30 Days of Thanks – November 3

Hey, I’ve blogged for three days straight! Is that considered a streak?

Today, gratitude seems easier for some reason. Maybe because it’s Friday.

I work from home and my office is in a front bedroom that faces our front porch. My husband has put up bird feeders so I can watch the birds while I work. (I have to say, it really takes the sting out of a bad conference call). It’s a lovely way to bring a little bit of nature into my workday.

This morning as I started up my laptop, there was a line of birds, small and large, sitting on the porch rail looking into the office as if to say “Hey lady, it’s kinda cold out here and we’re hungry.” I refilled the feeders and very quickly, they were filled with hungry birds enjoying their breakfast.

It’s funny, when you spend time this close with wild creatures. (They are literally outside my window, about 5 feet from where I sit). You start to see that individuals have their own personalities, and you start to see the differences between species. For example, the reputation that doves have for being associated with peace seems to be well-deserved. They are the only larger birds that share the feeders with the little birds instead of driving them away. A dove will land on the feeder, it swings a bit due to the weight, and pretty soon all of the birds, large and small, go back to enjoying their communal meal.

I also get the occasional visit from a squirrel, who hangs upside down while he eats, and then comes to sit on the windowsill and watch me work for a few minutes.

Today I am grateful for this little bit of nature that lightens up my work day.

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ~ John Muir

 

 

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30 Days of Thanks – November 2

It’s November 2 and already this is requiring some thought! Some days I just don’t feel very grateful, which I guess is what this whole exercise is about – being grateful even when it doesn’t come naturally. Being human, it feels much more natural to dwell on minor annoyances like an argument with my husband about politics, or the challenges I had in pottery class last night.

Today is part of the Dia Des Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday in Mexico, where they celebrate their ancestors. In the Protestant churches, we called it “All Saints Day.” I love that idea, so think I’ll use that as the theme of today’s gratitude.

I am fortunate enough to come from a long line of amazing women – women who were leaders, business owners, teachers, social workers, writers, artists, musicians. In addition to being loving and creative, they were intelligent, resourceful, and supportive of the generation coming after them.  Today I’m grateful for them, for the example they provided for me, and the support and encouragement to be my own kind of woman. I’m also grateful for the generation that comes after me – including my own daughter, who has turned out to be an incredible human being.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. ~ Unattributed

30 Days of Thanks – November 1

I was reminded by Snoopy’s post on Instagram this morning that today is the first day of November.

https://orepic.com/media/1638526535770018412_184090465

(Tried to post the graphic here but it’s not displaying – please click through if you’re as big a Snoopy fan as I am and want him to wish you a Happy November. I suppose that I could copy and paste the graphic but I like to respect people’s copyrighted work).

For the past couple of years, I’ve participated in 30 Days of Thanks, where bloggers post daily about things they are grateful for. My track record isn’t so hot on this – last year I only made it to November 13 – but I’m going to give it a shot again this year.

Gratitude is something that I aspire to, but I’ll be honest that it doesn’t come all that easily to me. That’s even after I’ve read about it, taught Sunday School lessons about it, and thought about it quite a bit as well. I’m coming to realize that for me, it’s a practice rather than a skill or a habit, so for the month of November, I’m going to “practice” and see how I do.

Interestingly, at the same time, I’m also participating in the #SewLongSewHappyChallenge, which is a 21 day sewing “binge” in which participants are committing to sew every day for 21 days. So far, I’ve successfully completed days 1 and 2, so I’m off to a decent start.

Today I’m grateful for Halloween and Trick-or-Treaters. It may seem silly to still be this excited about Halloween at 50, but I love it. For me, it’s not about dressing up and going to parties (although that’s fun too), it’s about seeing all the kids in their costumes. They are so excited about going house-to-house collecting treats. It’s also a chance to say hello to the neighbors, and my dogs love seeing all the kids (and getting the occasional pet from a dog-friendly kid). This year was a little different because my husband was traveling and my kids are grown, so we didn’t do our usual tradition of making a big pot of soup and watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” That said, it was still fun. I’ll catch up and watch The Great Pumpkin this weekend on DVD.

So, there you have it. #Day1. We’ll see how I do – feel free to join me. 🙂

Tech To Be Grateful For

We often talk about how technology both complicates our lives and makes it easier. Entire books have been written on this subject, and presumably by people much wiser or better informed than me.  It seems that most of us have a somewhat conflicted relationship with technology. It’s made so many things possible that we never even considered before. At the same time, it’s brought new threats like identity theft, and new challenges like finding quiet in an increasingly noisy world.

I work in IT so this dichotomy probably seems even more pronounced to me. After spending my days making computer systems work (or as in my current role, breaking them as a tester), all I want at the end of the day is a break from it all. I don’t want my cell phone in my pocket, and I don’t want to spend my time looking at a computer screen. I am, in a word, saturated.

What I want instead seems to be tactile experiences, interaction with the real world, discussions with real people (and not by text message). A contrast, if you will, to how I spend my days. That said, there are many things that technology brings me that I’m grateful for, and that is the topic of today’s post.

I’m grateful for:

  • Craftsy classes that bring talented instructors into my living room to teach me things that I could not or would not go to a classroom for, and at a fraction of what a college course with these instructors would cost.
  • The Fitbit on my wrist that keeps me focused on taking care of myself, by showing me my progress (or lack thereof).
  • The online tools such as Facebook that keep me connected with friends and family across the globe. (And yes, Facebook definitely has its annoyances, but this post is about gratitude). One of my favorite new uses of Facebook is to find photos by local Colorado photographers that I can use as inspiration to draw and paint.
  • Online shopping that puts the very best yarn, art supplies, knitting tools, and other conveniences literally in the palm of my hand.
  • Podcasts that keep me informed and entertained during what can sometimes be very long work days.

So, there’s what I’m grateful for today. How about you?

Gratitude

I had one of those funny moments this morning that I was sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a Westie on my lap, and I was suddenly struck with this feeling of gratitude for how fortunate I am and how much I love my life.

Life has brought so much to me, in terms of the friends and family that I have, the creativity I get to enjoy, and the love of my husband and children. It’s easy to lose sight of that during the little annoyances of life. (Starbucks coffee cup scandal, just saying. These people need some perspective).

I think it’s valuable sometimes to just step back and look at what’s right in your life. Our lizard brains are always so busy finding the negative, looking for the risk, focusing on what could harm us. That may have kept us alive when we were living in the bush, but as modern humans, it’s not necessarily all that helpful because it prevents us from being content with what we have.

So, here’s to all the things to be grateful for. For big things, like friends and family (and friends who end up being family because you love them that much). For little things, like good cups of coffee and a warm dog on your lap. For health. For simply being alive. For the fact that even if I mess up today, tomorrow I get to try again. And today, for central heating (it was 24 degrees out when I got up this morning). And for you, dear readers.

30 Days of Thanks

So, here it is November 3 already and I completely forgot about 30 Days of Thanks until I looked out my window this morning and saw the beautiful autumn colors in the bright sunlight. (I had a moment of deep gratitude for this annual riot of color in nature). I try to always celebrate 30 Days of Thanks here on the blog, as I think it’s a good way to keep myself focused on the good things and how fortunate I am.

As a person who never adapts well to Daylight Savings Time, I always heave a big sigh of relief when it ends and the clock on my wall matches my internal body clock. (Although some folks on my team are not so happy about the fact that it’s dark out by the time we get off work).

I got up this morning and walked my dogs. I had planned a run but they were having so much fun walking and sniffing that I decided to just let them enjoy it. They’re now happily crashed out in their beds, and I’m working while looking at the lovely orange, brown and gold leaves on my neighbor’s tree.

So, whether I faithfully post every day or not (let’s face it, it’s not likely that I will), I hope you’ll join me in experiencing gratitude every day in November. In many ways, it’s my favorite month, beginning with a chocolate hangover and memories of the ceremonial watching of the the Charlie Brown Halloween special, and ending with one of my favorite holidays – family and friends gathered around the table enjoying each other’s company and some incredible eats.

Welcome to November, my friends. Let’s all be grateful together.