Friday, November 30, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude Wraps Up, Part 2

photo: pixabay.com

Fear not November's challenge bold– 
We've books and friends,
And hearths that never can grow cold;
These make amends!

–Alexander L. Fraser (1870 - 1954), "November" c. 1918


How can it be the last day of November already? They say time flies when you're having fun. Yes, we did have fun this month, especially participating in a 30 Days of Gratitude challenge on my Facebook page. It turned out that taking time every morning to consider the day's prompt was a most enriching exercise. Sometimes I paid attention to the 'stream of consciousness' first response that bubbled up and wrote that down. Sometimes I had to really think about it to be sure it resonated in my heart and wasn't just a pat answer. I always hoped to share something that my FB friends would find interesting, thoughtful-provoking, and alive to the moment ... something fun too.

Today I'm delighted to share the last half of the month's prompts and responses here on my blog. Perhaps with a new month about to begin, this is something you might want to take up yourself. As many of us prepare for our favourite season of the year, there really is so much to be thankful for. If you are interested, you can find the 30 Days of Gratitude chart here. And, if you missed my earlier post with the first half of the month's prompts, you'll find it here. 


photo: pixabay.com

The subject of gratitude is a topic that is often talked about these days. People recognize how having a thankful, grateful attitude impacts the well-being of our souls. I recognize that for myself. Rabbi Harold Kushner once said, “If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”

How many times I have needed and relied on the words from others to resuscitate hope, inspiration, and gratitude. We need not be ashamed to admit this short falling; it's the common human experience of living in this upside down world. We can't always pull ourselves up by our own boot straps -- sometimes we need a little help from our friends. Albert Schweitzer was to have said, “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” How true.

Focusing on this challenge over the past 30 days has causes my heart to overflow with gratefulness for all the good gifts in my life. I feel rekindled. Inspired. And hopeful. Cheered and happy too. Today, if there is a word or phrase or quote in this post that lifts up one person, then I will have passed along something priceless. I will have done my work today.


"They might not need me; but they might.
I'll let my head be just in sight;
A smile as small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity."

― Emily Dickenson


Emily's verse really speaks to me. Too often I have had to shake off the lie that what I have to share, to offer, won't be desired or needed by anyone. But, I catch myself as Emily caught herself -- maybe she shook her head as I do -- as we recognize our small smile might be 'precisely their necessity'. 


photo: pixabay.com

As I mentioned there are a lot of people who have had something to say about gratitude and how it makes our lives richer. Here are a few 'kindling' sparks that speak so beautifully to the topic of living our lives more gratefully.


“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.”
 – Mary Davis

Oh yes, when I kept a gratitude journal many years ago, it changed everything for me. Because as I wrote down the one thing I was grateful for, I became so much more aware of my world around me and how beautiful it really was/is -- suddenly I'd be noticing five more things to add to the growing list of gifts in my life.


“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not,
but rejoices for those which he has.”
– Epictetus

In our world, it can be easy to look around and see what everyone else has and think we're missing out. And yes, we might be, it's true. But at the same time, while we're looking out there, we're prone to miss seeing what we do have already going for us. I want to be the wise woman and not grieve for what I don't have, but to keep focusing on and rejoicing about what I do have right now.


“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.
The more you express gratitude for what you have,
the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
 – Zig Ziglar

I know this to be true in my own life. The more I express gratitude for what I have, the more I find to be grateful for. Every tiny gift ... the twitter of a bird on a bleak morning, the way the sun glints on the neighbour's window just so, the dime I find in the parking lot, the smell of bacon frying ... it goes on and on and on.



Image may contain: text that says '30 days of gratitude'
Click for POST with Days 1 to 16


And so, here are the rest of the prompts from my challenge on Facebook. I hope you enjoy.



November 17. What KNOWLEDGE are you grateful for? I'm so glad that I know in my own heart that God loves me. I don't know how I know it, but I do. Sometimes when I'm snuggling down to go to sleep at night, I giggle to myself as I cherish the thought that He is with me all the time. ♥️



November 18. What PIECE OF ART are you grateful for? This is a hard choice. Should I select something from our own lovely art pieces in our home? Shall I think about the famous works of arts in museums and art galleries and pick a favourite? In the end, I decide to share my latest acquisition. A little painting with chickadees in a seasonal setting from one of our local artists. It was at the Christmas Market yesterday. I spotted it first thing, and as you see, it came home with me. I'm pleased. Also grateful for the many folks who create wonderful art treasures for us to enjoy.

November 19. What TOUCH are you grateful for today? Hugs from people I love. Kisses. A loving touch on the arm, shoulder, or cheek. Out-of-the-blue hugs from my sweetheart and walking arm in arm, holding hands. And, I always appreciate a touch of the funny, witty, and silly.

November 20. Who are you GRATEFUL for today? Today I'm grateful for the birds who come every day to the feeders and add so much pleasure to my life. For the neighbour's Orange Kitty who comes to visit for her pets and ear scritches. For my Facebook and blog friends who carry on the gentle work of making our world a kinder, more beautiful place. For my mom and all my dear family who love me regardless. For near and special friends who make good companions on life's journey. For my kind, funny husband who is the best companion ever. Truly... the list is endless but that's a start.

November 21. What SONG are you most grateful for? Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I remember hearing it the very first time when I was a little girl. As it started playing, the audience rose to their feet. That moment was electric and I was in complete awe. I've never stopped loving that piece of music.

November 22. What STORY are you grateful for? Probably the very first story I heard as a child -- the Bible story of the little boy bringing the loaves and fishes to Jesus. For my mom tells me that I wanted to hear the fishes story over and over. Today, I am grateful for that first story my mother told to me, for it was the beginning of what has turned out to be a lifelong love relationship with books and reading and loving Jesus. I still feel a giddy anticipation to just think of those words I used to say, "Read me a story"


photo: it's a beautiful life

November 23. What TRADITION are you grateful for? With the season coming up, I turn my thoughts to the traditions of Christmas. I love Christmas traditions. I love sending out Christmas cards and wrapping gifts and singing carols. I like Christmas baking. I love taking out the decorations and seeing the special things that only come out once a year. I love the Christmas tree and all the lights.

I love eating a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy and cranberry sauce. I love going to carols sings and Handel's Messiah and listening to the Lessons of the Carols. I love pulling out favourite Christmas stories and rereading them each year. I like Advent calendars to mark off the days until Christmas.

I like the idea of traditions. And, of keeping them. As a child there was something reassuring and comforting about being able to say, We always do it this way. I still find that a comfort even now. Maybe more so when times are troubling and unstable. We turn to our traditions as that stabilizer of what's 'normal' when things aren't normal. Today, I am grateful for the beauty and comfort of Christmas traditions.

November 24. What CHALLENGE are you grateful for? My writing buddy and I joined forces in January of this year to take up the challenge to each work on a writing project that had become stalled and was unfinished. We called the challenge Finishing School (based on the book of the same name by Cary Tennis and Danielle Morton).

Without this challenge to work on the project every week for a certain amount of time, and without the encouraging cheering of my writing companion, Joy, I would not have gotten as far as I have. The projects are not done, but Finishing School is still in session. For this challenge and for Joy's online company, I am most grateful today.

November 25. What MOMENT this week are you grateful for? On Monday this past week, I received an email (our weekly check-in) from my writing buddy, Joy. She told me something that I have been holding sweetly in my heart all week. She wrote: "I dreamed I was holding your finished project in my hands last night. It was thrilling."  It was thrilling for me to hear it!

photo: pixabay.com
November 26. What FORM OF EXPRESSION are you most grateful for? Art, Music, Literature, Drama, Photography are all forms that often speak to me. But Words are my favourite, favourite form of expression. I'd sooner write it than paint it, sculpt it, play it, dance it, or perform it. While I don't much use these expressions myself, I'm truly grateful for the artists who do paint it, sculpt it, play it, dance it, or perform it. Their expressions are gifts which I utterly enjoy.

Today, I am also grateful for Nature's form of expression ... winds in the willows, creeks rushing in the Spring thaw, fog hovering in low areas, sunlight glimmering through ice crystals, Jack Frost patterns on a window, the northern lights swirling overhead ... to name just a few.

November 27. What SMALL THING that you use daily are you grateful for? My toothbrush. There are people in the world who do not have a toothbrush and must rely on a stick to help clean their teeth. Yes, today I'm very grateful for my little toothbrush.

November 28. What SMALL THING that happened today are you grateful for? Every morning my sweet hubby of 20 years brings me coffee in bed. Today it came with bigger than usual smiles, kisses, and gifts. It is our anniversary.

November 29. What FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER are you grateful for today? Oh no, that's impossible. How is a person to pick one dear and special person over another? I shall choose Miss Kitty, my pretty tortoise shell, who had to leave us forever the weekend William and Catherine were married in London. In the midst of all the global celebrations, I had the very sad task of saying goodbye in the vet's clinic. I'm not sad anymore, but there are days when I still miss her a lot and remark that we wish she would be meowing and rolling on the carpet with joy when we'd come home from somewhere. Today, I'm grateful for my sweet kitty cat who graced my life with her furry presence.

photo: pixabay.com
November 30. What TALENT OR SKILL do you have that you are grateful for? As I sit here ready to type out my response to the last prompt in this challenge, I don't think I've ever truly acknowledged the gift I received when I learned to type that year in Grade 8 on an old-fashioned manual typewriter. And, I'll never forget the day when we finally were given the thrilling chance to practice on the one IBM Selectric typewriter we had in the class.

Little did I realize then that typing would be a key function skill that I would find useful throughout my entire life and in just about every phase of it. I used it in college typing my papers, I used it every day at work and during my newsletter writing days, and now writing on my blog and here on social media.

Today I honour my ability to type. And give thanks for the very useful skill I learned so many years ago.

* * *

It's a wrap. My heart is full. My life is rich. I'm grateful for each of you. I'll be back on Monday, December 3rd, to kick off the month with a Christmas Giveaway. In the meantime, here's wishing you a beautiful weekend...


Hugs,
Brenda
xox


PS. It's the last day of November, which brings to mind that it is the birth date of one of my favourite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery. A few years ago, I wrote a tribute to her, and since I'm writing about gratitude today, I wanted to include it here today. I'm so grateful for this beautiful author and woman, a fellow Canadian, who changed my life is so many ways. Here's the link.




8 comments:

  1. A lovely post Brenda. Reminds me that even in the hardest days there is always something to stop and smile about.

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  2. A beautiful post, Brenda. And, I am grateful for finding you, your lovely blog full of beautiful and inspiring words. Happy December days to you, my friend.❤

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  3. What a meaningful, full month you enjoyed. I really liked your friend's dream and I can see how that would be a thrill. Happy belated anniversary! See you in a few days..

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  4. We truly have so much to be thankful for. I have found as well, that when I am purposely thankful for the many little things around me, I see more and my spirit is lifted.

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  5. A wonderful post on gratefulness! Thank you, Brenda.

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  6. Such a lovely read today. You have inspired me to do a December grateful journal. I did the same a few years ago and it kept me grounded in my beautiful busy life.

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  7. I've enjoyed reading your posts on Facebook although I have not replied very often. Gratitude is such a game-changer when it comes to looking at life. And I'm so glad it's something that can be cultivated rather than something set by our genes, like eye colour.
    I'm thankful for your lovely talent of stringing words together so beautifully.

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  8. I missed some of your FB posts so I'm thankful that you shared Days 17-30 of gratitude here. Your post once again lifted this reader's heart!

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....