“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk
I worked through 2016 with a focus on gratitude – and though it took some effort, I really feel like I am ending the year with a better understanding of gratitude. This includes gratitude in my everyday life. From the simplest things to the most complex – I feel like gratitude is part of my being now.
Which brings me to 2017 – where do I go from here. I have been contemplating several words to focus on in 2017 and my mind kept circling around joy and then when I got an email on Saturday from Churchmouse Yarn and Tea with the above quote – the word seemed to leap out of the email.
It is so true, gratitude does make me joyful.
It is not complicated, nor does it indicate that I am adopting a Pollyanna-like view of life – but really, a simple joy stemming from gratitude in all things – even the difficult things.
In 2017, I hope you will come along with me as I celebrate finding joy in the journey.
That would be what I am today – starting my 56th journey around the sun.
…Age is just a state of mind, and you are as old as you think you are. You have to count your blessings and be happy. ~ Abhishek Bachchan
And, I thought a little montage of the much, much, much younger me would be nice way to reminisce about this monumental event.
We start with this little girl in a laundry basket on my Nana’s porch – I think I was about 6 months old. And, although I do not remember this at all, my Nana’s house was a place that I spent a great deal of my life. My Aunt Jacque was in high school here.
My Nana always loved to tell the story of me sitting in the laundry basket. The best part of memories is hearing others tell them and even though you can’t remember – but somehow you feel like you remember it because you have heard it so many times. I still have the basket in this picture.
This family fills my mind with the best of memories. My Nana was my favorite person in all the world. And, seeing this photo with my grandpa (and his two sisters – Aunt Sylvia and Aunt Marion) from the days when he could still get outside on his own is the best. He had MS, but he taught me how to swing and so much more!
This was one of very few vacations we ever took as a family – Here are my sister and I going through the Soo Locks. I remember this photo being taken and really – could any girl be more stylish? Looking at it today, I think my mom must have had a Sophia Loren obsession!
Here are my sister and I at the house my dad and his dad built and this is the house we lived in the longest.
One good thing about having had so many birthday’s is that you have so many memories! And, that makes me feel happy and so blessed!
My favorite part of Christmas is the anticipation that Advent brings.
I love the twinkling lights, the decorations, the candles, and the music. They all add to the anticipation of the season – that feeling of getting ready for something special.
It was not always this way – I grew up in a house where we did not put up a tree until Christmas Eve – and most years we took it down on the day after Christmas.
Perhaps because of that, the minute I had my own place – Christmas anticipation started early! Most years, decorating began the day after Thanksgiving – and I kept the decorations up until Twelfth Night. And, trees – I put up more than one. There was a “fancy” living room tree, a Santa Tree in the den, Kitchen Tree, and small trees in the bedrooms. But the best tree was the “kids tree” that they could decorate or undecorate as often as they wanted!
Christmas now is a more relaxed affair – there are not trees everywhere but, the anticipation of getting ready for something special is the part of Christmas that I hope to never let go.
So, today – I am going to challenge you all to spend some time today thinking about what or who you are thankful for.
It can be things – we are indeed a rich country with an abundance of things! Things like running water, heat, transportation, a multitude of shopping choices, with a multitude of items to choose from. Or things like a table full of food today – perhaps celebrating with friends and family.
But, what about being thankful for the intangible things. Things like kindness, good will, open-minds, open-hearts, love, and peace.
I will share my thankful list, but I will be thinking about this numerous times today – and as I learned with Michelle – in the course of a day, the things you think about can change dramatically. Powerfully. Exponentially. But, here is my start:
Food that is so abundant and has been prepared with love
Steve – who will share this quiet day with me
Family – who while they might be far away, they are always close in my heart
Quiet morning meditations that help me center my day and myself
Pandora’s timely email yesterday with a list of Thanksgiving stations which will keep me from driving Steve crazy with Christmas music (rather now I can do that with Thanksgiving music instead!)
Today, whether you are with family and friends or are celebrating alone – I will be thinking about all of you, with deep thanks in my heart for our paths crossing – even if it is only here on the internet.
If you would like to join us on Think Write Thursdays, Carole and I would love to have you! You can sign up here.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. May your day be overflowing with thankfulness.