Category Archives: GratitudeImage
I came across this article several months ago and copied the link into a draft post. Then, I forgot about it. My Posts page is full of odds and ends like this: unusual, or insightful, or beautiful, or funny things that I’ve run across, hit the “PRESS THIS” button, and then promptly forgotten about.
The link below, though, should not be forgotten. I don’t know that thinking positively always will turn your life around, but I think it holds lots of potential for putting things in perspective and helping one “get a grip” on life. Let’s face it: life can be tough. For some, it is tougher — unimaginably tougher — than for others. Some people, even when surrounded by an abundance of good fortune, whine, complain, and bemoan their state of being. Other people, faced with adversities that can seem insurmountable to some, are occasionally able to appear as if they don’t have a care in the world. I don’t know that thinking positively alone can help one cultivate either good-fortune or a positive attitude.
But, for one who knows that they are fortunate yet is feeling overwhelmed, or burdened, or focusing too much on the negative or what they don’t have, I can see how cultivating an attitude of gratefulness can influence one’s perspective, lighten one’s burdensome anxieties, make one more grateful for what they do have.
I think this list of 10 suggestions is a good one. You may not chose to implement all of these suggestions — at least not at once — but they are words to remind oneself of on a regular basis.
This week’s Photo Friday Challenge was “Handsome”. This is the type of challenge that initially frustrates me. I immediately thought “portrait of handsome man”, which would be problematic for me as I don’t typically shoot portraits. I have a great photo of my son, taken two years ago, in which he looks, in my opinion, very handsome. He dislikes the photo because he is unshaven, and he thinks he looks like he has a double-chin. I wouldn’t post at anyway, because it is a rule that we have that I won’t do that. My next thought was that I could post a picture of a Handsome Cab, but then I remembered that it is HANSOM CAB, not HANDSOME Cab, and I’m not nearby any place that would have such a vehicle.
And then, this story landed in my lap in the most unexpected place: my aunt’s funeral: My cousin gave the eulogy. He reminded us of how his late father would come home each evening and, smiling, announce “Handsome’s home.” This was quite the joke with his kids as they grew older. Several years ago my aunt, coming out of anesthesia, asked a nurse, in the silliest of ways: “Am I beautiful?” This was repeated to her later, after the drugs wore off. It, too, was a joke with her children. The nicknames “Handsome” and “Beautiful” stuck with them for the rest of their lives. It was a beautiful memory for my cousin to share about his parents, who were lovely and loving people who lived long, happy lives that touched many people.
My aunt loved birds. As I was thinking about her and this story, I thought of this photograph that I took earlier in the week of two Canadian Geese, sitting quietly on a small island in a pond. I had been taking pictures of the water when I realized the birds were there. Canadian geese mate for life. These two seem like a content couple, happy to be blending into the background. My aunt and uncle were just two normal people. In a crowd, you might not notice them. To each other, though, they were Handsome and Beautiful. In honor of my aunt & uncle, I name the geese in this photo Handsome & Beautiful. My aunt would like that I think — and would likely have something quite witty to say about a goose being named after her!
On a completely different emotional note, here is my bliss list, in no particular order, for this week. See links to others’ lists here. Thanks, Liv Lane for sponsoring this.
1. Having the time to take long walks this week.
2. Hearing the frost melt in the woods.
3. Getting such wonderful feedback from visitors to my blog on my photographs.
4. Spending time with family. (Son home from college this weekend = smiles.)
5. Sharing laughs and fond memories with extended family. There are always more laughs than tears at funerals in my family. I think that it should be that way.
Sometimes the universe sends messages — repeatedly — just in case I didn’t hear it the first time.
First message: when looking for a document from some time ago, I came upon this quote that I had not read in a few years, attributed to Henri Frederic Amiel:
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love; make haste to be kind.
This is one of those messages that can seem merely a seasonal sentiment during this time of year. But, shouldn’t we think of this throughout the year? Be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. Gladden hearts. I think that is beautiful.
Second message: This morning I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page:
I encourage you to watch it before reading further. It should make you smile. Swiftly, with haste: love and kindness.
Every.Single.Day. That can’t be too hard, can it?
3 things I’m grateful for:
1) My crazy spun-in-a-blender (vs “blended”) family, with all their quirks and differences. And especially, my husband, who has had to put up with a lot of my family stuff recently and has been very understanding about it.
2) That the leaves on the trees are starting to turn. I’ll miss summer, but I like to watch the leaves reveal their true colors. It always fascinates me that the color in leaves is there all the time, but that we only see it once they stop photosynthesizing and producing chlorophyll.
3) That the library sends email notifications before books are due. Since the local library and I just became friends again (I know some would be aghast that I haven’t made use of the library for a few years; others at the amount I’ve spent in bookstores during the same timeframe), I have determined to not accumulate late charges. Have only read 2 out of the 5 books. How could it be time to return them already?
The house is starting to overflow with the aroma of spices and cooked foods. Colorful entrees are starting to be lined up on the counter – a golden brown pumpkin pie, a bright orange sweet potato casserole, crimson-colored cranberry sauce, green Brussels sprouts and apples, deep plum-red wine – waiting to be boxed for transport to my sister’s house where they will be placed on the table with turkey, stuffing, salad, mashed potatoes, and other pies. We’ll have a toast of champagne and share something for which we are thankful before we sit down to eat. Despite occasional failures, disappointments and setbacks, a troubled world that sometimes seems on the brink of overwhelming us with financial fears, political strife and divisions, we have many reasons to be grateful: health, family, love. Without the overabundance of food and wine, we would still have these. We live with grace everyday; it is there in what we choose to see, in the recognition of the daily blessings in our lives.
I walked out of my office building last night and saw that the traffic on the interstate was moving slowly, but not stopped. There were no flashing emergency lights for the nearly two-mile stretch I can see. For just one moment things were running smoothly, people were on their way home, or to the store, or to visit loved ones. The air had a crisp, autumnal quality to it, not quite as cold as it had been in the morning. The sun had already set but the sky was still blue, on the edge of turning black. A few stars were shining. It had been a busy day at work, but I felt like I had accomplished much. It had been an ordinary day, a good day. I was thankful for all of these things: smooth-flowing traffic, crisp air, twinkling stars, a rewarding feeling for work well done.
It is so easy for me to gripe at times about working with people who do things that seem idiotic to me, who’s agendas are different than mine, who have different things to accomplish that don’t align with my goals. It’s easy to kvetch about dealing with traffic jams, and not to consider the misfortune of those with the flat tire or broken down automobile blocking the exits or even those exhibiting the inconsideration of others when they try to cut into traffic because they have places they need to go too. It’s easy to complain about how it’s almost winter and I’d rather be somewhere warm.
But these are all minor things. It is just as easy to be grateful for having transportation, a job, a cool night with a starry sky, a family to go home to. I often forget that. My goal from now until the end of the year is to recognize something to be grateful for each day, some occurrence of grace in my life or the lives of those around me, and to be thankful for it.
Today I can be grateful for the love of family the comforts of a secure place to live, a home, and the abundance of food. But I can also be grateful that this world has little things of beauty abounding in it, like misshaped sweet potatoes covered in dirt that someone worked hard to grow, to transport to the market, for the man who is struggling to operate the local growers’ mart, so I could buy them to grace my table.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. May your life be full of blessings and joy.
From Poets.org, links to poems about Thanksgiving.