A Year of Gratitude


Dear Universe:

What an incredible year it has been. Thank you for arranging for me to return to Missoula for an entire year.

Thank you for my safe arrival in January, after driving through three days of treacherous winter weather.

Thank you for helping me through those difficult first few weeks after my arrival. I was so scared and full of doubt about my decision to return to Montana and I’m so grateful that you gave me the strength to overcome that.

Thank you for my sweet, cozy apartment with the wonderful radiator heat that kept me warm and toasty.



Thank you for my landlady Bernice, who took care of any issues quickly and efficiently. Thank you for Beverly, who did such a wonderful job keeping my little condo clean and tidy. Thank you for Robert, George, Petra and everyone else at the Wilma for being so warm and welcoming to me.

Thank you for the most spectacular view I could have ever imagined. Each day I looked out my window with amazement at the beauty in front of me.




Thank you for the most beautiful sunrises, the snow topped mountains glowing white and the clouds turning pink with the first rays of the sun.


Thank you for the stunning sunsets and how those sunsets traveled across the sky during the entire year.





Thank you for Caras Park and all the events that took place there this past year: Wednesday Out to Lunch, Thursday Downtown Tonight, Brewfest, Symphony in the Park and countless other events.


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Thank you for the beautiful sounding church bell at St. Francis Xavier Church that strikes every hour and half hour. It’s one of the most comforting sounds that I hold in my memory.


Thank you for the Clark Fork River right outside my building, and for how clear and refreshing it was. Thank you for providing a playground for all the boarders, kayakers, boaters, paddlers, tubers, and fishermen. Thank you for how it sparkled in the sunlight and the moonlight.




Thank you for my countless hikes up Mount Sentinel, for the magnificent views it provided, for all the spectacular wildflowers that appeared in the spring. For all the deer I’d see on my way up the mountain. Thank you for giving me the health, ability, and strength to climb the hill easily.







Thank you for every single one of my wonderful hikes in the surrounding Missoula area, next to the pristine rivers and creeks that provided the most stunning postcard views.




Thank you from the bottom of my heart for leading me to the Good Food Store. Thank you for giving me the courage to apply and thank you for providing me with a way to support myself in a job with great coworkers. Thank you to Dan Berger, who was such a kind, understanding and flexible boss. Thank you to Rebecca Canfield-Perkowski for everything- how incredible to reconnect after so long ago at University of Michigan! I enjoyed working there more than any other job in my whole life.

Thank you for the safe flight back to Louisville in April to visit my VOICES family and attend their concert. And for the safe drive that same week up to Naperville to spend time with my mom.







Thank you for my dear friend Patti’s visit in May. Thank you for the beautiful weather so that we could really enjoy the beauty of our hikes.






Thank you for leading me to the Self Publishing School writing program so that I could finish and publish The Trainer’s Big Book of Bootcamps. Thank you for guiding me to my editor, my awesome cover designer, and my exceptional formatter Debbie Lum. Thank you for helping me overcome so much self doubt to create such a beautiful product for which I am very proud.


Thank you for that beautiful hike up Lolo Peak in June, and to experience snow on the first day of summer!



Thank you for a glimpse of a moose at the end of my drive along Rock Creek!!!


Thank you for my DEAR friend Laura Bender and her incredible mindfulness meditation classes and community meditation workshops. I cannot imagine not being a part of her spiritual circle. Her generosity of spirit, knowledge and love was priceless. Her classes provided me with a connection to a wonderful spiritual practice, as well as a connection to some really awesome people. I feel blessed to have shared so many wonderful conversations about life with her before each class. She’s a rockin’ cool woman and I’m so lucky to have her as a friend.

I am so grateful for my friend Rebecca. Her unfailing cheery disposition and optimistic outlook in the face of her past adversity is truly one of the biggest inspirations of my life. I’m so appreciative to have a friend who reminds me of my spiritual principles and practices, especially when I’m down. Thank you Rebecca, for always reminding me when I have needed it the most.



Thank you for my friend Amanda. Although I didn’t get to spend alot of time with her over the course of this year, I will be ever grateful to her for introducing me to Laura Bender. And I will forever think of her fondly after meeting her for the very first time two years ago in bootcamp wearing a shirt like this:


Thank you so much for my friend Josie. Not only did she keep my hair looking fashionable and sporty all year, she was a fellow traveler down a similar spiritual path. I’m so grateful to have been able to share my experiences and spiritual ideas and values with such a beautiful soul.


Thank you for all my colleagues, friends and fellow coaches in my QSCA Life Coaching program: Justine, Rick, Alyssa, Monica, and Catherine. You are some of the most caring people I’ve ever known, and we’ve never met!  The knowledge and tools I have gained through this program are invaluable to me and have helped me navigate so many of my challenges this year.


Thank you for leading me to the Missoula Community Band and the Missoula Concert Band. Those ensembles gave me the opportunity to pick up and enjoy my horn again, and to practice acceptance and non judgement of my return to musicmaking. I’m grateful for everyone I met in the bands: Gary Gillett, who had me in stitches all summer long, the friendly and welcoming horn section – Steve, Ross, Merrill Lee, Susan, and Jay, and Amanda, who I enjoyed spending time with as we set up the room for each rehearsal. Thank you for the summer band concerts which took place in beautiful bandshell in Bonner Park, with a great view of Mount Sentinel, in perfect weather all summer.  I’m grateful for that evening we played the Star Spangled Banner for the Osprey baseball game and sat in the stands on a perfect summer evening drinking Cold Smoke and listening to Gary Herbig tell corny jokes all night long. After so many years of not playing my horn, I felt like I was coming home again. I actually think I will keep it up from now on.





Thank you for making it possible for me to sing with my VOICES family at GALA in July. Thank you for a beautiful safe drive to Denver. It was an incredible treat to spend time with my dearest friends. I was thrilled to perform the bourbon song alongside my dear friend Peggy, overjoyed to sing such beautiful music for such an appreciative audience, and so thankful to spend a few days with my sweet Kat.




Thank you for my trip to the stunningly beautiful National Bison Range, where I saw all sorts of wildlife on the two hour drive thru.







Thank you for all my challenges with Kat this year… after parting ways last November and struggling to maintain a friendship with her to developing a more honest, trusting and authentic relationship. Thank you for helping me to focus on unconditional love rather than on the possessiveness of my ego. Thank you for those experiences so that we can now have a strong and healthy relationship. Thank you for Kat’s visit in August. It was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. To have my true love with me in the city that I love more than any other was truly precious and I will cherish that visit forever. Thank you for the great hikes we took up Mount Sentinel, up Rattlesnake Creek and Rock Creek, for the visit to the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, for the safe drive to Glacier National Park and the fantastic yet frosty Red Bus Tour.








Thank you for TV and cable so that I could watch the Cubs FINALLY win the World Series! Holy Cow!


Thank you for leading Melissa of FiTOUR to my book and the subsequent interview with her. I was honored to speak with her about the genesis of my book and share our passion for group fitness.

Thank you for making it possible for me to go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays where I enjoyed the best coffee on earth!





Thank you for leading me to my spur of the moment decision to go to a Griz game and watch them win!


Thank you for the change in my travel plans Christmas week, which allowed the gathering of Amanda, Stacey, and Whitney, the original MUSTfit 9am club!

Thank you for the physical challenges I’ve faced this year. Those challenges have given me the opportunity to practice allowance and acceptance. I’m also so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Tara, the best physical therapist ever who also became a friend – and she coached a mean spin class!

Thank you for the delayed but safe trip back to my mom’s for the Christmas holiday. I almost thought that I might miss it. After being out West and away from them all for the whole year, it was all the more special to be with my entire family.





Thank you for leading me down an incredible path of spiritual awakening. For giving me the courage to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone, taking personal responsibility for everything I do, and trying each day to be better than I was yesterday. Each year since 2014 I continue to uncover and shed the habits and limiting beliefs that caused unhappiness and no longer serve me. I feel like with each year I’m becoming a more magnificent version of myself. I can’t wait for what 2017 has in store!


4 thoughts on “A Year of Gratitude

  1. Hey Alise: you are one grateful and observant gal. I love getting such a great perspective on your perspective, and enjoy knowing what a positive presence you are in the world. Keep being out there.

  2. Patti Brendler-Hall says:

    Love this blog entry. Makes all of us remember the “Thankful” moments in our lives. You are an amazing writer.

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