9 days worth

Good intentions, best-laid plans, life happens but all is not lost. I am here, still working on the Gratitude Habitude!

This will be a condensed list in hopes to get back on track.

  1. Time Away! I enjoy traveling, especially to far off places that involve passports and plane rides. This past weekend involved travel, in a car, just a few hours away. The plan: visit a few breweries, take a few long walks, and sleep. We did all that. Very relaxing. My new favorite beer, Dragon Point IPA,  is now about 90 miles away at Intracoastal Brewing Company! If you live near Melbourne, FL go there and enjoy yourself (responsibly).
  2. Gratitude List: does keeping a list seem wrong? Does it make being grateful a chore? Or does it help you recall that your life is more balanced than it seems when the car a/c breaks down, you need to go grocery shopping with all 3 kids under 5 and your boss needs that report NOW? My answer, it helps me remember that my life is never as awful as I think it is and that there is always something, many things, to be grateful for in my life every day.
  3. Flowers: my gratitude list is a vase of flowers in which I’ve been writing what/who I am grateful for in the petals and then coloring. I’ll show you this at the end of the month. Don’t get too excited, drawing is way down on my list of talents.
  4. Scripture: Each day begins with me reading scripture. I read the daily readings and think about how they apply to me. Each day I am reminded of something that I need to hear. Sometimes it’s a word which builds me up, other times it may be a gentle rebuke to stop a certain behavior or a thought I share with others. Whatever it is, I begin my day knowing God is present and I can call for help when I need it.
  5.  Coffee: Don’t judge, I drink decaf. And sometimes I drink flavored coffee. Tonight it’s Hazelnut.
  6. Quote: from Zig Ziglar “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
  7. Showing Gratitude: do we show others we appreciate them, not only when they do something nice for us or help us, do we take time to be present when they need us? Do we reach out to those we love and let them know? Are we kind to strangers? Do we show respect to all? I think a grateful person is caring and respectful of all the people we come into contact with all day long.
  8.  How about a song?

Saturday Song – All Good Gifts

Almost thirty-four years ago we sang this song at our wedding. It was one of my husband’s favorites and so we included it in our ceremony. On our 20th anniversary, we had a big celebration and our daughter played it on the flute for us. It holds many fond memories for us.

And it makes so much sense, “All good gifts around us; Are sent from Heaven above; Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love” to remember that everything we have has been given to us by God and that being thankful, being grateful, is the appropriate response.

Do we thank God for the world he has given us? And more importantly, do we take care of it? Do we use natural resources wisely? Do we waste food? Do we throw things away rather than looking if they can be repaired or recycled or given away?

Ponder & Pray: Am I doing my best in caring for the natural world? Spend some time outside today, in some green space or the beach. Thank God for the gifts he has given us in the world.

Live in the Good

Is there ever a day without hiccups?
I think not.
It’s when we dwell on the rough spots that we forget
All the good.

Dwell instead on the
Guy who held the door for you
Lunch with a friend
Conversation that makes you think

Think about
Folded laundry
Food in the refrigerator
Water to drink

Look forward to
Relaxing on the weekend
Wine to share
Hands to hold

And remember
God loves you more than you can possibly imagine
You are his
He wants your good

Hiccups will pass
The road will smooth
Breathe deeply
Live in the good

Ponder & Pray: When it’s hard to focus on the good in your day, stop and look around. See the good and thank God for all he has given you.

 

Windshield wipers, Umbrellas,and Roses

It began and pretty much remained a grey, blustery and rainy day today. As I drove in the rain I realized how helpful the wipers were. Seriously helpful. When I was a teacher we would carpool to work every day. One of us, not me, had a car with faulty wipers. And every afternoon in August and September the rain would begin as we left work to drive over thirty miles back home. So we would stop, the driver would pull out pliers and tighten some screw on the wipers to get them to work again. The whole episode was repeated every time she drove. I remembered that today and was so grateful I didn’t have to stop and fix my wipers.

Of course, it was pouring when I got to the office and my umbrella was in my office! Thankfully I wasn’t wearing anything white. I like umbrellas but I usually lose the really good ones that combine good coverage and a pretty design.

My husband made a stop at Costco on his way home from work. So while I was getting dinner ready he was doing some shopping and brought me home pink roses along with the other items on the list. What a nice surprise and a reminder that I am loved.

Ponder & Pray: I was having a blue kind of day between the weather and getting wet and other things. But I just tired to stay focused on what was positive. It was helpful and it helped. What can you do when you are having a blue day to not get bogged down in the negativity of it all? I know it helped that I started my day in prayer. Thank God for what went right today and for the people who love you even when you are not at your best.

Wednesday Wisdom

This journey of mine into gratitude began when I realized I was unhappy but could not find the cause or root of my unhappiness. I just had this vague feeling of missing out on things or that it could be better if. But no real idea of what it concerned me. It’s as if I was always thinking “the grass is greener” but not so much on the other side as the saying goes but just anywhere that I wasn’t. It was very poor and destructive thinking. I kept thinking I was missing out.
For over a week now I’ve been trying to re-train my brain. To stop when those negative thoughts creep in and focus on what is good in my life. Whether I recall the conversation with a friend, a person I could help or the fact that I took a hot shower without wondering if I would even have water, it helps me. It pulls me back to my reality, to the life God has given me. A life in which there are abundant blessings. A life which is full.

Ponder & Pray: What are the simple things in your life that you are grateful for? Everything from a roof over our heads to a spouse who always kisses you goodnight are reminders of God’s blessings. Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, here is his Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon for you to pray.

PS: Sorry about sending you Saturday’s post earlier today. I’m in denial about wearing glasses while on the computer. 

Good Friends

This TED talk was in my Facebook feed and I listened to it, only 12 minutes or so.

In the end, what makes us happy and have a long and healthy life are relationships! We don’t need to have hundreds of friends; we want quality over quantity. I also found it interesting to hear that quality relationships are a protective factor not only for the body but for your mind as well.
We live today in an instant world. We want it now. But building a good relationship takes time. My dearest friends are the ones who have journeyed with me through life. They know my secrets. My pain. My joys. And I know theirs. We laugh, we cry, we lift each other up and pull each other off the ledge. We talk about everything and nothing. We start a conversation about our job and we end up talking about how to thread a sewing machine. We are sisters. Bound together not by blood but with love.

Ponder & Pray:  Today think about the people in your life who are your friends. The ones you can count on to be there for you, fully present, when you need them. Thank God for them. And then, tell them. Because it never hurts to tell those we love, cherish and appreciate what they mean to us.

Grateful for Mercy

I want to be the person who instantly recalls all the good and needs to think long and hard for the not so good. Sadly, that’s not the way it is for me. If it is for you, do you learn to be this way or is it your natural inclination? I like to say that my natural inclination is to be a realist, but maybe I spend too much time being “real” and not enough time being thankful.
This month my focus is on learning to be grateful. To make gratitude the focus, not in a superficial way of listing all the things that went my way in a day, but really pondering what good things God had given me. I love and am eternally grateful for God’s mercy. Without it, I would be a hot mess. In Psalm 31 which is a Prayer in Distress and Thanksgiving for Escape, David cries out for God’s help in his distress, asking for help, love and mercy. God gives us all of this, and so we can say, in our pain, confusion or suffering, “I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy, once you have seen my misery, gotten to know the distress of my soul” (Ps 31:8).
Are you glad for God’s mercy? I hope you are because it is there for the asking. And as the verse says, his mercy is ours once we show him our misery and distress. We need to be honest with God. That may seem like a silly thing to say, after all, God knows everything. But we try to hide ourselves from him, especially those parts that are not quite up to being looked upon by God. Don’t try to hide, lay it all out for him so that mercy can be extended to you.

Ponder & Pray: What gifts from God are you most grateful for? Faith, Mercy, Hope, Love? Thank him today for those and ask for an increase in whatever you feel lacking. Pray to be filled so that you can share what he gives you with others.

Gratitude Habitude

Happy October! October means it is time for Write 31 Days. I’m excited to begin this challenge of writing every day this month on the topic of gratitude! A few months back I decided that my word or really, my virtue to aspire to and have more of was joy. Sadly, focusing on joy hasn’t been working out for me. As I prayed and pondered why joy was not happening, gratitude kept coming up. I think, and not just me, that gratitude is linked to joy. And that gratitude can be cultivated so that it becomes the usual practice in life. And when you focus on gratitude, joy is a fruit of gratitude.
So, this month that is what my focus will be, building a gratitude habitude! (yes, habitude is a word, I checked)
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To start us off on our gratitude habitude today I am grateful for a wonderful catechist team at work, going to 5:30pm Mass, and coffee. What about you?
See you tomorrow!

Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth

Mary; the Blessed Mother; the Virgin Mary; Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth; Mary, Star of the Sea; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Our Lady of Grace; Our Lady of Charity; Immaculate Mary; the Madonna; all titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior.

That very brief list is but a mere glimpse of the titles given to the woman who, from her conception had no sin and gave her “fiat” to the Angel Gabriel and bore a Son who saved us all. May is traditionally the month in which we honor Mary and October is considered the month of the Rosary, there are Marian feast days throughout the Roman Catholic calendar. Last Tuesday was the feast of the Assumption and today is the feast of the Queenship of Mary. Rosary fast fact: those are the last two mysteries of the Glorious mysteries.

Like most Catholics, I have a few favorite Marian prayers and images. As a young girl, I learned the Memorare and have treasured it always. The words are a comfort, reminding us that Mary will indeed help us through our trials and difficulties when we ask for her help.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Our Lady Undoer of Knots

Another favorite, which is both a prayer and an image is Our Lady Undoer of Knots. This is a novena that asks Mary to help us untie the knots in our life. The image shows Mary patiently untying knots in a ribbon, the ribbon of our lives once again becomes smooth with Mary’s intercession.

Madonna of the Streets

My favorite image of Our Lady is called the Madonna of the Streets by the Italian artist Roberta Ferruzzi. Here is the story behind the painting, known as Madonninia in Italian.

Whatever prayers and images of Mary speak to you makes no difference. Mary always points us to her Son so when we honor Mary she draws us closer to herself and leads us to her Son. Devotion to Mary reminds us to have her humility but also her strength. She never takes Jesus’ place but she stood at the foot of the cross, watching her only Son give his life for all of humanity.

 

Please take a look at our posts for this month Blog Hop with the Siena Sisters!