There is a lot to be said for Gratitude. Being gracious. Saying, "Thank you". I recently traveled to my hometown in Pennsylvania to spend time with family and close friends, attend my 40th class reunion and exhibit my paintings of my hometown and the surrounding area lovingly called "The Valley". The time passed quickly as it always seems to do when there is fun to be had. I particularly noticed during the time I spent there an almost overwhelming feeling of gratitude....no matter the situation. Here is my Gratitude List:
I AM GRATEFUL for:
A very close and loving relationship with Jesus and Our Blessed Mother Mary. They are at the center of all I think, say and do. Keeps me out of trouble.
My sons and grandchildren
A job that provides for all I need
MY Mama Hazel and all her stories as well as patience with all my questions about family
Seeing family members I haven't seen in WAY too long
True friends that will ALWAYS be family in my heart
Notorious East Coast hazy, hot and humid weather...
The thunderstorm that hit with almost no warning with awesome lightening--WOW!
The gift of Art to share with others
Opportunities to show my artwork
The COURAGE to show my artwork
The role others play in my life that guide me to find and live my truest self--even the people who I perceive as being negative and quite miserable to be around. Admit it. We ALL have them in our life. They are the truest of blessings in disguise.
The ability and determination to follow the beat of my own drummer. Just ask my Mama
Being unafraid of risks. I seldom 'play it safe' but you won't see me bungie jumping off a bridge headfirst. Yee Gads!.
Growing wisdom--my ideal is to be one of the Wise Crones one day. Don't laugh. It's true!
The little soon-to-be Mama Wren sitting on her nest of eggs that I found as I watered my wilting flowers in my deck boxes. Thankfully, I didn't drown them....
The Ocean--especially the Oregon Coast
There are so many other reasons to be grateful. It is almost difficult to find the words to express just how grateful I am for my life, for those who are in it and all the life experiences I've learned from so far. I have come to the realization that the moments in life are what is important. Taking the good, the bad and the ugly moments through finding the gratitude within reaps many benefits. Yep. They all count. All the 'moments' with people, places and experiences play a role in helping us to become the best we can be-if we choose to find gratitude for every situation.
I happen to believe that embracing gratitude in all situations provides opportunity for more good to come, softens the heartache of the bad moments and allows wisdom to come from the ugliness seemingly to appear out of nowhere. Ultimately, the wisdom gained from our life experiences is a direct result of the moments we share with others. The people in our life ultimately play a significant role in how we arrive at truly knowing who we are, teaching us how we can make a difference in this world on our own terms. I, for one, truly want to make a difference no matter how small and it begins by being grateful. The simple, gracious act of saying, "Thank you" to one who opened the door for me or the waiter/waitress who went out of their way to keep my water glass filled changes the energy surrounding the circumstance. I would be willing to bet individuals who feel valued through another's expression of gratitude would be more inclined to share their gratitude towards another or at least find something in their life they are grateful for. The shift in awareness and acknowledgment of another's kind gesture could be...dare I say?...contagious. Just imagine. Gratitude could go a long way in making a difference in how we can change the world for the better.
Each day, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference through expressing gratitude. Try making a gratitude list. You will be amazed at how many blessings you have as well as how much you touch others with your gratitude. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." John F. Kennedy
Well said former President John F. Kennedy. Well said.
With heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for you,