Several years ago, I read a book, “One Thousand Gifts,” written by Ann Voskamp. What the author was essentially saying was to acknowledge and give thanks for whatever was going on in your life. Big or small. It blew me away, the simplicity of the meaning and why we should all be doing it. I was thankful for lots, but after I read the book, I learned to be thankful for the smaller things not just the bigger things.
What is thankfulness? Both Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster state: conscious of benefit received; feeling or expressing gratitude. And gratitude is defined as: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful; the state of being grateful.
If we all make an effort to actually say out loud (or write down) what we are thankful for – being conscious enough to acknowledge it at the time – I think we would all be a little more patient with another. Perhaps we would all be a little bit happier about our choices… thus our lives that we set out to sail, yes??
A little side note, about 30 years ago my grandmother’s birthday was coming up and I wanted to get her a gift. I asked her if I could pay her electric bill for six months – knowing she wouldn’t accept a typical gift. Of course, she declined. But you know what she said to me? She said, “Punkin’, when I wake up in the morning I thank God for THAT gift. I don’t need anything else.”
At that time, in my 20’s, I thought how stupid. She was thankful to wake up in the morning… what kind of gift was that? Obviously over the years I understood WHAT a gift it was.
Let’s start small. I know we are all thankful for the following, and as always, please add to the list:
For sleeping in a warm cozy bed.
For waking up next to someone who loves me.
For being able to see him next me.
For being able to hear his voice.
I’m thankful for the fact that I am able to walk out of bed, unassisted.
For warm water and soap, for having an electric toothbrush! A mirror to watch myself age (that’s a blessing in disguise).
Although I have nothing to wear, I seem to have a closetful of clothes and several pairs of shoes. I am grateful I have more than one shirt and one pair of shoes.
I am thankful that my husband and I can afford to put a roof over our heads and take a dip in our pool. I am super grateful for my gas stove. And our whole-house generator. It means I can cook for my family and stay cool in the heat when the electricity is out.
I am thankful that I was able to conceive all of my children without the assistance of medical intervention AND give birth to four healthy babies.
I am thankful for the fact that I repeated first grade, as it has given me empathy for children who struggle at school.
I am thankful that I worked as a hotel maid for a few years; it taught me the responsibility to be punctual, respectful, do an honest days’ work – to the best of my ability.
I am grateful to have both bottle fed (the first two) and breast fed (the last two) of my children. I know in my experience, all four children suffered with colds and ear infections – that neither bottle nor breast was better than the other.
My 16-year-old just turned on YouTube – made me listen to the “Electric Boogie” better known as the “Electric Slide” by Marcia Griffiths. I am grateful to accept that I do not have the ABILITY to dance the electric slide, but that I can spot those who can!
I am thankful to have neighbors who invite me to Easter dinner because I don’t DO Easter dinner.
I am grateful for conversation while drinking wine, because in wine lies TRUTH.
I am so thankful to live in Florida because when the rest of the country is cold, I’m still wearing shorts and flip flops!
I am grateful for bread, my absolute favorite thing to eat. Although fish and avocados are just a hair below.
I am thankful for growing up when I did, without the use of computers or cell phones. While they do make life simpler, they also bring down the quality of relationship.
I am grateful to have lived enough life to earn some perspective.
I am thankful that my grandfather taught me not to underestimate the power of salt.
Grateful to be working with one of the infamous “Five under Forty” at Marcus Gleysteen Architects in Boston.
I am thankful to learn that in time, dreams do come true.
I was worried that after my mom passed away that I would forget her voice. I am thankful that her voice remains with me, dad’s too!
Grateful that I finally went to a chiropractor – repairing my bulging C5, C7, and herniated C6. I type with a numb-ish pointer finger, so it will be nice to finally feel again – it has been three years.
Naturally, I’m thankful that I am healthy (knocking on wood) as are my children and my husband.
I am grateful for the phone call I got from my dad, about three months after mom passed away, informing me that he had a girlfriend. Yeah, I was upset – mom was barely cold – but what it told me was 1) dad liked being married (to mom) and 2) that he was a man before a father. Imagine that, your dad was a man before he was your dad. Hard concept to swallow – but I did and I’m grateful for it.
I am thankful for all of the experiences I’ve endured, both positive as well as negative.
I am thankful, grateful, appreciative, and in awe that God is with me every second of every day.
I am grateful to have found a man that truly loves ALL of me, in spite of myself.
I am thankful when my children are all at home.
I am grateful that I inherited all the family photo albums (I lived the closest to my parents), simply because my sister and brother are in other states.
I am grateful to have traveled all around the world and lived to write about it!
I am thankful for the house I owned in Kennebunkport, Maine, because it was there that I fell in love with peonies.
I am thankful for that house in Kennebunkport, because my children grew up knowing what the salty sea air felt like. They saw how magical fireflies were when it became dark. They felt how slow life was, and how it could be 40 degrees in July. When we went up in the winter they got to play in the snow.
I am thankful for those summers in Maine because those two months got me through the rest of the year. Maine was my solace. Maine let me BE.
I am super grateful for the water cooler we have in the house, it provides both cold and hot water with a push of a button. Which means, hot cocoa, tea, oatmeal – can be ready in seconds!
I am grateful for the therapy my oldest son endured for one year between college and law school – what a difference it made in his life!
I am thankful that my mother taught me not to judge anyone, ever.
I am thankful for my brother and sister – we are all we have left – I am so grateful for any time we get to spend together. We live so far from each other.
Since the beginning of this year I have been making a conscious effort to be thankful for the crap that happens in my life. Simple crap. Little crap. And yes, big crap. Because it means I’m still alive.
Lastly, I’m grateful that every day I look in the mirror, and see an aging woman looking right back at me – that I need not complain – my life is a gift.