~thankful thursday~ gratitude garland



~30 days of gratitude~ day 29

At noon today, Rich and I were standing in the frosty back yard again, noticing how incredibly low the sun was in the sky at the apex of its climb for the day. This is routinely a thing which I lament; my fear, dread, and dislike of cold darkness have been foregone conclusions for all the years of my life. But without winter, would the sunlight linger at such acute angles to the ground on which I stand? Would it illuminate the webs, and then the frost, with such iridescent rainbow vividness?

Developing the gratitude gaze is a little bit like getting in the beachcombing zone. Once you learn how to see the fossil, agate, or shell you’re looking for, even if you go longer stretches between seeing them, you have your eyes focused just the right way to eventually see the next one. Once I started seeing rainbow spider webs, I knew how to see them, and started seeing more of them. Once I started to seek out the blessings in my life to start stringing them on my strand of popcorn and cranberries, I kept seeing more and more of them, and the strand just grew and grew.

I feel less like I need to rush through winter and cling to the coming of spring to keep me from succumbing to the darkness. The buds of spring give way to butterflies, the bursting blooms of summer give way to webs which give way to frosty fallen leaves. At all of these moments, there are qualities to admire and beauty to savor. This gratitude practice has helped me start to trust in it.

True, the angle of the sun this time of year increases the length of the shadows. But it also means there are afternoon sun rays beamed at just the right angle to produce a rainbow in the spider web, something that would not be the case in the height of summer. It means the morning sun creeps up gently enough to set the frosty grass aglow.

Looking into the long shadows is not always a deep dive into darkness. I am grateful for back yard walks with my husband today, and grateful that so many stories about shadows end up being stories about light.


~30 days of gratitude~ day 30

The hummingbirds were nestled all snug in their hummingbird-down sleeping bags. It was cold in the Land of Gratitude.

Inside the dragon house, the wood stove had been stoked by the husband person, the kitties were snuggled on laps, naps had been taken, and we had eaten another Thanksgiving meal that couldn’t be beat (and I don’t mean nachos!).

shadows and light

Tying off the end of this strand of my gratitude garland across my corner of the web, I looked back to try to see where the other end was knotted, but it reached out so far behind me that all I could feel was a little tug on my soul.


As I simmered in my slow cooker, I could feel my molecules starting to align into a new arrangement, just the first hint of the influence of a month-long Quest causing the molecules in solution to align with an almost magnetic inner compass bearing calibrated to a true north called gratitude.

thank you

It’s full of shadows here in my slow cooker, but I am doing my best caterpillar soup meltdown meditation, spending the dark season doing the building and gleaning and restoring in anticipation of the promise of soaring in sunshine among bountiful blooms in seasons to come. This chrysalis of mine got its name from the Greek word for gold, and although that name might refer to the droplets of gold meticulously painted onto the outside of the monarch’s container of transformation, I think maybe it could also have something to do with what’s developing within, waiting to emerge and unfurl its wings with the daffodils and cherry blossoms, come spring.

I am grateful I don’t need to tie up every metaphor I used this month into one cohesive final chapter. I am grateful that I do not need to get an A in gratitude. B is for Butterflies, after all.



~30 days of gratitude~ Epilogue

Rich cried himself to sleep last night because, “nothing to read.” As I climbed into bed, I handed him a blue shop towel, and told him a story about how the Gratitude fairy will come back next November, even though she needs to hibernate for the winter now.

I am grateful for laughter and love.

I am writing this epilogue just to declare that there is no way in the world that I would be able to write four years of daily November gratitude posts without this guy’s support and encouragement. There is no way. I asked him last night if he ever felt I revealed too much about our life on the internet, and he just chuckled and said, “well, that ship has sailed.” He never gave me so much as a disapproving look or held me back in any way. Instead, when I talked about something else besides him during the first week of the first year, I remember him lamenting, “I was a one-hit wonder!” He makes me laugh and keep writing.

It is early morning and I am sitting on the couch, having been invited here by my son who is up extra early on Monday morning after a well-rested long weekend. He is reading his book and we are snuggled under fuzzy blankets by the wood stove. The page has turned, and it is December, though I’m still feeling grateful, my garland of popcorn and cranberries strung in a prominent place in my heart to remind me how.

I am turning to writing other writings that have been on the back burner for the month. If anyone wants to read more of my writing throughout the year, and not just in November, I have a blog that I post on roughly once a week, though the subject is not limited to gratitude. A lot of times I end up posting photo rainbows or updates about Quinn for his Grammy, the origin story for many a mommy blog; it is definitely not a food blog, though nachos do get mentioned occasionally. Oh, and the November gratitude posts are all archived there as well, for easy binge-reading when next November seems like a long time to wait. A few years ago I started a facebook page for my blog, and have been posting there consistently so that people who prefer to follow along that way (vs. the three of us who still use blog feed readers) can do so. If you have any trouble finding where to like/follow it, let me know and I will send you an invite.

A final thank you to all of you lovelies who have joined in and encouraged this crazy habit of mine. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

1 comment to ~thankful thursday~ gratitude garland

  • camp boss

    Instead of an A grade…I would give you an O for outstanding!! As always your gratitude post have made me stop, smile and think a little more about what I have/need to be thankful for!!

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