I am THANKFUL for…

Yes, this is another cliché ‘what am I thankful for’ post at Thanksgiving.  BUT let me say that gratitude is never cliché.  I don’t think you can ever talk about, write about, or think about GRATITUDE too much.  Every single day is a gift from our creator.  My prayers always start with “God, thank you for the GIFT of life today”. 

I didn’t realize how very, very precious life is until I was 24 and breathing what I thought were going to be my last breaths.  Unfortunately, for some of us that’s what it takes.  Hopefully, for anyone reading this, you can just take my word for it…be grateful for every single day.   Even the miserable ones because even in the darkest days there is light and a lesson: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).”

Above all else, I thank God.  He is #1 on my Gratitude List and everything that comes after is merely a bi-product of his greatness.  Psalm 100:5 praises: ” For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Without his love, mercy, and grace I would be nothing and I would have nothing.  I could list 100 things/people/miracles that I’m thankful for, but it really just all comes back to Him.  What are you thankful for?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4

Believe

“We are better than we know.  If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.” – Anonymous

Some people (mostly men, I think) struggle with over-inflated ego.  They think they are better than most; they believe that they deserve more than everyone else.

I am not one of those people.  I think I am like many women, in that, I struggle with not thinking enough of myself, thinking that I DON’T deserve certain things, and experiencing low self-worth.  WHY do we do this to ourselves?  We all have amazing and different qualities to offer this world; yet, for some reason we don’t believe it.  Actually, it’s not just “some reason”.  I can think of plenty of reasons: abusive childhood, abusive relationships, alcohol or drug addiction, abandonment, strained parental relationships, society, our culture/media’s portrayal of women, and on and on ad infinitum.

However, we are not victims.  Some of the things on that list have affected me personally, but none of them is an excuse to hate myself.  Then, why is it a continual struggle to show myself the love that so many other people have for me: God, my parents, my friends, my dogs?  It seems that if I don’t have romantic love in my life, then there is no love at all.  That could not be farther from the truth, but it is so hard for me to see and believe that on a daily basis.

Someone very special and important to me told me the other day to believe that others believe until I can believe it myself.  So, when my faith and self-love is lacking, all I have to do is remember that she believes.

Do you believe?

Fall in love with your life today.

Currents of the Universal Being

“In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,-no disgrace, no calamity-…Standing on the bare ground,-my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,-all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.” – Emerson, Nature

Emerson and Thoreau are my all-time favorites, and I got hooked on the Transcendental movement in college (thank you, Prof. Smith).  Sometimes, now and then, I break out my college texts for some light academic reading because I’m a dork like that. 

As I was walking the dogs on this gorgeous, blue sky, sunny October Sunday, I caught myself looking up into the changing leaves and breathing in everything around me.  I may not be good at living in the moment emotionally, but when it comes to observing nature and my senses, I’ve got it down pat.  Whenever I’m in nature, whether it be on the ocean or in the woods, all of my senses become alertly aware.  I can see, smell, taste, feel, and hear.  This, in large part, is what aided my initial belief that a higher power exists.  Just as Emerson says, “I am nothing; I see all…I am part or particle of God.” 

The other realization I had today is that whenever I am in nature or near the water, “all mean egotism vanishes,” I am restored to faith and reason, and I truly feel that “nothing can befall me in life,-no digrace, no calamity.”  This is because when I am in nature, I am outside not just of my house or my car, but outside of myself.  I am a small part of something much larger than myself and I realize that I have very little control in this life, and what a relief that is!  I become humbled and grateful for the breaths that I can take and for another day of life that my higher power has given me.  When I realize that I am just a small part of the larger whole, my problems don’t seem so all-consuming anymore.  Reason and faith shine through the darkness clouding my mind.

Even if you live in the cement jungle, just look straight up into the sky and take a deep breath.  Nature is all around us – sometimes we just forget to see it.