My Amazing Life: Celebrating the Ordinary and the Extraordinary

celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary

celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary

My Amazing Life: Celebrating the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Moments in Women’s Lives

date night with my husband

Sunset at Goleta Beach

Labor Day Weekend marked the end of what, to me, was an amazing summer. As I was walking on the beach one day, feeling incredibly grateful for my amazing life, I decided that I wanted to start a blog series and perhaps a podcast where women can come to share the ordinary and extraordinary moments of their lives.

Expressing gratitude is a popular trend right now and one I am particularly fond of, especially since I feel incredibly grateful for my life. But I want to go deeper than feeling grateful for the people and events in my life. I want to celebrate and bring a sense of wonder to every moment.

What makes my life amazing are the small things like a morning walk on the beach by myself, the sun shining through the morning glories blooming on my neighbor’s fence, my son’s smile as we speed across the water on a friend’s boat, a hug from my daughter after school…

santa barbara, california

Morning glories on a fence in Goleta, CA

I also believe that living an amazing life is a choice and often we get so bogged down by the day to day details of what has to get done, that we fail to notice or feel grateful for the small gifts of wonder or joy. This blog series will be about celebrating those moments – big and small, sad and happy.

The mother of one of my friend’s passed away last week and I so appreciated her attitude. Her mother went very peacefully under the amazing gift of hospice caregivers, she was in her 90s. My friend celebrated her amazing mom and the long, full life that she had lived. She celebrated the grace and peace with which her mother’s life came to an end.

It can be hard to hold this tension between sadness or grief and seeing the wonder, grace and beauty in difficult moments. But when we can allow ourselves space to just simply notice and be grateful for all of the moments, we will experience more peace, more joy and more celebrations.

Haskell's Beach, Goleta

Treasures on the beach


I live in Santa Barbara, California and I feel incredibly lucky to be here. My husband and I worked hard to make this move two years ago. After 13 years in the same house, same town, same community, same jobs, it was a challenge to wrench ourselves out of complacency and move our family from Texas to California.

We talked about it for years before we finally took action. It was one of the hardest things we have ever done, especially for our two children who were leaving behind the only home they had ever know and all of their friends. But we knew it was the change we needed to make in order to get back on track – as a family and as individuals.

Not a day has gone by in the past two years that I have not felt awe and gratitude for the life I now lead. I live in a beautiful place, I do work I love with clients that amaze me, I am building a new community of friends and colleagues and best of all – we have created a life where there is time and space to just BE – be alone, be together, be free to walk on the beach with my husband at 3pm in the afternoon on a weekday… why did it take me so long to realize what I was missing?

Here is a selfie I took on Haskell’s beach one morning. I live just about two miles from this beach. It takes less than five minutes to drive there. Some weeks I get busy and I don’t make that five minute drive… I live in a beautiful neighborhood and enjoy my walks here, but they don’t inspire me the way walking on the beach does. By the end of the week, I notice that I am longing to sink my feet into the sand and hear the sound of the waves hitting the shore and see what’s new.

santa barbara, california

Dr. Minette Riordan – selfie on the beach

Every walk on the beach is special because it changes constantly. The sand shifts, rocks move and different birds, flora and fauna appear as if they were a miracle… This is my amazing, ordinary and extraordinary life that I am celebrating today.

I would love to hear your stories of the ordinary and extraordinary. Feel free to share your story in the comments below or if you would like to be featured in this column, leave me a note in the comments and I will follow up with you.


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  1. Tamika on September 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I must say this post is right on time. I was feeling sad, guilty on Thursday because of my death of my daughter This has gave me the hope that I can go on and there is light at the end of my tunnel. Thanks for he inspiration to make my Friday smoother.

    • Jan Deelstra on February 7, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Sweet Tamika, I am sending you so much love to heal your aching heart. The club you have just joined is not one I would wish for anyone to enter. I became a member long ago, in 1995. I know what you are going through and if you ever want to talk about the process of getting to that light at the tunnel’s end, please either find me on FB or email me or contact me via my website. Much love to you. Allow the love to drown the pain and you will rise again. xox

  2. brittany on September 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Nice!!! Loved this blog and the reminder to be grateful. You are an inspiration Minette, to all of us. Thank you for inspiring us with your move which motivated us to go after our beach dreams and realize you CAN make your dreams come true. We can’t ever thank you enough for your part in our amazing beach life coming to fruition…. ahhhhh…. GRATEFUL.

  3. Judy - Pedagogical Artist on September 5, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Indeed,Minette, life is made up of both ordinary and extraordinary events, some of which we have control, many of which we do not. Even when we are determined to live a proactive life, things happen. The only thing we have control over is how we choose to relate to these events. Being grateful for what we have is a CHOICE. The Freedom of Choice is the only true Freedom we have.
    I am happy for you – not for your beautiful life, but for how happy and grateful you are.
    HUGS <3

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Judy, the freedom of choice is such a tremendous gift! I think my happiness comes from my awareness that in every moment I get to choose.

  4. Amy Bovaird on September 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Dr. Riordan,
    I would love to be featured on your blog.
    I, too, chose gratitude. I’m a vision-impaired writer, try to look for humor in my daily life. I’m now a speaker and supporter of those with low vision. My book will come out in two weeks. It’s about my faith journey and celebrating overcoming my denial that I am losing my vision.
    I loved your blog post!

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Amy, congratulations on your book, that’s so exciting! I would love to learn more about your story and feature you in this series.

  5. Jessica Winters Mireles on September 5, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I love this new blog! You are like a ray of sunshine and I love your attitude about being grateful for what you have. I’d love to share on your blog sometime about my own gratitude experiences. I’ve missed seeing you.

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Ahhh, Jess, you are so sweet. I miss you too! I would love to share your story in this series.

  6. Pamela Thompson on September 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Great post Minette! I so connected with your view of celebrating life and appreciating the small things. Good for you to have the courage to move from Texas to California. That’s a big one! Alan and I moved from Alberta to the wine country of British Columbia for lifestyle 6 years ago and are loving it. I still pinch myself every morning when I look out our window and see the beautiful lake and mountains. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      BC is so gorgeous, Pamela!! My husband’s family is in the Vancouver area, what a small world. I love that 6 years later you still look out the window and see the beauty.

  7. Shann on September 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Here’s to celebrating life and appreciating every little thing! It’s never too soon, nor too late to follow your passion! The Santa Barbara area is beautiful. I have family up and down the coacst of California. I’d love to be featured in this column!

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Amen Shann! I will follow up with you, would love to feature you here!

  8. Dina on September 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I love this post! I resonate so deeply with it because I too made a move about 1 1/2 years ago to California (near SLO – not that far from you!) from Louisiana. It was a move we initiated and created (including manifesting our dream house), but it wasn’t without challenges, obviously. Every single day, I express gratitude for living in this beautiful beach town and being able to raise my daughter where she can experience nature to its fullest. I truly believe that appreciating the small things leads to a more conscious, fulfilling life. Thanks for sharing your story, Minette! I would be honored to share mine here as well.

    • minette on September 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Dina, that is so interesting that we both moved the same direction and so near each other. Would love to hear your story!

  9. Alexandria Gunn on September 6, 2014 at 12:35 am

    It is amazing how we can see beauty in even the simplest things that we do. My grandmother died last Christmas but I never felt the sadness that I did with previous grandparents. It wasn’t that I didn’t miss her, but she was 90 and had seen so much in her life. I always got the feeling that she was holding out for certain big moments, and decided it was time for her to pass on afterwards.

    • minette on September 8, 2014 at 7:05 am

      What a beautiful perspective. I felt the same way when my stepmother died. She was too young from my perspective but she was ready to go and I felt only peace at her passing and gratitude that she didn’t continue to suffer. She had brain cancer and was gone in two months, I still miss her and that was 5 or 6 years ago.

  10. Brandon Landry on September 6, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Totally loved this.. I moved to South Florida from Texas a month ago to enjoy work & life in paradise and I haven’t even taken the time to breathe in the gratitude I have for the amazing, gorgeous environment I now live in. I live 12 minutes from the beach and find myself bogged down with my head in the sand working to only come up for air when the day is almost over.. I laugh as I write this but I never realized it until now 🙂 Thank you for sharing Minette just how important giving yourself the gift of “You”.

    • minette on September 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Brandon, so happy you and Ellany made this awesome move! It’s so worth it to get your feet on the sand – great place to come up for air.

  11. Tamika on September 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I came back to this post to be uplifted once again. Thanks for being here to be the voice that I need.

    • minette on September 8, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Tamika, I am so glad this post was able to be there for you! Thanks for coming by again.

  12. Alana on September 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve been on vacation the past two weeks. Able to step away briefly from a very stressful situation and think about it more clearly, I am grateful for a lot of the moments for the last two weeks. Today, for example, I visited a place I’ve wanted to visit for the past couple of weeks. During the one hour drive, my husband and I were able to enjoy the scenery of upstate New York, so green and yellow (yellow from goldenrod in full bloom). Just spectacular!

    • minette on September 8, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Alana, it’s amazing how stepping out and away can give us space to breathe and see things from a fresh perspective. Art often does that for me and so does taking a walk with my hubby. I love taking long drives to see new things, too, sounds like a spectacular day.

  13. […] am so excited to share a wonderful guest post by Dina Overland as part of the My Amazing Life series. Learn more about this series here and about how you can submit your Amazing Life story to […]

  14. […] to another installment of the “My Amazing Life” series where I share stories celebrating the ordinary and the extraordinary in women’s […]

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