"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, January 13, 2017

January Thoughts--A Guest Post

Today I am grateful for poems shared by others and to others. I am also grateful for our dog Oliver.

I am honored to share a guest post written by my good friend Liz today and I will be back to my Z-A list soon. Liz and I were co-workers for many years. She was an excellent English teacher, whether working with high-energy 7th graders or honors-level seniors, and an outstanding co-advisor to a student group. 

Liz has since retired and has other pursuits to keep her busy. Among many things, she is a writer, a walker, a believer in the power of gratitude. I am grateful for the years of collegiality and friendship we share. I look forward to our next opportunity to walk and talk.

Thank you for your wonderfully written and thought-provoking guest post Liz!

January Thoughts
January in Minnesota often brings some of the coldest and windiest days of the year. It also seems to amplify worries and challenges due to the general uncertainties of life. It can be easy to forget the sunshine that often blesses the skies amid the frigid temperatures.

The bright sky on a recent bitterly cold day reminded me of my father’s final hours in hospice more than a decade ago. It was such a time of sadness for me, braving the cold each day to be with him and listening to the howling wind as I sat by his bedside.  Yet, it was a time for which I have tremendous gratitude. I was able to be with him when others in my family could not, and my husband did more than his share to make that possible. 

I had the gift of seeing my father transform from an anxious state of terminal cancer to one of peaceful passing. The sun shone brightly many of those days, and that somehow eased aching hearts, enabling us to share laughter and sweet memories.  And when we buried him on the coldest day of the year, we sang his favorite song and smiled. He would have liked that.

Likewise, our hearts are lifted as we begin to notice the additional minutes of daylight in January. Such a gift they are as they help to turn our thoughts to future days of walking barefoot in soft, green grass. Ventures into the brisk weather are rewarded with the songs of cardinals and black-capped chickadees.  Icy paths are surprisingly eased by the warmth of the sun, and sometimes the help of a little salt or sand, and our optimism rises.

If we embrace this time of year, it is easy to see the many things that are worthy of gratitude – the bright blue skies, the gift of being with people we love, and the promise of the warmer days to come.

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