Be Thankful

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” William Arthur Ward


It’s amazing how a daily practice of Gratitude can change your life. Don’t believe me……try it.

I woke up this morning, tired and feeling grouchy. I probably could have stewed in my misery but I asked myself, “What do I have to be thankful for?”

Believe me, it’s not like angels sang and the heaven’s opened up, and a light shone down and my life was transformed. My first thought was……

Man, I am gonna be so thankful when I drop these kids off at school.

HA!

Yup, thankful for alone time……to really bask in my tiredness and misery.

We were going to be late this morning, I didn’t even really let it phase me. I just embraced the moment. Get ready, without a freak out, without tears. We are going to be late. So let’s eat breakfast, get dressed and get this show on the road.

And we did. And as the morning went on, all these little thoughts kept coming to me.

I’m so thankful to be alive even if I’m tired.

I’m thankful that my kids are going to school, even if just for a half day (Jude is dealing with some school/seperation anxiety and is only doing a few hours, at the moment)

I’m thankful for a home, even if it a mess.

I’m thankful for a vehicle so we don’t have to walk.

I’m SO thankful for Daylight Saving Time because we get more evening sun. (don’t hate. I LOVE it)

I’m so thankful for coffee, this morning.

I’m even thankful that we are supposed to get snow tonight because it’s bright and white and not dreary rain.

All these Thankful, Positive thoughts snowballed as I got the kids ready and drove to school and dropped them off. It’s like the Gratitude gained momentum and the misery just shrunk until I could no longer feel it wrapped about me like a scarf.

I’m still tired. My reality is still the same, but my focus has shifted and that shift brings such an amazing awareness of the good things in life. Today will be a good day. Because I choose it be.

What are you thankful for? I’ d love to hear.


Baking

Today I have 2 things I’m grateful for; but they’re related so I’m counting it as one.

I’m super thankful for kids who like to bake. It means that we have lots of baking around. Siah has been watching “Nailed it” and has even tried his hand at a layered cake. He definitely “Nailed it!”

Another thing that I am SUPER GRATEFUL for is my cookie scoop.

Do you have one?

They are AMAZING! No more rolling balls with hands or messing with two spoons…..just scoop and drop. Baking is so quick and easy with the cookie scoop. If you don’t have one, get one! You will thank me.

What are you thankful for?

Words

Today I am grateful for words.

I love the way they can be used to create and build. There is power and beauty in the use of words. It’s an incredible thing to be able to paint pictures with words; and to use them to create and express thoughts and feelings.

 

I WILL see the Light
She whispers forcefully
As darkness closes in

I will HOLD the Light
She declares fiercely
As darkness tries again

I will BE THE LIGHT
She screams defiantly
And darkness WILL NOT win
because

I AM LIGHT

Creativity

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Joseph Chilton Pearce

I don’t know where I received the message but as a child, the message I understood was that Art was frivolous. That working a job in business, was acceptable but creativity was something that foolish people persued.

As a child I devoured books. It didn’t matter if it was fiction or classic literature or encyclopedias. I dreamed of being an author. But I was terrified that if I ever said that dream out loud that I would be mocked or shamed for wanting to do something so silly.

I would hear music and songs and feel like I needed to move; that my body needed to express the sounds and feelings in movement. I wanted to write lyrics and dreamed of standing in front of crowds of thousands singing with all of my heart. But again, I was scared that if I tried, I might fail or worse, look foolish.

I saw art, paintings and sculptures, and my hands itched to create beauty but fear held me back from even trying, “because I might get it wrong, or not do it right.

Somewhere along the way (and with an immense amount of therapy), the longing and desire to create, overwhelmed the fear. I have begun to accept the child inside of me who wanted to explode with creativity. I’m not a trained artist but I am creative. I live and breathe creativity. It’s like air to me. Without it, I feel like I’m strangling.

I feel like I’m finally starting to live authentically, as who I was created to be. I’m messy. I’m sensitive. I’d rather create something beautiful, different or weird than do just about anything else . I see beauty everywhere. I want to add more beauty to the world. I’m happiest when I’m creating. I want to inspire creativity. I want to encourage others to not be scared to just try; or to just do it, in spite of being scared. I want to encourage others that you can’t do art wrong. You can’t create beauty in a wrong way. You may see my art as mess and I may see it as beauty. We might both be right, and that’s okay.

Once, I started to let go of the fear of doing it wrong, the most amazing thing happened……i started to see beauty and creativity everywhere. I’m so aware that the things we do, create beauty…..and yet, I’m not so sure that people see it that way.

The programmer, the code he creates and what he can create with that code, is beautiful.

The teacher, who invests in the future, our children….they are creating beauty in and for our world.

The plumber or electrician, the way they can run pipes or wire and have pieces of equipment sing to each other….it’s beautiful.

Accountants create beauty within lines and spreadsheets and with money and it’s beautiful.

Librarians create order out of thousands of pieces of literature and they promote wonder and fantasy and knowledge with access to literature. That’s incredible.

A boss creates an intricate dance between employees. They can create a culture of respect and responsibility…….that’s amazing.

A mom literally creates human beings and then has the opportunity to mould and guide those beings into beauty …..that’s a fantastically beautiful thing.

The cashier who can Tetris a bag of groceries in the most incredible way AND communicate love and acceptance to the people they come in contact with……that’s art and it’s beautiful.

We, humans…..I believe we were created to create, to bring beauty into the world; and everything we do can be beautiful.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t ugliness in the world, because there is……but we have the privilege and opportunity to bring beauty and light into the world, in whatever way we are passionate about…..and that’s amazing. My hearts cry is to create more beauty around me, to tip the scales and drown out the darkness.

We don’t all have to do it the same, nor should we. The diversity itself is beautiful.

I’m so very grateful for art and creativity and for the ability to contribute beauty into the world.

Have you ever considered that what you do brings beauty into the world? I’d love to hear how you create beauty.

Perspective

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Joshua J. Marine

We’ve had a fair number of challenges in our lives. Enough that, I had to make a choice. I could allow the sorrow and despair to crush me. I could surrender to the devastation and lose myself…….or I could choose to live and see the light regardless of what was happening around me.

I think this is one of the reasons that I resonate so strongly with Leonid Afremov’s paintings. There is such depth and even darkness within the paintings but there is light everywhere; and it’s glorious. It glows from within the scenes.

That’s what I want my life to be. Regardless of how dark a time is, I want the light to shine. I want to glow brightly whatever the scene around me is. I want to see the light shining and reflecting in the darkness. I want to BE a light shining and reflecting in the darkness.

It’s easy to see the light when it’s bright, but I choose to look for the light when it’s darkest out.

I refuse to allow hard times to define me. I don’t like to ask “Why me?” More often, you’ll hear me ask, “Why Not Me?” There are no guarantees in this world in regards to hardship and trouble. Life is not fair.

One benefit of looking for the light is that you find the good that comes from every situation.

Cancer is not good! My 13 year old daughter being diagnosed with Leukemia is not good. The 2.5 years of treatment is not good. The side effects of the chemo are not good. The long term physical, and emotional effects are not good.

But there is good! Having community surround you and carry you, is good. Realizing that you are stronger than you ever thought possible, mentally and emotionally, is good. Learning a deeper level of compassion and understanding for the suffering of others, is good.

I wish we never had cancer touch our family, but I WILL find the good things that came from that experience. I will hold onto those things, tightly. I will learn and grow from that experience.

I will stare at cancer, defiantly, and proclaim that it didn’t win. It didn’t destroy me. It didn’t crush me and if anything, I grew stronger.

I’ll be honest, it almost did destroy me. BUT…….it didn’t!

I choose to live a life filled with gratitude regardless of the circumstances that come along.

One thing that I am SO grateful for is life. Life is a gift. Knowing firsthand, the fragility of life and the reality of death puts perspective on EVERYTHING. My daughter could be dead, but she’s alive. That’s incredible. So what, that my car broke down or I’m having a bad hair day, or I’m late for an appointment or I’m 10 pounds heavier than I’d like to be……compared to life and death….it’s all frivolous. The reality of that perspective is a HUGE gift. Something I will forever be grateful for.

I’d love to hear what your grateful for.

ps. it doesn’t have to be as heavy as this post is. Gratitude is gratitude!

Denial….

I don’t even want to write this post. Not because I’m not grateful, because I’m immensely grateful for this incredible woman. But, I’ve spent the last 2-3 months in denial.

This has been a tough one for me and if I’m being honest, I’m not fully accepting or allowing myself to feel the full impact of this loss because I don’t feel that I have the emotional resources to do so.

We met Victoria a number of years ago at church. She was recommended to us as a possible College and Career age, young woman who may be available to do some care giving and respite for our family.

I don’t really even remember the beginning. Life was a bit of a blur and we were just coming out of the “cancer years”. She came and cared for our kids weekly for 4 or 5 years. I don’t remember exactly, but it was a significant portion of my kids lives.

It’s been an absolute honor to watch her grow up, get married, graduate college, work, and go back to school. We knew our time with her was limited, only because life moves forward. In fact, we were gifted 2 more years than I was expecting. Not that I had a specific time frame but I had thought that life was going to move her on and somehow she stayed with us. It was an absolute gift that I will cherish forever.

Victoria loved and accepted our children, not in spite of who they are, but because of who they are. That was a gift that I will forever be grateful for. She came into our family weekly, for years and loved on my kids, and in turn, on us. She accepted the hard days with grace, mercy and compassion. She loved my kids through meltdowns, food challenges, weird sleeping arrangements, situations where they were stuck or just plain rude. She challenged them to be their best selves and loved them no matter what.

It was an absolute gift to have that love and acceptance. For us as parents to know that we could walk away from the chaos for 4 hours once a week and know that our kids were loved, safe, understood and so well cared for, was an absolute treasure.

I am SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL to have had your help, love and support for all the years that we did. There were weeks and months where you were our lifeline; and the only rest we had in a very chaotic and difficult time. Knowing that we had that 4 hours off, kept us going, during the worst of times.

There is no way I can fully explain the depth of my gratitude but know that you are SO APPRECIATED and that I will be forever grateful for the time you’ve invested into my kids and our family. I’m so excited to see where life takes you and what adventures you have coming next.

Thank You for all you gave into our lives, each and every one of us. Truly!

ps. The boys talk about you all the time. You truly are missed and loved!

pps. Victoria was our respite worker and she worked for us for a number of years. She is finishing her Master’s while working full time and something had to give. I don’t begrudge her this, at all…….well maybe selfishly. Ha! Not really! It’s life and we were gifted so many incredible years! The depth of my denial and sadness are only relative to how special she was to all of us, and that was VERY special!

Misery and Gratitude

Misery and gratitude cannot exist in the same space.”  ~ Sharolynn Braegger

Well, I’m writing this post on Sunday morning at 1:30am.

I am truly grateful that insomnia is not something I deal with on a regular basis. Although, I’ve mentioned that I’m not a super fan of mornings, it’s not because I stay up all night. I make a solid effort to get to sleep by 11pm, so that mornings are just slightly less horrific.

I’ve not seen 1:30am in a while; and I’m good with that.

Tonight’s issue is that I had a Diet Coke without thinking about the caffeine. And seeing as I don’t have coffee or tea after 3pm……apparently the caffeine is doing its thing and I’m still awake.

I am extremely grateful that I don’t deal with regular ongoing Insomnia. I’m aware that some of you do. I’m really sorry about that. This sucks.

I am grateful for the quiet time, with no one asking anything of me. I’m ever so grateful that my bed is Oh! So! Comfortable! I’m grateful that this post will be scheduled to post tomorrow morning and I won’t have to even think about it.

I’m not really grateful that I’m still awake but I’m incredibly thankful that I don’t often have sleepless nights.

Tomorrow morning, when my littles are requiring my attention, I’ll also be VERY grateful for coffee.

What are you grateful for? I’d love to hear.