Tag Archives: take things with gratitude

Taking “O” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the h day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “O” things.

I am especially grateful for:Oxygen. Unless one’s lungs are compromised or the air is too polluted to breathe, we take oxygen for granted. It is the most common element on earth, making up almost 50% of the earth’s mass, approximately 25% of the air, 90% of water and 65% of the human body. Without oxygen, we simply could not live. We couldn’t breathe, our bodies would desiccate, and the earth itself would be hostile. As I sip my bottle of spring water and breathe deeply of the mostly fresh air, I will give thanks for the simple and common element that makes our lives possible.

Order. For the most part, lives are ordered even though things often feel chaotic. We are involved in a dance of order. The earth is spinning on its axis at about 1000 miles per hour and it is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 mph. The sun is racing around the Milky Way Galaxy at 483,000 mph. And the galaxy is moving at perhaps 2,237,000 mph. The entire universe is also moving and expanding, at untold speeds. The planets revolve around the sun in such an orderly manner that they don’t bump into one another (at least not any more. It is possible that at the birth of our solar system, many bodies orbited the sun, but they crashed into each other, the stronger ones assimilating or annihilating the weaker ones, until we ended up with the order we have today.) The sun rises every morning (or rather we have the illusion of the sun rising because of course, it is not the sun that rises but the earth that turns) while the moon follows it’s own path. On a more personal plane, we easily fall into habits (and what are habits if not the order of our lives). So today, I will take with gratitude the order that underlies the chaos of my life.

Opportunity. So often we feel as if we are tied to the order of our life, that opportunity has passed us by, but opportunities do occasionally visit our lives. To be honest, often those opportunities seem more like problems, but if we look at the big picture, opportunities abound. It might take more courage than we have to make use of those opportunities, or we might have made other choices, but still, we always have opportunities, if only the opportunity to choose or to turn away. I will try to be more cognizant of the opportunities that present themselves, and be grateful for whatever opportunities come my way.

So, what “O” 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 “N” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the fourteenth post for this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “N” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Nice. Nice is one of those words that we all use, though we tend to think it’s a bit weak and insipid. I like “nice,” though. I like nice people, nice things, nice days. Things don’t always have to be spectacular, nice is often good enough and comfortable besides. So today I will be grateful for all the nice things in my life.

Night. This is the time of year I used to unhappily call the “creeping darkness,” when the nights get progressively desert sunsetlonger. And yet, without night, we’d be left with unremitting sun, no moon and stars, a life that would be glaringly the same day after day after day. I won’t be taking night for granted tonight but will take it for gratitude.

Nonconformity. We take for granted that we can be who we want without having to conform to strict codes of dress or ways of thinking, yet this was not always so. Today I will take with gratitude the nonconformity, the individualism in my life.

Numbers. We take numbers for granted, but what would we do without them? How would we count or account? We’d live in a world of simplicity, of course, where the only counting would be the number of fingers we could hold up. (Though, of course, we wouldn’t have a name for that number!) So today I will be grateful for numbers.

Nutrition. Even in a culture where so many of our foods are lacking in nutrition (and hence can’t really be called food) there are nutritious foods to eat. We take for granted that our grocery stores will always be stocked with nutritious foods, though there could come a time when all our foods are devoid of nutrition. So, until then, I will be grateful for nutrition.

So, what “N” 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 “M” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the thirteenth post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “M” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Memory. We take our memories for granted since we remember what we remember and don’t remember that we don’t remember what we no longer remember. The continuity of our very being depends on memory. We define ourselves by what we have done or thought, who we have loved, who has loved us. If we had to approach each moment as if it were fresh with no past, who would we be? Would we still be us? Of course we would still be us, but we might not feel like us. We’d feel . . . fragmented, adrift, alone. Memory connects us not just to our pasts but to each other, and it connects us to those who are no longer with us here on earth. Today I will be taking memory for gratitude, and give thanks that I can remember everything I remember.

Moon. Moons go through cycles, from full moons to gibbous moons to crescent moons to new moons and back through the cycle night after night across the eons. Ancient lore speaks of a time when there was no moon, before the earth captured this satellite into its orbit, but whether the moon has always been a companion to earth or is a relative newcomer, the fact is that the moon now affects us more than we ever know. Seems fitting that just a few days past the full moon, I am evoking a mood of gratitude for the moon and for everything in my life that is valuable.

Miracles. We take life’s little miracles for granted. The other day I happened to notice a fiery red rose in the chill December air, which reminded me that we often can’t predict the joys that life will bring or when life will bring them. Even if this flower bloomed because of turmoil in the earth’s ecosystem, it is still a miracle. Other miracles are the connections we feel when we exchange smiles or laughter; the miracle of reading — we can read the strange symbols called the alphabet, and understand what is in a writer’s mind; the miracle of the internet. What I write here, people all over the world can read. Truly a miracle! So today I will be taking for gratitude life’s little miracles (though truly, is there such a thing as a little miracle?).

So, what “M” 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 “L” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the twelfth such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “L” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Life. We generally take life for granted. After losing someone important to us, we pay attention to life, either grateful we still have it or regretful that the dead don’t, but gradually we slip back into taking life for granted. It makes sense — we live life, though we don’t truly know what it is, why it is, or where it comes from. Most people think they know, but truly all we have are beliefs if we’re religious or theories if we’re scientific. Me? I’m trying just to be, to live, and to take my life with gratitude.

Laughter. Laughter is another of those things we take for granted, probably because laughter is a spontaneous reaction. If something is funny, we laugh. If we’re enjoying ourselves, we laugh. We seldom laugh when we are alone, which is too bad. Among other things, laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, increases memory, improves alertness and boosts creativity. Apparently, though, voluntary laughter (faked laughtrainbower) has just as many benefits, so perhaps someday (when no one is around to hear) I will learn to laugh alone. Meantime, I will take any laughter I can get with gratitude.

Light. Light is probably the thing we take most for granted. Electric light, firelight, starlight, sunlight, moonlight, ambient light, spectrum of light (color). Light just is. Today (and every day) I will take light for gratitude, and be grateful I can see the many colorful effects of light.

Learning. We are creatures with immense potential for learning, yet we so often take that ability for granted. Learning comes naturally, whether it’s learning song lyrics or how to use a new device. We just take for granted that with a bit of focus, we will learn. It’s almost inconceivable for us not to learn. So I will learn to take this ability for gratitude.

Love. There are so many kinds of love — romantic love, self-love, and motherly love; love of books, music, art; joie de vivre; friendship — that it’s hard not to take at least some form of love for granted. Today, and all days, I will take the love that comes my way with gratitude.

So, what “L” 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 “K” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the eleventh such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “K” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Kindness. We are all kinder than we think we are, though often that kindness is offhand since we become too distracted by the demands of our lives to focus on others. I was fortunate to find much kindness online after the death of my life mate/soul mate. Because I blogged about the maelstrom of emotions we call grief, trying to make sense of what I was going through, I met others who were dealing with the same process. The kindness of these strangers, these women I’ve never met, gave me the courage to embrace the agony of losing my mate, to face it head on, arms open wide. They gave me hope when it seemed I’d never move past the agony of loss, helped me make sense of the senselessness of death (or at least to accept it). They opened their hearts to me. I never took their kindness for granted — I appreciated every word of support — I’ve even expressed my appreciation, but today I want to make it official that I am not taking kindness for granted, but am taking it for gratitude.

Kindred spirits: Those women (and a few men) who offered support in my grief were kindred spirits, walking the same path I did, feeling the same losses, honoring our dead with our sorrow. I am very grateful to these kindred spirits and to the authors (kindred spirits indeed!) who have enriched my life with their words.

Knowledge. We are all knowledgeable in many ways, though we often take this knowledge for granted. We know how to walk, yet only a few of us ever remember the laborious process of learning first how to crawl and then how to stand on our own two feet. I am not one of those who remember, so I tend to take this basic knowledge for granted, as I do most of what I know. I know how to read and write, to add and subtract, to talk and listen. I know how it feels to dance and to grieve, to love and to laugh. I know even more esoteric things, such as mythology, secret histories, quantum mechanics (well, not a lot, just the basics, which I learned for the fun of it). I am always seeking more knowledge in my quest for wisdom, so I tend to take for granted what I have already learned. But today, I will take my knowledge for gratitude.

Kilter. For the most part, contrary to popular belief and Murphy’s law, things are generally in order and remain there until entropy enters the picture. A friend of mine signs her emails, “The universe is unfolding as it should.” If this is true, then things are, by definition, in kilter. (Speaking of knowledge, we can’t always take for granted that the “knowledge” we come across is true. For example, if you Google “kilter,” the first definition you will find is: out of harmony or balance. This is, in fact, the definition of “out of kilter.” “Kilter” means in order or in balance.)

Knobs. I take knobs for granted, but they sure do make it easier to open cabinets and drawers, so today, I will take knobs for gratitude.

So, what “K” 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 “J” 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

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the tenth such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “J” things. Well, one “J” thing.

I am especially grateful for:

100_1807aJeff. Although I never took Jeff — my life mate/soul mate — for granted, somehow I always took for granted that we’d be together. Even while he was dying, I took for granted that such was the way things always would be — he dying, me struggling to live. And even at the end, I took for granted that somehow he’d still be in my life, as if he would be in another room, perhaps. After he took his last breath, I was stunned by the absolute feeling of “goneness” I felt. It wasn’t as if he were in another room. It was as if an immense crater had been dug out of my life, my heart, my soul, leaving behind . . . nothing.

Even though I don’t feel him in my life any more, even though I can barely remember what our shared life was like, I always take him for gratitude. I am grateful I knew him, grateful (and honored) that he shared his life and death with me, grateful I once was so connected to another human being that his death left a hole in my life that will never be filled. I am grateful for every shared smile, every hug, every act of caring. I am grateful I found someone who understood me and knew what I meant when I spoke.

I am grateful for our electric conversations that lasted hours, days, a lifetime. We didn’t try to convince the other of our position — we each brought truth and thought to the conversation, and together we created a greater reality. There was no reason to argue — it was never about his opinion versus mine. It was about the truth — the truth as far as we could reconstruct it together. And oh, I am so grateful for that truth!

I am grateful for the time he spent with me. I am grateful for the movies we watched together, the books we shared, the ideas we developed, the businesses we created. I am grateful he stayed with me as long as possible, long enough to say everything that needed to be said.

I am grateful he set me free. I might have had to spend the rest of my years caring for a helpless invalid, but he left my life as quickly and as gracefully as he entered — between one heartbeat and the next.

I am even grateful he set me on my current path. He once told me it bothered him that because of his illness and our constrained lives, I’d lost the spontaneity I once had (ironically, that spontaneity had come from the security his presence engendered in me). I am now trying to get back that spontaneity, and will spend the rest of my life as untethered as possible.

I am grateful I once was loved. I am grateful I loved.

I am grateful that Jeff was such a major part of my life.

So, what “J” 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 “I” 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

For the past few days, I have been taking many things for gratitude. Since today is the ninth day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “I” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Intangibles. The intangible things of life — those things we cannot touch or feel or own — make life worth living. Intangibles such as honor and hope, friendship and kindness, knowledge and perception. We often take these intangible things for granted, so today, I am taking them for gratitude, offering up thanks for all the wonderful intangibles that enrich our lives.

Integrity. We often hear that people have no honor or integrity, that we can’t trust anyone, and yet the truth is, most of us do have integrity. Barbara Killinger defined integrity as “a personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honour moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles.” I have made such a choice, and so have most people. So today, I have the integrity to say I am taking integrity for gratitude.

Inquisitiveness. I have an inquisitive nature, an insatiable thirst for truth. I often take this inquisitiveness for granted, but it has led me to awesome truths and glorious insights. (Insights is another I word for which to be grateful!) So today I will take my inquisitiveness for gratitude.

Indulgence. Too much indulgence can be a bad thing, making us fat and sick and miserable and integrity-less, but being able to indulge ourselves is something to be grateful for, especially today of all days.

Happy Thanksgiving!

***
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 “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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