Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving: a month of gratitude

Starry starry night! Moody Gardens Festival of Lights the day after Thanksgiving. Copyright (c) Wendee Nicole 2012

Happy post-Thanksgiving and now onto Advent season - time is flying! I had a really beautiful Thanksgiving with my mom, stepdad and son. For Thanksgiving month, I posted daily gratitude to Facebook, and I thought I'd share the ones I have done thus far in the month of November with you all - and one of them from Thanksgiving day details what made Thanksgiving so special, so I won't repeat that here.

I actually keep a daily gratitude journal in which I write down 5 things I am grateful for before going to sleep. Sometimes it's actually hard to come up with them... on an off day. But they don't have to be related to that particular day, so sometimes it's as simple as "I love my bed!" I have found, over the years, my gratitude list often relates to a phone call or a visit with a friend at Starbuck's. The second most common are when I get or complete a writing assignment! What about you? Do you have a gratitude journal, or notice particular things showing up over and over?

Here is my November special gratitude list, in reverse order.

11/27 Today I give gratitude for the struggles that I face and have faced in my past and for the life lessons I have learned from them. I just emerged (am emerging) from an extremely difficult year in my life, mostly due to a struggle with my teen daughter (who I also am very grateful for). It has been heartbreaking and nearly tore me in two, and I still don't know the outcome of this situation. I was worried for my very life for a few months, but thankfully have emerged from the deepest depths of despair I faced a year ago. I seem to have lost a couple of friends in the darkest of times even when I needed them most. I still give thanks because in the darkest times, the Lord spoke this verse to me, "[W]e also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts..." Romans 5:3-5. And I would repeat that, and sometimes write it in my gratitude journal, "I am thankful for my suffering, because it brings hope." Sometimes, even now, I have nothing left but hope. And I do cling to that hope in bringing a positive outcome to the painful events of the recent year.

11/26 I am grateful for my amazing dad, Thomas Finlay, and all the life lessons he imparted through his love of the land, nature, progressive thought, intellectualism, and so much more. I am so grateful to have lived like a "Little House in the Big Woods" pioneer in the 1970s like so few others in the US have lived - outhouse, woodstoves for cooking and heating, raising our own chickens and veggies, and so much more. I'm grateful that he fought for custody of me when I was just 8, and the life lesson I learned that I could affect the direction of my own life, and that my opinion was worth listening to. ♥ you dad! http://bohemianadventures.blogspot.com/2011/06/crackerbox-palace.html

11/25 I am thankful for my writing career! I have gotten to do so many cool things (dive with sharks: http://bit.ly/Tnty7K), trek through Nepal in search of red pandas: http://bit.ly/rTBXpz), search for cassowaries in the Australian jungle: (http://bit.ly/UF41G0), & explore the Amazon Rainforest (http://bit.ly/Qi4AH7) just to name a few! I love writing about science, the environment and my biggest passion: wildlife!

11/24 I am grateful for being able to run, and that I started running when I was in 9th grade and never stopped… exercise is a joy to me and always has been.

11/23 Yesterday's gratitude: I am thankful for all God's creatures. I love love love wildlife and most of the items on my bucket list involve seeing animals in the wild :) I also love my kitty cats!

11/22 Today I am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my mom, my stepdad and my son. My mom and I took a bike ride to Starbuck's and the weather was delicious - sunny and yet cool with a slight wind - tantalizingly perfect. I loved the sound of my bike tires crunching the sycamore leaves on the path, and the five brown pelican perched on a log in the San Jacinto River we rode across. And how I love the San Jacinto River, my river... with the trees all changing color... and I'm so appreciative and thankful for my mom, and all she and my stepdad have done for me in my life, much of which I didn't appreciate until well far longer than it should have taken me. I'm thankful they paid for my college and college wasn't even an option -- I was going (well my stepdad did want me to pay my way, like he did, but my mom would have none of it. She'd never been to college, and I was going). I'm thankful for the forgiveness and love she has always shown me even when I have treated her badly, and that she will always love me with a mother's love. ♥

11/21 Today: I am deeply thankful for the peace – lack of war - I experience in my city, in my nation and in the places I have traveled. Even so, I am always cognizant of those experiencing war and violence abroad – let us never grow complacent of what others suffer. (And I am thankful for the cease fire in Gaza...)

11/20 Today I’m thankful for the golden hour, and the way the world looks in these beautiful moments of dusk. Tonight on my run, the golden sun illuminated the palmettos, sweet gums, and hickory trees on my favorite part of the path, and it was just lovely.

11/19 Today I'm thankful for love. In the words of Alfred Tennyson: "I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all."

11/18 I am thankful for the writers and thinkers who have most influenced my thinking, my faith, my outlook, and who have inspired me (in no particular order - though Scott Peck is definitely #1 on the list for a reason): M. Scott Peck, Anne Lamott, Alanis Morissette, Beth Moore, Christy Nockels, Liz Gilbert, Henri Nouwen, John Lennon, Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Debbie Ford, Bill Moyers, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Paul Cox, Helen Keller, George Orwell, Philip Yancey, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Martin Luther, Harville Hendrix, Byron Katie. Saint Augustine, Melody Beattie, Rob Bell, Miguel Ángel Ruiz.

11/17 I forgot my gratitude yesterday - oops! So here's yesterdays: I am grateful for my sweet son Sam, who is kind, gentle-spirited, funny, smart and a gift from God to my life! ♥

11/16 Today I am thankful for a strong and healthy body! I am grateful I can work out, walk, ride bikes, run, hang upside down from the monkey bars :) I am thankful I have excellent health as do my children! A very big blessing I never take for granted, especially since as I age I know that things will start to hurt, ache, and become more difficult. Today, I live in the moment and appreciate what is!

11/15 Today I'm thankful for these beaded coasters because they represent a pivotal moment in my life when I realized I didn't need to wait for my husband (at the time) to make me happy by doing what I wanted. The responsibility for my happiness resided with me & so I went out & bought my own Xmas gift that I wanted. A small insignificant thing but truly groundbreaking in its implications.

11/14 Today I am thankful for my house, my home. I love it. It's been an awesome place to live for the past several years: safe neighborhood, spacious, colors on the walls, comfortable and I have loved having my own home as a single mom, and I'm proud of it! It's a great place to raise kids, and I will miss it when I move on from here in 2 years (the house, and my friends, but not Texas!) :)

11/13 Today I am thankful for my sweet kitten Pippin, who has given me much needed cuddles and sweetness in this phase of my life when I so need it!

11/12 Today I am thankful for sunshine! I love love love the sunshine!!!!

11/11 Today I am thankful for my friends around the world. You have no idea how much you mean to me, how you are all my dearest family and have touched my life beyond measure. Whether we are close now or were once, I will always love you all and be here for you, as you have been there for me, You are all the best people in the world and my life was forever changed by knowing you!

11/10 Today I am thankful for the gift of sight. What would the world be without it? As a fan of Helen Keller from a young age, I have always been aware and grateful for this amazing gift!

11/9 Today I am thankful for the awesome variety of fruits and vegetables and foods that are available to me, and relatively inexpensive! What a blessing!

11/8 Today I am thankful for freedom of speech -- that I live in a country where I am free to speak my mind. This right is one of the world's most precious.

11/7 Today, I am so so thankful that Obama was re-elected. It feels like a huge weight lifted off of me. I am grateful that he can fight for the concerns that I have as a citizen: global climate change, equality for all, sound science, continuing to improve the economy. I am so proud of people for getting out the vote, and though our country is in many ways divided, I am grateful for this amazing democracy. I put up with 4 extra years of Bush and survived, and now it's time for those who feel as I did then to suck it up and deal. Maybe, even, give him a chance. Bush, after all, is the one who gave us this massive deficit. So there ya go! It feels like a brand new day!

11/6 Today I am thankful for: butterscotch. Yum.

11/5 Today I'm thankful for these crisp fall mornings when I can wake leisurely, cuddled under my down comforter, read & drink tea (or, I was until my annoying cat started clawing at the carpet under the door... but I digress). Im thankful that I can work from home & set my own hours like this :)

1 comment:

Matthew Lee Adams said...

This is really great. Counting the blessings in our lives which we can be thankful for can give us so much perspective and ward against the things that don't always go as we wish.