This is a periodic blog feature I call “grace notes.” It occasionally captures my jottings of incidental gratitude. My hope is that this practice will make me (and you?) more aware of the constant flow of amazing good we are perpetually steeped in, which we are surrounded by all the time. It is here only asking to be noticed and amplified.
So now I am furthering my ongoing goal of appreciating such a continuous, overflowing abundance of random good. I’ve even taken photographs of some of them –mostly with my iPhone– which you can see in this post.
So let’s start this gratitude list with:
- I’m grateful for my husband’s green thumb and that I’m privileged to be living with three reblooming amaryllises and three reblooming orchids simultaneously in my living room in the month of January. These amazing splashes of cheery color are so appreciated!
- I’m so glad that all three children were home for Christmas, and that our daughters stayed into the New Year. In the photos you can see us enjoying neighborhood walks together, meals, and fires in our fireplace. I’m grateful both are happily re- ensconced in their out of state lives with safety and progressive aplomb. I am so grateful for their ongoing friendship.
- I’m grateful that I’ve been pretty consistent with my New Year’s goals so far, settling on at least two gym classes per week and everyday at least 5000 steps for the month of January. I’ve kept it, except when driving our youngest back to school prematurely to avoid a snow storm, and hibernating indoors during some severe ice. This is a big step up from my former (note that I am not saying usual!) sedentary self, and I’m so grateful to be feeling energized instead of burdened about it. I plan to keep these goals for February (except 3 classes when I can) and notch up the step goal again in March. It is great to feel on track with both this and a stable eating plan.
- One perk of walking more is that I’m seeing more sunsets, and enjoying my neighborhood more. I’m also looking forward to more photography from hiking once the weather allows, like it did during a respite last weekend (see here).
- As nice as it is to have our children return home, I’m enjoying being back to just my husband and I as well. Last Sunday evening, we sat together, reading separately, next to a roaring fire, with my feet on his lap. I am so grateful for this comfortable, supportive, lighthearted but spiritually motivated companionship! I don’t take it for granted for a minute!
- One of the things we are doing in the New Year is giving ourselves three hours together per week, usually on a Friday afternoon, to improve our home. Those roll out drawers (see photo below) in our impossible to reach under the counter “pantry” in our kitchen was one such upgrade. I am so thrilled with it! I wonder why it took two and a half decades to do! Our coat closet has also gotten a leg up, with snow boots now fitting in there, instead of strewn in our front hall. Wow. It feels good to show up for oneself. I’m grateful we’ve made these steps of progress into fun events, instead of beating ourselves up, or blaming, avoiding, making excuses, being too lazy, or fussing about it. It is great to be looking forward together.
- I am grateful for my usual book groups at my local independent bookstore (both history and fiction ones) where I will continue to frequent, but this year James and I are floating a new self improvement book group to be held in our home eight times this year. We are looking forward to utilizing it to read some things we don’t seem to get to otherwise, as well as build community across a wide range of people we know locally. We threw in a potluck before it to make it even more fun and festive. I’m grateful to have had a great response to it, asking people to commit to four of the eight books for the year. It is fun to have this to look forward to and to see how it unfolds. I’ll keep you posted! The first book we picked is the hardest of the year though…
- I am proud of my brother-in-law who successfully completed his first marathon this month in Houston in just over 4 hours. He trained for this goal assiduously and deserves kudos for accomplishing it so gracefully and masterfully.
- I’m also grateful our friend Loree of Loree’s Kitchen (where I had a solo show last July) was able to successfully sell her catering business, where she has devoted herself for the last 37 years. Every hurdle to this process was surmounted with grace and a great attitude. I’m grateful she’ll have more time now to play with me and I’m looking forward to making her a congratulatory dinner soon.
- I’m glad to have removed any art goals from my year other than an effort at improving both my art and my teaching of it. I’m loving experimenting, reading about it, and unpacking how I think about it. It is nice not to be in production mode, as much as I enjoyed that last year. I am feeling more reflective about it and have tons of things I want to try. I almost feel like a puppy with big ankles just anticipating the growth spurt!
- I am so glad to be rededicated to getting up earlier and it is jumpstarting my whole spiritual practice. I couldn’t be more grateful to feel reenergized in both my faith itself and how I think about it. I am doing some new (and renewed!) journal practices that are really working for me, as well as delving more deeply into our Christian Science Weekly Bible Lessons, and my jsh.online subscription.
- I am grateful for our solar power, for our habits of buying with as little packaging as possible, for recycling, for thrift shops, for compost piles, for reducing waste in every way possible. I am grateful we do not generally over buy (except maybe books and art materials?!) and that we make every effort at being fiscally responsible.
- I’m grateful to my Instagram followers (where I posted most of these photos initially) and in the last photo you can see my nine top posts of last year. It is interesting to me that while I post my face rarely, those get the most likes. Also, that was my least commented on painting of the last year on this blog, as well as during my big October one woman show, but it was Instagram’s favorite. Interesting! (I love seeing your posts on Instagram, so let me know how to follow you so this relationship is less one-way! You can find and follow my Instagram here.) I’m grateful for the Instagram platform, as it is a wonderful way to feel in touch with those you love as well as follow those topics of interest to you, meeting new people in the process.
- I’m grateful the government is back to work. I have friends who were unpaid but still showing up to do essential work that are so very relieved to be able to resume meeting their financial commitments after a long season of unneeded stress and deprivation during the shutdown. I’m glad that unfairness is over for them for the time being.
- I am very grateful for the ongoing, increasing interest in this blog as we launch into its second decade. I am so glad we have this place to meet and share. I’m grateful for each and every one of you readers! And thank you for sharing this blog and its posts with your friends! I feel you out there shining in your lives!
Put some of your grace notes in the comments!