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I love freebies. Who doesn’t?! In a world where a tank of gas costs as much as a week’s worth of groceries, for some, who doesn’t love getting something that doesn’t cost anything every once in awhile? So, without further ado, I’d like to present the recent freebies I have received that have been my simplest pleasures in the past few weeks. I hope you have had some that you too can add to this list!

1.) When I come home at the end of the day and get a kiss from my husband-priceless.

2.) The free gym membership my current apartment complex has so graciously given to its residents. Even more of an incentive to stay in shape, for free!

3.) A recent medical conference I attended was hosted by drug reps, so I stocked up on free office supplies. Pens, fun paper-clips, and notepads galore!

4.) The toothbrush, dental floss, and toothpaste I get every time I get my bi-annual teeth cleaning at my dentist’s office. My insurance covers these cleanings, so even though I pay for my insurance, I don’t pay for these visits.

5.) The free movie the local video rental store threw in on top of the rent-one-get-one free deal I already had. Three movies for the price of one; score!

6.) Every run and the places I see on my runs is a free experience most days of the week.

7.) The tasty samples they give out at my local grocery store each week. Ok, ok, so I usually end up spending money to BUY the product in the long run, but I eat LESS and save money BEFORE I go to the store just so I can fill up on samples!

8.) Talking to my best friend or family after 7 p.m. during the weekdays or on the weekends doesn’t cost me an extra penny, and I get to hear their voices and catch up with all the wonderful things going on in their lives.

9.) A “thank you” I receive from my patients at work brings an instant happiness and smile to my face without costing a thing.

10.) The beautiful music and melodies I hear from the band, orchestra, or choir at my church each Sunday is as good as any big city ensemble without the admissions charge.


A year ago today I was in the far-away state of Alaksa, riding a train on the Alaskan Railroad with two of my good friends and former college hockey teammates. The fourth member of our party was not in attendance on the trip, as she was the bride-to-be and had her hands too full with last minute wedding details to miss two days of preparation and planning.

The flight from Michigan out to Alaska was anything but spectacular. Eight plus hours of flying and a day spent in an airport is not my idea of fun. But as soon as we boarded the train destined for Denali, all memories of a day wasted in a plane and airport vanished. As we left Fairbanks and wound our way around the Alaskan countryside, it became evident to me that Alaska had some of the most beautiful land I had ever laid eyes on.

Upon arrival at the gates of Denali, we marveled at the mountains that surrounded us. Even in the summer, some snow still capped their peaks. The sky was a magnificent shade of blue, unlike sky that I have ever seen before. We grabbed our bags, and set out for a short trail hike. We crossed over a bridge with a raging river far below. It had a strong, powerful current perfect for thrill-seekers who dared to white water raft down its course. At the tops of hills, we often stopped and snapped photos of the mountains and green landscape that stretched below us. As beautiful as it was, nothing could prepare me for what I would see the next day.

At 5:30 A.M., our alarms went off, and the 3 of us quickly dressed and made our way to the awaiting bus. We were the youngest on the bus by far, but we didn’t mind sharing the ride and an adventure with some more mature folks. We drove away from town and arrived at the gates of Denali National Park and Wilderness Preserve just as the first signs of dawn approached. As our bus entered the park, we stopped not too far into our journey, and I snapped photo after photo of the most amazing sunrise I think I could ever possibly see. Before the sun shone above the horizon, a fog laid close to the ground, hovering eerily over the plain and tundra. As the sun made it’s entrance, many shades of oranges, reds, and purples highlighted the sky and shone off of the mountains around us. It was a truly majestic, magnificent, moving sight to be had by all.

We saw many other wonders as we drove through the park that day. A moose on the side of the road eating her fill of grasses. Three Grizzly bears who came down from the mountain-side and decided to take a stroll right past the side of our bus. We all looked on amazed, as they gave us a sniff, then headed back to the woods. Painted mountains with layered levels of brown, tan, and cream colored stone and dirt. And finally, Mt. McKinley herself, off in the distance with her peak covered by a low layer of white clouds. As beautiful and awe-inspiring all of these vision were, to this day, I still am reminded of the gorgeous sunrise I witnessed at Denali every time I am awake and see its first rays welcome my day here back at home.

Today’s Simplest Pleasures:

1.) Who knew the colors of the rainbow can be found even where it isn’t raining? One of my favorite places to find it is when the sun first starts to rise in the morning sky.

2.) National Parks should be something we all work to preserve for future generations, because they are home to animals and vast wilderness that can teach and inspire us.

3.) The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze.

The world right now is buzzing with Michael Phelps mania. And why shouldn’t we be? The man has just tied Mark Spitz’s standing record of 7 gold medals in one Olympics for largest gold medal haul by ANY Olympian EVER. And better yet, tomorrow he has a shot at marking his name at the top of the record books as the most winningest Olympian of all time if he can accomplish the unthinkable. Win one more race for an 8th straight gold medal. NBC interviewed both Phelps and Spitz this evening after Michael’s seventh title, and it occurred to me just how much I appreciate when the Olympics rolls around this time every two years (if you include the Winter Olympics as well). So without further ado, I’d like to present today’s Simplest Pleasures, Olympic style…

GOLD MEDAL: It is a pleasure to watch and support athletes who win with grace and humility.

Michael Phelps has won 7 gold medals, and during his interview on NBC this evening, he repeatedly spoke of feeling “honored” and “blessed” to be given “such an opportunity” to build and use his swimming talents. He thanked Mark Spitz for setting such high standards which gave him the personal motivation to reach higher to go after a record 8 medals. He often said he was “speechless,” and resorted back to portraying himself as a regular guy who “dreamed big.” After every race he retained his emotions and did not cause a scene, though he certainly deserved to, and looked up to the stands to his mother, siblings, and coaches as though each win was for them. He always congratulates his competitors and respects their talents as much as his own. This is the type of athlete who makes sports worth watching and is worthy of being looked up to as a role model by the younger generation.

SILVER MEDAL: The Olympic athletes teach us that no matter what, a positive, focused mind can always push the body just a little bit farther and harder than it was ever expected to go.

After their assistant coach’s father-in-law was killed in a freak accident outside of the Olympic village, the U.S. men’s volleyball team have every reason to waiver. However, they have held strong so far in the face of adversity; going undefeated into their last game of tournament play before starting the final rounds that could lead them to the gold medal.

The U.S. gymnasts finished second behind a perfect Chinese women’s team in the team competition a few nights ago with several girls pushing through injury to help the team capture a silver medal. Media called it a “disappointing” second place finish while the team saw it as a victory and celebrated their strong accomplishment. A night later, two of their top competitors went 1-2 to capture a gold and silver medal in the all-around competition proving to the world that the Chinese could be beat.

It is unheard of for a country to sweep the medal stand in any event. Yet, the U.S. women early on in these Olympic games proved that it can be done after capturing all three medals in the Women’s Fencing competition.

BRONZE MEDAL: The Olympics is a time when we can all reminisce of the best career highlights in our own lives.

Remember back to the time when you won a medal or ribbon in track and field day at school, at a local art competition, or for a recipe you sent into a local newspaper contest. Think about when you crossed the line first in your age class at a local road race, bench pressed more than you ever have at the gym, read a series of books in record time, or outperformed your coworkers on a project at work. We each have our own talents and have let them shine at some time or another in our lives. By watching the Olympians at their best, it helps the rest of us to remember that we’re each a winner in our own way.

Well, here we are at the end of another work week already. Doesn’t time sure go fast sometimes?! I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks’ posts so far. I have a busy day at work today and some after work extracurriculars I’ll be at, so there will not be a formal post today. I promise to make up for it by posting over the weekend 🙂 I would love to hear personally from my readers of any of your simplest pleasures and/or stories that you might find fitting for the website. Please email them to me at, and I will post them on the website for everyone’s viewing pleasure next week. Hope you all have a wonderful Friday, and don’t forget to come back this weekend for more post updates!

Today was another long day between work and a hockey game to be played, so instead of my usual short story, I am going to end today with a quick list of some simplest pleasures I’ve thought of lately but do not have a long enough story to write more than a sentence or two about. Enjoy!

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) A fresh, new haircut does wonders for the confidence. It’s an easy way to reinvent yourself.

2.) Sometimes you just have to replace a meal with a favorite dessert. It is a naughty that tastes so nice!

3.) You are never too old for a pool party.

4.) The sight and smell of the ocean is something so magnificent; every person should experience it at least once in their lifetime.

5.) An airy sundress is transforming; it makes every woman beautiful no matter what age, shape, or size.

The alarm went off at 6:00am. There were two choices of course; sleep in for another hour since it was going to be a long 12 hour day of work and computer training or get up and go for a run. I knew if I slept in, I’d be full throttle all day taking care of others with no time for myself, so I decided to go pound the pavement and spend the only 1/2 hour of my day alone with myself.

I live in a city, so all of my runs consist of sidewalks, crosswalks, and dodging traffic. I did manage to find a nearby park only a mile from home and it has become one of my most favorite escapes from the city noise. As soon as I enter the gate to the park, the sounds disappear, and I am surrounded by nothing but trees and wildlife.

I wasn’t even a half-mile into my first loop of the mile course when I spotted a breathtaking site. Standing on the trail mere yards ahead of me were two baby fawn, not any bigger than Golden Retrievers. They quickly bounded, white tails flashing, into the woods off to my right. I hadn’t stopped running, and my gaze followed them. There standing in the brush just barely hidden by the tree-line was their mom, a big beautiful Doe. I couldn’t help but smile; here I am in the city yet I felt so far away at that very moment.

I finished up my run and went home to stretch. It wasn’t my fastest run by any means; I didn’t set any records or keep track of my pace. But the serenity and sense of accomplishment I felt lasted with me through my day. Seeing the deer wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but the sights and sounds I encounter every time I enter that park make it worth lacing up my shoes on a regular basis.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) There is nothing else like the endorphin rush and sense of accomplishment you feel after completing a run or hard workout.

2.) Get away from the city; visit a local park or nature preserve whenever you can. It will make you appreciate nature and this world we live in so much more.

These are the simple pleasures that came to mind today that I am grateful for and that make me a happier person:

1) The very first run in a brand-new pair of running shoes is so light and cushion-y, it makes me feel as if I’m running on clouds.

2) The last bite of semi-melted ice cream at the bottom of an ice cream cone is a little taste of heaven.

3) Spotting a rainbow in the sky after a storm makes all of the clouds, rain, and thunder so worth the wait.

4) The sound of a child’s laugh is enough to make even the most serious person smile.

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