My husband and I have been married for 32 years. Last night we went food shopping at BJs, and still, after all these years, he stopped what he was doing, a few times while shopping, to give me a kiss. I love that!
Thank You, God, for a wonderful marriage! I am eternally grateful!
"I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work." -Mary Cassatt
I read this quote this morning. I had no idea who Mary Cassatt was so I googled her and found out that she was an artist in the late 1800's - early 1900's. Like Louisa May Alcott, whom I've been recently reading about, she was determined to be independent.
This morning I realized that I had accomplished a dream I had in my early twenties - to be able to support myself.
I am a teacher. When I began teaching, in the early 80's, I did not make enough money to support myself. Although I dreamed of having such an income, I married and my husband and I combined our incomes.
We had children, and I stopped working and stayed home with them. I am eternally grateful to have been able to stay home with my children. I observed, however, that my husband made enough money to support our family of six, and when I had stopped working I was yet earning enough to support myself.
I remained home with my children (quadruplets) until they were in second grade, then I returned to teaching part time. Still not earning enough money to support myself.
Several years later, when my children were in eighth grade, I returned to full time teaching. My salary was combined with my husband's to support our family. I no longer considered if my income was enough to support myself.
Now, let me make myself clear, I did not have any intention to go off and live alone. My biggest dream was to be married and have a family. However, for some reason it was important to me to earn an income that could support myself. The independent part of me was still there.
Just this morning, as I read Mary Cassatt's quote, I realized that at this point in my life, at age 55 with 25 years of teaching, I make enough money to support support myself and live comfortably. I accomplished my dream, and hadn't even realized it.
Today, I am grateful for this accomplished dream. I am grateful that while I was living the life I dreamed of I was accomplishing a dream I had forgotten about. Or had I?
I love my life! I am living the life of my dreams. I still have dreams. I am so excited for the future!
Yesterday, I had a wonderful day shopping with two of my daughters. We went, with grateful hearts, with the money God blessed us to spend. We went with grateful hearts that God blessed us with the day together. We literally shopped until our bodies said,"No more!" We came home joyfully exhausted.
Later that evening, my daughter who was not able to join us, asked each of us to show her what we bought. She was so happy for us that we had such a nice day. Although we all would have loved for her to be able to join us, she too had a very nice day.
Today, I am grateful for being blessed with three daughters and the abundant love that we share. Thank You, God!
God, has placed many people in my life to serve and bless me.
There are people I see: my mailman, the cashier at the supermarket, the gas attendant, the ladies who dry clean my clothes, my hair dresser, my manicurist, the UPS and Fed Ex drivers who deliver packages to my home, the waiter/waitress serving my food,... This list goes on. I am abundantly grateful for all these people whom God has placed in my life.
There are many others who are serving and blessing me that I will never see: the people who work everyday to make the clothes and shoes I wear, the accessories I carry, the appliances I use, my car, my iPhone, computer, iPad, pens, books, yarn, the furniture in my home, the tires on my car, the food I eat, the wine I drink, the laundry detergent I use, ... Everything I use everyday comes to me via another person. The roads I drive on, the stores I shop in, the electricity in my home all are there for me because of someone else. I am abundantly grateful for all these people God has placed in my life.
Today, I say, "Thank You, God, for every single person who is serving and blessing me."
This morning my friend Denise and I spent three glorious hours in Barnes and Noble! We didn't plan to, the hours just flew by. First, we walked five and a half miles around a beautiful lake, then drove over to Barnes and Noble. We selected books and magazines that interested us and took them into the cafe. Our little round table was so little we had to pull over two extra chairs, one for our look-through stack and one for our put-back stack. The ones we were purchasing went to the bottom of our look-through stack. We got our coffees and scones and settled in. As we browsed through our books and magazines we read bits to each other and shared beautiful photos. At the end we each selected a book and a Stampington magazine, but it didn't end there. As we made our way to the register we walked among dozens of bargain items. So many to look at and say no to. Yet, we each ended up with two more books and a calligraphy set. We always wanted to learn calligraphy. How could we resist? It was bargain-priced! At the registers we discovered that we spent exactly the same amount of money, right down to the penny! We laughed. It was a glorious morning and we each had an armload of bargains!
Today, I am grateful for my friend Denise and the hours God blessed us with to enjoy together. I am grateful for the items I purchased. I know they will bring me great joy. I believe God's hand was guiding this day.
Thank You, God.
The gorgeous lake we walk around at least twice everyday.
That's not a book on top of a book. That is the book cover! Isn't it beautiful? I know I should not judge a book by its cover, but this one was impossible to resist. Plus Little Women is one of my favorite books.
I devour everything written by Susan Branch. Susan's new book A Fine Romance is an artful journal. I have dreamed of writing an artful journal. This book shall be my beginning.
My favorite magazine in the whole wide world!
Gotta learn calligraphy in order to write an artful journal.
"Open up your arms and sing the praises of your many gifts." -Alexandra Stoddard
God has blessed us all with gifts and talents. The Bible tells us to go out and serve and bless others with our talents. To go out and multiply our talents, not to bury them. As long as we use them God is pleased.
First, we have to think about our talents. What gifts did God bless us with?
I have recognized four gifts God bestowed upon me - the ability to read, to write, to knit and to teach. I believe that God gave me my gifts to bless myself and others.
I bless myself when I read. I enjoy reading. I learn many things when I read. I am able to read the Bible.
I bless myself when I write. Writing is a need for me. I think by writing. I pray by writing. I tell my story by writing.
I bless myself when I knit. Knitting is my meditation. Knitting controls my blood pressure. Knitting keeps me calm.
I bless myself when I teach. I learn much from my students. I learn more about reading, writing and knitting when I teach them to others.
I bless others when I teach them how to read. I bless others when I read what they have written.
I bless others when I teach them how to write. I bless others when I write my story.
I bless others when I teach them how to knit. I bless others when I knit a prayer shawl or a blanket or another gift for them. I bless my husband when I knit in the car and I don't tell him how to drive.
I pray that I am using my gifts to the fullest. That I am multiplying them. I pray that I will hear God when He needs me to bless others with my gifts. I pray that I have recognized all the gifts God gave to me. I pray, "Thank You, God, for my gifts."
Erma Bombeck once said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.
Have you seen the movie Sabrina? Not the 1995 version, although that is a wonderful movie, the 1954 version. Oh my goodness! The 1954 version with Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden is fantastic! It is a fun movie that will make you laugh and warm your heart.
The 1995 version of Sabrina was my favorite movie. I fell in love with this movie as I watched Sabrina write in her journal. My daughter bought me the 1954 version for my birthday. I watched it yesterday and fell madly in love with it. Audrey Hepburn is amazing! She is absolutely gorgeous! This movie brought me so much joy!
Today I am abundantly grateful for the movie Sabrina and everyone who had a part in getting that movie in front of me and blessing me with such joy - especially my beautiful daughter Meredith.
I subscribe via email to about six blogs. I follow many on Bloglovin. There are two blogs that when I open up my email and I see their blog titles, in the list of new emails, my heart jumps with joy.
The first one is Susan Branch at http://www.susanbranch.com/. Susan is absolutely delightful. I know that when I read her blog post I will be filled with joy and enthusiasm. Susan writes that she has the "happy gene." If that happy gene is contagious you will catch it from Susan. Susan writes about her cooking, her art and her travels. She has a unique way of taking us along with her as if we are her very best friend. Susan blesses and serves others with her contagious joy for life. She makes me want to write, create and share my love for life.
The second blog that I adore is Vicki's blog at http://www.vicki-2bagsfull.blogspot.com/. Vicki is sweet and kind and generous. Vicki writes about her travels and her knitting. Hence, " two bags full', one for her clothes and one for her yarn. Vicki serves and blesses her readers with beautiful give-aways and " build your blog" parties. Then, she gracefully reaches out to her readers to serve and bless others through knitting for charity or purchasing her elegantly knitted bird nests, of which she donates 100% of the proceeds. Vicki inspires me to serve and bless others.
Susan and Vicki are my mentors. They inspire me to write, to create, to share and to bless and serve others. I am abundantly grateful that God blessed me with Susan and Vicki.
I did not grow up in a positive atmosphere. I grew up amidst worry, fear and judgement. Yes, I was loved, but worry, fear and judgement were the dominant feelings in our home.
At the age of 18, when I was in college, I decided that I did not want to live this way. I decided that I wanted to be happy. I remember clearly thinking, "I am not happy." I made the decision to take control of my happiness.
It did not happen overnight. But, over the years, every day of my life, I learned to be happy. Each day I was happier than the day before. Susan Branch, a wonderful author and artist, says that she has the "happy gene." I believe we all do. We just have to nurture it.
I learned to be happy by reading positive books and studying happy people. God will put happy people in your life if you choose to nurture your happy gene. Pay attention to them. Talk to them. Find out how they are so happy. We all have situations in our lives that, if we allow it, can change our happiness. Seek out people who remain happy through challenges, and find out what they do to remain happy.
Read. There are many amazing authors who have written excellent books teaching us how to choose happiness. Here are just a few that I have found helpful over the years:
1. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
2. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
3. Anything written by Susan Branch. Start with her delightful blog. www.susanbranch.com
4. Anything written by Alexandra Stoddard.
5. The Secret, The Power and The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
6. Change Your Thinking Change Your Life by Wayne Dwyer
7. Tao Te Ching
8. The Tao of Pooh
9. Go To ELF by Lauren McLaughin
10. God's Guest List by Debbie Macomber
Today, I am grateful for Divine Guidance to happiness. I know that the people and the books that helped me nurture my happy gene were gifts from God. Thank You, God.