Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gratitude

Gratitude is a theme I have been thinking about a lot lately.  I have often tried to be more gracious for the life I have, but somehow fail to keep this up.  I thought for a while I would write five things down every night.  I soon found fatigue, a headache, or simply a good book made me forget my plan.  I switched to thinking about five things while I was drifting off to sleep, but often found I drifted before I was done with my list.  I have tried to be gracious for small things that pop up in my day, but find sometimes overwhelming, negative thoughts pop up in this space instead.

Tammy recently talked about a lovely book called One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp.  This book has a beautiful cover with lovely hands holding a bird's nest.  It intrigued me so I ordered it.  I have been reading it slowly, savoring the writers words and thoughts.  I may not dive into the scriptural parts of the book, but the main concept intrigues me.  Giving thanks for everything that we can, helps us appreciate the life we have, living it fuller, and being more in the moment.

I have read many books with this same theme, and I have tried to take a moment here and there to appreciate the beauty of nature, a warm hug from my son, laughter and love.  I find it is so easy to forget, as life gets busy and you are ripping your hair out with work and chores, traffic and petty arguments.  In her book, Ann Voskamp began a list of little things that she noticed that she was gracious for.  Her list grew and grew, and as her list grew so did her happiness and true appreciation of the life she has.


 I have decided to take a chance and make my own list.  Maybe it will help me be in the moment for just a few seconds more when I see a beautiful butterfly hovering over my flowers, or a beautiful full moon peeking from behind the hazy evening clouds.   Maybe I will notice the intense love I feel for my sons as I hug them, or laugh harder when one of my little patients says something funny.

There are no rules for this new project.  I can write when I want to and take a break if I need to.  I will not chastise myself if I don't follow through for a few days, I will let the flow of this challenge create itself as I move through my days. 

If you are wondering if the death of my friend has anything to do with this, you are absolutely correct.  While I had been contemplating this project for a while I think her death has made me want to savor more of life.  Yes we all say that when something bad happens, appreciate every moment you are here, live each day to the fullest.  We have heard them all, time and time again.  But do we do it?  I know I don't.  And I have survived cancer, you would think I would be right up there positive and living beautifully, each and every day I am here.  Life starts to slowly creep back in, laundry needs to be done even though you have a horrible headache.  Your kids need to be driven here and there, while you need to work and grocery shop.  Life creeps in and we keep moving.  But do we stop, breathe and notice the intense beauty of  the stars in the night sky, or hear the beautiful sound of the morning dove?

I am going to try to notice life, and be grateful for all the little things I take for granted, and don't notice near as much as I should.  My first entry was the word, Life.  I need to be more grateful for it.

Not far down from the beginning of my list was, The loving words of wonderful blogging friends.  You see, I may not tell you as much as I should that you all mean so much to me.  Sometimes you laugh with me, sometimes you cry.  You are always there giving me words of encouragement, sending positive thoughts, and telling me you care.  I don't know how I have come to rely on all of you, but I do.  I can not even find the words to thank you enough for your time, for including me in your thoughts, and your lives.  And for being there day after day, on my little blog, visiting from around the world, and simply caring.

,

Of course you know who is mentioned a lot already in my little orange book.  Beautiful brown eyes looking at me with love.  Soft, warm, fur to nuzzle my nose in.  A sloppy, slobbery smile.

So are you in?  Want to give it a try with me?

31 comments:

Nana Go-Go said...

I've always wanted a lovely friend called Meredith ever since I saw 'Grey's Anatomy' where the main character has the same name, so for that I am eternally grateful!I have my own reasons to be grateful as you know, Meredith and tell myself that each and every day. Good Luck with your little project - you could say that my knitting and crochet is my journalistic record of my gratitude!Much Love xxx

by Teresa said...

Dear Meredith.. I'm in! I have a nice journal that was given to me for a birthday years ago.. I think I'll join you and Gracie and start keeping a record of my happy thoughts. I want you to know that my husband reads your blog too and thinks of you as a friend. Give Max a hug for me. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Monica said...

Yes dear Meredith, I am in. I've been keeping a gratitude journal since 2009 now, without missing a single day. Recently, I wanted to expand it with a new journal, and this idea looks wonderful to me.
Thanks for it... and for your friendship!
Big hugs from me and kisses from Kim xxx

Shari said...

Oh my sweet friend, I am so sorry for not seeing your last post. I am truly sorry for your lost. I know how it is to loose a dear friend. I am totally with you on this. You are so right how we get all caught up in everyday life and forget to be grateful for all the wonderful blessings God has to give to us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story with us. It made me slow down and become a little teary eyed but stop for just a moment and took a step back. Thank you for that! You have been such a dear friend since the beginning of my blog and I am truly most grateful for that. Take care....Hugs to you, Shari

The Garden Bell - Kate said...

I think this is perfect. I should start one too, right now I'm writing my "stuff" on the calendar. Thanks for your words of encouragement, it's been a big change for me this year. I just read your last posting. Know I have you on my list for prayers and thoughts out on the trail. It's been a great way for me to keep my head clear with all the senior stuff here.
Big, Big Hugs, Kate

Liz said...

I'm in as well. My sister gave me a journal a few months ago, and I haven't touched it. Now I have a great use for it. Thanks so much for the idea, and for the beautiful post today.

With much love,
Liz

Kristen said...

What a beautiful idea. I'd like to do this, too. It's so easy to dwell on life's miseries (both small and huge) but that makes us miss all the blessings. Sending love. :)

minaandme said...

I am sure this project will help you see things in a different way. My father is a therapist and he suggested I try this when I was going through a hard time in school and it really helped put things into perspective for me. We really have so much to be thankful for and so often it flies right by us. We are all here for you and I hope you come to realize how wonderful life can be :) Thanks for sharing with us!
~Lacey

Dee said...

I think I do.

It's been a very challenging two months healhwise. It's nothing lethal, but oh my gosh ... sometimes I am so tired of being "sick". I want my old life back, but know that what I have now is the NEW NORMAL and I truly and fully need to accept it.

Maybe focusing on the positive on paper will give me tangible proof that life isn't really as bad as it feels sometimes.

Thanks for this post. Hopefully it will bring us both joy and appreciation for the good things we do have instead of focusing totally on what has been lost.

HUGS!

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Ok, first Max is adorable. Hugs to him. :)

I agree 100% with you. I have to much to be grateful for so many blessings.

Thank you dear friend for the reminder to stop and smell the roses and count the blessings, too. :)

Rose said...

Such a good habit. I did it for many years and I think it is ingrained now. Check out Katrina's blog, if you don't already read her.

http://www.katrinakenison.com/

Susanne said...

One might be completely surprised at how much we all have to be grateful for. It puts things into a different perspective and opens our minds to good thoughts of all the things we have to be positive about. There is no room for anything negative and how sweet to be able to smile about all the good things we have in our lives, past and present. You are a good friend and I am grateful for you.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

I remember Oprah talking about writing down 6 things you are grateful for at the end of each day. I think it is a wonderful habit to make. I agree that sometimes it is hard to remember or not fall asleep doing. Right now my mind is spinning out of control....with thoughts and worries about family and hurt feelings. As a mother I want to fix everything and I just can't do it. It is beyond my control. Hopefully thinking of the positive things in my life will outdo the negative right now. I hope you find the same peace. xo, Patti

Grayseasailor said...

You encourage me to start another journal, Meredith. I am in. I appreciate your suggestion to record the things for which you are grateful without chastising yourself if you do not do so daily. From my experience I grow better through praise for every forward step I take. I am grateful you posted your challenge :)
By the way, could you please send me your mailing address so that I can send you my giveaway?
xxx from Gracie

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

Hi Meredith,
I'm in! I also try to do this in fits and starts. But I think gratitude is the best medicine for being happy and being present. I can't tell you how many blank books/journals I have. I will pick one and start along with you; and with my 5 year journal I keep. You just write a few sentences each day and no more. Each page has five spacings and then you can see what you did the year before on that date. It's fun to see what frame of mind you were in and what you were up to.
xoRobin❤

Kris said...

I am in!! I love Gracie's! With her pictures too! I am in..in...in...and I love the idea!!!
: )
Hugs,
Kris

Monica said...

You know that I've been thinking of your post all night long??
Hugs!

Babajeza said...

Your Max is lovely. I've often heard people talk about their dog as a friend. They have I point I guess. Anyway, I am glad I don't have one. It was my personal nightmare to go for a walk with my four boys (which I did!) AND a dog.

I'm in! I've been thinking a lot about how to live a simpler life. Never felt this more essential ... Stopping and thinking of things/facts/what ever we are grateful for could be a start because we notice that we have so much and don't have to get into action and worry anymore .

Hugs to you. Isn't it amazing that we can be friends without having met?

quiltdoggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sentimentally Me said...

Right there with you! Yes, I'm IN. :)Thanks for bringing this front and center for all to contemplate. After reading this, I really want the book now, too.

:) thank you.

kathy b said...

Mere

GOOD for you !! it will be fun and peaceful and searching all at once. I subscribe to HAPPY RAMBLES and it asks me daily in the evening, in my email, WHAT MADE YOU HAPPY TODAY?
ANd most days I list a few things.

IM thankful for blog support!!!!!! and you

Mrs. Micawber said...

I think my blog is my journal of joys and noticed beauties....

As you and Regula said, it's wonderful that we can share such friendships with people we've never met. I'm so grateful for all my dear bloggy friends.

Have a good and grateful week! :)

Deb said...

Such an adorable photo of Max ♥
I love your Gratitude Journal ~ I found an old book at a sale recently with the title "Lines to Live By" which I'm using as an Art Journal. I'll show it on my blog soon :-)

Have a wonderful day xo

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post :D

I try to practise mindfulness, to be ever in the moment. Of course I sometimes fail but it such a positive thing to do. Gratitude and humility give us back so much of what modern life strips away. As do blog friends :D

Fay said...

Hey Meredith,
I have kept a gratitude journal for a few years now. I try to write in it every day, but usually make it every second day. I try to list 5 things I'm grateful for every morning when I wake. Some days it is simply "cups of tea" and others it is my family, garden, knitting, flowers, moments, books......the list goes on. Good luck with it, I know you will love doing it! I also loved the book "Simple Abundance" (can't remember the author right now) but that book is amazing! :-)

briannaasaro.com said...

It can be difficult sometimes to have gratitude and be appreciative of our lives, especially if we're going through rougher times. Appreciation and gratitude takes practice!

Leah said...

Oh hon, I hadn't seen your previous post until now. I'm so very, very sorry for your sad news. I have been quite inspired by this post and whether I write it down or not, I will make a conscious effort to appreciate the small things. It's all to0 easy to get caught up in life.

Have a lovely weekend.
Leah
xx

Tammy said...

Hi Meredith, I love this post. Like you, over the years, I've read many books, and started many gratitude journals that I never kept up with. It is my intention to get back to some sort of journaling -- art, gratitude,smashbook, quotes ... I want to do it all. Now, after reading your post, I must do it! I'm with you on the book. I do like the concept; the way she writes is quite different and I didn't realize it was going to be based on scripture. I'm slowly reading and contemplating the message. Thanks for sharing here. A new month is the perfect time for me to get started on my own appreciation of life. And for you! Hugs and blessings, Tammy

TACIStudio said...

Hi ! I read on Teresa's blog about yr post about gracefulness ... And I want to thank you today for helping us have a higger purpose for our life. I'm grateful I read your blog and I'm going to try to start mine tomorrow. Thank you !

TACIStudio said...

I also wanted to say how sorry I am about the loss of your friend. I hope you can find comfort and rest your heart knowing that " those who we love. Never die they simply leave before us" . My deepest sympathy.

Elizabeth said...

I loved this post and I am also going to start writing down the things I am grateful for, I did this years ago and it did make me appreciate things more.