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Archive for September 13th, 2006

Gratitude

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

I feel like giving advice, please pardon the arrogance that comes along for the ride… me, assuming I can give advice, indeed! I spent a day with a teenager and that brings on the advice-giving busybody in me.

I think my life is kinder and sweeter and gentler than some others’ lives, because the words “thank you” are really important in my world. I say it for small things like Brian taking my cup back to the kitchen, for someone handing me a pair of scissors without me asking, for someone holding the door, for someone sharing half of their snack with me.

I hear the words a lot, too. The folks in my life also value this rich way of celebrating friendship. There is something big about gratitude, even though the moments that bring on the sentiment can be small.

When I get home and Brian has already boiled water foApplesr us to make pasta or rice for dinner, I know he thought of me when I was gone. When I wake up and stumble down the stairs and he boils water so I can have a cup of tea, soonest… that is a small act that tells me he cares about my small comforts.

When I see apples on the tree in Altu’s parking lot (see photo) and know she loves apple crisp… and I take time to pick apples and bring her a homemade crisp as a surprise, she really appreciates that I thought of her when she was gone. And she thanks me for the thought as well as the dessert.

I think saying Thank You (even if you are not able to say “I love you” for whatever reason) really enriches a relationship, whether with a sweetheart, friend or colleague. I think speaking thanks is really important to both people involved. Even if someone is in your life “permanently,” that does not mean they do not appreciate small gestures. And it seems to me those who are closest should get the lion’s share of the kindnesses in our lives.

I once had a beau who thought he could be rude to me since I was close to him, while he was kind to strangers and business associates. Other than my belief that being kind to everyone is in general a good idea, I thought he was missing the point. Your loved ones should be treated even more specially because they are your loved ones. Or so it (still) seems to me.

Sometimes I get in a funk, as we all do. I feel sorry for myself that the weather is not as I prefer, that I can’t eat things I want to eat, that friends are not available when I wish they were, that I need to work a lot of hours to finish a deadline.

However, if I can turn around that negative voice, I can turn my day around as well. My mood and even my health can improve. I realize that I can eat many things I love and even go make something special which nourishes me. I realize that it’s just allergies I’m dealing with, not an illness. I realize that I have the means to get more comfortable inside my home, be it hot or cold or rainy outside. I realize that I am glad to have work that I love.

Try this, if you will: practice saying Thank You today. Do not expect anything extra from the person(s) you interact with, but instead notice how it can turn around your own mood.

And while you are at it, choose music that does not take you down. OK? Music can also be a mood-altering “substance” just like gratitude (or the lack thereof).

End of advice. Beginning of gratitude list.

  1. Even though it’s raining I’ve had a full and satisfying day.
  2. I could afford all my expenses (including a car repair).
  3. I did work I loved.
  4. I spent time with people I value, and I was not cold or wet.
  5. Dinner was good.
  6. The yarn I have dyed thus far is looking very happy to my eyes.
  7. I completed a task for a guild I’m in, which had been on hold for a full week.

Now I’m going to go thoroughly enjoy the softness of my bed and pillow, and my wonderful Ethiopian Gahbi/cotton blanket. Life is truly good.