Is happiness possible in today’s world of political battles, mass murders and untimely death from horrific diseases? As I write about gratitude and happiness I am sometimes accused of being “out there” new age style or having my head in the sand like an ostrich. But without a single hesitation and doubt I can tell you that the practice of gratitude can change your personal world and the way you live. This beautiful scene is an example. I am extremely grateful to have experienced this view not once but twice this summer. One time with the love of my life and another with my beloved parents and brother. It is a breathtaking scene looking out over Lake Erie. Through the practice of gratitude (putting at least three things daily on a scrap of paper and saving) I experienced revelation and epiphany Here are my top ten plus one:
- It’s hard to be grateful for only three things per day as my cup is overflowing with thankfulness and blessings. 2. My life is still imperfect (financial stress, hearing loss, vision loss, shots in my hip joints, sick and hurting family, loss etc.) but there is still a lot to be grateful for. 3. I feel more sympathy and empathy for others than ever before (the killings, the holocaust events that are going on in other countries, the diseases and suffering.) 4. I have never felt closer to God. 5. My marriage is better than it has ever been! 6. I sleep soundly and wake up refreshed. 7. Experiences make me happy, materialism never has. 8. We probably only have 20 years left in our marriage due to our ages and mortality statistics. I strive to not waste one minute on anything that is not love based. 9. Gratitude has greatly nurtured my attitude as I no longer feel angry, bitter, depressed and distressed. 10. Even in our darkest hour or worst moment that are many things to be grateful for. Plus one: 11. I used to over- complicate a lot of my life striving for perfection. Nothing on this earth that I can impact is perfect.
I hope you will join me in a practice of gratitude. A journal, a jar, a bowl or a box. Scraps of precious paper that hold your prayers of thanksgiving.
Ephiphany–leap of understanding!!!
I have so many awesome memories of my two grandmother’s porches, one lived in town and one lived in the country. Neighbors and family sat together every night that the weather permitted. Adults chatted, snapped each other’s green beans for canning and drank sweet tea or lemonade. The children listened in and when bored ran off to catch fireflies, steal a kiss or find the croaking frog. The passing car slowed down or honked to say “hello” and it meant something. There were no fears. Some politics were discussed, always a talk about religion and it was okay, no one was offended. It was “networking” at the finest and highest level. Hearts poured out, problems were solved and relationships were cemented. (more…)
Today is International Youth Day and the First Day of School for many young people. This date was set aside to celebrate the world’s youth by the United Nations via a resolution passed in 1999. The theme for this years celebration is “Youth Civic Engagement.”
Ironically when I checked into social media accounts this morning my news feed was filled with wonderful photos and family moments of “first day of school” or “first day of kindergarten, first grade or high school.” Smiling precious faces in new clothes, fancy backpacks, stylish lunch boxes and the latest in school supplies. As a childless person I am delighted by the news feed and found myself commenting on each and every picture because I truly love and care for these kids.
I am reminded that there are large segments of our world’s youth who won’t be featured today on any social media. They may not have shoes to wear for their walk to school, will struggle to get a drink of the clean, cool water they so desperately need, and their stomachs may ache from hunger. Not just in “other countries” but also right here in our USA. While the young people I know are heading back to school well fed and rested, with stable home life waiting when school is over for the day, others are stressed, hungry and longing for love. An organization in the city of Columbus, Ohio gives local children new and stylish attire, backpacks and all the back to school necessities. Charity Newsies members work tirelessly in the rain, cold, snow and ice to serve in the community raising money so this can happen. You can help wherever you are and at any level by starting today. Civic engagement can mean teaching your child to make a difference by sharing an extra sandwich, a cookie or taking in a pair of sparkling new sneakers to the teacher for him/her to hand out as needed.
I have always loved art and loved color. Something happened in third grade, a long, long time ago but it comes back to me now in emotionally charged detail. Even though things were very tight financially at home I asked to take a box of “Crayola- 64 Crayons” in to a classmate. I can’t remember who the classmate was, I don’t remember anything other than the feeling that it was the right thing to do and that I had made a difference in a child’s life, a child just like me.