Attitude of Gratitude

Take 52 Week #47: Gratitude

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. ~ Cicero

This theme couldn’t have come at a better time. November 2nd I completed a one year challenge that I gave myself; each day I posted on Facebook three things that I was thankful for. I had no idea how much that small exercise would affect my life.

There were days when it came so easily – I’d have three by 9 a.m. Other days I sat with my cursor blinking, willing myself to find something meaningful. It was those days that I suspect that I needed this exercise the most. I always found three and that realization humbles me. Gratitude, I believe, is non-negotiable to a happy life.

Within 12 hours of finishing my year task, Colin’s Grandpa passed away. And this week, my Dad had a significant health scare. I have my suspicions that God knew how much I would need this habit of gratitude these last two weeks. Every day I still urge myself to search for the good to dwell on. Like a stubborn child, sifting sand with a dollar store strainer, when the wind is picking up.

IMG_7516This week, we decorated our Christmas tree. This is one of the few activities my teenagers still thoroughly enjoy. As they dug through boxes, they told stories and recalled memories.

The Hallmark ornament above was given to Colin and me by my Mom for our first married Christmas in 1993. It’s a couple, snuggled up on the couch, by a flickering fire. A few years ago we bought new lights for our Christmas tree, and unbeknownst to me, the lights weren’t compatible with the plug for this ornament. So to my disappointment, it stayed in the box. This year I sold our enormous tree and we replaced it with a beautiful smaller version. So this ornament has come back to life.

I am thankful for 20 good years of marriage. I’m grateful for the fact that Colin and I re-enact this scene in front of our fireplace at the end of almost every day. I’m thankful for a family who instilled a love of music and Christmas and tradition. I’m grateful for teenagers who unpacked ornament boxes with adoration. I’m thankful for good health and satisfying work and education. I’m grateful for all the aspects of life that we call “the little things”, but are really so very heavy.

Happy American Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers. In a life lived well, every day is Thanksgiving. But with significantly less yams.

Picture Stats:

Shutter: 1/8
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 1600

To see all of my photos in this year-long challenge, click here.