If the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you, that will suffice. ~Meister Eckhart
This Thanksgiving week I name some of those things, big and small, for which I say "thank you."
- The corner table at Cafe Carolina. Each week for the past 10 years or more, I have occupied a coffee shop table with my Fresh Market blueberry scone and my journal. Ritual becomes home. The table changes, the scone changed for a time, but the sense of home remains.
- That I could pay for the new battery my car unexpectedly needed today; even though I didn’t like having to. (But now my radio doesn’t work, thanks to the “anti-theft” device. The car thinks the radio was ripped out of its housing to sell on the black market.) And for my car that still gets me where I need to go in spite of having traveled nearly 200,000 miles.
- The beautiful old cemetery: a lovely and interesting garden in which to walk, to think, to just be.
- That people read my blog. My Mac that makes blogging possible for me.
- An invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.
Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. ~Author Unknown
- The 7 a.m. carillon wafting across the airwaves from St. Augustine’s college and in through my open window.
- The honking of low-flying geese.
- A foggy morning.
- The location of my work: close enough to the church’s bank to walk there each week on work business and to Cameron Village and the YMCA. That I can walk.
- Berries that color the garden when everything else has retreated.
- Finding, in a 12-year-old file, the code to reset the car radio.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward
- Smudge in the morning. Each morning after dawn (never before), she sits by my head watching; eventually slowly extending her leg to butterfly-gently touch my nose with her paw. I am reminded of waking from a nightmare and standing silently at my mother's side of the bed, willing her to wake up--gently touching her shoulder with one finger if she doesn't--so I can get in bed with her and feel safe.
- That I can get up at 7:17 (unintentionally) and pull into the church parking lot at 8:00, without hurrying. I live that close.
- The roses at a house near mine that won’t stop blooming and catch my eye on the way to and from work.
- Emma, who stays in nearly daily contact. The technology that makes that easy.
- Being confident at and enjoying my work.
- Smudge at night, greeting me at the door, warming my lap as I sit on the sofa.
- Green tomato /black bean soup and green tomato muffins from the freezer. The product of my garden bounty.
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer
- Jokes on the radio that make me laugh out loud on the way to work: “The last time Carl Castle was patted down at airport security, he made such an impression the agent slipped a dollar into his belt.”
- My good and thoughtful friend who paid a surprise visit to my office at 8 a.m. with a hug and a Christmas cactus, expressions of her gratitude for me.
- A not too warm, not too cool day; just right for a mid-day walk to Fresh Market for a tiny cup of coffee and blueberry scones for the weekend.
- And, speaking of FM, I am grateful for that sweet little grocery that plays classical music and is a peaceful place to hang out, even when I need no groceries.
- That I am not allergic to cats and red wine and dark chocolate.
- The beginning of a four-day weekend. Not because I don’t like to be at work, but for the opportunity of renewal that comes with a change of routine.
Belief isn’t always easy. But this much I have learned-- if not enough else--to live with my eyes open. ~Mary Oliver
- Old, new, and renewed friendships.
- Clean sheets, a bed to put them on, water to wash them in, a washing machine in my own house, a job to pay the mortgage.
- Japanese maple red.
- Mary in the garden, and for keeping my house for me.
- The friend who encouraged me to give Brussels sprouts one more try. And the recipe I found with pistachios and dried apricots.
- My family: sisters, son, daughter, daughters-in-law, grandchild; and my 94-year-old mother's presence in this world and her good health and strong, happy voice on the telephone.
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~ Johannes A. Gaertner
- The pale moon hanging in the early morning mottled sky. I grab my camera, but I am too late--the clouds blow in and hide it.
- Gray days.
- The opportunity to observe the details of the rise and fall of autumn. It doesn’t go down without a fight. The banana tree has two new unfurling leaves, even while the top most ones are brown-edged from the cold. The hydrangea has new growth. The lantana and penta bloom on; and even the lorapetalum has some blooms. The new burning bush and weeping Japanese maple, and my small “ordinary” Japanese maple lost every leaf this week; but the huge dogwood and the larger Japanese maples in my and others’ yards are still bright red beacons in the gathering gloom.
- That I live in this country--however flawed--where people voluntarily stand in line for hours to get an i-phone on sale; rather than in a country where people are forced to stand in line for a loaf of bread. There is something seriously wrong with that.
- Clementines ("Give thanks. Give Cuties"). Redbox. A new Pink Martini Christmas CD. Digital cameras.
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder
- This country--however flawed--where I am free to be me: a woman, a lesbian, a liberal-thinker, a voter. A country where I don’t fear for my life at the hands of those “in charge” for being any of those.
- Candlelight and fireplaces, with and without friends to share them.
- Public libraries and the books that fill them.
- Yoga. A body able to stretch.
- A lifetime of better-than-good health.
- A church community to which I can return after hiatus and feel at home.
- My garden.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie