Grace Notes #18 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #18 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #18

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:

  • That I have a warm, cosy place to live, especially in winter and in cold. We’ve had some furnace issues this month that has helped me not take this for granted. Put that together with multiple snows and an earlier “polar vortex,” and I’m glad not to be an indigenous person huddling around the fire, barely out of the elements.  I’m also grateful for the solar panels on our house, and for all the protection, comfort, and convenience a modern home offers. Running water! Indoor toilets! Refrigerators and freezers! Sofas and mattresses! Yay!


  • I’m grateful for all the food in this post, none of which was made by me. I’m grateful for my husband’s signature quiche (recipe is on the blog here) and for that lovely breakfast surprise he made me (first photo below) with almond croissants, fresh out of the oven, on my mother’s china. (I’m grateful for that china too; it encapsulates a wonderful memory for me. I bought it early on as a young professional for my mother on Mother’s Day, when she came to visit me in New York City. She loved it, and I loved giving it to her, so it is especially fun to use. Also because of our recent hutch redo, these plates were accessible for the first time in years! ) I’m grateful too for food you blog readers have made me. One of you made that awesome dip, which I confess to inhaling most of!  (Someday I’ll have to make that myself and get it on the blog.) And of course I’m grateful for exceptional french fries, these pictured below I recently had with one of you blog readers, as we caught up after not seeing each other in a while.


  • I’m grateful for the art groups I’m in and for the spirit of sharing and support and help among the participants. I’m grateful to the generous kind souls who either bring my paintings places or pick them up for me, when I’m unable to swing it. I’m grateful for all the volunteers that make these groups possible, and for all the tips and recommendations of where to show that are generously suggested to me. I’m also grateful to have been able to hear recently a panel discussion on how to obtain artist-in-residencies, which is something I’d like to do more of in the future.


  • I’m grateful to have been accepted for my second artist in residency at Creative Arts Camp in Maine for next August. Putting that together with going to Albuquerque for the IAPS (International Pastel Association) Conference the first week of June– for six days of classes with some of the top pastellists in the world– and then going on a camping trip in July with our younger daughter to northeastern Canada, I’m looking forward to a fabulous summer. Any one of these three things would set me aloft. All three? I’m over the moon!


  • I’m grateful our younger daughter got into a good PhD program for Physics, and is awaiting other possible offers. I’m glad I can fully trust her intuition and decisions as she decides her future directions. I’m grateful she calls home often and is looking forward to being home next week for spring break. In the photo below, you can see her happy to win a prize for bingo; I snagged that photo from the college’s Instagram feed, where I came across it by surprise. I’m also glad she competed so strongly in her college’s oratory competition. She not only overcame stage fright to do it, but the content of her talk contained genuine personal wisdom that far exceeds her years. I’m so grateful she faced doing that and felt the exhilaration and triumph of putting herself out there.


  • I’m grateful for our little church and the dedication and family feeling among its members. I’m grateful to be growing by leaps and bounds in my understanding and faith. I’m also grateful for the friends (also pictured below) who are serving as our readers in church right now. Additionally, I’m glad we have Sunday brunch together after church as often as we do, and I’m so glad they stayed here instead of moving away, as they contemplated doing!


  • I’m grateful my husband’s aunt is so vibrant, and that she now has great grandchildren on the way! She is such a great example of graceful matriarchy. Check out her valentine photo below with the amaryllis we sent her for Christmas. I love that I love my in-laws so much and don’t take that for granted for one second.


  • I’m grateful for the beauty of this area, even on gray days.


  • I’m grateful progress is a law of God.


  • I’m grateful to be reading a bunch of books right now that I like!


  • I’m grateful to be teaching my Monday morning abstract art class again. See what $400 of art materials for them looks like in the photo below– not like much, but we’ll do miracles with it!


  • I’m grateful to be surrounded right now by five re-blooming orchids and three re-blooming amaryllises. I’m so grateful my husband has the green thumb he has.


  • I’m grateful my husband and I continue to be making progress professionally. Also, we seem to be getting it more and more together around here regarding the details of life. Slow, but steady. I’m glad the trajectory is ever upward, and that we like each other everyday a little more than the last.


  • I’m grateful for clean flannel sheets and multiple down comforters.


  • I’m grateful our gym is a half a block away, and that we are utilizing it.


  • I’m grateful to have run into out of state friends at another friends’ father’s lovely memorial service.


  • I’m grateful for light in the darkness, good ideas, hugs, corduroy, Lyft drivers, bookmarks, kindness, macadamia nuts, quiet reverence, deep satisfaction, energy, paint, winter boots, cheerful yellow ranunculus, iPhones, inspirational eureka moments, oat cakes, a cleaner office, the radiance of a new day (see the golden dawn photo from my office window; it only lasted a moment that way, but how glorious!).


  • And I’m incredibly grateful for each and every one of you blog readers! You make my day every day!


I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. LOREE OGAN 5 years ago

    I’m grateful for you and James in my life.

  2. Gillian Smith 5 years ago

    And I’m grateful too – have reorganised two of my drawers …. what a transformation … and have bought frozen spinach (currently defrosting) for the signature quiche. What treasures you both share with each other and with us all. Bless you!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 5 years ago

      Yay! Let me know how it comes out!

  3. Maryanne Rupp 5 years ago

    It is too easy to dwell on the negative in our lives. This was a nice jolt, to be reminded to be grateful for all the blessings we take for granted everyday! Thanks for sharing!

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