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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

gratitude challenge

This week’s gratitude challenge is about education – which seems a little strange since it is officially summer now and who wants to think about education or school!

Seriously, though, I have much to be thankful for when it comes to an education.

My first eight years of schooling were spent at a wonderful, country school with some pretty amazing teachers. We had four classrooms and I don’t think we ever topped 100 kids in the whole school. Our average classroom size was between 20-25 kids, and because it was in a small community  – the teachers knew the students they taught.

It made for a very safe, caring environment – even if I was too shy to appreciate it at the time!

My high school years were spent attending the high school in the closest town (about 15 miles away). The bus ride was painfully terrorizing (mostly just to me because it provided way too many opportunities for someone to speak to me!), but again, I was very fortunate to have some great teachers. One teacher in particular (I had him for both my freshmen and senior English classes), gave me a new appreciation for books and expanded my literary horizons. He was tough and getting an A in his class a huge accomplishment, but he was always fair. I’m grateful that he challenged us, challenged our minds in ways we hadn’t experienced before.

My first two years of college were spent at the nearby community college. I had some incredibly awful professors there and some who’s lectures I can still remember. The history teacher I had was absolutely amazing. He didn’t just teach dates and events – he brought history to life in a way that still makes me smile when I recall the fun mornings spent in his classes. He is one of the reasons I love researching historical details for my romances!

I finished by education and earned my degree from a state college (that has since become a university) nine hours away from home (in good roads, it was more like 11 or 12 in the winter).  It was there I met the professor who would tell me I’d make a terrible journalist and I should think about writing romance novels. At the time, her blunt statement made me made and just to prove her wrong I went on to spend ten years working for newspapers. However, she ended up being correct -my love (and I think my talent) is in writing stories with happy endings, bursting with sweet romance. I’m grateful that she saw something in me that it took me a while to recognize.

I’m a believer in being a life-long learner which means I’ve gained an education from some other very important “schools” that include:

• The School of Hard Knocks

• The Classroom of Nature

• The Wisdom of Age and Experience

I am thankful for all the people, circumstances and experience that gave me the education I have and look forward to my “continuing” education as I go along this wonderful, blessed journey of life.

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gratitude challengeThis week’s challenge is both fun and easy for me – a book I’ve learned from!

There have been so many books I’ve learned from and I am ever so grateful for both the knowledge I gained and the love of books that keeps me reading more!

It would be impossible to choose just one book, so here are just a few of my favorites:

* The Bible

* The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (if you haven’t read it – you really should)

* The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

* The Mary Kay Way by Mary Kay Ash

* Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

* Little Britches by Ralph Moody (read the whole series!)

* Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter

* Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve learned from?

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gratitude challenge

This week’s gratitude challenge is a little, well… challenging.

I greatly dislike talking about anything remotely related to this topic, but I’m supposed to choose my favorite physical trait to share.

It wouldn’t be the nose that was broken in my 7th grade PE class by the basketball my archenemy slammed into my face (and yes, I had an archenemy, although I’m not sure she knew she held that auspicious title – I was too painfully shy to tell her.)

It wouldn’t be my hands (although I’m grateful to have them and that they both function well). But the age spot that has popped up on one has caused me no end of grief (thanks, Mom, for passing on those genes!).

Definitely not my feet – between broken toes and an arthritic ankle – nope, definitely not the feet.

Hair – it’s usually somewhere between mostly and completely a mess, despite my hairdresser’s best efforts.

Mouth is too small, chin is too stubborn (and jiggly).

I think I’ll go with eyes. When I was in high school, our English teacher made us draw a classmate’s name, then we had to say one positive thing about that person. A boy I had a huge crush on at the time, drew my name and said my eyes were like “sponges,” soaking in everything, shining bright and moist. Up to that point, it was the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to me and my little sixteen-year-old heart nearly beat its way out of my chest.

Despite the wrinkles that seem to appear with alarming frequency, I’m so, so grateful for my eyes and to have my sight. Even though I have to wear glasses to see anything in a distance, they guide me through my day, serve as a key component of me doing something I love every single day, and give me the gift of seeing the face of my beloved, watching the world around me I love so much.

What physical trait of yours is your favorite?

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gratitude challenge

Today’s gratitude challenge is “Something You Use Every Day.”

keyboardAt first, I thought I’d write about how much I appreciate my computer. Because I do. I use it every day. It enables me to do something I love so much that I am frequently left with a heart overflowing in gratitude for this blessing. If I had to write out my stories by hand and make corrections – or even use a typewriter – I’m afraid instead of six to eight books a year, readers would likely see one, may be two from me and I’d still be working full time to cover my expenses! So I am wildly and profoundly grateful for my computer (and internet service!).

water

Then I thought I’d write about water. We have a well that produces clear, good water in abundance. When I think of all the people in the world who don’t have that blessing, it makes me extremely grateful. How many times a day do I turn on the faucet and get a drink or wash my hands without giving one thought to how fortunate I am? A lot – but I am thankful – so very thankful for this blessing.

the black abyssAnother thing I’m very grateful for that I use every day are my eyes, my ears (faulty as they may be), my nose, my tastebuds – all my senses. I’m so grateful for each and every one of these that allow me to see the verdant grass and bright blue sky outside my window, to smell the scent of my roses, to hear Captain Cavedweller’s voice as he walks in the door at night after work, to taste a piece of decadent chocolate, to feel the dirt on my hands after working in the yard. Imagine what would happen if you woke up tomorrow and one of the senses we take for granted was just gone. I think I am most grateful for these senses that enhance my ability to do what I need to each day, to enjoy the day as it comes and experience it fully.

What every day item are you most grateful for?

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gratitude challengeI’m in catch up mode for my Gratitude Challenge so here goes.

Week 19 – Health

Overall, I’m pretty healthy – or at least I feel healthy for the most part. Sure – I need to exercise more and probably eat less chocolate (oh, who am I kidding… that won’t happen). Other than seasonal allergies that last year-round, a genetic hearing loss the doctor says will eventually leave me deaf, bursitis and arthritis (and yes, I am too young to have both of those but arthritis came to stay in my 20s and that led to the bursitis)… I really don’t have anything to complain about. I am grateful that I can get out of bed each morning, ready to take on the day. I’m thankful that I can see the vibrant hues of a sunset, smell the scent of roses, taste the chocolate I love so much, and hear (for the most part) birdsong or a child’s laughter. I’m blessed to be able to spend my days able to do something I love so much.

friends_butterfly

Week 20 – A Friend 2

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in about a year. We met about fourteen years ago and instantly connected. She married and moved a few hours away three years ago and I haven’t seen her much since then – but we stay in touch via email and text messages.  Since I was traveling through her town, we made sure to set up a time to meet and spent two hours catching up on life. Although we’ve kept in touch, there is nothing like sitting down with a friend face-to-face and catching up on life. She is one of the most driven, professional people I know and has such a good attitude about life in general. I can’t even begin to tell you how much wisdom she has shared over the years that has helped me through some rough spots. I am so, so grateful we met all those years ago and have continued our friendship.

Bowl of mini roses

Week 21 – Things I Like About Summer

Can I say “Everything!” – except mosquitoes.

Seriously, though, I love summer. And if you want a list of specifics, here’s a few:

* The scent of fresh-cut hay

* The sight of wheat fields ripening

* Watermelon

* Big blue skies that stretch forever

* Brilliant sunsets

* The scent of roses carried on a soft evening breeze

* Homemade ice cream

* Crisp white curtains fluttering at the windows

* The bold colors of summer flowers

* The sound of sprinklers cha-chinking

* Fireworks

* Picnics

* Hometown 4th of July celebrations

*Idaho Spud bars (chilled)

* Farmers working in the fields

* Rodeos

* Lazy evenings

* Star gazing

* Road trips and long drives

*Bare toes in the soft carpet of green grass

* The sound of the ocean lapping at the shore

* Popsicles

* Water balloons

* Running through sprinklers

* Barbecues

And while I’m at it – I am so grateful to all the Veterans, both past and present, for their sacrifices and service that keep our freedom safe and give us the ability to enjoy these simple blessings of summer.

Happy Memorial Day!

 

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gratitude challengeThis week’s gratitude challenge is simply “the weather.”

What a great week to have this challenge because our weather the past few days has been absolutely, undeniably and entirely gorgeous!

With highs in the 80s, slight breeze (because we often get winds that can blow your skirt over your head), and bright sunshine – the weather has been incredibly marvelous.

If I could bottle up days like this and open them, even just a crack, on gloomy cold days… I’d no longer dread the winter so much. I am thankful beyond words for lovely days like today because they are my favorite kind of days – not too hot, plenty warm, bright sunshine, fresh air with just a hint of flowers carried on a soft breeze.

As elated as I am with the current weather, I know that we need rain. Yesterday, Captain Cavedweller and I went for a drive and noted how the creek is about half full instead of gurgling close to the banks as it usually does this time of year. The ground seems a little parched even though it is still spring.

Overall, for today, I’m ridiculously grateful for another beautiful day. I’m also grateful for the ability to get up and enjoy this day… to see it, hear it, smell it, feel it, taste it, move freely through it.

And if we get some rain soon for the farmers, I’ll be grateful for that, too.

What’s your weather like today?

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gratitude challengeThis week’s gratitude challenge is focusing on something I take for granted.

As I think about which particular thing to write about, I realize there are numerous things I take for granted.

Far too many, in fact.

For today, though, I’ll say that I’m extremely grateful for my health.

I get out of bed every day with the expectation that my legs and feet will carry me through the day. That my arms and hands will lift whatever needs lifted. That my back will hold me upright as I move through the day (or sit for hours in my office chair writing). I fully expect to be able to see and smell and taste, although admittedly my eyesight isn’t what quite what it used to be (not that it was ever fabulous). I don’t give a thought to my heart pumping properly or my body functioning as it should.

Sure, I’ve got a few little “issues” like arthritis and bursitis and hearing loss (and no, I’m ninety years old!) and I could exercise more and eat less chocolate… but for the most part, I’m in good health.

Although I most often take that for granted, I am truly grateful for my health and for this body that carries me through one day after another.

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