Tag Archives: gratitude

Making a list and checking it twice

Sparkling lights

Sparkling lights

Dear Santa,

My friend, Suzi Banks Baum–you know who she is–the one with Lake Superior flowing in her veins and heart–even though she lives somewhere out East, maybe in the Berkshires or some place near that Atlantic Sea–posted a blog yesterday which ignited my beating heart big time.

‘Twas a gratitude post, Santa, you know, the kind where you state for what you’re thankful, instead of what you want.

We humans are such wanters.

We want this, and this, and how ’bout that too?

They say that gratitude balances our wanting.

When wanting tips the scales in our lives, we might turn to a little gratitude and realize what we already heave.

When gratitude blisses us out, OK, maybe it’s OK to express a little wanting.

Santa, with Suzi’s example, I am making a list and checking it twice.

Telling you what I’m grateful for today, what blessings abound.

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The titillation of conflict

Black and white

Black and white

I am still amazed at our human propensity to be titillated about conflict.

Something in the human mind loves drama.

We so often rush to read about negativity, challenges, despair, suffering.

We’re often intrigued to learn more about the day’s sorrows than the day’s blessings.

In this Thanksgiving season, perhaps we might ponder this.

Why does part of us seem eager to read about, say, rapes and killings, slaps and death, arguments and fiscal crisis?  Our minds seem less interested in blessings and gratitude, joys and Thanksgiving.

We might disagree.  We might insist we want those blessings, that we appreciate our many gifts.  Yet how often do we humans often scurry to get down in the dirt of gossip, pain and anguish?

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Gratitude for sh*t

Gentle reader,

We’ve now reached Week 3 of this Gratitude series.

This week something happened.

I hesitate to tell you what.  It might offend your sensibilities.  Literally, this might stink.  It is a very sh*tty blog.

But let us persevere!

Only continue to read–if you dare.

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Can’t wait to get out of this boat & share weekly blessings

Two of the three pastors.  tee hee.

Two of the three pastors. tee hee.

Way back at the end of September–gosh was that only a week ago?–I vowed after reading Harula’s post:

Once a week in October, November and December I will  share Blessings, both received and given.  To consciously acknowledge some of the ordinary and extra-ordinary gifts of each day.  To focus on the many blessings which arise like the sun over our multi-colored ever-changing earth.

Every evening I scribbled a daily blessing in a small notebook covered with multi-colored circles.  The practice, thus far, has proved both inspiring and challenging.

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“Count our Blessings” blogging practice

Through the fog

Through the fog

Dear readers,

I have been inspired by a new blogging friend from Scotland–someone I met during The Great Blogging Switcheroo with Roughwighting this month.  Her name is Harula. She writes “Words that Serve” and inspires folks in many different ways.  Please stop by and visit her lovely site.

For nineteen weeks (thus far) she’s been sharing “Good Deeds”.  She focuses on good deeds given and received during her week.   She found inspiration from Rosie Amber who is also chronicling a year of Good Deeds.

I was so touched by this gratitude practice today and decided to share a similar blogging commitment during these last three months of 2013.

Once a week in October, November and December I will  share Blessings, both received and given.  To consciously acknowledge some of the ordinary and extra-ordinary gifts of each day.  To focus on the many blessings which arise like the sun over our multi-colored ever-changing earth.

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Up all night birthing a goat

At morning’s first light–before a busy day–slowly scrolling down the Facebook home page.

Marvelling at the differences in friends, family and acquaintances.  Marvelling that I’m not feeling irritated at the differences this morning–that the mind is not judging, sorting, categorizing as it loves to do.

Instead, look at the sparks of God!

This one ponders if she’ll be up all night birthing a goat.

 A week-old baby goat. OK, I didn't help birth it.

A week-old baby goat. OK, I didn’t help birth it.

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Fare thee well, fallow fields and yet another blogging break

Time to leaf you…

And now…it’s time for this one to take another blogging break.

Yes, you knew this would happen, didn’t you?

You recognize the pattern, don’t you, even though I’ve tried to deny it?

Some of us create, create, create, create…and then our fields must lie fallow as we renew, as we build up the soil of our creativity.

As the chill of November deepens, as the winds whip to a frenzy on Lake Superior, as the snowflakes scurry and spin…some of us heed the call to turn inward, to dream, to listen to the deepest inner voice whispering between pine needles, between scurrying autumn leaves scuttling on the frozen earth.

Last time I took one of these regular breaks a couple of you expressed concern, worry.  No, my friends!  Never worry about me while on retreat.  I am happy, somehow, at these times.  When the computer mostly turns off, when the emphasis turns inward, something in my soul sings like a cheerful chickadee.

(It sings in outward creativity and sharing, too, but it’s a different kind of song.)

As we turn toward the Thanksgiving holidays, I give thanks for all of you.

For your steadfast presence in my life.

For all the gifts you share with others.

For the gift of sharing your precious self, your unique thoughts, your individual gumption, your brightness, your magnificent beauty.  Your gorgeousness…

In my absence, please feel free to peruse my New and Revised blog roll.  Finally, after months and months, I’ve added new names & faces for you to enjoy.  I’ve deleted those who’ve passed by the wayside or remained silent so long that they’re composting into new friends.

Evergreen blessings!  May our hearts open further in gratitude in this upcoming season…

Life’s patterns…

P.S. The comments are turned off, dear readers, because we’re not saying goodbye, are we? We’re saying fare thee well, ye fallow field, ye. We’re shouting *over the river and through the woods* “Until we meet again! Fare thee well! Fare thee well!”

200,000 hits? Arms wide open…

Zig zag

You may have noticed a flurry of blogging here on Lake Superior Spirit lately.  (You haven’t?  You thought it was just ordinary blogging?)

I am here bright & early before work on a Monday morning to tell you–it’s been a flurry. 

Flurry, flurry, blogging flurry.

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I would like to send you a Christmas card.

Old cards cut up...ready to make new cards

I would like to send you a Christmas card.

If you are a regular reader–

or commenter–

someone with whom we’ve formed a blogging relationship–

I would like to send you a Christmas card,

a token,

an appreciation for your presence in my life.

Every year, come December 1st, I send out 20-40 Christmas cards to loved ones, family, friends.

But this year I would like to send you a Christmas card, too, because you are dear to me.  Because you pause to read.  Because you care.

Please email with your snail mail address to:

(please put a comment in the “comment” section and I will respond to you by email)

and I will send you a Christmas card filled

with love and gratitude.

(It may even be a handmade one, too–or perhaps one with a Lake Superior Spirit photo on the front, even though it may be a flower or waves, thereby not looking like a Christmas card at all.)

Today does not look like Christmas at all. It's foggy, rainy and gray. However, we must start thinking about Christmas!

P.S.  If any spammers steal my email address–bad Christmas elves–may have to cut this offer short, so hurry and tell me soon!  The scissors, stickies, cards, photos and envelopes are ready.

I eagerly await creating something special just for you.

Love, Kathy

What is the opposite of Thanksgiving?

Larger view

Perhaps we all know what Thanksgiving is.  We know what it feels like.  Underneath all our turkey and stuffing, we know that Thanksgiving feels like gratitude, appreciation and love.  It smells like pumpkin pie mixed with joy.  It tastes like mashed potatoes whipped with the heart’s fairest harvest.  It is the giving of the feast of compassion, the giving of our deepest gifts.

But what is the opposite of Thanksgiving?

Closer view

Could it be the way we steer through our days on auto-pilot, concerned only about getting things done?  Concerned primarily about connecting the dots between A and B?  Could the opposite of Thanksgiving be our busy lives, our focused doing, our physical robotic movements?

Could the opposite of Thanksgiving be our forgetting to be grateful?  Our forgetting to marvel at the small gifts which life presents, moment after moment, hour after hour, day after day?  Could it be a sin of our attention?  As we focus on (you fill in the blank of your hectic schedule) do we simply give our attention to other things, forgetting to let the heart drink of appreciation and gratitude?

Closer

Is the opposite of Thanksgiving our tendency to focus on what’s wrong, what’s not working in the fabric of our days?  Are we focused on what’s ripped, what’s broken, what seems beyond repair?  Are our eyes and thoughts frantically attempting to fix, to sew, to knit new ways of existing?  Are we lost in our imperfection, our humanity, our feelings of wrongness?  Could this be the opposite?

Dock reflections

Are we ever simply ungrateful for what Life brings us?  Do we expect Life to bring us wine and roses, and mutter under our breath when it delivers compost and mud?  Do we think we deserve a basic standard of living or a millionaire’s dream?  Are we comparing ourselves with our neighbors and feeling envious?  Is this the opposite of Thanksgiving?

Do we think Thanksgiving is too much effort, or too silly, or impotent?  Do we think that it doesn’t really matter?  Do we not care?  Do we think gratitude is not a dove flying free above the trees, an orange sunset, the hug of a small child?

Ladder above and under water

Do we sometimes give from obligation, from tradition, from a heart partially squeezed shut in a frustration of too-much-materialism?  How much do we hold back from our family, friends, the world?  Is the opposite of Thanksgiving stinginess, clutching our gifts toward our own chests, attempting to fill an inner sense of lack, an inner suffering?

As we sit before our turkey or ham or green bean casserole, as we kneel our heads in prayer, as we smile at family members, shall we remember also the opposite of Thanksgiving?

And tomorrow–when we whip out our VISA cards and buy Christmas presents–can we remember again what Thanksgiving feels like and bring it into our daily busy lives, our tendency to forget, our focus on what’s missing?

Day is done. Gone the sun...

Thanks.  Giving.  Two simple words. 

Bringing them more fully into our daily lives may mean looking more deeply at why we choose other options between sunrise and sunset, why we grasp or push away Thanksgiving in our daily lives.

It’s not about feeling shame or guilt–wishing we could live Thanksgiving 24/7.  Instead it’s about finding space for these precious qualities in the ordinary moments of our day, in the rushing out the door, in the simple act of baking pie.  It’s a gentle reminder to ourselves:  Thanksgiving is now, when we choose to remember it.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family–from our Little House in the Big Woods