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Our Thanksgiving after dinner activities included an exercise in gratitude where we wrote why we are grateful for the members of our family on small pictures our granddaughters had painted.

My youngest granddaughter, J_____  generally sees the world from a different perspective than most of us. Perhaps it’s her red hair. Or maybe it’s her free spirit.

She wrote: I am great full for Grandma because…

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Great full.

That gave me pause.

Because if you think about it, being grateful actually does make us “great full”.

We feel good inside. Others feel good. The step from good to great is not a huge leap.

Giving thanks is that: an act of giving.  Giving is good. In fact science has proven repeatedly that any act of kindness performed improves the health of the giver, the receiver, and incredibly, even the health of those who witness the act of kindness.

By being grateful to others we build bridges, give hope and encouragement, and sow the seeds of more good deeds coming our way. People are less apt to help next time if they don’t receive thanks.

Sadly, “thanks” is not common in the modern lexicon. Strangely, some people believe “thanks” takes away their power, positions them lower than others.

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If only they understood that by giving thanks they GET power.

I truly think that’s what J_____ meant by great full.

Today, I am great full to J_____ for opening my mind to the great state of great-fullness.

My Attitude of Gratitude 2013 Edition

378866_526162980727147_701136640_nIn One Woman’s Opinion there is far too much grumbling and complaining in our society.  Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about some of the things for which I am grateful.

I’m thankful that when I pick up my granddaughters from the school bus they literally tackle me and make me feel like I’m the most important person in their world. I allow myself to believe it, because at that moment, it happens to be true. The times we hang out together, painting pictures or baking cookies or looking at photos on the computer, make up some of the most soul-filling moments of my life. I like to think it’s the same for them.

Living in a country where food is abundant is a real privilege. Many people complain about their grocery bills, and in fact, they use cost as an excuse not to purchase nutritious food, like fruits and vegetables. It has always been my philosophy that eating healthy food is one of the most important things in life. My grocery bill is usually higher than other people’s but that’s because healthy food is a priority for me. I am always amazed when I learn that someone who complains about not being able to afford real food can afford to smoke, drink alcohol, go to a casino or bingo, attend a professional hockey game, eat at a restaurant, or even pay for cable TV.

The last few weeks I’ve been enjoying the spectrum of golds and greens as the trees transition from their summer to their fall wardrobe and ultimately to becoming stark naked. Husband laments that our fall colours don’t include the reds that they have in eastern Canada, where he’s from, but when the sun glistens off the golden leaves I think the earth is positively radiant. I am thankful I can still see these things.

I am thankful for my daughters, who are more like good friends than children to me.  I am thrilled to know them and I’m excited about the direction they’ve taken in their lives. They are truly a blessing.

I am also blessed to have a few very close friends and many other acquaintances. Since joining Toastmasters I am far more comfortable meeting new and making vital connections with people. My horizons are broader and my life is richer knowing all these new friends.

Music is a daily part of my life. (I consume it more than make it.) I have been comforted and inspired by the words and music of many songs.  I am thankful I can still hear them.

Reading books continues to be a priority. I owe much to those who taught me and encouraged me to read. I am grateful I have the freedom to read what I choose. This year among my choices were The Holy Quran and the Book of Mormon. I was amazed at the misconceptions surrounding the former and I was completely disappointed by the latter. I am quite pleased with myself, yes, even grateful, for choosing to make time to enjoy reading.

Sometimes a complaint about the house I live in creeps into my brain. “Too small. Too old. No pantry. Not enough counter space”.  And then I remind myself that I could be living in a cardboard box, or a sea can, or a tent. I could be sharing my home with pigs or chickens or a one-room house with ten people! I have running water and all the conveniences of a modern home. How dare I complain? I give thanks for my home.

2013 is shaping up to be a year where my efforts and plans of the last few years seem to be culminating into the dream I’ve been chasing. The timing of certain events has been uncanny. It’s a wondrous feeling to be in such a miracle; it’s like the moments after a rainstorm when the sun first peeks through the clouds and dazzles all the raindrops in the air and on hard surfaces. The quiet, the fragrance of rain-washed soil; it seems as though everything is as it should be for the moment.

I am thankful for my life. I nearly lost it this summer. (See I’m Alive Because a Skunk Sprayed my Dog). It’s a cliché, I know, but that experience heightened my awareness at the marvel of having life.

I find myself marinating in the sight/feeling of a big blue sky with a huge grin propping up my cheeks as I walk the dog through our beautiful old neighbourhood.  I drink in the vibration of the air around me and feel the tickle of the leaves dancing in the wind.  I am grateful I have learned to savour those moments, for that is the essence of enjoying life.

This list is far from comprehensive but it touches on a few of the important parts of my journey on this planet. I hope it will inspire you to examine the things that matter in your life and that you will adopt your own attitude of gratitude.