The Here Year: Gratitude

I was thrilled when Aidan chose Gratitude as the December Here Year theme.  As I just wrote last month, while I love the explosion of gratitude-related posting and Facebooking and general conversation around Thanksgiving, I actually would love to spread the awareness of our good fortune out throughout the year.  It’s one of the things I care most deeply about as a person and as a parent.

For me, gratitude is inherently intertwined with paying attention.  By listening to, watching, and observing the details of my own life, I automatically put myself in a thankful mood.  I notice things to be grateful for in every corner.  The adage that gratitude turns what we have into enough comes often to mind.  Trite, yes, maybe, but also profoundly true.

I used to share posts regularly with photos and short snippets of things I’d noticed, that I wanted to mark, celebrate, and honor.  I realize Instagram has become the place I do that, most days.  What I hadn’t really put together before now was that those posts – this blog itself, in fact – and now, Instagram, are my way of saying thank you.  By making sure I noticed my own life, I was cultivating gratitude for it.

So, with a deep bow to an instinct that was powerful before it was clearly articulate-able, I want to return to that.  A few shimmering moments in my ordinary life lately that I noticed and for which I am deeply thankful.

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Almost-full moon rising, 4pm. Picked Grace up from hockey practice, watched her as she tossed her hockey bag in the trunk and then slid into the front seat. Before my eyes my little girl has become a graceful young woman. I gasped at the startling beauty of a flock of birds flying overhead and then drove home, towards this rising moon, more beautiful somehow for its almost-full imperfection, the jagged bottom corner. Oh, this life.

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One evening last month, when Grace was on a multi-day field trip for school and Matt was traveling for work, Whit and I curled up on the couch and did some DEAR (Drop Everything And Read).  It was one of my favorite hours of November.

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I had the most delightful, warm coffee with Rebecca Pacheco, whose blog, Omgal, I have long loved.  She graciously gave me an advance copy of her book which I cannot WAIT to read.  She also affirmed for me that the online world can indeed be a source of real, genuine, deep relationships.  I don’t know Rebecca that well (yet) but look forward to spending more time with her and feel hugely grateful to have connected with her.  And stay tuned for a review of Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life, which I already know I’m going to love.

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Grace opening a birthday gift from my dear, beloved Brettne.  There’s something about the sight of my daughter holding two books I so passionately loved as a girl myself (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and To Kill a Mockingbird), sent to her from a friend who means a tremendous amount to me and whose love of books is even deeper than my own that brought tears to my eyes.

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One of my favorite traditions is our annual visit to a local farm to buy our Christmas tree.  We went yesterday morning.  The truth is, there was some (“some”) tension and grouchiness before we went (on my part) and it wasn’t the smoothest visit.  There was some pouting (perhaps also by me) and some short voices to each other (to put it mildly).  But still, I’m thankful that we went all together, that we picked the beautiful tree that’s in our living room now, and even that we got this picture, which makes me laugh because it really conveys the perfectly imperfect nature of everyday life.


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10 Comments

  1. Posted December 8, 2014 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Just pre-ordered Rebecca’s book – can’t wait to read it! xoxo

    admin Reply:

    i hope you love it! xo

  2. Posted December 8, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    It’s so true that all these spaces- my blog, Instagram, Facebook- all make me more aware and in turn, more grateful. We got our tree on Saturday and taking pictures was such a great way to pay attention!

    admin Reply:

    It was really an a-ha moment for me when I realized that’s how Instagram was functioning for me now. xox

  3. Posted December 8, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I love this month’s Here Year theme. Coincidentally, I just recently I started to realize that gratitude does, in fact, turn what we have into enough. I think I’ve always known this, but I just started practicing it in a real way. To be honest, the past couple of years have been tough for a myriad of reasons, and I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I tried to pretend that I didn’t feel slighted by life at times. But I’ve started to really pay attention and to build a practice of setting aside time each day to focus on everything that’s good in my life and the world around me, however imperfect, and I’m now able to walk through my days a happier and more present person. So looking forward to walking in gratitude this month with you and Aidan. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so much for this. And a belated thank you for your honesty and candor in your writing, too. As I’ve told you, it means a lot and I resonate with every word. xox

  4. Posted December 8, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Love your honesty. Makes me adore the last photo even more.

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so, so much, dear friend. xox

  5. Posted December 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes!!! to all of this, especially calling forth gratitude all year long. The other day I was struck by how social media, while a tool for recording my “thankfulness” (especially on IG), has also become a lens for me to be aware of all that I do not have to deal with or endure in life, as another form of gratitude. With Twitter especially, it seems like I have really become more aware of other people’s hardships on a very granular level. It creates another dimension to my own gratitude for my own life situation. But I honestly waffle about whether that is the appropriate thing to do. I need to frame it better somehow in my mind so that it doesn’t diminish (or ignore) someone else’s plight or reality, you know? Like racism or rape or having to slog eighteen blocks just to do laundry. Those, thankfully, have not been part of my reality and I am grateful for that, but I’m left feeling guilty about thinking that way too. Maybe it’s an unavoidable conundrum. But it has expanded beyond appreciating what I have as enough, to also include what I also do not have. And hey–who’s not a bit grouchy in December? Your honesty is entirely refreshing.

    admin Reply:

    I know what you mean about the guilt and emotions about others seeping in. That whole porous thing. I haven’t figured it out either, but if I am sure of anything it’s that open discussion is the only way we ever will. xox

  6. Posted December 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful post, all. I simply adore this line: “the perfectly imperfect nature of everyday life.” Actually, the whole paragraph and photo of your family getting the tree. <3

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so, so much. xox

  7. Christine LaRocque
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    “By making sure I noticed my own life, I was cultivating gratitude for it.”

    What an important reminder. And one I needed right now. I may not be able to get here as often as I would like, but know that you and your writing remain an inspiration to me. xx

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to say this. It means so much to me to know you’re still reading. xoxo

  8. Posted December 8, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh Lindsey I love this. I love the everydayness of it and your honesty. Thank you for that, because it helps knowing that days don’t have to be forgotten because of a little crankiness, that gratitude is that big.

    Is that Kathryn’s book? I will have to order it! Your kids are gorgeous like their mom.

    xoxo

    admin Reply:

    I love this expression: gratitude is that big. Yes, yes it is. Isn’t it? Kathryn was Rebecca’s original agent, yes! xox

  9. Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful post 🙂

    admin Reply:

    Thank you! xo

  10. Posted December 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I love your moments of shimmer on Instagram. Your a positive voice of gratitude in the blogosphere all the time, Lindsey. Thank you for that!

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so, so much. Hearing this means more than you can imagine. xox