the Gift of Gratitude — Guest Blog by Nan Robinson

Know how sometimes there’s someone you meet and you just know — we’ll be friends forever? Nan Robinson is one of those kind of people. We met 26 years ago when we were both pregnant with our second child and I was a newbie volunteer on the same Calgary Stampede committee she worked on. Nan was warm and welcoming and funny to boot!  A creative soul, Nan always shares her heart openly and willingly, making sure the whole world shines in the warmth of her love.

Nan, along with my friend Jane, is one of the reasons I’m alive today. When ‘the bad man’ was actively engaged in ensuring I disappeared from earth, Nan and Jane did not give up. They hounded the police to try to find us. They kept the light burning so that when I did find myself again outside of that abusive relationship,  I had a clear path to follow back home.

I am blessed in calling Nan my friend. I am blessed with her presence as a sister of my heart.

And today, Nan shares her brilliance as Guest Blogger. Please let her know how much you appreciate her delightful take on what it takes to create peace, hope, love and joy at Christmas. Leave a comment below and may all the wonders of the season fill your heart and world with peace, hope, love and joy!

The Gift of Gratitude

by Nan Robinson

I am ensconced in bed with a sore throat and a laptop and a steaming cup of Bengal Spice tea. A moment ago, it was three weeks until Christmas. Lots of time to get everything done, I thought. I’ll write Christmas cards this year, and sew fabric gift bags and polish the floors to a welcoming glow. I’ll wrap all the presents and trim the tree and steam clean the bedroom carpet. I’ll assemble the inherited Grandfather bed and lay the Grandma quilt lovingly over the top (after repairing the torn bits).

And then I blinked. And just like that, Christmas was six days away.

I have a tree . . . in a bucket in the front hall. I have a turkey . . . in the freezer. The gifts are purchased and assembled . . . unwrapped on the kitchen counters. I can’t find the Christmas cards. The borrowed carpet cleaner sits neglected in its box. The floors do not glow. And I am in bed with a sore throat.

And yet, I am grateful. I am grateful to be steady on the journey I started over a year ago. I am grateful to have two wonderful daughters, a mother and sisters and nieces and nephews and friends who encircle me with their love and support. It leaves me breathless with wonder and gratitude.

I am grateful to see the world and those around me with clear eyes and a calm heart. Calm is not a word that existed in my world. And now it does. I have gained in wisdom over the past months. Maybe I’m finally growing up. I guess it’s time. My instinct is always to share and let others see what I see. So here are a few of the things I now see:

What other people think of me is none of my business.

Don’t worry. Worrying is using your imagination to create things you don’t want.

Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.

You are good enough. You are (insert desired trait here) enough.

Control is an illusion. I have no control over what happens around me. I can control only what I think, feel, say and do.

What others think, feel, say and do is entirely about them. It has nothing to do with me. I am not responsible for their feelings and I cannot “fix” them.

I am responsible for and have control over my attitudes, beliefs and feelings. Nobody else can “make me mad”. I choose how I feel about what happens around me.

I am not nice to other people because other people are nice. I am nice to other people because I am nice.

It all seems so simple really. How did I not know these things before? Maybe I was just too busy to notice. Maybe knowing needs a place of calm to grow.

It will be a fine Christmas. Everything that really needs to get done will be done. And the rest doesn’t matter. Today I am choosing an attitude of gratitude.

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