Grace Notes (#52 with Photos)

Grace Notes (#52 with Photos)

Grace notes

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 taken photographs of some of them with my iPhone, which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • The big news is that we’ve just paid off our house mortgage. Wow, I’m so grateful for this!  Now we can start saving in earnest. Plus, we love our house, and have lived here 33 years. We plan to continue to stay here. We are so happy to have it secure in our keeping.
  • We’ve also just gotten our dining room painted. You can see it in progress, in this first two photos below, as well as completed in the photo above. In addition to being grateful for it having been painted, I’m grateful my husband restored the floor, which has had a major amount of traffic over these many years, and he oiled down all the furniture as well. It is so nice to have everything in this room that we use often so shining and clean.
  • It was lovely to have our youngest home for “spring break” which was actually a work retreat for all of us, punctuated by some good meals. Still it was wonderful to get to be together at the edges of our work days and play some games of Crowns with her. I’m so grateful she’s nearing the end of her PhD program with such grace, discipline, self-knowledge, and aplomb. Next time we see her she will have defended her dissertation!
  • I’m grateful our older daughter went skiing for the first time and liked it. I enjoy thinking of her having some fun in the fresh mountain air, and not cooped up working all the time. I’m also grateful her church is feeling revitalized after a lecture whose lecturer I recommended and whose invitation and signage included my art.
  • I’m grateful for lots of good work in my healing practice, and for lots of quiet time inside, as winter turns to spring. I’m grateful to Jesus for going through all that he did to show us both how to live and heal, but also to reassure us that we live forever. I’m grateful his legacy (even though muddled) remains thousands of years later; that’s really remarkable!
  • I’m grateful too for lots of time working in art journals and sketchbooks, regenerating my art practice from deep within.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunities to give five art workshops this year, three short ones in Connecticut this spring, a week long one in Maine at the end of August, and another in Maine in October.
  • I’m grateful for our other travel plans too: Alexandria, Virginia and Washington DC in April, Boston at the beginning of June for Annual Meeting, then the PSME Plein Air Retreat in the middle June in Maine (that I’m cooking for as well). Then at some point in the summer, I’ll be moving our younger daughter to her next place. In September, I’ll go on a painting/hiking trip to Monhegan Island in Maine with friends, followed by a trip with my husband to England, visiting London, the Lake District, Northumberland, the Yorkshire Downs, and a stop in Cambridge to visit with dear blog readers. Then, for a few days in October, we’ll be in Texas, then I’ll be in Boston again in November. All this keeps our year well punctuated with interest and discovery, and hopefully gives back more than it takes.
  • I’m grateful to be a lifelong learner, to be understanding more each day, and mastering more of those topics of particular interest to me. I’m grateful for all the myriad avenues of inspiration and instruction that enter my life from all directions.
  • I’m grateful for my reading life, all the good books available, and for my wonderful book groups, full of intelligent, insightful people. All these enrich my life so much.
  • I’m grateful to be in the final throws of finishing my new art website after letting progress on it languish for several months. I’m grateful that I am having the courage and stamina to seize the day and face doing this work, which feels so hard when looked at as a whole, but when chunked down, becomes possible.
  • I’m grateful I write poetry, and that it is such a healthy outlet for me.
  • I’m grateful for natural parklands so close to me, not only to hike in, but I’ve been outside already three times this spring painting on picnic tables there surrounded by beauty. I’m grateful being outside is so invigorating for me, and I’m looking forward to better weather when I can be out more.
  • I’m grateful to have found a dress to wear to the gala next month, and am looking forward to seeing my sweetheart in a tux.
  • I’m grateful for good pizza dates with my husband, and great cribbage hands.
  • I’m grateful to be doing a “no buy year,” except for my pre-stated caveats. It is a good discipline to have to use what you already have. It gets easier as the months go by, and I’m grateful for that too, since the first month I found it really difficult.
  • I’m grateful for my check off lists of habits that keep me on track. For example, I’m grateful for a long streak of regularly getting more water in me since the new year. I’m grateful that for the first time in my life I’m not so dehydrated. I’m also grateful to be getting in the Bible Lesson everyday without fail, and am trying to learn to be better about so many other things, which are not yet so systematic. Seeing progress is exciting, but first you have to track it to know; I’m grateful to be doing that.
  • I’m grateful being president of the board at church and part time First Reader is proving to be a seamless and easy contribution.
  • I’m grateful for our local fish shop and for a new organic produce store that has just moved in two blocks from us.
  • I’m grateful we’ve ordered two new hydrangea plants for our corner (with a Christmas gift card from my sister) to replace others no longer viable. The previous ones were white; these will be blue.
  • I’m grateful for our cherished visiting crocodile, for sunsets and sunrises, for popovers made by our daughter and apple turnovers made by my husband.
  • I’m grateful that the nephew whose wedding we went to last September and his bride are now expecting. I’m grateful our other nephew on that side of the family has just bought his first house, and we’ll get to see it when we go south in April.
  • I’m grateful for the dormancy of winter contrasted with the blooming glory of spring. I’m grateful my husband has started his seeds for the garden. I’m grateful our yard is already sporting crocus, daffodils, scilla, and hyacinth. I’m grateful for my husband’s genius at growing things, especially our indoor lemon tree, which we’ve been eating off of all winter.
  • I’m grateful for light on the far hills as seen from my office (see photo below), and well as that space in general where I spend so very much of my time. I’m grateful for my yellow leather prayer chair that was my mother’s, for my desk where I study and write, for my art table in the center, and my easel, flat files, archive room, and drafting board. I’m grateful for all my fountain pens and their fabulous ink colors, for my paints and pastels, my drawing tools, gelli plates, brushes and scissors and glue. I’m grateful for the miracle of all sorts of specialized paper, the right one for every purpose.
  • I’m grateful to have sold a very unique painting about my childhood this week to a soul sister I don’t know much at all but who totally gets it and had a remarkably similar, parallel experience. It just shows there is a market for anything, even if you made it just for yourself.
  • I’m grateful to be delivering paintings to two upcoming shows this weekend.
  • I’m grateful my husband’s podcast (The Bible Speaks to You) is doing so well and that he continues to thrive doing it. I’m grateful he’s been interviewed on so many other people’s podcasts too.
  • I’m grateful for salamanders, and spring peepers, and bullfrogs,  butterflies, and hummingbirds, and platypus, wood thrushes, and ladybugs, and bears, octopus, and turtles, and trees of every kind. I am grateful for all those who help steward our amazing planet.
  • I’m grateful for organic, pasture raised eggs with bright orange yolks.
  • I’m grateful for all those who are earnest and trustworthy, kind, and helpful, creative and colorful, brilliant and insightful. I’m grateful for every good idea, and every conscientious deed. I’m grateful for mathematical law, spiritual law, and even traffic laws. I’m grateful for order wherever it is found, for delicious food made by others, for every instance of moral purity, and for every time anyone seeks peace.
  • I’m grateful for each one of you wonderful blog readers, for giving this blog a reason to be. Thank you for reading this far and deep. Thank you for subscribing and sharing my posts. Thank you for any financial support and all of your suggestions. Thank you for being you and for joining me in trying to amplify good in this world. I’m sending you love, hugs, and heartfelt thanks.

Add your own grace notes in the comments!






















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. Meg+Hanson 4 months ago

    Your Grace Notes helps me to remember how many things I have to be grateful for. It is easy to get caught up complaining about small annoying things, and missing the big picture. Sometimes when my family and my sister’s family get together for a meal we do “Thankfuls” where everyone goes around the table and says a few things they are thankful for. It is a nice tradition.

  2. Dilys 4 months ago

    Dearest Polly, thank you for your selfless sharing, your fine example of how to live a productive, joyful life and your wonderful insights!
    We are truly blessed by them all!
    With appreciation and love x

  3. Karen 4 months ago

    Thank you Polly for this wonderful reminder of the daily need to be conscious of things we have to be grateful for. It is so easy to take many things for granted as we go about our days. I’m very grateful for a new refrigerator this week. And not having a properly working refrigerator for 10 days reminded me to be humble and grateful for conveniences like this that we pretty much take for granted in our country. Grateful for your inspired sharing. ✨️

  4. Ginny Nilsen 4 months ago

    Grateful for your post today! I too am taking the year to be spending-free, other than groceries and CSPS necessities. So? I just finished “Braiding Sweetgrass” wow! What a writer. Have you read it? I loved it. I always love your bits and pieces and all you share.

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