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Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

I’m a list maker.

I put even minor things on my to do lists.

First, because it relieves the stress of trying to remember every little thing I need to do.

But my favorite part of making lists is being able to cross things off.  When I’m able to cross even one thing off my list, I feel like I’ve done something with my day.

A couple of weeks ago I made of list of things I needed to get done as I wrapped up winter quarter.  I also included the title for a blog post I was thinking about writing: Choose Joy.

The next few days, every time I checked things off my list I saw it staring back at me:

Choose Joy

It wasn’t long before I decided I’m keeping it on my list.

Because you know what?  I forget to do it ALL the time.

How can that be?  I mean, it’s JOY.  It feels AMAZING.  It makes my heart burn – in a good way.

But I often find myself choosing everything else.

Stress.

Boredom.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Discontent.

Why do I do that?  Why do I so easily forget the things that bring me joy and fall into the things that keep me down?

Does this happen to anyone else?

(Let me say, I believe joy is different from happiness.  Joy can exist in the face of adversity and even sadness.  It makes the worst of situations bearable.  It’s a sense of peace.  A sense of contentment.  A deep, abiding love for life and all that comes with it.  But when it’s not there, everything is off balance, irritating, upsetting. In short – wrong.) 

So true to form, I spent most of my spring break doing random things.  I appreciated the unusually warm, early spring weather, but didn’t really get out to enjoy it.  So on the last day I had to myself, I decided (with a little coaxing from my husband) to go to one of my favorite places to take some pictures of spring in all it’s glory.

Because that brings me JOY.

Here’s a little preview.  I’ll share more in the coming days …

~mwe

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How is August almost over??  Where did the summer go??  No, I mean really – where did the summer go???

Camps, swimming, sleeping in, lunch dates, fairs … it all went by way too fast.  My kids are starting their second week of school and it already seems like a distant memory as we get back to schedules (which isn’t entirely a bad thing.)

Even our family vacation, which was just 3 weeks ago, seems so far away.  So in an effort to keep it fresh in my mind  I decided to share one of my favorite parts with you.  We visited Jekyll Island, along the coast of Georgia.  I had been there once with my parents the summer after I finished 5th grade, so I was curious to see if it was what I remembered.  (For the record, it wasn’t.  Or at least my memory of it wasn’t.  Well, part of it was – the beach.  But I didn’t remember anything else on the island except the hotel we stayed in.)

This was the first time my kids have been to the ocean since they were toddlers, so they were excited to put their feet in.

We spent time on the beach…

the Georgia Sea Turtle Center…

watching dolphins…

As the boat captain said, trying to take pictures of dolphins is like trying to photograph lightening.

and enjoying life at a slower pace.

Sunrise

But one of the most amazing places we saw was called Driftwood Beach.  This beach, on the northern tip of the island, is a landing spot for all kinds of trees.  Walking through the brush onto the beach literally took my breath away.

At first, all I could see was the trees.  Enormous trees.  Scraggly trees.  Dead trees.

But the longer I stayed, the longer I noticed there was more.  The beach was teeming with life in and around the trees.

And I noticed something else.

Beauty.

Such amazing beauty.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned many times in my life, but one I always seem to need reminded of … beauty is found beyond the obvious.

It’s in the big, monstrous.

It’s in the tiny, microscopic.

It’s in the dead.

It’s in the empty.

It’s in the light.

It’s in the dark.

It may take 15 hours in a mini-van to find it.

But it’s also there when I open my eyes every morning.

~mwe

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It’s Gratitude Tuesday and I learned an important lesson this week – if I wait until the end of the week to make my list, I miss so much.  I need to take time each day to reflect, otherwise the special little things I want to remember get lost in the shuffle.

So here is what stood out over the last week …

I’m grateful for:

  • Girl time
  • Chocolate icing on birthday cakes
  • Homecomings
  • New recipes
  • Finding an unexpected bargain
  • Seeing the wonder of catching lightening bugs through the eyes of a child
  • A child who still appreciates the wonder of catching lighteningbugs
  • The moon on a hot summer night
  • Did I mention chocolate icing?

~mwe

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It’s Gratitude Tuesday on Dendrochronology.  The day when I share with you some of the things I’m thankful for over the past week.  If you don’t have a day devoted to gratitude on your blog (or, if you don’t blog, in your life), feel free to add to the list in the comment section.  I think we all benefit from taking a moment, a deep breath, and reflecting on even the smallest details of our lives that we’re thankful for – or – for which we’re thankful 🙂  And, reading what other’s are thankful for sometimes reminds me of something I missed.

So here’s my list for the past week …

I’m grateful …

  • that a broken garage door was the worst of our problems and that we had the means to fix it
  • for fast and honest repairmen
  • puppy curls
  • a productive day
  • the sound of the guitar being strummed upstairs
  • adults outside our family who love my kids
  • Sunday afternoon naps
  • for businesses that are more interested in keeping customers than making one more dollar
  • summer days when I can cross things off my to-do list … things that have been there since last summer
  • the smell of the pool
How about you?  What would you add to the list this week?
~mwe

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Gratitude Tuesday

Today I start what I hope will become a Tuesday tradition … Gratitude Tuesday.

I started toying with the idea of including things I’m grateful for on my blog posts a few weeks ago when I came across a list.  At the time I made it, I called the list  a grateful journal. I kept it for a month a few years back when I was experiencing a severe case of “The grass is always greener.”  Reading the simple entries – just three a day – I could remember exactly what was going on in my life during those days and why I was grateful for the things I recorded.  More importantly, I remember what a profound change it made to my perspective on life.  I looked inward to all the things I had to be thankful for.  Many were small, but they added up to much.  And I could see how green my grass was.

Fast forward to last week when I started experimenting with a new camera.  I shared that it was my intention to take more pictures of daily life, noticing things of beauty and interest that I might otherwise pass by and not notice.  Two readers, Michelle and Patti, noticed this idea fit in with their and other bloggers effort to notice the details of life and say thanks.  (Be sure to check out their thankful pages by clicking on their names. They have several links which may help to inspire you, too!)

This was the final push I needed to start Gratitude Tuesday.  My plan is to keep a list going through the week and share it with you on Tuesday.  It’s my hope that establishing this habit will help me notice all those little things through the week that are sometimes overshadowed by the bad or even the really good.

Green

So here’s what I’m grateful for this week …

  • Cool, breezy summer days
  • The smell of chocolate cake in the oven
  • Family game night
  • An hour to myself at the park
  • My new camera
  • The smell of rain in the evening
  • Having everyone in my family home
  • Plenty of activities to keep the kids busy
  • A day where the kids are content to be lazy
I want to live life wringing every last drop of goodness out of it – and be grateful for it all.
Will you join me?
~mwe

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