• A mental health and encouragement blog

    Building community one word at a time

    -Tracey Yokas, MS

Notes on Gratitude
26 August 2015

Notes on Gratitude

Today my beautiful, talented and resilient girl starts 11th grade. Wow. Can someone please tell me where the last 11 years went? Today also marks the third first day of school since we thought there might not be any more first days of school for Olivia, at least not in the way there always had been. Every day that has passed since we emerged from our darkest hours, my daughter has been an inspiration not only to me, but to others around her.

Click the photo to read more about why I never get tired of celebrating the first day of school.

Notes on Gratitude
03 August 2015

Notes on Gratitude

An incredible aroma emanated out of the open cabinet. I took a deep breath in through my nose. The smell was a beautiful combination of lily and narcissus, gillyflower and fuchsia, passion fruit and shea butter. See those soap bars at the bottom of the photo?  I was enveloped in their heavenly scent. I took another deep breath in and slowly let it out. Immediately, I saw in my mind’s eye the smiling face of the person that was with me in the store in Boulder, CO where I purchased those bars of soap. Two seconds later I was lost in pleasant memories of the weekend I spent there and all the people (so dear to me) with whom I spent it—joy coming from one simple delightful whiff. The thrill of my conniving thoughts to swap out a tub of shave balm for intensive moisturizing hair conditioner evaporated and was replaced by gratitude for the memories of that special weekend with special friends.

Click the photo to read more about soap, toilet paper and gratitude.

Notes on Gratitude
29 July 2015

Notes on Gratitude

I'd like you to meet the newest member of our family. This is my grandbaby boy, Val Yokas.

Click the photo to read more.

Notes on Gratitude
20 July 2015

Notes on Gratitude

I don't know how to make sense of the fact that three years to the day of your death, Bob, your partner of 25 years, is rehabilitating in the same place you were up until your death. I followed him to the physical therapy room and saw a whisper of you in each patient that worked hard to stand up a bit straighter and to walk a bit stronger.

Click the photo to read more about feeling grateful on the third anniversary of my mother's death.

Notes on Gratitude
01 July 2015

Notes on Gratitude

I had a sense of the truth of Tolle's words. I seek joy from external sources: people, places, possessions. Yes, I do. No wonder I end up disappointed, and as Tolle says, frustrated. I’ve been looking for joy in the wrong place!

Click the photo of my handsome boys to read more.


About Tracey

Tracey Yokas creates stuff. When she isn’t writing, she can be found playing with paint, glitter, and glue. Art fuels her passion for connection. Tracey lives in Southern California with her family, and aspires to share her truth so others will know they are not alone. Each time she takes a risk and shines a light on her family’s struggle with mental illness, stigma and ignorance lessen. Tracey holds a BS in Communications from Ohio University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from California Lutheran University. 

Tracey has contributed articles to iPinion Syndicate (here), and had essays selected to appear in two anthologies: Belly Shame: Stories from the Gut edited by Debra LoGuercio DeAngelo and The Walls Between Us: essays in search of truth edited by Beth Kephart.


"We're all just walking each other home."

–Ram Dass

New Book

"Your book is coming together in a great story that I believe will touch people wholeheartedly. You are taking what was, at times, a very sad and difficult journey, and creating a way to share it and encourage others to maintain the course, to hope, to keep moving forward towards a better life. That's an incredible thing. The path that led you to here, to writing this book, to morph it as you went along, is coming together beautifully. That path, like ourselves and our lives,hasn't been "perfect"... but the end product will be amazing and change lives for the better."

- Susan S.

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