Taking “H” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the eighth day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “H” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Broken heartHeart. All kinds of heart. The compassion, tenderness, and forgiveness we feel for others. The spirit, bravery, and desire that help us overcome unfavorable odds. The essence of us as humans. The muscle that keeps blood flowing through our veins and arteries. The symbol — so simple and elegant, even a child can draw it. We take all of these sorts of heart for granted, and yet they are all things to be taken with gratitude.

Healing. We often take healing for granted, which makes sense since the healing processes of body, mind, and soul all take place out of sight. And yet, for most of us, those healing processes work even when we aren’t aware of them, keeping our bodies well, putting things right when we get sick, helping to mend our grief-stricken hearts. This is something to be grateful for.

Hope. Even when it feels as if we have no hope, generally, we still have the hope of a new day, better times, someone or something to love.

High places. Seeing the world from high places — lofty peaks, tall buildings, towers, Ferris wheels — puts our lives in perspective and gives us a feeling of expansiveness as if nothing can go wrong in a world with such wonderful and far-sighted views.

H. Even the letter H itself is a something to be grateful for — it’s very shape is like the first step of a ladder, the ladder to healing, hope, and high places.

So, what “H” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “G” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the seventh day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “G” things.

I am especially grateful for grief and the gifts that grief brings.

Grief seems a strange thing for which to be grateful, but I am truly grateful that I experienced such deep grief after the death of my life mate/soul mate. He was a special man, someone who knew how to appreciate even the littlest thing, and I am grateful I was able to show the world how much he would be missed by writing about the grief he left behind. My grief was a way of appreciating him, honoring him, proving that even though he lived a private life, his life had worth to others.

I am grateful, of course, that the pain of my grief is gone, leaving only an underlying sorrow, but more than that, I am grateful for all I learned from the process. I have been able to sense the workings of my lizard brain — my body’s mind as opposed to “my” mind. I have experienced the miracle of body memory, where my body remembers a special date and mourns it even though I had forgotten it. I have learned patience, have experienced the incredible mystery of life, have touched eternity. Because the pain of grief over his death was so profound that I never even knew there could be such pain, I have come to realize that there is way more to us than we ever imagined. As Marianne Williamson wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Grief has also taught me to be grateful for life’s gifts — the friendships that sail into our life, the mystical moments and connections, the chance to experience the world through our senses, the capacity for appreciation, the ability to think and the power to feel thoughts too deep to put into words.

So, what “G” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “F” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the sixth day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “F” things.

Even though we often take family and friends for granted, we do stop occasionally to take them for gratitude, so I am not adding them to this list. I’m more interested in giving thanks for things I’ve never stopped to think about before.

I am especially grateful for:

fingersFingers: I remember the first time I realized my now deceased life mate/soul mate was as interested in me as I was in him. I was in his health food store, and while he was handing me a bottle of vitamin A, our fingers happened to touch. I can still feel the glow from that touch today. Fingers aren’t just a way of connecting with others, but are a way of connecting to the world — through the touch of a petal, the touch of a thorn — but are also a way of connecting to ourselves through the things we create — art, meals, a home. I am especially grateful for my fingers considering the terrible fall I had a year ago that pulverized my elbow, wrist, radius. I still do not have the full use of my fingers, but I am exceedingly grateful for the use I do have.

Feet: Feet keep us connected to this earth. Feet allow us to walk, to move, to dance. Feet are a miracle in and of themselves. Each foot contains 26 bones, and those 52 bones makes up about 25% of the total bones in our bodies. Each foot also contains 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. A true miracle, and something to take for gratitude with every step.

Fate: Whether or not one believes in fate, certain times in our lives do feel fated. In my case, I walked into a health food store one Saturday morning, and there I met the man I would spend the next 34 years with. He died early one Saturday morning, (just after midnight Friday night). That seems fated, too. To come into my life and leave it on the same day of the week.

Failure. I don’t take ever failure for granted, but I never stop to give thanks for the failures that have taught me valuable lessons, such as to pick myself up and try even harder.

Feasts: We so often take feasts for granted, but this month especially, I will be taking feasts for gratitude. I might not be having a Thanksgiving feast, but when we are alive, any meal is truly a feast.

So, what “F” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “E” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the fifth day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “E” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Ears. Ears to hear music, laughter, the voices of loved ones. Earlobes from which to dangle beautiful earrings.

Energy. Even when we feel as if we have no energy, we have enough energy to keep our bodies working. And the days when we do feel as if we have energy to spare — what a joy! And despite all the problems that the various sources of energy to keep our houses and cities alive, we still do have energy enough to drive to where we need to go, to warm our homes in the winter and cool them in the summer, energy enough to light the darkness. So, today I will not take energy for granted, but will give thanks for all the energy that comes my way.

Entertainment and enjoyment. We have come a long way from the days when weS humans had to provide our own entertainment, whether telling stories around a community fire, dancing in a neighbor’s barn, or playing musical instruments in a parlor. Now we have instant entertainment, ready for our enjoyment at any time.

Eyes. Eyes to see light and beautiful sites, to see smiling faces, to read print on a page or a reading device.

Eyeglasses. I am especially grateful for eyeglasses, though I tend to take them for granted since they have been perched on my nose (or rather sliding down my nose) since I was ten. Without eyeglasses, I see lights as sparkling gems with halos of brightness, but they are about the only thing I can see better without glasses, so I today I will take my eyeglasses with so very much gratitude.

So, what “E” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***

See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude,Taking “D” Things With Gratitude

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “D” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the fourth day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “D” things.

I dancingam especially grateful for:

Deserts and dessert and the discernment to know the difference.

The desire and determination, the dedication and daring to go after our dreams.

Dawn and daylight, dusk and dazzling sunsets.

Dear and darling and other doting endearments.

Discussions, deliberation, the ability to defend our ideas.

And dancing, of course.

So, what “D” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***

See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

 

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Taking “C” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the third day of my latest surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “C” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Dad and meCaring. We are frequently told and so believe that ours in an uncaring society, but the truth is, most of us care. We care about others, we care for them, we take care of them. We care about this world and we care about the creatures that share it with us. There’s a whole lot of caring going on! Today I will be care-full not to take all that caring for granted, but will take it with gratitude.

Cash. In this world of credit and debit, we still have the ability to make simple and anonymous purchases with cash. We can count it without complicated computations, we can tuck it away for an emergency, or we can put it in an envelope and hand it to someone we care about. Although we are headed for a cashless society, I am grateful that we still have a choice.

Choice. So often, it seems as if life tosses us about, and that we don’t have much choice about what we do, who we are, and what happens to us, but there are always choices. To a great extent, we can choose what to eat and when and where. If our job doesn’t suit (or we were laid off) we have the choice of searching for a better job. Even when things don’t work out for us, such as not being able to find a job, we still have the choice of how to deal with the trauma. Having choices is something I choose to be grateful for.

Comfort. In a choice between fashion or comfort, I always choose comfort. No high heels or constricting clothes for me! (Clothes — another “C” to be grateful for!) So, today I will be grateful for all the comforts of home — comfortable clothing, comfortable furniture, comfortable food, comfortable temperatures.

Comforters. Quilts and other comforters make sleeping a pleasure. Friends and other comforters — those who listen to our woes and give us a shoulder to cry on — make life a pleasure.  Thank you to all those who have offered comfort during these past years. I never took you for granted, but appreciated your every word.

So, what “C” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***

See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

 

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Taking “B” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the second day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “B” things.

I am especially grateful for:

balloonsBalloons. Balloons are such a basic decoration/toy that we take them for granted, but they remind us of festive days and simpler times when batting around a balloon could provide entertainment and laughter.

Beauty. So much of the beauty around us we take for granted, and yet there is beauty wherever we look, in the wrinkled faces of old women, the bright eyes of a new friend, the leafless trees of winter and the bare deserts in summer.

Being. We take our being for granted, wandering through our lives, dealing with everyday matters, paying scant attention to the miracle of being. And yet . . . we are. We have being. Wow. How incredible is that?

Blog. We tend to take blogging for granted, so much so that we don’t always value the wisdom we find in blogs in other blogs or the value of what we write in our own blogs, but blogging allows everyone who wishes to write the equivalent of a newspaper column. To be able to say what is on your mind is definitely something to be taken with gratitude, but if people read your words, that is astonishingly wonderful.

Blue. Blue reminds us of eternity. helps us find serenity, promotes creativity, encourages learning, but more than that, blue is a lovely color in and of itself, and is the favorite of most adults.

Body. We are so familiar with our bodies and see them so often, that whether we like the way we look or not, we take our bodies for granted. We take our brains for granted because we never see them, and take our blood for granted until we see it pouring (or even seeping) out of us after an injury. And we definitely take our bones for granted until we develop a problem, but without bones, our bodies wouldn’t be much more than a pile of mush. So today, I am going to be grateful that all these pieces fit together, allowing me to be.

What “B”s are you taking for gratitude today?

***

See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

 

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Taking “A” Things for Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Since today is the first day of my current surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “A” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Ability to appreciate. Not just to see, taste, hear something, but to admire it, to recognize its importance and value.

Accelerators. We depend on our vehicles for important things such as going work or to the grocery store where we hunt and gather our food, but we also use them to go see sights far away. Without an accelerator, we wouldn’t be able to do anything with those vehicles except sit in them and dream of other places.

Age. Perhaps youth is wasted on the young as we are often told, but age has its place. Despite the ebbing of energy and health that age might bring, having a few decades of life behind us helps bring perspective, appreciation, perhaps even wisdom, though these things are not prerequisites for growing old. Jerks remain jerks forever, it seems. But still, I have a hunch age would be wasted on the young.

Air. Air gives us life, but it also makes us one with the world, flowing into our bodies via our lungs, and flowing out again. Deep slow intakes of air can calm us. Cool air on a hot day or warm air on a cold day brings us comfort.

Ankles make it easier to walk, to dance, to balance. Without ankles, our lower legs would be like stumps. And who doesn’t admire a well-sculpted ankle?

Arms. We take our arms for granted, but those who have lost an arm through war or an accident or illness know the value of those appendages. Even old, saggy arms are beautiful, especially when they are cradling a baby, hugging a friend, swinging loose and free when we take a walk.

What “A”s are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

 

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Some Last (Written) Thoughts About Bill by John E. Stack

 

Bill has been out of our house for a little over six months and our lives are so vastly different now that we only have one child.  That is on child living in the house.  We have opened our house up again for a new child that has been displaced from their parents and their home.  We notified our agency about a month or so ago that we thought we were ready, but whether it is by the decision of the agency or just God’s will, we still have an empty nursery.  The one thing our agency may not understand is the longer our nursery stays empty, the easier it is to let it stay empty. 

 

For those of you that are reading my writings for the first time, or maybe have forgotten, Bill is a young boy that my wife and I took into care.  We work as foster parents and Bill was our twentieth child.  Bill was a micro-preemie and weighed only one pound twelve ounces at birth.  When we met him, he was up to a little over four pounds. And about two and a half months old.  He was the smallest baby we had ever seen, much less held.

 

We went through a lot with Bill.  He had about every type of therapy you could imagine.  It seems like my wife was running to appointments about three to four times a week.  Bill had a very difficult time gaining weight (not a problem that we have in common).  Since he was very tiny at birth, the doctors wanted him to gain as much as possible as quickly as possible.  Along with being tiny, Bill had (has) sensory problems, particularly with food textures.  He was also very, very active.  Finally, the doctors decided that if he was gaining any weight, it was better than losing it (in his case).

 

Well, approximately two and a half years went by and we began working a permanent placement plan for Bill.  His birthday was rapidly approaching, and he would soon be three.  I guess the Department of Social Services went into panic mode.  If he was still in foster care at three it would really mess up their statistics.  Normally, a transition lasts three to four months.  Bill’s was less than five weeks.

 

Bill’s new parents have had him for the past six months and his adoption recently went through.  We get to see some real cute pictures of him and his new family.  We don’t believe that he is fully bonded with his new mom and dad, but it shouldn’t take much longer.  Once they are ready, we will skype and if that goes okay then we will try for a short visit.  We think they are going to make it.  They may have some rough roads to travel, but we all do once in a while.

 

How are we doing with all this?  Do we miss him?  You bet.  Our house has never been so quiet.  I don’t think a day has gone by where we don’t mention him in a conversation.  He is very much missed, and not by just us.  Family, church family, friends, workers in stores we frequent all ask how he is doing and say how much they miss him.  This life we live affects lots of people – more than we ever knew.

 

Some ask, “why didn’t you adopt him?”  Our response is usually, “why didn’t you?”  You know, it was never in our plans to adopt, but we didn’t know God’s plans for us.  Now that we do, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Will God put that in front of us again?  Only he knows.  Plus, we are getting kind of old to be stepping out like that again.  So, for now, we wait to see the next step in his plan for us.  We never know what to expect!

 

 

***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, Olivia’s Sweet Adventure, and the soon to be released (hopefully) Secret Lives (of Middle school teachers).

Hey, by the way, if you enjoyed, this share it with a friend or group of friends.  We are always in need of foster or adoptive parents and some of these posts may inspire them to step out of their comfort zone and change someone else’s life.

If you really, really enjoyed this, click on the link and check out some of the great books published by Indigo Sea Press.  That too could change someone else’s life.

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A COMEDY of ERRORS by Coco Ihle

You know how some people are just “funny” accident prone? Well, my son, Rob, is one of those people, but only when he is at my house. I’ve never been able to figure out why, but because of this affliction, we’ve had lots of laughs, and sometimes the mention of a single word will bring forth gales of laughter from both of us.

One such example happened several years ago, but the mere mention of it reforms the images in our minds and sets the giggles into action. And my son has a great way of recounting the story of how it happened. It was dinner time and we were having hot dogs. Rob was helping me by setting the table and bringing out the condiments. I opened the refrigerator door and grabbed the plastic yellow mustard container and proceeded to give it a good shake so the mustard would come out nice and thick instead of runny.

When I looked up, Rob was standing on the outside of the refrigerator door waiting to get in to get the milk when I suddenly realized someone hadn’t completely closed the top on the mustard container the last time we used it and there were continuous yellow stripes up and down my son’s face and one large glob that was slowly dripping from the end of his nose. I absolutely lost it! I tried really hard not to, but the deadpan expression on Rob’s face as he looked at me, left me completely unhinged. I couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t breathe. Tears blinded my vision. A tiny little squeak was coming from my lungs, but I thought I’d never get my breath back and my midsection was hurting so bad. Of, course, that set Rob off, and it was fifteen minutes before the two of us were able to peel ourselves off the floor and breath normally again.

The latest incident was a few weeks ago when my soon to be daughter-in-law, Florence, and Rob came to spend the weekend with me. I had transferred freshly brewed coffee to a thermos pump pot after it was ready and Florence and I were sitting outside on the patio enjoying the morning and our first cups when Rob came out to say hello. I told him the coffee was ready and he went back inside to get himself a cup. Several minutes went by and he didn’t return. Florence and I wondered what was keeping him and I was just about to get up and go inside when here he came. He had that famous deadpan expression on his face again, so I asked what happened. He said he held his cup under the pump pot’s spigot and was pumping the coffee into his cup when his hand accidentally knocked down a wall-mounted mixer whisk that was behind the pump pot and that startled him so he spilled the steaming hot coffee all over the counter, his hand and floor and when he opened the cabinet underneath the sink to reach the paper towels, he grabbed one and yanked and the roll took off like he was rolling out a red carpet. By the time he got the coffee spill cleaned up and the paper towels re-rolled, he said he was ready to go back to bed. He was kidding, but by that time, Florence and I were in tears and gripping our sides, and Rob joined in.

We all agreed it was nice to start a day off with laughter. Hope you have days like that, too!

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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