You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘gratitude’ tag.

“Have a lovely Thanksgiving.”

I laughed out loud when I read that note from my editor.  We are not lovely Thanksgiving people.  We are more like the Griswold Family and I do mean both sides of the family.

My sister has to do everything with perfection.  No seriously.  She makes Martha Stewart look slapdash.  She is also a vegetarian as is my niece.  Dad, who has dementia, will insist on telling her all about my son’s foray into the woods deer hunting.  The teen knows better but my Dad?  Try to stop him.  And he won’t try to talk to anyone else about it so I know it isn’t entirely accidental. Dad thinks he’s funny.

My sister-in-law?  Also heavily into perfection but there are so many people on that side of the family.  We have engineers, IT people, hipsters, and young professionals.  Then there’s my kid – red neck libertarian?  Yeah, that’s a description he’s appreciate.  It will be loud, it will be rambunctious and something will go slightly askew.

Lovely?  No.  Fun, humorous and full of loud love.  Anyone who goes looking for lovely will be frustrated beyond belief.  But those of us who jump into it will come out the other side grate-filled for the family with which God blessed us.

–SueBE

 

 

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This is the kind of quote that cracks my husband up.  I am so not a morning person.

If I could start each day with a positive thought and a cup  of coffee at 9 am, I would be so happy.  So happy.

Oh, well.  It isn’t that I tend to start the day unhappy but I don’t wake up fast.  So more than anything, I start the day out of it.  I realized just how bad I am when we went on a family trip when my nieces were really small.  One of them got me up in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom.

The next morning, my sister-in-law commented that she couldn’t believe the girls had slept through the night.  “I had to get up with . . . with . . . one of them.”  The funny thing was?  Whichever girl needed help could not remember getting up.  We still don’t know who I got up with.

Me?  I’m grateful every day that God has a soft spot for those of us who awaken only gradually.

–SueBE

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  We’ve heard the advice but how many of us have actually taken it to heart?

This morning I met me friend at yoga.  It’s the last time we’ll be together for almost a month because she’s traveling overseas to see her granddaughter for the first time.

Sure, we mentioned the elections.  Our area lost a long-standing female senator and her supporter, for the most part, are not taking it well.  Several announced social media sabbatical.  There were just too upset to face the world.

Neither my friend or I are happy about who won.  But today is a gorgeous day.  Yes, it is chilly but the sun is shining after two days of rain.  The fall colors are gorgeous and while we chatted we got to watch a hawk soar overhead.

She showed me pictures of baking pies with her four-year-old grandson.  It was too cute.  He was totally involved which is a riot of you know what a bruiser this kid is.  We discussed her upcoming trip.  What excitement to meet a grandchild who lives overseas!  We talked about plans for when she gets back.  How blessed we are to have friends who live nearby.

We are truly blessed in so many ways.  Spend some time contemplating the blessings in your life.  And then tell other people about them. Focus on the Light.

–SueBE

 

I just read a biography of Buddha, who’d been born a prince and lived a life of luxury, then gave it up. He came to believe Nirvana would be achieved by eliminating all desire.

I think the key to enlightenment is to stay in the Heaven in your head all the time instead of expecting some event, thing or person to complete you so you’ll feel worthy. Waiting for some momentous change may make us forget that there are blessings all around us, every day.

In a previous post, I wrote of how I was reminded during a power outage of all the daily gifts God sends to me. Love letters such as lights that turn on with the flick of a switch. Hot and cold running water. Toilets, faucets, gas burners. A little laundromat in my own basement.

Right there, in the dark, in the cold, I got into a warm fuzzy space in my own soul and I find that I can get there again, every time I read this line:  This was a gift to me today. A reminder to appreciate the power, all the way up to the power source.

The light-bulb moment comes when you accept that you’re blessed. You remember you’re remembered. You’re not forgotten. God loves you enough to send countless provisions your way every single day.

My moment of enlightenment came when the lights went out. I didn’t need the heat to work at that moment. I literally felt warmed up. I hadn’t felt like that when all of the systems in my life were percolating on as usual. It took a moment in which God blinked to remind me he’s always got his eye on me. That interruption in my life’s regular programming reminded me never to take grace for granted.

Mother’s Day started with a power outage this morning around 9 AM.

Hm. Looked at my phone. Only half charged.

Can’t use the internet.

I’ll read my books on Kindle. But… no service. My books are in the cloud.

Well. I’ll go start my coffee.

But. No water.

Hm. Oh wait! I saved my coffee from last night. It’s in the fridge! Yay.

But. No microwave.

Getting chilly in here. Let me turn up the heat.

But. No heat.

So I went back to bed to bundle up. Just then, I heard a car pulling into my neighbor’s driveway, music blaring. Man, that’s loud. What an idiot. Had to catch myself there. No need to be unkind.

It reminded me of the time my father was teaching me to drive. “Watch the idiot,” he said, as another driver encroached on my lane. I had to laugh at the memory. He was always glad to see me when I would visit the house. And my mother would greet me by saying, “You’re the greatest!”

It’s fitting that this happened on Mother’s Day, as we all have a mother (here or in Heaven) and we often take for granted how much she means to us.

In today’s climate, just reminding yourself not to be unkind is an act of kindness. Usually, people aren’t blasting their music to annoy you, but to enjoy their own life. The power goes out sometimes. It’s nothing personal.

This was a gift to me today. A reminder to appreciate the power, all the way up to the power source.

Do something today to show appreciation for all that God provides.

Or at least, don’t be an idiot.🙂You’re lucky, and you know it. This is a good day to remind yourself of the blessings you take for granted.

Every so often, a painful memory will pop up, and your brain will go over the experience again. In a way, you’re saying, here’s another reason why that wrong thing was wrong for me.

It’s like watching a re-run of a drama that you hated the first time. Don’t resurrect it and wallow in the pain of it. It didn’t serve you. It ended. Thank God! No, really. Thank God.

For the experience, which you learned from.
For its being over, which relieved you of that particular pain.
For the opportunity of having a better experience going forward.

Now you know what to look for. Knowing what you don’t want helps you to update your checklist for next time.

One way to transition from a thought that brings you down is to look up. Think about the things you’re grateful for.

Try this: break down a blessing to its most minute component. This is the makeshift meditation I use to shift gears:

Thank you water, thank you coffee, thank you kettle, thank you stove, thank you gas, thank you flame, thank you kitchen, thank you home, thank you Lord.

Gratitude. All the way to the top.

So you leave no space for whatever you were sad about to seep back in. You’ll feel silly doing it the first time, but it’s a powerful negativity blocker.

These grace-gifts will gently elbow out the fraught-thoughts bringing you down.

Morning coffee and an attitude of gratitude. A great way to start the day!

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.  As part of the celebration, our youth gathered at the front of the church and lit the first candle in the Advent wreath.  The first candle?  It represents hope.

It is so easy to feel hopeless.  So many are sick.  In our Sunday school class alone, we have three people being treated for various kinds of cancer, one with a bad knee, and a lady with chronic depression.  In the past week, there have been car accidents which means totalled cars and injuries.  And that’s just among those of us in one class and their families.  Add into this environmental issues, the economy and politics and . . . Can’t you feel it?  Hope is ebbing for so many of us.

When I feel it start to get me down, I try to remember to turn to the youth.  Just among our children, we have intellectuals and artists, a young man with a profound sense of what is right and wrong, and several budding scientists and more.

Hope in the time of Advent goes beyond what we can do with our own hands. It encompasses the Hope to be found in Christ, the living word of God, the light of the world.  But these youth? They are a reminder.  Their energy, their drive, their determination remind me of what can be done in His name.  And then I remember to be grateful.

–SueBE

Don’t think I’m a Polly Anna. There are situations where you just can’t expect someone to be grateful.  When my friend recently lost her husband and son in a hiking accident, another friend told her she could be grateful that their deaths increased the knowledge of those around them and will thus save lives.

I’m 98% certain that the choking noise I made was audible.  No, no, no!  That is not what I mean when I recommend having an attitude of gratitude. Don’t be silly.

But there are other things that have happened for which she is truly grateful.  There’s the AT&T rep who spent time helping her figure out how to reduce her monthly bill by a significant amount.  Last night a neighbor moved her husband’s pick up.  It’s a beast and my friend needs to be taught to drive something that massive.  But until then she’s found someone who is more than willing to shift it for her.  Another friend drove the truck home from New Mexico.  More gratitude.

And it is helping to bring her peace.  She knows that if she gives a shout out on Facebook, someone will step up with the knowledge she needs to face the next problem.  And through this peace, no matter how small in these days of sorrow, she has hope for tomorrow.

A vision?  A plan.  No, that hasn’t come yet.  But it will.  And when it does, we’ll celebrate.

Gratitude.  It really is a tricky thing when times are tough.  But look for the helpers.  Look for those acting as the hands and feet of Christ.  When and where you can, give thanks.  It will lighten your load and lift your heart.

–SueBE

People these days are scary. They’ve grown fangs and spew poison. Get on their wrong side (easy to do) and you could be punished in a number of vituperative and terrifying ways. There is no shame. There are no moral boundaries. There is only internet anonymity and anger.

I read an article by a journalist opining this very same theory. One of the comments on his article was simply “you suck.” Ah! Well met, my friend! Your brilliant repartee reveals you as a man of wit and ingenuity. You are the Sam Johnson — nay, the Mark Twain! — of our times. Sadly, considering the level of discourse these days, that last statement may very well be true.

On the other side of the equation: SueBe’s and Ruthie’s posts this week, celebrating friendship, specifically the friendship of the three of us that led to the creation of this blog. It’s true; we deeply love and care about one another. Also true — we have never met in person. Just the other week, SueBe mentioned something about being short, and I was dumbfounded. All this time, I’d been picturing her tall. I’ll say it again: We’ve been working together for the better part of ten years, yet we’ve never actually hugged. Or eaten a meal together. Or heard one another’s voices, except on the phone.

Yet our bond persists, will persist, through the tumult and turbulence life hands us. This essentially boils down to a choice: We chose each other. We continue to choose each other. It’s what every great friendship, every great relationship, is made of. And it may be the one and only cure for the pollution that swirls around us politically and spiritually.

I once taught a mini-course on “The Company of Women” — both the book by Mary Gordon and the idea that enduring friendships enable us to become our fullest selves, allow us to thrive in the most polluted of atmospheres. I still believe this is true. All I have to do is think of my fellow bloggers to know it is so. This blog — and its posts by my fellow bloggers — has become a haven for me. When the world seems just too awful to continue to breathe in, I come here. I listen to SueBe and Ruth. I feel better.

Let us cultivate our own fresh air. Let us seek out those of us who are willing to be patient, to listen and to love. Let us keep them close to us. When darkness closes in, let us cling to them.

Let us not let pollution overtake us. Take our hands. Join us.

Okay. Maybe he’s not Adonis, I’ll grant you that. Hair growing out of his ears. Snores like a buzz-saw. Wears the same outfit every day: long black, mohair pants tucked into white socks. So why is he part of my life? Well, it’s my cat, of course! He’s one of the blessings that make my house feel like a home. I like seeing KitKat curled up on the couch, dreaming of the squirrel that got away.

I also like seeing my teen-age son with his headphones on as he composes songs the new-fashioned way: on the computer. Just knowing that he’s doing what he loves and that he’s comfortable here at home warms my heart.

So what is it that makes a house feel like a home? Well, of course, it’s the people and pets we love, but it’s more than that.

A little boy was lost at ComicCon and wandered around in tears until he saw two of his friends from childhood: Wonder Woman and the Flash. Soon, he was all smiles. It was like stumbling upon a little bit of the comforts of home: someone you know. Someone you can trust. Someone who will steer you in the right direction.

Of course, my idea of the comforts of home may be different from yours. For example, I love to see the process of houses being renovated. All of it. The tractor digging dirt in the yard, the drywall going up, paint color being chosen, deciding on the decor. That stuff may seem boring to most, but I like to see something being created out of nothing, so a blog like this one, “Enjoying the Simple Things,” feels welcoming to me.

This post about a trip to Ireland by the wonderful writer/artist, Jan Richardson, really conveys the sense of being greeted like family, even if you were a stranger when you walked in.

It’s what we’ve tried to do with this humble blog: create a place where you feel welcome, even if we’ve never met in person. So, feel free to consider this your virtual home away from home!

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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