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.

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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.

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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.

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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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