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.

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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.

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Even though it’s not here yet, today I am thankful for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Our house will be a crazy place filled with lots of extra people but I love it. My in-laws are coming and we haven’t seen them in months, as is my son who hasn’t been home since August. It should be a great time.

My daughter and I were talking the other day about the tendency for retailers to rush us straight from Halloween to Christmas. Her opinion (and I think she is right) is that we should take more time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and not let the Christmas season start until after we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving well and properly first.

Maybe the Canadians have it right – they celebrate their Thanksgiving day in October, giving plenty of time to enjoy the harvest season without having to worry about the impending Christmas season. On the other hand, some of the Canadians I’ve worked with were a little shocked at how big a deal we make out of Thanksgiving, since most US companies take two days off and many of us stretch it into a full week by taking vacation. I didn’t point out that after the feast, we’re basically full-bore on Christmas shopping. I suspect they think we’re materialistic enough without pointing that out.

I’m excited for this year’s Thanksgiving day, as well. We will be hosting a large fun group at our house. One of my close friends is joining us, and hopefully bringing her family’s traditional pecan pie. (She brought it last year and my kids voted that she was invited forever as long as the pie was part of the bargain). Also, this year since I’ve learned a bit about high-altitude cooking, the meal should be better. Last year was okay, but several of the dishes weren’t quite up to my usual standard and I was stumped as to why. (Duh, we live at 6,000 feet!)

So, today I’m thankful for a happy feeling of anticipation and the chance to enjoy friends and family. I’m also thankful for those who are willing to take so much effort to get here, since all of the relatives are coming by train and the shortest journey is 12 hours of travel.

What are you thankful for today?

Reader Appreciation Day

I was reading an online article recently about Social Media and how so many brands just don’t get it. They all want us to ‘Like’ them on Facebook (or other sites) so that they can tell us how awesome they are. So far, few of them provide much value back, so we are in essence a free advertising channel for them. Not being a fan of commercialism, I’m surprised at how easily I let myself get sucked into this, using my own reputation and mind-space as a platform for the products and ideas of others.

That got me thinking. This blog now has something like 185 followers and that doesn’t count the people (mostly friends and family) that read it based on the links I post on my Facebook page. Given that it was all started on something of a whim, an experiment to see if I had anything interesting to say, that’s a pretty large audience.

It got me wondering what makes a blog meaningful to people, at least meaningful enough for me to borrow those few minutes a day that you spend reading what I have to say, or looking at my photographs, or wondering what in the heck I am smoking. (Yes, I’ll admit that there are probably a few days like that now and then…despite my best efforts).

I’d love to hear from those of you that are reading about why you read, what you enjoy, how I could brighten your day or give you a little more value back for those stolen moments.

And in the meantime, thank you for reading. Seriously, I mean it. Without readers, this blog would just be a voice in the digital wilderness and while it would still accomplish its original purpose (to give voice to the writer inside of me), it would be a whole lot less fun.

Comments, please. And have a fabulous week. I seriously love you all.

Mardee

Yes, there is a Nirvanah: it is in leading your sheep to a green pasture,  and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem. ~ Kahlil Gibran