The other day Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. It is a great holiday devoted to family and gratitude and—more and more—football and the start of the race to the stores to buy way too much for Christmas. Still, it is nice to take the time to voice our gratitude and appreciation for all we have.
Gratitude is the key, one that can help make life better in so many ways. If one appreciates life and all its messy details—and better yet—voices that appreciation, then it is hard to remain sad or grumpy or resentful of others. And, as Jospeh B. Wirthlin explains, noticing all the little things that make life worth living, often, means we will not ever truly take them for granted, an accident of life that is too easy to happen in the hecticness of day-to-day living:
“The more often we see the things around us—even the beautiful and wonderful things—the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds—even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”
I enjoyed the holiday and all the memories it awakens. Mom and Dad are always with me in spirit on that day. I make a pork roast (my tradition) in part because it was a favorite of Mom and Dad too. I also take some time to reflect on my life and what all I appreciate these days. It is another habit of mine, associated with the holiday.
Here are a few of things I am appreciative of today:
I appreciate family and friends. The holidays are a good reminder to tell those special people how you feel. It is not wise to make them read your mind. My sister Barbara routinely shares Mary Engelbreit’s delightful art with me. How great is that?
I am retired, a fact that still surprises me most days. But I am grateful that I have funds enough to live a good life. I can buy pretty much what I want and keep myself well stocked with books and movies to enjoy as I relax. The most recent book by Barbara Kingsolver is at the top of my list: Unsheltered.
I love Nature. Autumn especially is such a glorious time of year—the beauty is almost overwhelming! The photos here are from my most recent trip to enjoy the fall colors.
I appreciate that the recent elections are over, so the dreaded political advertising is over for a bit. I also like the election results. Having the elected representatives more closely matching what seems to be the ideological split in the country seems wise. Maybe those elected politicians (I cannot call them “leaders” on either side of the aisle) will finally start working together to better the country. I am hopeful, although not optimistic.
I appreciate all the fire fighters and first responders who come to help, no matter what tragedy they are called to. And I am so grateful for the charities that come forward to help survivors try to reclaim their lives. The fires most recently in California are horrible, so small victories are applauded. One of the three fires is contained and another almost so. The rains have not caused mudslides. I feel I must add “yet,” but I am still appreciative today for the good news.
I appreciate that my apartment complex allows residents to have pets. I get to see and greet dogs as they head out with owners. Cats are around too. A couple take afternoon naps on my patio, occasionally noticing me through the sliding glass door and giving me that why-did-you-disturb-me look. I love it!
I love that colder weather has finally arrived. I realize that is relative, and if I lived where it snowed and regularly dropped below freezing and stayed there, I might reassess. But in California, I now get to snuggle under an extra blanket and pull out my sweaters. And it rained a bit yesterday in my area—yeah!
I love the anticipation of Christmas. Not the commercials and sales or even the every-hour-on-the-hour movies about the cheerful Christmas spirit, but the memories that surface of past holidays, the plans for gifts that will be just right for loved ones, the favorite movies and songs that are nostalgic as well as bittersweet at times, and even the traditional sweets and goodies that are served throughout the holidays. It is a great time to remind others of the joy and wonder of Christmas.
Every day is a miracle. We need to consciously look for the wonder around us on a daily basis. Of what are you most appreciative today?
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Quotes about Appreciation & Gratitude
“If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. A lot of people don’t appreciate the moment until it’s passed.” Kanye West
“There’s so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am. I never want to take that for granted.” Josie Maran
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Brene Brown
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
“What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it—would you be likely to give them another? Life if the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.” Ralph Marston
“We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in different things. You want the vegetables—the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers—to retain their identity. You appreciate differences.” Jane Elliot
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” William Arthur Ward
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness if the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Denis Waitley
“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” Dalai Lama
“Once we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences, we can enjoy the best things in life.” Jerome K. Jerome
“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” Alice Walker
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Gilbert K. Chesterton
“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.” Mary Kay Ash
“Really appreciate the sunset as you’re driving home, cursing all the terrible drivers on the road. Be where you are when you’re there rather than out there in the future or back there in the past.” Valerie Harper
“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the times when we may pick up the fruit.” Anton Chekhov
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” Eckhart Tolle
“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.” Elie Wisesel
“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” Louie Schwartzberg
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire
“People will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Vincent Van Gogh
“If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation would be in all the hearts to behold the miraculous change.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” Anne Frank
“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” Wayne Dyer
“Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us—it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children.” Joyce Brothers
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The world will never starve for wonder, but only for want of wonder.” G. K. Chesterson