A sense of Thankfulness to others is an important by-product of a generous and virtuous life. All people can recognize that they are indebted to their parents, who gave them birth and raised them at considerable sacrifice. But our indebtedness extends much further than that. Fundamentally, we are indebted to our Creator and the powers of nature that nourish and sustain our life. Then, since the food we eat travels from the soil to our dining table by passing through many hands–that cultivate, harvest, clean, package, transport, sell, and prepare it–we should recognize that we rely on the labors of many people in order to survive. A sense of thankfulness and gratitude to others is thus acknowledging our interdependent existence; it is an antidote to the illusion of egoism. Such gratitude is expressed in the prayer of grace or thanks offered before meals. Another dimension of gratitude is directed towards those who are responsible for our education and enlightenment in the way of truth and salvation. Gratitude towards one’s teachers, and especially towards those people who help us grow spiritually is a proper attitude of thankfulness. Most of all, we should be thankful to our Maker, who quietly has been guiding and nurturing us toward eternal life, and without whose grace the world would be plunged in darkness.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ”thank you?”” author=”William A. Ward”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” author=”Estonian Proverb”/]
THE CONFEDERATES PRAYER[do action=”vfquote” quote=”I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I got nothing I asked for—but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among men, most richly blessed.” author=”Confederate Soldier Name Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” author=”John Fitzgerald Kennedy”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” author=”John Wooden”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” author=”Gerald Good”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart.” author=”Anonymous”/]
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Write four letters telling someone in your life how fortunate you are to have that person in your life.
Be Thankful for you are in Paradise
Voltaire once said, “Paradise is where I am”. The world teaches us to focus on thinking that somewhere out there is a perfect place where everyone is always happy, has a bigger house, better clothes, a nicer car, and a more beautiful spouse. But that is all an illusion. A mirage. Today, right where we are, is where we belong—whether it’s a one bedroom apartment or a 10,000 square foot mansion, we surely must be where our Creator wants us today. And if that’s true, there can be no better place, because paradise is where we are.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Of all the ”attitudes” we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.” author=”Zig Ziglar”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”One can never pay in gratitude; one can pay ”in kind” somewhere else in life.” author=”Anne Morrow Lindbergh”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”One of life’s gifts is that each of us, no matter how tired and downtrodden, finds reasons for thankfulness.” author=”J. Robert Maskin”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Part of growing up spiritually is learning to be grateful for all things, even our difficulties, disappointments, failures and humiliations.” author=”Mike Aquilina”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.” author=”Robert L. Stevenson”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” author=”Albert Schweitzer”/]
DON’T LET PEOPLE STEAL YOUR JOY
Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. In a religious context, gratitude can also refer to a feeling of indebtedness towards a deity. Most religions prescribe rituals of thanksgiving towards their higher powers; the expression of gratitude to God is a central theme of Christianity and Islam. Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude often. In a 1998 Gallup poll, the majority of Americans said they express gratitude to God (54%) and others (67%) “all the time.” Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, (2) costly to the benefactor, (3) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously (rather than out of role-based obligations). Individuals who are induced to feel grateful are more likely to behave pro-socially toward their benefactor. Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future pro-social behavior in benefactors. Research has discovered that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Restaurant patrons give bigger tips when their servers write “Thank you” on their checks. Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being. Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others. People who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts. What we call gratitude involves an element of knowledge – knowledge of what has been done to us or for us for our benefit. If we do not know that something has benefited us, we will not feel gratitude.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” author=”G.K. Chesterton”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” author=”Adabella Radici”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” author=”G.K. Chesterton”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.” author=”Charles Dickens”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.” author=”John Bunyan”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” author=”Gertrude B. Stein”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done.” author=”Marian Wright Edelman”/]
JUST LIKE MY DOG
In his book FOLK PSALMS OF FAITH, Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Somebody saw something in you once – and that is partly why you’re where you are today. Find a way to thank them.” author=”Don Ward”/]
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee’s collected treasures sweet,
Sweet music’s melting full, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of gratitude.
As eternals living in a fallen world, we all have a tendency to focus on the negative in our lives rather than the positive. We often choose to focus on what is missing in our lives rather than being grateful for the abundance that’s present- people who love us, our health, our family, our friends, the joys of nature around us, and personal pursuits that put a smile on our face. When we are too busy dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, we can’t see how good things are right now. Thinking about the past and future opens the door to comparison, which is how we end up thinking things are not good enough. What we have now is all that exists, and comparing that to something that doesn’t exist anymore (or yet) is an easy way to foster dissatisfaction and torture ourselves. The past and the future are both wastelands of illusion, neither of them really exist, by dwelling on them, we let the illusions spoil our day today. Like the old saying goes “Past is History, Future is a Mystery and Today is Gift and hence it is called the Present”. We need to be thankful for todays “present”. Unwrap it minute by minute and enjoy each piece.
What gift are you going to unwrap today?[do action=”vfquote” quote=”No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” author=”Saint Ambrose”/]
One upon whom we bestow kindness
But will not express gratitude,
Is worse than a robber
Who carries away our belongings.
A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact. When asked what he’d like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, “I want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother’s hand.”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.” author=”Joseph Addison”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer.” author=”Verbena Woods”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.” author=”Chinese Proverb”/]
THE START OF THANKSGIVING[do action=”vfquote” quote=”To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.” author=”William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Be not like those who honor their gods in prosperity and curse them in adversity. In pleasure or pain, give thanks!” author=”Judaism”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Even if you cry your heart out, hurt your eyes by constant weeping and even if you lead the life of an ascetic till the end of the world, all these untiring efforts of yours will not be able to make compensation for a tithe of His good will and kindness, for His bounties and munificence and for His mercy and charity in directing you towards the path of truth and light.” author=”Islam”/]
By Charles L. Brown
Why did only one cleansed leper return to thank Jesus? The following are nine suggested reasons why the nine did not return:
- One waited to see if the cure was real.
- One waited to see if it would last.
- One said he would see Jesus later.
- One decided that he had never had leprosy.
- One said he would have gotten well anyway.
- One gave the glory to the priests.
- One said, “O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything.”
- One said, “Any rabbi could have done it.”
- One said, “I was already much improved.”
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou are not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude.
FORGIVE ME WHEN I WHINE
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.
And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” author=”Brian Tracy”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Each moment a blessing of abundance, each breath a prayer of thanksgiving.” author=”Michael Rawls”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Eaten bread is forgotten.” author=”Thomas Fuller”/]
PAY IT FORWARD
The concept of paying it forward is amazingly simple. All we need is inspiration and our ability to tap into our virtuous spirit to pay forward a good deed. If you lack ideas or inspiration to do the same, remember the famous TV show hosts “pay it forward” episode back in 2006 when they gave 300 audience members $1,000 each to donate to charitable cause of their choices. The resulting events made national headlines as each participant recorded their journey. The feeling of paying something forward is one of the best we can experience as a human being. It is empowering to see how we can make somebody else happy by giving them something unexpected. Be inspired and start paying it forward.
The following ideas will help to get you inspired on how you can pay it forward to others with the help of a few spare dollars. Naturally, you can also pay it forward with love, work, services and many other things that will enlighten other people’s lives.
- Offer to do the shopping for an elderly neighbor
- Invite a homeless person for a meal or cook a meal and deliver it unannounced.
- Pay gas for the stranger in the car next to you or give the attendant a tip.
- Buy presents and take them to a children’s hospital
- Volunteer at a local mission
- Pay a family’s tab in a restaurant
- Help locals in need
- Baby sit for new parents and pay for a night at the movies
- Smile at every person you meet today
- Say “Thank You” to conclude every conversation with people today.
- Offer to do some yard chores for an elderly person
- Cook for a person in need
- Read stories to children at a grade school
- Visit elderly people in an old folk’s home and spend some time listening to their stories
- Raise money for a person who lost their home to natural disasters or fire
- Hold a garage sale and give the proceeds to an organization who helps others
- Redeem your pop cans and give the money to the bag boy or girl
Bad Parrot – a Thanksgiving Story
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.
Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.
Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.
As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly,
“May I ask what the turkey did?”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” author=”Melody Beattie”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return.” author=”John Wanamaker”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.” author=”Anonymous”/]
If one could only learn to appreciate the little things…
A song that takes you away……..for there are those who cannot hear.
The beauty of a sunset……..for there are those who cannot see.
The warmth and safety of your home………for there are those who are homeless.
Time spent with good friends………for there are those who are lonely.
A walk along the beach………. for there are those who cannot walk.
The little things are what life is all about.
Search your soul and learn to appreciate.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, “Say a prayer, John. We’re in for it!” John answered, “I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life.” “But you must!” implored his companion. “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” panted John, “I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.'”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” author=”Albert Schweitzer”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks.” author=”Donald Curtis”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” author=”W. T. Purkiser”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.” author=”Henry Ward Beecher”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Thanksgiving was never meant to be celebrated for a single day.” author=”Robert C. Linter”/]
A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups — porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite — telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.
When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: “Notice that all the nice looking expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you’re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases, it is just more expensive and, in some cases, even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups . . . and then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us.
God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups.
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything that they have.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
And enjoy your hot chocolate!![do action=”vfquote” quote=”We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” author=”Sacred ritual chant”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When eating fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.” author=”Vietnamese proverb”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When we are grateful for the good we already have, we attract more good into our life. On the other hand, when we are ungrateful, we tend to shut ourselves off from the good we might otherwise experience.” author=”Margaret Stortz”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present–love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure–the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” author=”Sarah Ban Brethnach”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” author=”Estonian Proverb”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Wise men count their blessings; fools their problems.” author=”Unknown”/]
Being “Thankful” is a powerful way to battle self-pity and depression. We all have been given so much. Self-pity and the ensuing depression come from us chasing the “greener grass on the other side of the fence”. Believe me, you don’t want the other guys trouble. Be thankful for what you have. Are you or someone you know feeling self-pity about what you don’t have? Self-Pity is a slimy, bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you have a tendency to slide down deeper and deeper. As you slide down those slippery walls, you begin to feel depressed and it gets, darker and darker. Your only hope is to look up and see the light of Virtue shining down on you. That light might look really dim right now from deep in the pit, but Virtues rays of hope can reach you no matter how far down you are. If you stop focusing on yourself (and your own pity party), and focus on Virtue and loving and serving others, you will begin to rise from the, abyss of despair. Slowly you will climb up out of that pit and finally, you will reach up, firmly grasp the hand of Virtue and step into the full light of the joy it brings. Virtue will gently cleanse you, good deed by good deed, selfless act by selfless act, washing off the clinging mud of self-pity. Virtue will cover you with its cloak of righteousness and together you can walk, renewed in spirit, down the path of life. Do you know of someone who is suffering from self-pity and depression? Shine your own personal “Virtue Light” on them, and by your example, they might just see a way out of the pit.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things.” author=”Horace”/]
GOT YOUR GOAT?[do action=”vfquote” quote=”In Budapest, a man goes to the rabbi and complains, ”Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?” The rabbi answers, ”Take your goat into the room with you.” The man in incredulous, but the rabbi insists. ”Do as I say and come back in a week.” A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before. ”We cannot stand it,” he tells the rabbi. ”The goat is filthy.” The rabbi then tells him, ”Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week.” A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, ”Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat — only the nine of us.”” author=”George Mikes”/]
Should you find something on your dinner plate that doesn’t appeal to you, don’t complain. There are people who don’t have anything on their plate.
Should you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what it’s like to love and be loved in return.
Should you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know everything,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
HOW TO RAISE THANKFUL CHILDREN
- Make gratitude a habit. Spend time each day appreciating what you have (love, shelter, food, family, friends, courage). You might create a daily ritual or tradition to help you remember to be grateful and establish family traditions for thinking about what we are thankful for and sharing it with others. Maybe you have a thankful tree, journal, shoebox, tablecloth, calendar, or space on the refrigerator.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude. This means being thankful no matter what our situation in life. Thankfulness means that we are aware of both our blessings and disappointments but that we focus on the blessings.
- Express your thanks out loud. Don’t be quietly thankful. Your children need to know you are thankful for them, for your home, for friends, mentors, and for the other good things in your life. Celebrate your thankfulness often and initiate conversations.
- Be generous or giving and express how it affects others. Talk about being on both sides: giving and receiving. There are many ways to give: donating blood, money, food, clothing, time, and/or energy. Share these experiences with your children. Many community service projects are appropriate for elementary aged children.
By establishing any one of these practices, you can move the spirit of Thanksgiving from a one-day event to a way of life for your family.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Keep a grateful journal. Every night, list five things that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change our perspective of your day and your life.” author=”Oprah Winfrey”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The more we are thankful for the blessings we receive, the more we open the way for further blessings.” author=”Betty J. Eadie”/]
No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
Amburgh Everyday is a gift
by Ann Wells
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie）.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends’.
“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing–I’ll never know.
It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write–one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.
I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is … a gift from God.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.” author=”Jim Rohn”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Thou has given me so much… Give me one thing more, a grateful heart.” author=”George Herbert”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The unthankful heart … discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and. As the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” author=”Henry Ward Beecher”/]
What a nice way to look at the World!
A 93-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, hair fashionably coifed, and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home.
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mr. Farrington, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied.
“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged . . . it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice: I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.”
”Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away. Just for this time in my life.”
“Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!”
Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.
Remember the Five simple rules to be Happy:
- Free your heart from hatred or bitterness and/or resentment.
- Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply.
- Give more.
- Expect less.