Monday 19th February

The three things that I'm grateful for today are:

  1. Warmer weather and longer days. It's been hard the last few weeks, coming back into the cold/wet weather and short days of an Irish winter after spending 3 weeks in Australia over Christmas and New Year. Having enjoyed the sunshine, it was difficult to be plunged back into winter. Thankfully however, today was a bit warmer and drier. I don't know if it'll last, but I'm going to make the most of it for today!
  2. New colleagues. It's good to be working in a new team, and getting to know my new colleagues. We seem to be a very international team – all of us hail from different countries – which is great, as we all bring a unique perspective and experience to the team.
  3. Hearing good news. It is always nice to hear about good things happening in my friends' lives – and to be able to share a little bit of that experience with them.

Sunday 18th February

Today's three things to be grateful for are:

  1. Japanese food. Lunch today was in Yamamori, one of my favourite lunch venues. My wife laughs at me because, when I'm in the city over lunchtime, I always go to the same place and I always order the same thing when I go there. But I think, when you find something you like, stick with it!
  2. Lenten music. The vicar at St Ann's this morning apologised to the children about the dull Lenten hymns during the Family Eucharist. I don't really agree that Lent music is dull. It may be reserved and penitential, but it's far from boring. In fact Lent has some of the most inspiring and beautiful music from the whole church year! And I would also challenge the assumption that children must be fed "fun" music in order to engage them in church. 
  3. Family. I'm blessed to have some lovely family members, both in Ireland and further abroad, who are loving and supportive. It's great to count some members of my family amongst my friends.

Saturday 17th February

Today's reasons to be grateful are:

  1. Dublin mountains. It's great that we can jump in the car and within 15 minutes be in the Dublin mountains, and have access to some lovely hill walks. Today we went on a 2-hour walk up to the Fairy Castle and to Ticknock, and enjoyed the commanding views of Dublin city!
  2. Snoozing on the sofa. After the big long walk, it's equally nice to come home, light the stove, and then stretch out on the sofa for the afternoon. 
  3. Fruit. Both tasty and healthy. How can something that tastes so nice be good for you?

Friday 16th February

Here are three things that I'm thankful for today:

  1. My health. I'm not the most healthy person on the planet – by a long way. I couldn't run a marathon, or even a 5km. I sometimes get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs. But I am blessed to not to suffer from any chronic conditions, and not to require any regular medication – which is something that not everyone can say.
  2. My dog's stare. I was stood talking to my wife in the kitchen, and my dog Alfie sat at my feet and just stared up at me. I stared back at that cute face, and for a moment got lost in those dark eyes. My wife tells me that dogs get a boost of serotonin when people look into their eyes – and I think the same must be true of humans too!
  3. Getting my priorities right. It can be easy to get things wrong. Pick the wrong thing, and then stick with it, even when you know you've made the wrong decision – through apathy, stubbornness, or trying (and often failing) to please others. Thankfully finding the courage to reset and correct my priorities almost always ends up with me feeling better about it. 

Thursday 15th February

Here are the three things that I'm grateful for today:

  1. Upgraded web hosting. I've spent the last couple of days migrating all my blogs and websites from my old web hosting company to SiteGround. The change has brought several instant improvements, including much faster loading times, and access to free Lets Encrypt SSL certificates (so all traffic to/from this site is now encrypted). The migration process of my WordPress blogs was a lot less painful that I imagined, thanks to the Duplicator plugin.
  2. Working from home. I had no meetings scheduled in the office today, so I decided to work from home. The benefit of doing so is that my commute to the desk this morning was about 5 seconds, and that I get to hang out with my dog Alfie during the day.
  3. Living in a nice area. I am very grateful to be fortunate enough to live in a nice are in Dublin. The street is safe and welcoming, and there are parks, shops and good public transport nearby. We can also leap in the car, and be in the Dublin mountains in about 20 minutes, and enjoy nature at its finest!

Wednesday 14th February

The three things I'm grateful for today are:

  1. Ash Wednesday. The start of Lent, and also the best season of the church year, musically speaking. Some of the best church music in existence was written for Lent, Passiontide and Holy Week. So I look forward to Ash Wednesday coming around, the the inevitable performance of Allegri's Miserere (with all it's top C's). Today, I'm leaving work early to sing with the choir of Christ Church Cathedral.
  2. Desk phone headset. When you're invited to a 3-hour conference call, the idea of having to hold the desk phone handset will (literally) be a pain in the neck. Thankfully I have a headset that that I put on, leaving both hands free to carry on typing, stretching, drinking tea, or making obscene gestures when somebody says something stupid!
  3. My amazing wife, who doesn't seem to mind (that much) that I'm going out singing on Valentine's Day evening – instead of showering her with flowers and gifts, and cooking a big romantic meal. But as she said herself, we don't need a specific day to remember that we love each other – that's what every day is for!

Tuesday 13th February

Today I'm grateful for the following three things:

  1. The organisational skills of my wife. She's been busy today organising a few days away in March. This trip ticks a number of boxes: it helps me use up my annual leave, it fulfils a long-standing promise to take my mother-in-law away for a weekend, and it gives us a stay in a fancy hotel. And even better, they are a pet-friendly place, so we can bring Alfie with us!
  2. Not liking pancakes that much. It's Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Tuesday – today, but pancakes don't really fit within my current healthy eating plan. The flour in the pancakes have quite a lot of calories, and they get even worse when you spread half a tub of Nutella on the top! Luckily I'm not that bothered about pancakes. Sure, I'll eat one if someone makes one for me, but I'm not going to worry too much about missing out on them this year. Now if someone invents Yorkshire Pudding Thursday, then that's a different matter! (although, interestingly, not a different batter!)
  3. Derry Girls. I'm not referring to all of the women of the city of Derry, I'm talking about the four girls (and a boy) staring the in the Channel 4 show Derry Girls. It's a hilarious coming-of-age comedy set in Northern Ireland during the height of the troubles in 1994, and if it's somehow escaped your notice for the last few weeks, go and seek it out on the All 4 player! Right now! I'll wait… You'll not regret it. In fact, I'm planning to watch all the episodes again!