Today is a day when we all reflect on those things for which we’re thankful and count our blessings (stuffing ourselves senseless, notwithstanding). And reflecting on your blessings is never a bad thing. In fact, whole industries have been built around gratitude. And lots of people keep gratitude journals or meditate daily on the things for which they are grateful.
I was never able to do a gratitude journal – not because there weren’t things to be grateful for or that my life lacked blessings – there were. I think it was something about the wording I was using, “I am grateful for…” To me, it felt egocentric (or something). Anyway…the other day I started my day with a thank you list. It was simple, I just wrote thank you for (fill in the blank) and the list was a long one.
And I realized that saying thank you, instead of I am grateful changed things for me. Because I believe that there is a force greater than myself in the world – you can call it God, the spirit in the sky, the Universe, Mother Nature or whatever you like but it’s something outside myself. Something bigger, smarter, wiser, kinder and more loving than I am. Some source from which (I believe) all things good comes from.
So, today I say thank you in no particular order…
- Thank you for coffee
- Thank you for this beautiful, cold, crisp day
- Thank you for Amazon and KDP and the new opportunities it has created for writers and readers
- Thank you for writers like Hugh Howey, Anne R. Allen and Joe Konrath who have forged a path that other writers may follow
- Thank you for my quick mind
- Thank you for laughter
- Thank you for puppies, kittens, babies and all things innocent and pure
- Thank you for words, ideas, thoughts, characters that magically appear in my head
- Thank you for books and eyes to read them
- Thank you for computers, pens, paper, pencils, recorders, smart phones and tablets – all the tools through which we can communicate
- Thank you for the creativity that I take for granted every single day
- Thank you for the kindness of strangers
- Thank you for colors, smells, tastes and sounds
- Thank you for the pain that has driven me to learn where I went wrong
- Thank you for the will to continue when conventional wisdom says otherwise
- Thank you for everything I am and am not and the joy of discovering which is which
- Thank you for the new day and another chance to do better
Enjoy your day and thank you for reading, you are a blessing.
I think if we all approached our days like this, the world would be a much happier place. Happy Sunday.
On this 3-day weekend we look forward to some time off and gatherings with friends and family. Often forgetting the real reason for the holiday. Picnics are great. So are fireworks. Lemonade. Watermelon. Ice-cold beer. All good.
But I try to remember that we have holidays, picnics, great food, freedom of travel and gathering because of those who have stood the watch. Because of those who’ve defended our freedoms and liberties – often with their lives.
Small things matter
My room mate just got back from grocery shopping and he told me there was a man ahead of him in line who was a Viet Nam vet. He was badly injured and burned and had a hard time putting his groceries in his cart. It took a long time. My room mate gave him bags and helped him pack his groceries and carry them to his car. A small thing. But it made me proud of my room mate that he stopped and cared.
From Valley Forge to Afghanistan selfless Americans have gone to war to protect this country and its citizens.
I thank them for their service. I thank their families for their sacrifice. I keep them in my prayers.
Be safe this holiday weekend – and if you get the chance, do a small thing for someone to show you care.
“[W]hat sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now — as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. … [W]hen I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, County; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.” –General Douglas MacArthur
Today is for those men and women who have given their lives for our freedom – so among the hotdogs, parades and fireworks, let’s say a prayer of thanks. God bless our troops and keep them safe.
Here is the vid – so cool – makes me feel all warm and fuzzy
Pass it on!
Heads up! My dear friend Kelly who had a serious car accident a couple of years ago (you may remember her from this post) has started a movement called National Thank You Day. The day is meant to honor first responders and to say thank you in whatever way you would like to those individuals who serve the public by responding to often dire situations – firefighters, paramedics, police officers, emergency room nurses and doctors, etc. And it seems to be really catching on and on.
So get on over to BigTimeThanks and check it out. You may find there is someone you want to give some big time thanks to yourself.
And this is just for you Kelly:
I put on purple socks today
which made me think of you
I walked them out into the day
and wished the sky to blue
I bought a box of chocolates
and ate them in your stead
I called up God and placed my bets
then uttered prayers in bed
I forced myself to belly laugh
and make it very loud
and gathered lillies along the path
to chase away your clouds
I tried to do the many things
that inform the world of you
in deepest hope that angel’s wings
will fly us back to true
This week I am grateful for the truth. In all its many forms. The look that tells it all. The touch that conveys meaning. An honest belly laugh. And the truth that humbles and humiliates – that makes me see I have a long way to go. That I cannot phone it in and expect much in return. That facing up and starting over is so much better than a free pass.
The facts. A candid assessment. Because facts don’t judge or give you extra points for style, looks or pedigree. Facts just are. Because the truth is something I can work with. Something I can get my teeth into and taste, digest.
So I thank anyone who tells me the truth, even when it hurts. Even when it changes something I’d rather not change. Even when it sends me down a new and tenuous path. Even when I don’t like it very much. It is still the best friend a girl can have.
–noun, plural -ties.
freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
One thing that most men have in common is the desire to be free. Whether he lives in the western world, the third world or, behind a government-erected wall, man’s most beloved freedom is that of personal liberty.
Perhaps that is why America has been a most prominent and envied country since her beginnings. Our founding fathers were forward thinkers who believed that personal liberty was something that every man, woman and child was entitled to and in fact was divinely endowed to every person on Earth.
This week I am profoundly grateful for my personal liberties. For my freedom. For the fact that I had the good fortune to be born in the United States and not in another country. That in that respect that fate has treated me well.
It is easy as an American to take for granted what so many men have given their lives to provide. And what men and women still fight to provide. When we turn on a switch, we have lights, when want to go some where we have transportation and freedom of movement, when we have an opinion we voice it. This is the way of life in America and ‘normal’ for us. We rarely, I think, stop to consider that it is not normal for millions of others. We rarely consider that loudly voicing our opinion in another country might result in a prison sentence or even death. We rarely marvel at the fact that if we are hungry we can simply go to a store or a local eatery and satisfy our hunger.
We walk down the street without fear of marauding bandits, rabid and predatory animals or being thrown in a gulag in which no one will every find us.
We are too busy and too stressed to notice that we live in the greatest country in the world. We are too angry about the issue of the moment to say a small prayer of gratitude for the glory of daily life in America.
And I am as guilty as anyone else for taking it for granted. For not thinking of it often. For not contemplating how very rare and unusual our country is. How very much I have to be grateful for just by virtue of the fact that I am an American.
And so I say now – thank you – I am grateful.
What are you grateful for this week?
This week I feel grateful for books. All kinds of books, text books, fiction, how-to, reference books, ebooks, print books, coloring books…
If you are anything like me then your world has a lot of books in it. Books that sit on shelves and collect dust, books that overflow on the nightstand and on the floor next to your desk. I honestly cannot conceive a world without books. They were my first real connection to the outside world. In fact to worlds that only existed within the covers of books.
Unlike most kids, I always had a long list of books on my Christmas wish list and birthday wish list. I didn’t care about barbie dolls or easy bake ovens, I wanted stories and histories and autobiographies. I wanted books that took me places I couldn’t otherwise go.
Think about the books in your life. Where have they taken you? To outer space, Africa, other planets, parallel universes? To worlds both better and worse. To new points of view? Inside the human body and up to the sky? They certainly have for me.
Most particularly I am grateful for:
Atlas Shrugged. My most loved book – for no reason and every reason. Because it examines the heights and depths to which man can go. I never tire of reading it. I am never tired of that world.
Stranger in a Strange Land. How do we treat people who are different than us? How can one enlightened and disarming man be for frightening to so many people?
Kay Scarpetta, Alex Cross and Kinsey Millhone – heroes of mysteries I cannot get enough of in the endless quest to solve a puzzle. Oh and Odd Thomas and Garp and, and, and
How about you, what are your favorite books?