As I was leaving a friend's house, she asked me if I would like the Hydrangea blooms from her garden.
I put them in an antique crock on the dining room table. ~
The crock gave me the idea to add the stoneware jug that was my mother's first antique purchase as a new bride. ~
An antique glass compote filled with apples struck my fancy and a primitive, wooden crow joined the grouping.
These solid lead cast farm animals, a child's toy from the 1800's, always bring a smile to my face and I added them to the side of a berry wreath. ~
It struck me that I was choosing items that gave me happiness just by seeing them. Why not add a bowl of eggs, daily gifts from my tiny flock of chicken friends? ~
And, why not enjoy the sight of an inquisitive cat that has to be part of the decorating process? ~
Grouping things I find beautiful together made me stop and see the beauty I was overlooking. I could have filled that table in minutes with everyday items that bring me joy when I take the time to acknowledge them.
I went to my library shelves and pulled out a book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. That book was a great comfort to me fifteen years ago when I was going through a very difficult time. Sarah introduced me to the idea of keeping a gratitude journal.
Each day I wrote down in my journal five things that I was grateful for in the day that was ending. It was difficult to think of anything to be grateful for in that stressful and heartbreaking year. I started with little observances of sunsets, horses grazing in a field or a warm fire. It became a habit to keep my eyes open for nice things in my day so I had something to write down that evening. Soon, I had more than five things to put in my journal. I was seeing beauty, kindness and goodness all around me. My situation hadn't changed one bit; only my way of viewing my world had improved. But, that made all the difference between wallowing in misery and stepping back into life with all its wonder and joy.
Putting together some Thanksgiving Day displays reminded me of all that I am blessed with if I will only stop long enough to see it. ~
Sarah's thought for the day I started decorating was perfect. ~
We all have different ideas of what is beautiful. It only matters that we see the beauty we already have around us. A gratitude journal is the best way I know of healing a wounded soul. It says to the universe, "I appreciate all that is good in my world and I'm offering back to the universe my sincerest thank you for the gifts I receive."
I pulled out my old gratitude journal and made a new entry. I listed the Hydrangeas first, not just because they were beautiful, but because they were a gift from a friend. a perfect way to begin a Thanksgiving weekend that was filled with love, sharing and happiness.
Today, I will write in my journal that I was fully present and enjoyed every moment of the day spent with my family. Every hug, every joke, every conversation, every snuggle with a grandchild was a gift. My heart and soul were full of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. May you find many wonderful memories to take up a pen and write in your journals!