Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's so easy to take the countless wonderful things in our lives for granted. We all have them, be they big or small, there’s beauty in every journey. Sometimes we fall into the trap of not seeing all that we have in favor of all that we don’t have. Just another one of those unhealthy conditions we humans seem determined to perpetuate. Yet another sneaky trap of ego. Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful way of slowing down for a moment and making the time to appreciate all that we hold in our hands. All the blessings of our day, of our lives. Often it’s those small things, available to us all, that can lighten the heart tremendously ~ the bright sunlight streaming though the window. The crisp and fragrant autumn air. The warm blanket on my lap. The smell of a freshly mown lawn. Silence. Dance. Laughter. Birdsong. Sometimes there are those larger moments ~ a new job. A new home. A new baby. But more often it's those small everyday things that we tend to overlook that can take a day from blah, to joyful. Often all is takes is a deliberate pause, a mindful breath and a silent, heartfelt thank you for all that we have, right here, right now. In this moment.

In no order of importance here is my gratitude list for today ~

I am thankful for… our firewood, cut, split and neatly stacked. When I think of those cold winter days heading my way, snow swirling beyond the windowpanes... ahh, I’m so grateful for the cozy, sustainable warmth that wood will provide. 

I am thankful for… Scott. It’s so easy to take people for granted. Especially those we see on a daily, constant basis. They become such a part of our lives that sometimes we stop seeing them. Stop appreciating them. I've learned that marriage is work, sometimes pretty demanding work, but the rewards are tremendous. When we take the time to see all that another brings to our day, all the ways that they make our world easier, lighter and brighter, it really is a most amazing thing.

I am thankful for… ferrets. There are three things guaranteed to make me happy each and every day ~ ferret-time, meal-time and bed-time. Our ferrets have a way of melting my heart, erasing my troubles and inducing my laughter. They remind me that it’s all about the simple things, and I’m instantly joyful, peaceful and grounded with a snoozing ferret (or two!) on my lap.

I am thankful for… food. As I mentioned above, eating is one of the highlights of my day. Partly because I love to cook and create in the kitchen, but mostly… because I love to eat! Becoming a vegan opened up my world to foods that absolutely delight and satisfy me. It also fostered a deep and profound sense of peace, with each morsel that I eat, knowing no animal had to die or suffer terribly to nourish me, and I think that only serves to magnify my gratitude. Learning to eat mindfully was a great gift that I gave myself. Taking my attention off of my stomach and putting it directly on my mouth, chewing each bite most thoroughly creates an explosion of flavor. It is an intensely satisfying part of each day and I look forward with anticipation from one meal to the next.

I am thankful for… Jordan. While she is the one I am most likely to butt heads with, she also makes me laugh (hard) every single day. She is wildly creative and fiercely independent. Our home is full of handcrafted creations and she always has a project (or ten) that she’s working on. She’s a whiz with the glue gun, the sewing machine, the computer, the camera… in fact, what isn't she good at?

I am thankful for… the sunshine. It makes everything so much happier. The world looks so inviting when the sun is shining, especially against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. It’s a wonderful source of renewable energy, it makes my garden grow, my flowers flourish and my heart sing.

I am thankful for… bedtime. I love, love to crawl into bed each night. Several years ago I knew it was time to stop thinking about it, and finally ditch our voc-emitting, chemical laden traditional mattresses and invest in organic cotton/wool mattresses for all. Snuggling up to a warm husband under organic cotton sheets on an organic cotton mattress is my idea of bliss. I sleep deeply and soundly and dream in vivid detail. As I slide out each morning to greet the new day I say a silent farewell and am warmed by the thought that I shall return in another 17 hours. I can't imagine a better way to end (or begin) each day.

I am thankful for… Taylor. While life hasn't always been the easiest for her, she handles it all with grace and acceptance. Even when her spirits drop, it is always only a brief stay before she pulls herself back together and accepts that for now this is how things are, and moves on. She has an amazing talent for writing and I look forward to the day when I hold her published book in my hands. You’ll all want a copy. Be prepared to cry. A lot.

I am thankful for… wood-stoves  Growing up, our house was old and very, very drafty. It made for some long, cold and shivery winters. I vowed that someday, when I had my own house, I would be warm, all the time. The answer to that? A wood-stove. It heats the house through and through. The walls are warm, the floors are warm, the air is warm.  Placing it in the lowest level of the house means that while the basement is uncomfortably toasty, the living level is perfectly comfortable, and the bedrooms are refreshingly cool. There is no longer any reason to dread the long and cold winter.

I am thankful for… Christmas music. It just makes me happy. And yes, despite that fact that it is only October, I have begun listening, joyfully. In fact, along with Christmas movies it is probably my most favorite part of the holiday season. Along with white Christmas lights... and window candles... and gingerbread houses...

I am thankful for … Riley Mae. Just recently I realized that she is probably the most similar to me out of all my girls. There are traits of both Jordan and Taylor that remind me of myself, but collectively Riley is a mini me. Albiet a happier one than I was at her age! She takes care of the animals; she loves to read and she loves to write. She’s a homebody, through and through. Always quite happy to spend time alone, and needing no one to balance her out.  And yes, she loves Christmas music in October too.

I am thankful for... Rainbows. Need I say more?

I am thankful for… organic farmers. When I realized that MSG was helping to trigger my panic attacks it led me to the realization that organic was/is the only choice for us. I definitely have no interest in a chemical cocktail each time I eat a peach or a potato, but I was equally (if not more) concerned about avoiding the hidden MSG found in many chemical fertilizers. The only way to currently do that is to eat organic. I deeply appreciate the farmers that grow and provide me with abundant organic produce. I especially adore those that do it because it’s the only way that makes any sense, for the health of our bodies and for the health of our planet.


I am thankful for… comedies. We don’t watch much tv in our home, but one of the things that we do tune into each and every week without fail is a handful of sitcoms. Settling in on the couch for an hour of laughter~ Is there anything better than that? My newest favorite is Partners, we were smitten after the very first episode! The Big Bang Theory is also guaranteed to have me howling each week. That Sheldon, he is a riot.

Backyard Dreams is open once again
I am thankful for... Etsy. If I'm not careful I can get lost in the sheer awesomeness of it. I not only love it as an outlet for my own creativity, but as a place to find fabulous handcrafted gifts whenever they're needed. I support it 100% because it's something I want to see more of in this world ~ imagination, ingenuity, resourcefulness, inspiration and passion.

I am thankful for... awesome music videos that tell a story. They're like a four minute movie, and if well made, they have the power to make you laugh.. or cry. Like my two current favorites . Ed Sheeran became my one of my top two favorite artists (equally as fabulous as Jason Mraz) after I heard his new hit just one time. Once I watched the video I had a heartbreaking image that I couldn't shake for days and days. While I love a good pop song (mostly for dancing around the kitchen), they aren't the ones I buy and download onto my ipod. Songs and music that tells a story win a place in my heart for years and years. 

This is my other favorite video, it also made my heart hurt for days after I watched. Funny how that makes it a favorite, right???

Inspired to find the treasures scattered throughout your life? Grab a piece of paper, a pen and find a quiet, comfy spot to settle in for a bit. Look around  you, what do you see that lifts your spirits? What do you hear? What do you smell? Or feel? Who do you love? What do you cherish? What makes your heart sing? Gratitude has the magical power of shifting your perspective from lack... to abundance. It makes your whole world brighter. Simply by seeing what is already right in front of you, how awesome is that?

Have an inspired day Friends.

P.S. Ooops, almost forgot! The winner of my giveaway last week was Beth Beaver! Congrats Beth, and I'll be in touch soon... :)