The Art of Gratitude

 

Do you know that feeling you get when you desperately need a new toothbrush? The bristles are worn and rough. Every morning you pick it up and think, I must buy a new toothbrush today!  And every night you want to kick yourself for forgetting to buy one, even though you were in the store. Then, that special day comes where you are both in the store and remember that you need a toothbrush. Hallelujah!  You walk over to the dental aisle and view your options, careful to select the right strength, bristle style and color. That night, you crack open the plastic, place the perfect amount of toothpaste on it, and brush your teeth. The new bristles massage your gums that have been so badly mistreated by your old, crotchety toothbrush. When you are done, you run your tongue over your teeth with the wonderful sensation of cleanliness. You can finally take the perpetrator out of your spot on the holder and sentence it to death by trash. There is a sense of joy that fills you when your new brush is hanging there proudly.

Gratitude can be more than just taking a few minutes to ramble out thoughts of the obvious things that contribute to your life in some way.

For me, I began to practice gratitude when I was at a low point in my life. I treated myself to a beautiful leather bound journal and began writing down things I was grateful for each night. Just as most people, my first couple of months entries were repetitive for the obvious things, health, family, food, a placed to live, employment and a vehicle. Looking back and reading through, I began to notice an evolution of my entries. Gratitude slowly began oozing into the crevices of my life, showing up in minor details. I can tell you the dates I bought a new toothbrush, opened a brand new bar of soap or watched the mail man deliver my mail in the pouring rain. I can tell you when I noticed a bird bathing in a puddle and how it made me feel. Reading through my journal I can tell you when I felt good in an outfit and when my egg omelet was cooked to perfection. I know all the times I was grateful for a good laugh with a friend and each time I hugged my children extra tight, looked into their eyes and told them how much I loved them.

Practicing gratitude has allowed me to observe my life in the moment I am living it. I find myself stopping throughout the day to feel grateful and happy for little details that I might have overlooked in the past, and for that I will always be forever grateful.

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The Winds Are Blowing In From The East

The casket is closed. It is always difficult to watch such an excruciating death. My knees weakened and tears seemed endless. So difficult to let go, no longer able to be called upon. I have mourned and grieved this death for a long time.

Now, I am convinced that it was for the best. It was my pride that had died that day.

It had been some time ago, I fell down on my luck. I had been filled with a sense of hopelessness which pained me to start each new day. A new day consumed with dread and despair, achieving nothing but to be reminded how my ridiculous goals were far from being realistically attained. My goals were sitting on the other side of the ocean and all life handed me was a paddle, which was broken. I have cried, screamed and complained, which only seemed to spread the gap wider between me and my happiness.

Gratitude showed its face to me out of fear. I was afraid things were going to get worse. I was afraid that terrible things would continue to happen in my life and I was fearful of what would become of my children. Gratitude would stop by here and there to console me. Gratitude made me feel fortunate for the little we did have and taught me the importance of the intangible things, which is too often overlooked. Gratitude eventually replaced the ugly pride that filled my soul, no longer able to consume my happiness.

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I have lived in this quote everyday since the death of my pride.

The other day the sun rose in the sky. It was an ordinary day for most, getting the kids off to school, hauling to work. The flowers and trees are busy carrying out spring. The post had been delivered, filling our mailboxes with empty hands waiting for their share of your hard earned money. Some people probably ran a red light and others needed to pick up a few things at the store. All were completely unaware of the wind’s from the east blowing in . . .

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As many of you were going about your day, my makeshift boat scraped on the shallow bottom of the beach, as my calloused hands pulled it ashore.

I have arrived on the other side of that ocean.

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I used duct tape on the paddle. It turns out, it worked just fine.

Is this thing on?

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Testing . . .Testing. . .1…2…3…

Can you hear me? That is the real questions here, isn’t it? Do YOU hear me? Are YOU listening? We are all here typing relentlessly at our keyboards, giving our words a once over and then holding our breath as we click the “Publish” button. WordPress uses its magical powers, casting a spell or hums a tune while happily busy at work. “Beep, Bop, Boop.” Presto! Our words are displayed for the reading pleasure of our followers.

I started blogging after winning a writing contest. Yay!! Yes, I was so excited because it was the first time I was recognized for my writing. They announced me as the winner by using my name and a photograph, but I was very disappointed when they didn’t publish or post what I actually wrote. I felt very unsettled about it all. I kept saying, “I want to be heard, not seen.” It was a big let down, to say the least.

I am now very grateful for this disappointment because it led me here! I can clearly connect the dots of my journey this far in my pursuit and it feels right. I am skipping down the yellow brick road with no evil witch in sight. I set out to be heard and in three in a half months have gained over 350 followers!! I am grateful for each and every person that has committed to following me and most of all for listening!

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This is us! Our arms are interlocked as we skip down the yellow brick road to ask the Almighty Oz for something, only to discover we had the power all along.

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How did you get here?

Happy Blogging!!

LOVE in ten sentences (A Challenge)

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I have been challenged by Nicole from The Whispering Pen for the “Love in Ten Sentences.” I was excited, touched and intimidated by this challenge, as I haven’t written poetry in a LONG time. EEK! Especially to be challenge from such a talented poet and writer such as Nicole. Her Haiku poems depict an interesting perspective. In just a few words she has the ability to create something beautiful, touching and thought provoking. Her blog is all about sending out positive messages and is a breath of fresh air that I look forward to reading.

The challenge is to write a poem about love and title it “Love in Ten Sentences.” It must have 10 lines, each 4 words long. Every line must contain the word “love.” At the end of the poem, you must include a favorite quote about love. Then challenge fifteen other bloggers.

Love erupting like volcanoes,

Love bursting and exploding,

My love spilling within,

Love dripping and leaking,

Crevices coated with love.

Authentic love is messy,

Love you cannot explain,

Boundless love, no restrictions.

Devout love for you,

Identical love you reciprocate.

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I now challenge :

Vickiewhat  (you better do this one!! 😉  )

I came for the soup . . .

Best Poetry Blog in the Cosmos 

The Wild Rumpus

Renee “Soul Writer” Brooks 

Mama Writes Words 

A Writers Life

The Empathy Queen

The Happy Haikuer’s Blog 

Sarah Doughty

Creative Talents Unleashed

But I Smile Anyway

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

My Sweet Nothings

Have fun!! If you weren’t challenged and want to give it a try – Go For It!!! I dare you!! 🙂

Today I will write . . .

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Today I will write because I want to be a writer.

Today I will write because the ache of not writing has become intolerable.

Today I will write to calm the noise in my head, as each thought is fighting for attention. Letting the thoughts drain from my fingers will give me clarity and peace.

Today I will write because my imagination and creativity is clawing at the door and gripping tight to the bars, desperate to break free from the space it is held captive. Only I have the power to set them free.

Today I will write because it is the only thing I can do in my pj’s, sitting on my couch, that makes me feel absolute exhilaration.

Today I will write because the story that I have begun to tell is crying for help. It needs to be tended to and worked on and I am the only one who can fix it.

Today I will write so when I lay my head down at night, I can fall right to sleep, knowing that I consciously took a step towards my passion.

Today I will write because I AM a writer.

Today I will write . . .

will you?

WHY? – So Much More Than A Crooked Letter

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Through hardship and difficult times, pieces of your identity come forth in unexpected ways. I had been unaware of the tremendous pride, which I was carrying within me, until I needed to set it free. There was my enormous ego, which fled, leaving me deserted, feeling empty, mourning its departure. We will all experience hardship and loss throughout our lifetime; it’s how we allow these experiences to shape our identity, influence our choices, and test our bonds with one another.

“Why?” I kept asking, “Why? Why is this happening to me? Why wasn’t I better prepared? Why isn’t there anyone to help?” The many “why’s” which I continued to ask, felt like a whisper at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Despite the absent response, the quiet sense of being ignored in the solitude of my despair, I relentlessly questioned, asking only, “Why?”

An excerpt from my novel.

Photo Credit: http://www.boomsbeat.com

TRUTH: I AM AFRAID TO TRUST THE DREAM

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I have narrowed it down, I am afraid to trust the dream.

Today, when I swung my feet on the carpet and forced myself into standing position, I immediately noticed it there, pulling up a chair and taking a seat in the forefront of my brain, my self doubt.

Have I tricked myself into believing in a world, so far from my actual reality? I wonder if I will wake up, rocking myself in an insane asylum and face the terrorizing thought, “That life never actually happened.”  I spend countless hours writing, editing, reading and most of all, thinking which words I can string along to tell my story. Which words will clearly explain the circulating thoughts. Why? Why do I do this? Is it just a vice to get me through the mundane chores and actions of a day?

When I further investigate my desire to write, I find it sprouting from a small seed, whispering out only a single phrase, “There is more.”  I instinctively take a step back, as those powerful words have caused my heart to flutter incessantly like the wings of a hummingbird. “There is more.”

My desperate desire for more haunts me, keeping me up at night. I can taste it in every bite, it is there. I feel it pressed under my nails and it cools my mouth with each sip of water that passes my lips. A sense of being underutilized and unfulfilled has formed as my shadow, always lagging behind.

I want more. Is that wrong? I feel so blessed to be surrounded by health and family. That part of me is inflated with love and gratitude, nearly bursting at the seams. I have had four children, just to ensure that piece would be filled to capacity. What about the rest? What about me? Why am I not content with this being it? No, instead I lie in bed at night, just short of drifting off into a peaceful slumber, when an urge to swiftly jump up, grab a pen and paper, just to write down three little words. . .

There          Is          More

Photo Credit: Doubt and Fear Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.via Shutterstock

#am_I_doing_this_right?

Ok my WordPress family, I need your help!!!

I just signed up to twitter. I know, I know, I am a little late on trend.

I would watch Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show display the humorous tweets he received in response to his hashtags or Ellen at the Oscar’s taking the “most re-tweeted” photo, all the while, sitting there, nervously smiling among my peers, with no clue as to how the Twitter world works.

I have successfully linked my blog to Twitter. Yay! Small victory. I have looked up all of my favorite authors, actors, singers, publications and any other random people I could think of and began following them.  Now what?  What am I suppose to post? What exactly is a hashtag? Can I make up my own? Is it beneficial to tag your post with a hashtag that already exist?

Standing in the Twitter world, I feel alone and afraid. Everyone is buzzing about, posting, hashtagging, re-tweeting, all rushing by me as I stand still looking for a familiar face in the crowd. So if you are reading this, please stop for a second and drop a line of advice.  I would greatly appreciate it. 🙂

#HelloMyNameIs #IamLost #Help #AloneAndAfraid #WhatIsA# #JimmyFallon #TonightShow #Oscars #EllenDeGeneres

(I know the #s don’t count on here or do they?)

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 Photo Credit: http://osakabentures.com/2013/01/forays-in-social-media-marketing/funny-twitter-acronyms-and-birds/

My Focus

I woke up one day and I was hand in hand with a handsome man, tall with jet black hair, masculine features, broad shoulders, well dressed, confident and exciting to be with.  As we walked hand in hand on the cobblestone road, weaving between magnificent architecture puzzled together like a maze leading us on our adventure, the sun shined down brightly upon us as we pondered where we should eat our next meal.  Which cafe or bistro shall we choose?  Would I like to sit here, outside in the cool breeze, beneath a red umbrella, resting my feet as the waiter sets exquisitely plated, savory, foreign foods from this land which we are discovering bite by bite.

Today, this memory is captured in my mind, floating around as I sit in my comfy living room, wearing my favorite pajama pants beside the tree which is peering down at me.  The holiday is over and you simply cannot walk through the house. I need to begin the cleanup, however I have decided to indulge in the memories of days gone by.  I don’t want to face the countless number of boxes, as one would imagine with four “nice” children and a generous grandmother, and after that task, my bed is covered with clean laundry, knotted together, just aching to be folded and sorted into the appropriate drawers.  I am aware that my overwhelming feelings don’t just stem from the monstrous mess scattered throughout the house or the heaping mountain of laundry, but from the lack of distraction my focus will have as of tomorrow.  No more joyous gift giving and secret planning for loved ones. The morning was filled with so much genuine magic and Christmas spirit that it had brought a tear to three adults eyes. However, now I am back to reality.  Back to the bills in which I have no idea how I will pay and more problematic situations in which I have no clue how to improve or change.

Sigh. . . but for tonight and for right now, I’m hand in hand, with that man, in a land far away eating wonderful food on the street, with a new dress resting in a bag beside me. The mess and the problems will just have to wait . . .

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A Post for Peace

My husband goes to work, as so many men do.  However, instead of picking up his dry cleaning and knotting his tie, he velcros on his steel plated vest, resting over his heart and loads his weapon, securing it on his hip.  Tonight, I squeeze him for a second longer before he walks out my door, acknowledging the potential danger which he may encounter, unlike most days when I push frightening thoughts out of my mind.  Tonight, we all face the reality of the sacrifice of his profession.  His shiny metal badge and patch on his arm are more than a uniform today, they are a target.  Before I lay my head down at night, I whisper a prayer into my pillow, asking for his safety, the safety of my two brothers and two cousins, who also share his occupation, along with the thousands of others who willingly go to work wearing armor, hoping it will keep them alive, if need be.

The other day my husband was asked to wear his vest and gun at all times.  As police officers were being followed home from work and beaten.  Yesterday, two officers were assassinated, execution style while sitting on post in their police car. It is very easy to have an opinion of someones actions, however if I injected a spectator in the same scenario they would be afraid, because being a police officer is a scary job.  They go to work hoping not to get into an altercation. They respond to a domestic call, walking in blindly into strangers homes.  They show up after the rape, after the kidnap and after the tragic car wreck.  The things these men and women see and deal with is enough to put any normal being into therapy for the rest of their days.  However the men and women who serve and protect, are brave, strong and intelligent individuals, which we rely on to right the wrong, show up when we are desperate and afraid and protect us as a society.

Tonight I cringe as the loud clack of metal echos through the hallway.  He ever so cautiously lock and reloads then slings his weapon on his hip.  This post is a prayer for peace and an end to violence against the men and women going to work, doing their job.  My condolences go out the the families that lost a hero.

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