Thanksgiving 2014

Makers Faire: Pumpkin made of Lego.

Makers Faire: Pumpkin made of Lego.

Fall and winter are upon us once again. Some days it feels and smells like fall; other days it’s downright winterish.

As we harvest our gardens we are reminded to be thankful for our bounty, not just from our gardens but the bounty of life.

I believe we should have an attitude of gratitude every day but it doesn’t hurt to take time to reflect on a Day designated to Thanks.

Here is my list for 2014:

With the recent Ebola epidemic unfolding, we must be thankful we live in a first world country. Canadians won’t necessarily all escape unscathed but I’m told the virus can’t survive cold. I never say this but: Thank God for our cold Canadian winters! (which are useful for mitigating many harmful organisms).

I am thankful, still, for my health. It’s not a random happening. I invest in my health. I educate myself about food, exercise and medical discoveries that could benefit me. I am thankful I stopped lying to myself about my diet, finally confessing to having a sugar addiction, and taking action to remedy my health. The results have been mind blowing. See My Sugar Story at

I am thankful for my brain. So far this year, I’ve read 115 books and am on track to reach my goal of 150 in 2014. Amazingly, books have presented themselves just when I seem to need the message therein. I have had the privilege of sharing some of these good reads with others, who have reported that the messages were timely.

For my “Communities”, I am thankful. Those include my newly joined Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. I have learned many things and gotten so much valuable support that I can’t imagine not knowing these folks. CAPS was instrumental in my forming a new company, I am privileged to be able to attend the CAPS convention in Toronto in December.

Another of my cherished communities is Toastmasters. I am on the final project to attain my Distinguished Toastmaster designation. I love attending Toastmasters meetings where I invariably laugh and learn. I have made friends in Toastmasters that have enriched my life. The District 42 Toastmasters Fall Conference is in Calgary in November and I’ve reserved my seat.

My most important community, of course, is my family and close friends. I am fortunate that my daughters and granddaughters (Grandtoys) live close. We see each other regularly and that fills my soul. One of my great joys is being involved in the rearing of my Grandtoys. The other day I noticed my 11-year-old Grandtoy had had a growth spurt. We measured and sure enough: she’s 1/4 inch from 5 feet tall, up almost two inches since June!

My propensity is to always look for the next new thing I can see or read or do. That doesn’t always allow time to reflect on being content with things they way they are. When I take the time to do that, I discover that I have a rich life, certainly conducive to happiness, which is the best life purpose, in my opinion.

I encourage you to take a block of time in the busy Thanksgiving weekend to review your life, celebrate your blessings, and baste yourself in happiness.

See past Gratitude Messages:

Great Full 

Attitude of Gratitude

Great Full

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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.