ramp picking (1)
the gratitude list (1)
in gratitude (1)
setting intentions (1)
in gratitude (1)
into the woods (2)

ramp picking and rambling

Last night left me with a full heart. It was such a good day yesterday and I went to bed late and exhausted, but fulfilled.

ramp picking (1)ramp picking (2)ramp picking (3)ramp picking (4)ramp picking (5)First, there was a trip to the park with a few home school friends. An old fashioned merry-go-round, a game of tag, exploring, a touch of geocache treasure trading, and cray fish catching. At first I just wanted to be home cleaning an organizing, but the beautiful warm weather told me otherwise, as well as my children. They always usually know best.

ramp picking (6)ramp picking (7)ramp picking (8)ramp picking (9)ramp picking (10)On our return home, I found myself alone inside. I love when that happens. There comes the stark contrast after a long winter of everyone jam packed into the house all day long every day. A blanket of silence comforts me when the kids just hang out side in the nice weather. Ahhh, breathing room and things stay cleaned up for more then a minute or two.

ramp picking (11)ramp picking (12)ramp picking (13)ramp picking (14)ramp picking (15)Last weekend we went into the woods; all of us …to go ramp collecting …for dinner. While we were foraging, Bella declared that collecting ramps was the type of thing that requires patience. And she’s totally right. When all is said and done, and they are gently pried from the place where they were nestled; the place where they have grown and flourished, and are gently carried back home, where all the dirt and grime gets washed away; after all that deep dark work is done and you can finally see what it is you worked so hard for …that’s when it all pays off …the patience.

ramp picking (16)ramp picking (17)ramp picking (18)ramp picking (19)ramp picking (20)Last night my little kids went to bed and the big kids and I sat up talking. We talked about our dreams, both the weird and the interesting. I watched how their faces moved when they talked and marveled at how wonderful they each are. I tried to just be there and listen, closely, to each of them and what they had to share. We laughed together and just enjoyed each others company. It was nice.

After everyone went their own separate ways I stayed up and worked for hours. I uploaded, edited, and organized. I wrote up new contracts. I responded to emails. I updated my calendar with dates that are filling up. This is my life. It’s the type of thing that requires patience. It’s paying off though. All of it. I can see it. And it fills my heart full.

the gratitude list

So far, I’ve written about my #1 goal to make life wonderful. I’ve written about the importance of setting intentions. And today, I’m going to write about gratitude and making a gratitude list.

:: the quality of being thankful::
:: readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness::

the gratitude list (1)It is easy for people to get sucked into the empty abyss of what one does not have, need, or want; what we each struggle with as individuals. I know this. I am human. I struggle.

I remember the day it hit me though, how that modality of thinking just wasn’t worth it nor working out in my favor. It was one dreary wintery day in the beginnings of 2011 when nothing felt like it was panning out in my life. I felt like I kept on trying and envisioning; trying desperately to manifest all that I wanted to see in my life, and it just wasn’t happening. I remember looking at some flowers blooming (they must’ve been indoors) and I realized just how miraculous and beautiful they were. Noticing them closely for all that they were, made me realize how there was so much more to my life and my surroundings then whether or not we could afford to pay our telephone bill or not. I guess that’s what they call a self realization.

Every week for the six months prior to this realization, I had begun writing out a gratitude list. I have no doubt in my mind that this simple practice of focusing on what I did have in my life to be grateful for, helped me to make some pretty powerful and major shifts in how I viewed my life and life in general.

the gratitude list (3)Studies have shown that we can purposefully cultivate gratitude, and in return increase our overall well being and happiness levels. Gratitude is associated with benefits such as increased energy, optimism, as well as empathy. As a result, those who practice gratitude are more optimistic and feel good about their life. As a result of being happy with themselves and their life, they tend to have very good relationships with others.

Making a gratitude list might not be too big of a surprise to any regular readers here. After all, I just posted my 91st gratitude list here this past Monday. However, this past fall until just recently, for the first time in years, I had stopped writing my gratitude lists. I stopped creating the time for them. During that time, I definitely felt the effects from that choice creep in …truly in the form of heaviness and depression. See, when I choose to start out my week by focusing on the little things and happenings in my life and with those I care about, my heart feels full and happy. And that’s what I want. It helps me to know and see (and be able to look back at) how beautiful and abundant my life really is. I’ve come to know and understand this small gesture as an integral and necessary part of who I am. Without it, I get a little lost.

the gratitude list (4)If we create the time to fill our minds with all of the wonderful things we do have in life …whether it be as simple as the color of the sky, the feel of the wind in our hair, the ground beneath us, or something in more detail …there is little room left for fear and negative thoughts to exist. With this mentality, we have the power to make our lives more wonderful with intent and focus …which in the long run, will effect everything and everyone in our life. Each gratitude list creates more and more space for a wonderful perspective on life and reality to unfold.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life
It turns what we have into enough,
and more. It turns denial into
acceptance, chaos to order, confusion
to clarity. It can turn a meal into a
feast, a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
~Melody Beattie