Gratitude: Jack’s Birthday

Yesterday was my wonderful father-in-law’s birthday. We are so blessed by his guidance and adventurous spirit! He loves life, zipping around town in his sporty Cobra.

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson ~ Just

A Youthful

Cobra-Loving,

Kind-Sprited Soul!

Gratitude for River on His Birthday

He’s a character, this grandson of mine. I knew it when he was born, but knew it for sure when I saw him zipping around on a Hoverboard at 2, his blond locks flowing in the breeze. We are so grateful for all of our grandchildren, and on this day we give thanks especially for River Dawson Meyer! What a blessing he is in our lives!

River Dawson Meyer

Remote control cars zip around:
Infectious laughter,
Vivacious smiles,
Eyes that talk ~
River Dawson Meyer

Don't hand him your phone - - (he's an
Amazon secret orderer)
Water lover
Swimmer 
Oh- and do 
NOT underestimate him near dolphin tanks!
 
My grandson
Ever so cleverly jumped in ~
Youngster gave new memories to the family picture -
Everyone Smile!  They did. Click. Then he dove. 
Real chaser of dreams, this one!  

Gratitude for Mallory on her Birthday

It’s a good idea to remind yourself that you are slow traveling to experience the world with all your senses and not the World Wide Web from behind a screen…..when our mind is free from information overload, we tend to slow down.  – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Today is the last day of five days of January’s Open Write at http://www.ethicalela.com. Each month, this writing group gathers to write and give positive feedback to at least three other writers. Please join us and write with us!

I’ll share my Open Write writing from today in tomorrow’s post. Today, I give thanks for my daughter, Mallory, who celebrates her 36th trip around the sun. Happy birthday, Mal!

MALLORY MICHELLE MEYER

My daughter~
Adventurer
Les Miserables star!
Little Shop of Horrors fan
Outdoor-Lover
Rock Hounder
Youthful lover of life

Master Jeopardy Player
Indubitably a Prize Child
Child of God
Hiker of deserts and hills
Everyone's instant friend
Leader of the Safety Plans
Living healthy
Explorer of caves and trails

Miracle, she is!
Ever a champion! 
Yearns to learn new things
Ever the creative spirit and
Reading Enthusiast

Gratitude for My Husband on his Birthday

My husband spent his 50th birthday sleeping in the cab of a truck in an unheated warehouse a couple of miles from the Atlanta Airport after being stuck there during Snowmageddon of 2011. The entire city was paralyzed. Children spent the night in schools, and motorists trying to get home were stranded on interstates. He ate a survival dinner from the vending machine, grateful for the coins in his pockets when exact change was required for a package of miniature donuts and a can of Coca Cola.

Even in challenging times, blessings of gratitude abound. Warmth. Food. Shelter from the storm. Caring people who restore our faith in humanity. Life.

We celebrate his 62nd birthday today. I’ll celebrate with him tonight in the warmth of our home with our 3 Schnoodles, dinner, and cake. We’ll celebrate again with other family members during our regular gathering night later this week.

Most every Thursday night, we have dinner with his father, his brother and sister-in-law, and one son who lives nearby. Sometimes we eat at Barnstormer’s, an airport restaurant near our home in Williamson, Georgia, where I recently ordered coffee to stave off the shivers – and smiled when the steaming cup arrived. Here’s the cup:

I’m grateful today and every day for my husband, who shares life and adventures with me. He loves the simple things – the beauty of nature, sitting around the campfire, chatting over spiced orange tea, listening to the rain, walking the dogs, taking spontaneous drives down country roads listening to John Denver sing about them. He is rarely angry over anything but is a gentle peacemaker and a solution-finder to problems – – especially wonderful dispositions not only as a husband but also as the Chairman of County Commissioners for our rural county where few people ever agree on anything.

In The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie O’Martian writes beautiful prayers that wives can offer for their husbands. Here is one for today, for Briar, for whom I am eternally grateful:

Lord, teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love...help us to pursue the things which make for peace....I pray that our commitment to You and to one another will continue to grow stronger and more passionate every day.  
      - excerpts from The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian

Happy Birthday, Briar Johnson! Thank you for being you.

Briar, June 2022, in Tracy Arm Fjord near Juneau, Alaska

Snowmageddon 2011

Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers for empowering writers!

Gathering Around a Campfire of Blessings: My Gratitude Goals for 2023

"Start to count your blessings.  Start today. Make a spiritual inventory of all your blessings.  See if you can't get to one hundred.  So much good happens to us but in the rush of daily life we fail even to notice or acknowledge it.  Writing it down focuses our attention on the abundance already within our grasp and makes it real."  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

When I missed the last couple of steps at work and broke my ankle at the end of September, I was a spoiled brat. I wanted help, but I wanted to do it all by myself. I wanted to go to work, but I wanted to stay home. I was fine when I planned my day but cried out of sheer frustration when I couldn’t get things done with my normal efficiency and speed. In those moments, I learned that I had to focus on the blessings to get through the challenging times. I had to remind myself to dwell on the good things:

I have people in my life who truly want to help me.

My injuries could have been much worse.

This phase is temporary; my ankle will heal in time.

I have mobility with a knee scooter loaned to me by a friend.

The minute I allowed self-pity to seep in, it clouded my whole world. I had to make a deliberate effort to keep all of my thinking positive, or I got sucked into a dreary hole of darkness with branching tunnels and no apparent end.

My gratitude goals for 2023 include keeping gratefulness at the forefront. I tend to be best at counting my blessings when I’m outdoors – just like we do when we’re sitting around the campfire, thinking about the beauty of life and the power of moments. I plan to spend more time around the campfire, fire pit, and the fireplace this year, and to write about my blessings through Gratiku, Three on Thursdays, Five on Fridays, and other ways of expressing thankfulness. When Simple Abundance inspired us all to keep gratitude journals when it was first published (I’m rereading it this year as my guidebook in the area of gratitude), I noticed a more appreciative outlook in my own life; while I won’t have a designated gratitude journal, I will devote days to blogging about blessings!

Campfire at a campground in 2022

Oh – and one more thing: I’m going to keep my awareness of those with injuries and disabilities heightened. When I see a person with mobility challenges, I’m going to be sure I hold the door and ask if I can help. As I hobbled around with my broken ankle, I was dumbfounded at the complete lack of manners and sensitivity of so many people, and amazed at the graciousness and awareness of others.

I know who I want to be in those situations where I can make a difference. I not only want to count my own blessings this year, but I also want to be a blessing to others for whom such simple gestures can make a powerful difference.

My One Little Word for 2023

As we move toward the beginning of a brand new year starting at midnight, on this last day of the year I'm taking time to reflect on 2022 and all the living we’ve done in its 525,600 minutes.  My blessings far outweigh my challenges and setbacks.  

Last December, I chose listen as my One Little Word for 2022, which Ali Edwards has made popular since 2006.  I suppose it’s what daily writers do: we listen to the world around us.  We listen for what inspires us and what we can take from conversations, moments, lessons, experiences - and time we share with others - to make sense of our world.  

What we do with all the listening is what invites me to choose pray as my word for 2023.  It wasn’t my first serious consideration, or even my second.  My initial choice was believe.  During my week of Covid confinement in December, I almost prematurely announced believe and all my reasons for choosing it.  It’s the essence of my Christian faith, the verb of what we do with our faith to trust in God’s plan.  It’s what gets us through tough times.  Long moments of pondering all that I don’t want to be quick to believe led me to think more about the power of sharing.  Share was my second consideration. I share what I experience and what I believe as truth, often on my blog. 

Then I thought of my word listen this year, and all of the listening that happened through prayer.  I wondered:  what if I spent an entire year with the word pray as my guiding light word?  My little Caribbean blue Rav4 has been my twice-daily prayer chamber for years as I make my way to and from work.  I don't turn on the radio ~ I pray.  I believe fully in the power of prayer and the difference it makes.  I see miracles that have happened because of prayer, and I often wonder about the miracles that happen that we never see, also because God answers prayer.  

As we step into 2023, I've chosen an action verb again.  Pray.  What a blessing I feel already!  

If you’re taking a One Little Word as your guiding light this year, please share in the comments below or send me a Facebook message - - I love all the thinking that goes into OLW choices!  Cheers to you in 2023!  

Tomorrow, I will begin daily posts in the areas of my seven goal categories this year.  They are: Reflection, Inspiration/Spirituality, Self-Improvement, Creativity, Literature, Experience, and Gratitude.  I've never succeeded at keeping New Year's Resolutions, but what has worked for me for the past 12 years is establishing goals and adding an accountability measure in my writing through a month-end checkpoint.  More on this beginning tomorrow!