Sunday, October 21, 2007



Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  ~William Faulkner

There are times when it requires a conscious effort on my part to see how blessed we are, and times when I want to change my perspective, but feel powerless to do so. Then there are times like this weekend, when I wake up amazed at my life and am overwhelmed with gratitude.

So, for the days when I can't conjure that awareness, these are the big and little things making my "cup overflow" right now.

1. Being healthy and having a healthy family.

As soon as I might take our health for granted, there comes a reminder to cherish it. Two friends sent me links this week to friends of theirs whom I've never met but who both have advanced melanoma, the same cancer Brian's father battled. Mara and Julie are both young, and Julie has two small children. Please keep them in your prayers and thoughts, and if you like, post a comment of support on their sites.

2. Sharing life with Brian.

I don't like public gushing (unless it's over one's children, then it's allowed!). But I know I am blessed, in so many ways, to be sharing my life with this guy.  I am grateful for all the small coincidences or little decisions or miracles that led to this particular life instead of the infinite other possibilities.

Brian was away for work three days this week. As soon as he walked in the door, Sean and Aidan had him on the floor wrestling, which led to the horseback ride in the above photo. It's a crappy photo with bad lighting and a busy background, but I love it. I took this one before Sunday_morning_my_3_guys_2we left for church this morning. A better photo in many ways, but I prefer the first one---it captures the kind of dad Brian is and how happy his boys are just to be around him. Saturday morning while up in the office, I noticed a kite fly by the window and it was Aidan and Brian out on the street. Aidan's been asking to do that all week.

There were so many moments this weekend that made my cup overflow---seeing Brian take care of the tomato crop I've abandoned before the predicted frost comes tonight, or manage to get both boys in the tub this morning. Joining him to watch a movie last night and finding a bowl of popcorn and my bottle of water waiting there for me. Or just having him listen to me tonight as I retell my evening spent with friends. Those moments beat roses and chocolate any day.

3. The other two guys in the photo.

Yeah, they're pretty cool too;-)  They crack me up daily. I'm blown away by Aidan's creativity, both in thought, story-telling, and lately drawing. He drew a haunted house today with angled lines to make it dimensional. Where did he learn that??

Sean will often ask to kiss the new baby and then give my tummy a little smooch. Today I'm wearing a carriage charm necklace that Kris gave me when I was expecting Aidan. Sean leaned in tonight and gave the baby a kiss via the "stroller".  I hope this baby is ready for some major lovin' because both these boys love to snuggle!

4. Living in a small town.

There are times when I think, "what are we doing here?" But most of the time, it's "how did we get so lucky?" It's a beautiful place, especially at this time of year. And while there is a price to pay for being a bit isolated (no Target within 120 miles), the benefits outweigh them greatly (and we save a lot of money).

5. Moments of serendipity.

While mailing a package this week, I asked the clerk about applying for a passport. It led to several questions about my old one, and whether it was truly expired, so I ended up explaining it was a Peace Corps issued one that I couldn't use for personal travel. The young man standing behind me in line asked, "Were you in the Peace Corps?" Turns out he was holding his application in his hand, about to send it by registered mail.

Just a coincidence, but we were both so happy to connect at that moment, the kind where you feel as if the gods are inexplicably smiling on you.

Me_and_my_boys_copy I know I can't sustain this perspective permanently. Tomorrow I'll be back to complaining about something, but I still believe in cultivating gratitude. I'm grateful for this upstairs nook that gives me space and time to myself, I'm grateful for the wonderful combination of a cup of tea and a seven-layer bar, I'm grateful for all my blessings---the greatest of which might be my own awareness of them.

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