cried as she made fun of my less-than-professional manicure skills. She is nine.

<3 Rollerskating through the woods on paved trails.

<3 Having a cat sitter that my kitties adore and getting cute videos and pictures of them while I’m away.

<3 Cooking with my sister (a giant BBQ feast, with watermelon feta salad, and purple potatoes) as well as fresh fish tacos with homemade guacamole

<3 Waking up to my sister and niece who made me a tiny basket from a baby watermelon filled with balls of cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon (my favorite breakfast foods.)

<3 Laughing so hard my stomach hurts more times than I can count this week

<3 Catching several amazing sunsets over a lake

<3 Having two Uber drivers and hearing their perspectives on restrictions- one who was being extremely cautious and worked at a bookstore at a University hospital, and another who felt we need to stop being cautious. Both were respectful and had insightful views, and I appreciated hearing both of them, especially back to back.

Overall, it’s been a fantastic week. I self- quarantined for two months, but it was time to (cautiously) visit family, since you never know what could happen, and to me, that is essential. We all have to make smart decisions, and most importantly, decisions that are right for us. This felt right in my heart and gut, and I have no regrets. I will continue to be cautious.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of caution, I hope you continue to respect the decisions of others, respect others, (wear a mask in public places) and believe that we are all in this together, and will come out of it faster when we help, respect, and accept each other.

I hope you find glimmers of hope and you have moments where your heart is filled with gratitude this week. I know mine is. Comment below what you are feeling grateful for right now <3

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