Thursday, October 17, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 17 - Local Shop or Group

"Maybe it's a business that you just love to shop at. Maybe it's a place where the staff has such a pleasant way of making you feel welcome. Maybe it's a local organization that offers an important service or program. The people and places in your community that provide the products and services that you need and in a way that makes you feel good are worth some gratitude. We invite you to add a public thank you to one of these local treasures."

Music was missing from my life.  And it was missing for so long.  I don't stop to think about it often, but every time that I do, I say a prayer of thanks for its return.

The local group I am thankful for isn't a business, it doesn't provide a needed service or program within my community.  It is a group of people who like to make music.  The Ukulele Club of Winnipeg is such welcoming group.  Watch the invites, the offers to share instruments, the invites to out of town friends and family.  I don't know how this group has done it, there must have been some plan?  They manage to let everyone feel a part of a bigger whole within minutes of arriving.  They seek out ways to send an extra welcoming hello.  When the music starts, I am "home" with these people.  And I am grateful for this local group.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 16 - Mode of Transport

"Maybe it is the wind in your face as you sail across the water or the silence of the air on a quiet country ride. Maybe it is the fact that it helps you visit a relative far away or notice the sensation of foot to path and pavement.   As we move through this world, what mode of transportation gets us there and do we notice and acknowledge this feat."

There are few less-interested-in-a-car people than a Luanne.  Which is probably a good portion of why I was driving such a run-down car.  One weekend this summer, I visited a friend who helped me start the process of replacing that car the previous summer.  As I was driving over, it seemed surreal to me that it had only been a year since I was driving that car.  I would try to only make right-hand turns, and would only drive in the right-hand-lane - because one of the rear-view mirrors was messed up.  And I had to wiggle the signal-light just right if I needed to put n the left-hand signal.  There were coffee stains everywhere, the trunk was extra storage, and there were bits of yellow paint from a road-trip five years earlier where we had to drive real fast to get underneath the parking barricade.

And so - now - when I actually stop to take notice of my car - I am so grateful that everything works.  So very grateful.

Thanks for existing car.  And thanks for helping me start the process, dude.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 15 - Sense of Humour

"Did you hear the one about the...? When was the last time you chuckled, laughed out loud (not just typed lol), or even had your cheeks hurting, your sides splitting and you found yourself having to catch your breath? Offer your story of something or someone that cracked you up and why you're grateful."

Oh man - a few posts back, I thought of the things that give me an honest to goodness giggle.  There is one thought that keeps coming to mind.  It's an oldie. 

Years ago - I can't have been more than 19 or 20.  My first roommate and I had so much fun.  If there was ever a girl ready to laugh, that was my roomie. I wasn't quite solvent enough, yet, to have a proper bed.  In its place, I had a number of single mattresses, and foam's stacked on top of one another.  Maybe 6 in total?  Well.  The best part of the day was when we'd both get home from work or school, and take turns running down the hallway and jumping on that stack of mattresses.  The bounce was *amazing!* If there is ever a time that I need a good pick-me-up, and if I can access that memory, I can be assured of a good giggle.

I am grateful that so many of my friends are looking for the opportunity to laugh. Facebook serves as a great reflection of our lives.  If I know anything, I know that if I post an opportunity for my friends to add something giggle-worthy - they will be all over it like a dirty shirt.  And I will be grateful for our fun.

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14 - Natural Beauty

"Gratitude for the beauty all around us is a way to feel connected to the rhythm and pulse of our natural world. At water's edge there are different experiences to appreciate than in a field of flowers. In the city it is different than the country. In the morning it is different than in moonlight. What takes your breath away and gives back gratitude?"

When I think of things in nature, I know that being in/near water and autumn colours are two of my favorite things. (The only way that a summer swim could be better is if it looked more like autumn.)

When I don't put a nature slant to it, some of my favorite things are "shiny" and "sparkly."  I have a silly theory that whomever invented sequins was trying to capture the beautiful of the sparkle of the snow on a perfect winter night.  Yesterday I watched the water sparkle as it flowed down the Red River.  Complete with the fall leaves surrounding it.  And now I wonder if whomever invented glitter was trying to capture the beauty of the sunshine reflected on a river. 

There are so many ways to enjoy the beauty of our world.  I am glad to have had the opportunity to share this view. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 13 - Tough Lessons

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha
Life is not always an easy path. But gratitude is not just for appreciating the gifts and pleasures that we receive. Hard gratitude can only come from the trying situations and experiences that impact our life. In really tough moments, gratitude is a hard choice - though sometimes it is the only choice we have left. Do you have an appreciation from a tough life lesson? Now may be a good time to contemplate it.
Truth be told, I'm a pretty lucky girl.  But I don't always realize this. I remember talking with someone - and talking about how "we all have weirdnesses."  I wasn't sure I liked that idea, but in the end, I agreed that maybe, just maybe, I might have some weirdnesses of my own. 

Just between you and me - and 400 odd Facebook friends - I can occasionally get a bit wound up about things. And I can occasionally hold out until I get my way.  And because it has never been much of an issue, I've never given it much thought.  Well - recently I had to be the one at the "giving space" end of things.  I'd never been there before. (True story!)  I wasn't entirely certain what was going on to start - nor did I know what was going on with the feelings I was feeling.

At one point I realized that I could validate another's needs - and while it didn't start feeling natural - it did feel good to know that I had what it takes to give to others.  It also felt amazing to realize that so many have done this for me.

I've always been a "youngest child."  And I know that this has afforded me a lot of luxuries.

I'm thankful today to have the opportunity to realize some of them specifically, and to be grateful for them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 12 - Simple Pleasures

"Ah...the simple pleasures in life. They are usually brief, easy and uncomplicated. They often involve triggering one of the 5 senses to wash over you in a moment of awareness and joy. What allows you to stop and appreciate your day?"

So many simple pleasures. Here are some of the many things that I'll stop to appreciate for a fleeting moment:
- the cool brushed cotton sheets as I crawl into bed
- when my current favorite song comes on the radio (this very moment, it's Wildfire by John Mayer)
- hearing "drive safe"  (I learned late that "drive safe" is secret code for "I care about you") 
- onomatopoeic names like - Whispering Aspen
- freshly washed floors
- those few moments when the snow sparkles like sequins
- competing colours side by side (like fuchsia and turquoise)
- finding the "nice" folder of emails - reading through the kind things people say
- watching people hug and say hello after a long absence
- an unexpected touch meant to convey sympathy
- a freshly bathed Scooby
- children's drawings
- a cool shower at a hot camp-site
- a hot shower after a winter's walk
- a surprise coffee date with an almost-but-not-quite started friendship

I'm thankful for the ability to see these simple pleasures.  I'm thankful that the simple pleasures get louder when the days get rougher.  I don't know what combination of events led me to eyes that would see the simple pleasures, but I am surely grateful for them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 11 - Military and Vetrans

"This is not political. This is about appreciating the men and women who have put (or are at this very moment putting) their lives on hold and on the line for their country and its citizens. Do you have a personal connection to a soldier or veteran that deserves your gratitude? Here's your chance."

Over time one thinks through their ideals of youth, and one decides one was wrong on some, and believes more fully in others.  And sometimes you have one that keeps growing at your core that gets more and more solid and real - like the Tell Tale Heart, but in a good way.  One of mine that becomes more solid is the belief that we all have parts of us that are absolutely amazing.  And that we all have different types of weight we can bear.  And that if we all were to carry the weights we were meant to carry, and give with the amazing parts that we have to give, so much of the worlds ills wouldn't exist.

When I think of "the men and women who have put (or are at this very moment putting) their lives on hold and on the line for my country and it's citizens".... the weight of the gratitude to these men and women is overwhelming.  This is not one of the amazing gifts that I have to give - it is dangerous, it is scary, and it is more than I can even stop to think about without the weight, once again, becoming overwhelming.  It inspires me to ensure that I use my gifts - so that if they fill in for any of their voids, they can know my thankfulness.

This is one of those gratitudes that stops me in my tracks.  Thank you for your strength and your courage.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 10 - Teachers

"Teachers come in many different ways. Some are formal teachers with books and desks and degrees. Some are elders, mentors or friends. Some are reluctant, clumsy or even improbable, yet no less impactful. Who has taught you something important? "

I've written about teachers a few times in the past. And I want to take a bit different angle on it than usual.  Please don't get me wrong - I am so grateful for those that act on their passion to formally bring knowledge to others.  I am grateful for how they have stretched my mind and helped me to learn how to learn. 

Today I've been thinking about the accidental teachers.  The people who teach by example;  how to be kind, how to accept others, how to be giving.  The people who find a kind way to let you know you have overstepped, maybe said words that you didn't think were quite so harsh.  The people who helped you (ok, me) to correct flaws - and who loved you all the way through it.  The people who encouraged you to be true to yourself - regardless of public opinion.  The people who showed you, by example, that even if you had something difficult to say - you could find away for it to be building for both parties.

These are people who I've been counting my blessings for today.  The teachers who taught me when I didn't realize I was learning.  Thank you.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 9 - Inventions

"According to Aldous Huxley, "most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." Think of all the modern inventions that we use today and barely notice. Consider something that makes your life easier and thank it today."

Inventions! I was stumped.  What could I write about inventions?  On the drive home - it hit me pretty much everything is an invention. And so - on with the show!

Inventions that I'm really excited about because they make life easier:
- laundry machines
- cars
- glasses
- lawn mowers
- winches
- computers
- language
- alphabets

Inventions that I'm excited about because they appeal to one (or more) of my senses when I use them (or see them used):
- aluminum can tabs (sound nifty)
- pin-ball flappers
- stethoscopes
- headlamps
- nut crackers
- perfume

Inventions that I love because using them makes me giggle:
- yoga balls
- bells with the ding-y thing on top
- trampolines
- swings
- waterslides
- mechanical pencils (ok.  I don't giggle.  They make me feel studious.)

I have a pretty long drive home from work, and so the list just got longer and longer. And I'm excited to say that I figured it out.  I'm thankful that people keep making things.  And sharing things.  And showing things.  Thanks people, for your stuff.   

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 8 - Faith & Spirituality

"Gratitude is a kind of spirituality. Beyond it, you may feel connected to a faith or religious practice that keeps you going, gives you meaning and comfort. Consider contemplating your appreciation for your faith here today."
For the most part - I don't volunteer information about my faith.  I try to live it out loud - I think it is mostly obvious to others.  Some people occasionally ask about it.  Occasionally people can see that I'm working through some things and if they want to help me work through it, I'll share the Christian principle that I can't quite figure out how to apply to my life, and then consider their ideas to see they might have solved the riddle of how I can "be better" in my walk.  But that doesn't talk much about where I'm grateful, does it?
Overall, my faith asks me to believe some pretty fantastic things.  And I do.  And on a purely Luanne-benefit level, it's to a really great end.  There is nothing but benefit to me to believe. 

When I feel alone, I can seek comfort and a wash of love from The Comforter. When I am lost, I can seek direction from The Shepherd. When I need advice, I can seek out The Counsellor.  Prayer gives me an opportunity to give thanks, and to hope for a better future.  It is a great opportunity to talk through my day.

I am thankful that I know no other way than to believe.   Thanks God - for bringing me along for the ride.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 7 - Music

"Listening, creating, moving to the rhythms. Music is a portal to our hearts' emotions - from joy to grief. It can be an avenue to the soul, a place of respite, an international language."

In two short years, I've found my way back to music.  It's a way to get to know people more deeply.  It's a way to meet people I wouldn't otherwise meet.  It keeps my mind sharp as I try to comprehend the "why" of a sound.  It has kept lost loved ones close to my heart.  It has joined me with the past. It is keeping me company into the future. It sooths the rough edges on a bad day, and emphasizes the triumphs of a good day.

I'm so thankful for that one "learn to play harmonica in one easy lesson" - and I'm so thankful for the person who started me in that direction.  It has made all the difference.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 6 - Pets & Wildlife

"The pleasure and simplicity, awe and inspiration of our companions on this earth give us a great deal. This is an opportunity to give back."

Relatively speaking, I'm a new dog owner.  Fortunately for both Scooby and me, Scooby wasn't a new dog when I got him.  I got him in late January - and looking back, the first walks were all a bit tentative.  I was perplexed to start - at how many people stopped to say hello and to let our dogs greet one another.  Even a gentleman driving down the street pulled over to give him a look-see and a pat on the head. 

The following summer we'd walk past a yard with foster dogs.  They were small, but noisy. I'd always speed up and try to get Scooby past there quickly - so he wouldn't be scared.  One day it occurred to me that maybe Scooby wasn't scared.  I didn't speed up, but instead let Scooby lead.  He actually slowed down, got his nose as close as he could to the chain link fence, and touched noses with a couple of the dogs.  They settled down, and we were on our way.

Of the many things I'm grateful about my wee doggie Scooby, the top two are the people he has helped me to meet, and for reminding me that it doesn't matter who you are - regardless of whether or not you have opposable thumbs - if I am humble, I can learn from you.

Thanks Dude.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 5 - A Special Place

"It could be an exotic location or a certain chair in your home. A place that gives you a sense of yourself or a reminder of how you are connected to the world. Offer your gratitude - and a glimpse of just why this particular place came to mind."

I like gratitudes like this one. There are times, on a sunny day, where I am on the deck of the pool, I lift my face to the sun, I close my eyes, and feel the heat and power, and light, and love flow through me.  And times when I am in the middle of a park.  I lift my face to the sun, I close my eyes, and feel the heat and power, and light, and love flow through me.  And times in church when I lift my face in prayer, towards (usually) spotlights in the ceiling, and I feel the heat and power, and light and love flow through me. And times when I'm out in the back yard for a nap in that special chair, I lift my face to the sun, I close my eyes, and feel the heat and power and light and love flow through me.

Less than a certain place, this action that is tied to many places, reminds me that I am a child of God, that I hold a place in this world, that love flows to me, through me and for me. And I am thankful to Him, that He can give me this total feeling of belonging, support and care.

Friday, October 04, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 4 - Everyday Support

"Who are the people that keep your day moving? Here is your opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful for them. Wonder who they are? Just some of the types of people you might see: Receptionist, Nurse assistant, Waitress, Waiter, Hospitality staff, Sanitation worker, Delivery person, Flight attendant, Shop keeper, Cashier, Mail person, 411 operator, Gas Station attendant - etc."

This is actually very timely.  As I walked into a medical lab yesterday I couldn't help but think how grateful I was that the lab tec's were working in their selected career.  They sift through a whole lot of samples to support other people's health. Thank you for doing that specific job.  And let us all be thankful that there seems to be someone to enjoy doing lots of jobs that we wouldn't want to do.

And the sanitation workers in this city?  I don't understand the complaints - even if I forget to take the bins to the street, they still go the extra ways to collect my garbage.  I couldn't be more thankful! (Have you seen my memory lately?!?)

And my work circle - in and out of the office - they do so much to support others.  They set an amazing example to try to meet, to be sure.

And the dude at the Co-op that I haven't been at often since I moved into this area... it is so awesome to see him every few months - to get his smile and hello and to just generally share a cordial exchange. I'm so thankful that he remembers me each time.

And the cheerleaders - who help ensure that I start my day with encouraging words - my goodness, what an amazing treat to be thankful for.

I could "and" this up for pages.  And I think I will, in my mind, while I'm tidying.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 3 - Civic Pride

"We invite all participants - including those from countries outside the US - to consider taking this opportunity to offer a moment of gratitude for an aspect of your nation's civic system that you appreciate."

If you know your Luannes, you'll know that they don't comment much on civic systems.  But that said, there are some pretty amazing things going on in this city that a Luanne can be grateful for. 

I am grateful for a group in Winnipeg who reach out to exploited youth.  Ndinawe, I am thankful that you exist - that I can be comforted in knowing you are doing work that carries such a big weight.  (Here is today's article in the National Post.)

I am grateful for a community of people who come together in times of natural disaster (i.e. floods) and give of themselves to one another.  I am grateful that the Winnipegger's natural instinct is to help each other through a snowy winter or rainy spring. 

I am grateful for organizations like Winnipeg Harvest and Siloam Mission who give to those who have no one / nowhere else to go. 

I am grateful that we are big enough as a community to each have our own space to grow, and small enough that we can still find community in which to belong and in which to feel loved.

Some of what I am grateful about my city are the organizations who give.  Some of what I am grateful about are the individuals who live here, and who give.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 2 - Your Health

"Submit a gratitude for a specific aspect of your health that you are grateful for. Consider what benefit you receive from this attribute of your well-being. You may also want to consider a gratitude for the health of someone important to you."

I've been thinking this one through off and on all day. Do you know what?  I have more than average lung capacity.  I have had almost perfect vision for most of my life.  I love bouncing. (Like - on a yoga ball.)  I like to do things, with my body, just to see if I can do them.  How often could I tap a bell in a minute?  I don't know - probably a lot!  I've got a lot of great things going on with my health.  And I'm grateful to have focused on the great things off and on all day.

And you know what else?  Some of my closer family members are going through transitions into where age affects them.  And that has taken a loooooooooooooooong time.  And they have worked to ensure that they can still use their bodies for their day to day tasks.  I'm pretty grateful for their health too. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 1 - A Friend or Special Person

Consider a gratitude for a friend or special person in your life who has given you support, a shoulder, a good laugh. Someone you can be yourself with, and who thinks you're all that too.

What a day. At the very beginning of my day a friend commented on the quality of my friends. I've been thinking about how great they are all day long. It's been a strange year, an...
d I'm still down a pretty significant friend, but overall? I'm pretty darn lucky - I have great friends to start with, a lot of real neat "to build on" friends, and still have the great fortune to come across sweet new people who can help move my mindset into a different kind of hope.

Life is good. Thanks friends and special people.