No matter where one goes to do their shopping, it is evident Valentine décor and supplies abound. I noticed how quickly inventory hit the shelves in my local drug store, thrift stores, and yes, even on U-Tube creative channels to make crafts and décor.
Every time I think about Valentine’s Day, the image of my late husband coming into our home after doing the chores of the morning, laden with Valentine treasures. This 6’2” man, dressed in his old leather jacket and jeans announces to his six and four-year-old son and daughter, “Look what the Valentine Chicken left for us!” Yes, I know none of you have heard of this white chicken with heart shaped feet, wings and head in bright red, however, it still seems to visit the Strom residences at this time of year.
As I recall the event, it reminds me of my extended practice of maintaining a Gratitude Journal. For without a doubt the memory of this day is one I am so grateful to have etched in the memories of my children and I to this moment.
My new gratitude journal is a bit different from the ones I’ve developed in the past. It happened while I was in Woodinville, WA in August, during those my brother-in-law final days, I found this journal with quotations and suggestions for gratitude focus randomly placed within its pages.
One of the suggestions at the beginning of the book was to be grateful to people who make us happy. The quote reads, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” (French Novelist Marcel Proust 1871-1922) So started this journal of gratitude. Free thought gratitude pages allow for one to bring to the forefront those things that grace our lives while other pages provide a focus to ponder…
One of the benefits I’ve found in doing a gratitude journal is despite some of the experiences creating feelings of worry, frustration, sadness, etc., on a given day, I find it requires me to take another look of discovery for those things which make my day. As a photographer, I’ve learned to look closer and see the details one misses moving too fast. Yes, the sunrise and sunsets, my houseplants blossoming, the purr of the “furry purrie” who lives with me, and more.
Another topic suggested was to list three good things in our day. As I re-read what I wrote, I realize these three items have significant memories attached and etched into my heart.
I’m convinced the Creator allows me to happen upon events, ideas, and encounters at a time I need motivation, inspiration, or just some plain old noticing of what is in the moment. Why do I say that? Well, this week my journal has encouraged I think of those who are important in my life beyond family and friends. The instruction is to write a list, then begin composing a letter of gratitude to them. It became a list, after some thought, for those who serve in a variety of capacities. It was garbage pick-up day and I realized how often are these men and women thanked for their service? Then came my physicians, my vehicle service men, and some leaders of services for disabled, meal programs, and a note to the morning local programming TV station leaving their families to arrive by 3am to get their programming ready for broadcast at air time.
So perhaps it is wise for all of us to take the time for extending gratitude rather than complaint for today’s gift of life. Gratitude extended to those who make our life’s journey a bit better with a smile, a helping hand, the gift of warmth and cooling, the natural environment, etc. What or Who are you grateful for? Any notebook will do for a daily memo of those things and it matters not if it is just one, three, or more you list.
Try it out and discover how it changes one’s attitude towards self and others. Any time of day whether morning, before you retire for the evening, or both. French Philosopher Jacques Maritain said, “Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” Thank-You!!!
(2-2018) Maralene C Strom is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant. FB Maralene C Strom Photo Creations, Blog: https://marlinky.wordpress.com/ 715-579-9768 or firstname.lastname@example.org