A year of joyful gratitude

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #53

Last week was the 52nd week in a row that I wrote about what I am deeply grateful for in the series I created called JOYFUL GRATITUDE! I really enjoy this ritual and plan to continue looking out for and writing weekly about big and small things that I am I very lucky to experience in my life:)

I decided to look back at these past 52 weeks, and use a lovely spreadsheet to place the things I’m grateful for under broad categories to examine what brings me joy.  The categories that most posts clearly fell under are: Outdoors, Tribe, Food, Quiet time, Travel and Nature. Interestingly most of the posts were a combination of several categories (like enjoying good Food with friends – aka my Tribe).

Outdoors was the clear number one category, a nice reminder of how important it is for me to be out and about despite my rather sedentary lifestyle. I will keep in mind for these winter months that when I feel tempted to profoundly hibernate, actually going out for a brisk walk will do miracles for my mood:)

Click here to check out all the JOYFUL GRATITUDE posts!  What are you grateful for this week??

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Whipping up a simple lunch

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #52

One of the perks of working from home is getting to enjoy a warm lunch in Paolo’s pleasant company:) Today it felt particularly nice to take a break from working to whip up a quick lunch consisting of different left-over veggies from our fridge, and then chat peacefully whilst enjoying the meal and a good coffee (there may have been a square or two of dark chocolate too…;)

Breaking patterns

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #51

When I think of patterns I usually think of lovely shapes carved repeatedly into a wooden bench or gorgeous detailed drawings replicated over and over on a strip of wall-paper.

Unfortunately patterns are also insidious repeating behaviours that undermine daily happiness and make life unnecessarily complicated and difficult. I’m grateful for the people around me who are helping me become aware of unhealthy patterns in my life.

While this is a good first step, I also realise that now that I see these patterns, the hard work is actually in front of me. In the next weeks and months I want to create new patterns for myself, more adapted to the way I want to experience life, specifically around the topic of setting boundaries. I am looking forward to experimenting…

Chestnut delight

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #50

Around here the days are undeniably getting shorter and hibernation season is around the corner. Luckily there are a few autumnal foods to cheer up the dark evenings, like pumpkin (prepared in many different forms – pasta, risotto, soup, pizza…) and a recent discovery that totally hit the spot: chestnuts.

They’re really easy to prepare. We just soak them in water for a couple of hours, dry them with a cloth and cut a slit lengthwise in the round side of the shell. They can then be popped in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes at 240°C. We regularly sneak a peek in the oven to check when they are ready (the shell opens up a little more, showing off the lovely flesh). Then we take them out of the oven, wrap them in a clean cloth for 10mn while they cool. Done!

Then the cloth can be unwrapped to reveal its warm treasures.  It’s such a simple pleasure to chat while we carefully pull the chestnuts from their shell and chew on the sweet, floury texture. Delicious!! I could make this a daily ritual:)

Hidden treat

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #49

I am grateful for the wonderful surprise that Paolo prepared one night this week while I was sound asleep.

I woke up as usual in the morning and while preparing breakfast I vaguely noticed strange details in the kitchen, like the fact that there were lots more dishes drying that I had washed the night before. But I just continued with my morning routine, until I was tipped off by the remains of a lime in the fridge, which had been grated for its zest… That triggered me and I started to look (excitedly!) around the kitchen. Sure enough I found a beautiful apple and pear cake hidden in the oven!

Paolo is a master at this recipe, the cake was absolutely delicious, full of fruit and slightly caramelised. The perfect way to start the day:) Merci!!!

Constructive teamwork

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #48

As the leaves are transforming into amazing colours, I’m trying to consciously enjoy these lovely weeks of autumn and the mild weather despite being very engrossed in work. It has just been a really intense and fun week, with colleagues visiting from all over the world for meetings, sharing information and learning from each other.

I already mentionned it a while back, but it bears repeating, I feel really grateful to the many colleagues from different countries and departments that I have the pleasure of working with for great team spirit and helpful feedback. I love how we are growing and improving together (not to mention the incredible enthusiasm for costume parties! 😉

Fresh air

 

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #47

There is nothing like a leisurely bike ride on a windy Sunday morning to feel fresh and relaxed. The sky couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether to stay cloudy or let the sun come out but at least it wasn’t raining.

It was wonderful to have time to stop and observe.  For a while I watched a bunch of white sails from small boats leaving the harbour, shooting across the water, sometimes nearly horizontal from the force of the gale.  And on the way home I was lucky to come across these lovely plants swaying in the wind and shimmering beautifully in the sun light. So gorgeous!

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A healing massage

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #46

A few mornings ago, while waiting for the coffee to be ready, I pulled an angel card out of my tiny deck for a little guidance on how to approach the day. It read the word ‘HEALING’.

Shortly after I started deeply craving a massage. I heard my body saying it would love a session to get all the knots out of my tense upper back, neck and shoulders, and release the muscles of my legs and arms. I realised I hadn’t enjoyed a massage since April when I was in Thailand and indulged in hour long massages every second day.

So I promptly made an appointment and let the masseuse do her magic on my body. It was bliss!  Afterwards I treated myself to a pastel de nata and a cup of tea in a lovely local portuguese café. The pastry was so perfectly crisp and the filling amazingly delicious. It was perfect, just the healing I needed:)

Off to a new destination

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #45

This weekend Paolo and I are heading to Prague ! It’s the first time I go there so I’m really excited to have 3 days to explore the city.  We will go to watching tennis (the first ever edition of the Laver Cup) and spend the rest of the time soaking in the atmosphere, discovering wonderful places and hopefully eating lovely cakes 😉

Fairy tale house

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #44

I love cycling slowly along the outskirts of Vondelpark and looking at all the beautiful houses with their high windows and amazing details.

This house in particular seems like it belongs in a book of fairy tales.  I like to imagine that behind these walls are winding staircases, secret doorways and hidden passages leading from one room to another. The perfect backdrop for fantastic stories about things like fabulous elves, helpful magicians, self-sufficient siblings who run the show, lovelorn princes and sloths who can talk…