Choosing Gratitude

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Gratitude: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful (dictionary.com)

I neglected to post a note about gratitude on Canadian Thanksgiving.  I didn’t really feel like it at the time.  I was stressed about house renovations, had been sick recently, and was simply not feeling up to writing one of my usual perky, heartwarming, inspirational posts.  If I had posted something about being thankful, I felt it would have been trite, insincere, and a little on the hypocritical side.  So as we approached American Thanksgiving, I was determined to write something full of positive feeling.

overflowing_coffee_machine

(chumpysclipart.com)

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I’m finally writing…and it’s a bit of a struggle.  I have a headache, I was up early with the Bean, and I have a ton of work to do before our Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow evening.  My coffee pot overflowed because I forgot to empty yesterday’s coffee out before brewing a new pot.  Our cat puked up his dinner from last night on the kitchen floor.  It’s raining outside.  The house is a mess.  Lets see, is there anything else I feel like complaining about?

But the thing is, I’ve been really trying to cultivate a new attitude lately: an attitude of gratitude…of unconditional joy.  I feel like I have a responsibility to choose to be thankful today.  And really, I don’t have to think very hard to come up with a whole lot more things to be thankful for than there are things to complain about.  Even some of the “negatives” have silver linings.  The cat puke was easy to clean up because he vomited on the tile floor instead of a rug. It’s more fun to clean a house that’s really messy, because the difference between before and after is so obvious.  I have my Sweetie home today, so he can help take care of the Bean while I rush around getting things done.

(floridaproremodeling.com)

I am incredibly grateful for our family.  At the end of September, my parents came down to Novato to help us with renovations in our new home.  Without their help, we would never have been able to complete a bathroom renovation, painting, wall repairs AND a new kitchen floor before the end of the year, much less within two months of moving in.  My sisters are bright lights for me on days when I’m tired or feeling a little down.  They are both so encouraging and amazing, and they have wonderful families too.  My Sweetie’s parents do such a great job of tracking us down and making time to Skype with us on a regular basis.  My brothers-in-law are inspirational in their dedication to fitness and are so adorably in love with the Bean. I still have two grandmothers who get excited when they see me, and cousins, aunts and uncles who keep in touch and care about us.  I know not everyone is blessed by family, or has family that they think of as a blessing.  So I’m especially grateful that I do.

Living so far away from our families, friends are a very important part of our lives.  We’ve been making a lot of new friends lately, and it’s been fun to get to know such wonderful people.  We also have many long-term friends who have stuck by us through major life changes, and who feel like family.  Some of them we get to see on a regular basis, and some we don’t interact with for long periods of time.  But when we do see them again, it’s like no time has passed.  Those kinds of friends are special and certainly something to be grateful for.

(squidoo.com)

I could go on all day:  a roof over our heads that doesn’t leak on rainy days; a great job for my Sweetie that keeps us in wine and cheese; a beautiful daughter who has a fighting spirit and a great sense of humour; therapy and upcoming preschool for the Bean that is paid for by taxes; and a huge turkey for dinner tomorrow.  But I really do need to get going on all the work I mentioned earlier so I’ll cut this short.  (ha ha – when do I ever manage to write a short posting?)

One last thought.  Have you ever noticed that when you choose to be grateful for what you have, even more blessings come your way?  I’ve found the opposite to be true as well…the more I focus on what is wrong in my life, the more things seem to go wrong.  So if an attitude of gratitude can bring you more things to be grateful for, it might be worth giving it a try.  It’s certainly not easy to do when you’re in the middle of a rough time.  Everyone gets down in the dumps sometimes; everyone has a rough day now and then.  I certainly get caught in the doldrums of ingratitude more often that I’d like to admit.  But I’m trying.  Just writing about choosing to be grateful has given me a more positive outlook on the day. I can’t wait to get to work making our home ready to welcome some great friends tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, and a belated but just as heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! I hope you all find many things to be thankful for today, and every day going forward.  Don’t forget, you can CHOOSE to be thankful.  You have the power to control how you perceive the world, and a perception of good things in your life has the power to bring even more good things.

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Oh No! I Caved!

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One busy lady (A screenshot from CastleVille)

When the Bean was tiny and took a lot of naps, I spent even more time on Facebook than I currently do. And I played some Facebook games.  I haven’t had the time or patience to do that in quite a while.  I’ve enjoyed the time I haven’t wasted on games doing other fun things like blogging, reading, and catching up on episodes of old favourite TV shows.  I’ve also had so much work to do with the move and setting up the new house that I really felt like any time playing games (other than the few minutes I spend on Words with Friends) was not an option.

But then…yesterday we had an inside day.  It was cold and wet outside. my Sweetie had a headache, and we didn’t leave the house.  The Bean was happy playing, reading or watching TV with us.  I had stuff to do, and I did some of it; but we’d also worked really hard on Saturday cleaning out the garage so I decided to take a break and check out Zynga’s new game: CastleVille.  Oh boy, what a mistake!

Yes, it’s fun.  Yes it’s interesting.  Yes, it’s addictive and a huge waste of time!  Just before bed last night, I had to get back to my computer and harvest as much of my flax as I had the “energy” to harvest so it wouldn’t wilt overnight.  Ridiculous!  And yet, this morning, I was back on the game again.  I feel really silly because I’ve been so verbal about my disdain for online gaming.  On the other hand, online gaming is what pays our bills and keeps a roof over our head.  So, I’ve decided to embrace it and contribute to the success of the company that has employed my husband. FarmVille might be next.  After all, that is the very game my Sweetie works on.  Maybe I can pass on some suggestions.

Okay, maybe I’ve amassed more “energy” now.  Back to my game! (so sad)

15 Things That Made Me Smile This Weekend

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In chronological order…

  1. Getting the Bean back to sleep for another hour and a half of sleep after her 4:45am wake-up on Saturday morning
  2. Giggles and smiles from my Bean
  3. Having tea with a friend
  4. Seeing the sun streaming down through the clouds
  5. Going for a walk with my Sweetie, my Bean, and my Dog and stopping for coffee along the way
  6. Getting a thank you note in the mail from a close friend
  7. Having friends over for dinner and making everything from scratch
  8. Sleeping in until 9:30am on Sunday…sleep, glorious sleep!
  9. Brunch at our favourite little diner
  10. Driving along the coast on a sunny day
  11. Seeing the beautiful fall colours on the trees
  12. Watching the Bean walk across the house with her walker all by herself! (I just helped with steering)
  13. Meeting friendly neighbours as I walked the Dog
  14. Quality time with my Sweetie with the TV off
  15. Finally getting back onto my Blog

Hope you had as great a weekend as I did.

I’d love to hear what made YOU smile this weekend.

On the Kindle: The Tavernier Stones by Stephen Parrish

This modern-day treasure hunt features an Amish (turned modern but still conservative) cartographer, John Graf, whose hero, 17th century mapmaker Johannes Cellarius is discovered in a bog after floating to the surface.  Cellarius is clutching a huge ruby in his dead fist, sparking a race to find the rest of a treasure thought to be the lost Tavernier stones.  One reviewer likens it to Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which I LOVED.

I’m not very far into it, but so far, it looks interesting.  I’ll give my opinion when I’m done.  But if you’ve got a Kindle and you like stories involving puzzles and mysteries, you might as well pick it up – it’s only $2.99. 🙂