Growing in Gratitude

Today is the final day of a month of expressing gratitude. It’s been my practice the last few years to be intentional about expressing thankfulness during Thanksgiving Week. This is the first time I’ve done 30 days of gratitude, and not only that but found at least five things a day to be grateful for. Growing in gratitude has been my reality during November.

It’s been a wonderful experience. Tonight it seems fitting to conclude my month of thanks and welcome December by lighting all of my Christmas candles for the first time. Darkness surrounds the house. Unseasonal thunderstorms are rolling through the area. However, inside the house, 80 plus candles create warmth and peace.

Growing in Gratitude

Finding My Heart

I successfully located a heart ornament for the tree, at Cracker Barrell’s Country Store. The small heart is adorned with silver beads that reflect the Christmas tree lights. As a bonus, the ornament was on sale. I paid a whopping 59ยข for it!

I had a harder time finding a representation of this years’s symbol…the quill pen or feather. Bird ornaments with real feathers attached for the tail seemed plentiful. And angel ornaments with wings caught my eye, but nothing that looked like an ordinary feather appeared. What to do? Go with a real feather. I got the idea this morning as I worked in my studio. I’ve been collecting feathers all year. They look very homey stuck into the branches of a small artificial tree resting on my writing table.

I found a cream colored ostrich feather that’s about a foot long. My fresh Christmas tree is not topped with a star. Rather, it is crowned with a feather. I’m grateful that I found what I was looking for.

Growing in Gratitude

Ornaments to Represent the Grandkids

Last night, as I decorated the tree, I decided to look for ornaments today to represent my grandchildren. Oliver’s nickname is Bear. A bear ornament, I thought, would be perfect for him.

As I looked for a feather in Hobby Lobby, I suddenly came across a sturdy bear ornament, a reminder of my intention. I selected the bear for Oliver, a fox for Joey and a bird for Aubrey. All of their ornaments are white.

For Jonathan I chose a graceful silver reindeer. And for Dayan a TARDIS from Doctor Who, as he is the one who introduced me to this amazing series.

Part of growing in gratitude is believing as fact, a future hope. I hung a silver baby stocking on the tree, to represent the child my daughter Adriel and son-in-law Nate hope to have in the near future. I’ve sent that sweet intention out into the universe, as an answered prayer, and I look forward to welcoming another grandchild someday. I can tell him or her…you were hoped for and loved even before you came into this world.

I’m grateful for the blessings in my life, called grandchildren.

Growing in Gratitude

The Lighting of the Candles

With the house and front porch decorated, I celebrated by lighting candles throughout my home. Each room is aglow with soft candlelight and tiny twinkling Christmas lights.

My heart is aglow too. I love switching off all the lamps and overhead lights and appreciating the beauty of each intimately lit room. It takes me half an hour to drop tea lights into every holder and container and then light them all. It is so worth the effort.

The lightning flickering outside is unexpected this time of year. We have the possibility of severe weather tonight. I lit candles on the front porch nonetheless, and inside it is cozy and snug. I am grateful. All is well.

Growing in Gratitude

From the Inner to the Outer

Normally when I decorate for Christmas, I begin with the front porch and then move into the house. I’ve always started with the outside because that’s the area people see first. Typically I finish up in my creative studio.

This year, I reversed the process. I began in the most personal area of my home…the bedroom. This is my inner sanctuary, the place I rest and dream in. Then I decorated my studio before moving into the more public living areas. Finally, I completed the decorating on the front porch.

The reversal is significant I believe. It reveals how I have shifted. My life is lived from my inner self, my sacred sanctuary, to my outer self, the part of me that is “public”. What happens in my inner life is manifested then in my outer life. I like the parallels and the symbolism that decorating my home offers to my life journey. It is all connected and I am grateful.

Growing in Gratitude

Growing in Gratitude

This has been an amazing 30 days, as I practice gratitude and wrote about the Daily 5. That’s 150 intentional gratitudes expressed. The experience did more than raise my awareness, showing me how blessed I am. It shifted my thinking, expanded my soul and deepened my faith.

Watching for things to be thankful for caused more blessings to flow into my life. My prayer all day long was “Thank you..”, expressed with a full heart to the Divine.

Meister Eckhart wrote:

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, that will be enough.”

It is enough. Gratitude transforms everything.

Thank you. I am grateful. Thank you.

Growing in Gratitude