*99.99% of the time I am really happy to have my blog on WordPress. One feature that I have struggled with is the publish calendar. This feature allows one to set a date and time for a blog to be posted to their site and sent to their readers. Twice I have had issues with this feature. Once a blog that I had set a date and time for did not post and I had to post it manually. Another posted before it was supposed to. The post “Gratitude” that you received by email before Thanksgiving was supposed to be delivered on Thanksgiving. It was incomplete. I apologize. In the future, I will just manually post to the site any and all new blogs. Thank you for following my blog and I hope you enjoy “Gratitude” in its entirety.*
It seemed very fitting to write a post about gratitude. Not only because we in the States are about to celebrate Thanksgiving; but, because it is easy to forget the people, places and things we are grateful for when caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season.
A couple of years ago in a magazine, I saw an article about a Blessing Tree. The woman in the article would get a branch and put it in a vase on her entry hall table. Next to the branch were cut out paper leaves with strings and a marker. As guests arrived at her home for Thanksgiving dinner, they were encouraged to write down a blessing, something that they were thankful for from the past year, on a leaf and tie it to the branch. The Blessing Tree would be moved to the dinner table after all the guests had arrived and right before the meal was to be served. As the Thanksgiving meal was served each person could see the blessings and have them be part of the celebration.
In my level 2 Creativity Class, one of the first projects we do is a Gratitude Journal. What is a Gratitude Journal, you ask? Well, it is a notebook. It can be lined or unlined. It doesn’t have to be very big. Each night before you go to bed, write down five things you are grateful for. For example: My family, My friends, Angus-black cat extraordinaire, living near mountains, and pomegranate season. Of course your list will change every day. And you can list more than five things if you choose. The idea behind the Gratitude Journal is that it puts you in a positive frame of mind before you go to bed. You will sleep better and be more productive during your day because you are focused on your blessings instead of your woes. Having done a Gratitude Journal for many years, I can tell you that it does work.
“Love has nothing to do with what you re expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.” -Katherine Hepburn
I think that Katherine Hepburn was talking about those she loved in her life; but, I wanted to ponder on this quote in a little bit different way. What about those that love order, their communities, and helping others? I was thinking about the men and women that give up their holidays to staff hospitals, police officers patrolling our streets and keeping us safe, volunteers for non-profit organizations that serve meals and staff crisis help lines. All the people who are working while we enjoy good food and companionship.
I was also thinking about a couple of my friends who are actively serving in the military. One friend in particular has given much to serve his country. Yes, he has chosen to put his career first. However, he often works holidays in order that the men in his command who have families and young children can be with them on the holiday. One time we were talking about terrorism and the war in the Middle East. He said that if serving his country required his life, it was a sacrifice, but a sacrifice he was willing to make. You see, he believes in this country and its democracy so much that he is willing to sacrifice his life for it. The ultimate act of giving.
I want to take a moment to thank all of those that serve in the armed forces, law enforcement, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, emergency service workers, non-profit staff and volunteers, and anyone who is working on a holiday. I am grateful for your willingness to give. Thank you.