Tag Archives: being grateful

What will you carry?

Art Journal Theme 4: Gratitude
Art Journal Theme 4: Gratitude

The plumber arrived last night. Again. Finally. With the parts he’d ordered last week that finally arrived.

We have central heating again. Finally. After one week of no boiler. One week of layering up inside the house and limiting our movements to just the rooms where we had heaters running, we are warm and toasty in every room again.

I am grateful.

Not only for the plumbers arrival and the successful repair of our boiler, but also for the electricity that powered up the space heaters C.C. and I plugged in to keep the main level of our home warm.

I am grateful Old Man Winter took a hiatus from wrapping us up in frigid temps and gave us a break of near or above freezing for the past week.

I am grateful it wasn’t bitterly cold and we had to worry about freezing pipes.

I am grateful it was only a week.

Imagine if it was the entire winter. Or that we didn’t have electricity. Or a roof over our heads in the first place.

Imagine if we hadn’t been able to afford to plug in the heaters, or couldn’t cuddle up together and watch TV, or play Crib, or read a book in the relative comfort of space-heater heated rooms.


There are so many things in my life I take for granted. So many things I assume will just be there because they always are. Like electricity. Or a front door that locks. Or a fridge whose light comes on when I open the door. Or hot water running from the tap.

There are so many things I don’t think about. Don’t give any thought to. Don’t pause to say, ‘thank you’ to because they’re just there. They’re just part of my daily world of comfort.


I am grateful for my daily world of comfort.

I was reminded of the importance of gratitude yesterday as I walked from my office to the C-train to take the ride home. Ahead of me, standing on the sidewalk in front of a wellness centre, I saw a man I know from the homeless shelter where I used to work. I sometimes wondered when I saw him there if he ever even saw me. He was often confused, talking to himself, lost in a world of paranoia brought on by mental illness. When I saw him yesterday he was standing outside of a mental wellness centre smoking a cigarette.  

He saw me as I approached and smiled. Called out a cheery hello. How nice to see you! Haven’t seen you in a long while. 

I stopped to chat. He grabbed my gloved hands in one of his bare hands. His eyes were clear. His face clean shaven. He looked well. His clothes no longer torn and dishevelled. He looked like he was taking good care of himself.

You look wonderful, I told him. And it was true. He looked younger. Healthier. Happier.

He laughed. Yeah. I don’t look like such a bum anymore now do I? And he laughed again. A deep, satisfying roll of mirth that rose up from his belly. I’m living on my own now, he said, before going on to tell me about the meds he’s taking and how they’re really helping. About his apartment and how he’s got people helping him. He smiled and held my hands as we stood chatting on the street. It’s really nice to see you, he said. I’m doing so much better now.

I’m so glad, I replied. It’s nice to see you too.

I don’t miss that place [the shelter] he told me, but I sure am grateful it was there when I needed it. I might not made it if it weren’t for that place. Yup. I sure am grateful.

As we parted I carried his gratitude with me. I carried it as I boarded the crowded C-train and found a spot to stand. I carried it with me as I got on and off the train at each stop to let people get off behind me. I carried it with me as I got off at my stop and walked up the stairs towards the road and pressed the light for the walk signal so that I could cross safely. I carried it with me as I walked down the street towards the car where C.C. sat waiting to pick me up and take me home so that I didn’t have to wait for the bus or walk along the icy sidewalks.

I carried it with me as I walked through our front door and Ellie, the wonder pooch, greeted me with tail wagging and body squirming as she expressed her happiness at seeing me.

I carried it with me as I changed from workday clothes to comfy wear complete with cashmere shawl to keep me warm.

I carried it with me as I answered a text from a girlfriend inviting us for dinner on the weekend.

I carried it with me as I drove to the art supply store to pick up a new canvas to work on this weekend.

I carried it with me throughout the evening as I prepared dinner, filled the dishwasher, washed my face, got ready for bed and climbed under the covers.

And I carry it with me this morning as I sit typing at my desk, the room warmed by central heating flowing through the pipes that carry water from the boiler to every room in our home.

The plumber arrived yesterday and fixed our boiler.

I am grateful.

May I carry gratitude within me throughout the day. In gratitude, I am thankful. In gratitude, I am at peace.

What will you carry?




I Appreciate You because you make life better

It is a simple act that creates a world of difference.

Tell someone what you appreciate about them.

Ever leave notes for your children or spouse/partner that go something like this…. Don’t forget to put the garbage out. Don’t forget to pick up milk. Don’t forget to do your homework. Don’t eat crackers and cheese on the living room couch!

Ever notice how more often the ‘dont’s’ come into play. How what you requested not happen, happens?

At Choices, the personal development/life skills course I took in April 2006 which I continue to volunteer in as a coach, there is a process called, The Gift I See In You.

Everyday, participants are encouraged to say to the another, The gift I see in you…. and then name that gift. Mothers to their children, sisters to brothers, husbands to wives, give the people in your life a gift, the program encourages, and miracles will happen. They will hear you differently, they will see themselves differently, your relationship will be made different.

And it’s true. Miracles happen when we give people the gifts we see in them, when we tell them what we appreciate about them instead of remind them of the list of don’ts they mustn’t forget.

And here’s the thing about ‘gifts’. They are given without expectation — there is no, now you give me one back because I gave you one. You don’t expect the birthday boy to give you a gift on his special day now do you?

Gifts are the same. Given freely. Given without expectation.

For years, when my daughters and I had finished the Choices we program, we regularly gave each other gifts. It became a playful and loving thing to do every night. We’ve fallen away from gift-giving as life has moved onward and busy-making has replaced conscious connection.

In the Poem a Day to my beloved that I am currently writing, I am reminded of the power of giving words of affirmation. For my partner, the receiving has become an awareness of how beautiful his heart is. And for me, it has shifted my focus from my ‘gripes’ to an appreciation of the grace and beauty in our relationship.

We all like to know, we all like to feel, appreciated.

And, it is so much more affirming to live with an appreciative heart!

Tell someone you love something you appreciate about them today. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to come from the heart. “I appreciate how you take such good care of our family.”  “I appreciate how you came to dinner when you were called.”  “I sure appreciate how you cleared the table after dinner.” “I appreciate that you listened to me and didn’t try to fix the problem and instead gave me space to share my feelings.”  “I appreciate how you gave up your personal time to complete this project.” “I appreciate your speaking up in the meeting today and championing my idea”…

As Mother Theresa says, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

In our hunger to ‘have’, let’s not forget to appreciate those who make the love we have so incredibly bright!