Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GRATITUDE - IT'S AN ATTITUDE



I haven't been blogging much lately. I just don't know the direction I want this blog to go any more. I have thought about quitting blogging because I have run out of things to say and I haven't liked what I've written lately. My good blogging friend Gemma convinced me not to quit, saying that my blog is my gift to the world. I never thought of it that way.

I'm going to keep writing it, at least for now, and I'm looking here and there for topics until (if and when) I find my way again. I might use memes, or borrow a topic from another blog, or delve into my past. For example, I happened upon a gratitude journal I had written in April and May 1999 or 2000. It was interesting to see what has changed, and what has stayed the same.

(BTW, I enjoyed the ingratitude graphics way better than the gratitude graphics I found.(The gratitude ones are the least cutesy I could find.) An ingratitude journal would be so much easier to write, wouldn't it? When I started my journal, on April 23, I had no trouble finding five entries. As the days went by, the number of daily entries dropped to four, or even three. Then, I could scrounge up only one or two entries. The day before the journal completely tanked (May 17), I had "nuttin', honey"!


But even so, I did manage to find a lot of things to be grateful for in those three weeks. Because of changing circumstances, I couldn't even write them today.

"Lunch with my sister at International Stir Fry." (That restaurant folded a couple of years ago and they are building a motel on the site.)
"A friend has invited me to a stamping party tonight." (That friend has gone by the wayside, and so has my interest in stamping.)
"A warm waterbed and comforter to crawl into/under after a hard Monday." (Dan got rid of our waterbed, and I have never quite forgiven him!)
"My shaggy, smelly, stinky puppy dog, Lady." (Lady died several years ago, as did my beloved Golden, Penny.)
"Dusty, my kitty, who adores me to pieces. So affectionate, so warm and cozy (so heavy)." (Dusty has also passed away.)
"I'm grateful to have a job, even when the stress level is high and co-workers are jerks (e.g. J----, the Dragon Lady)." (I no longer have that job, or any job, for that matter.)
"The flea market! Even when it is mostly junk, as this one was, the anticipation and the hunt are still fun, and I almost always find something." (The flea market is now defunct because everyone sells their stuff on eBay anymore.)
"Peace and safety for Kristen and all the other kids at Bismarck High School. May terror never visit here." (I was referring to the massacre at Columbine. This must have been the year it happened or the year after. School shootings still go on. I don't have to worry about my daughter now, but am concerned for all teens so vulnerable in classrooms.)
"I am utterly, utterly, utterly thankful for the invitation seven years ago to join book club. It has given me wonderful friends and broadened my reading horizons." (I'm all over that now.)


There are entries so generic that anyone could have written:

"My health."
"Sunshine at last."
"The first real spring day."
"TGIF".
"Mail that's not bills."
"A car that gets me where I want to go."
"If one has to have rain, at least it's making the grass green."
"As Mondays go, it could have been worse."




Referring to the above graphic, Kristen was NEVER an ungrateful little shit. Well, maybe once, on Valentine's Day when she was 14. She made it quite clear that my gifts to her were extremely childish, silly and unwanted. She made me bawl. In her later teens and into college, she got way more tactful about her gifts. (She has seldom liked the clothes I buy her.)

Nope, I had a lot of gratitude entries about Kristen:

"Kristen winning the gold medal in the National Latin Exam."
"The big hug that Kristen gave me after running into each other at B&N".
"That I am the mother of a beautiful daughter, and I get Mother's Day presents because of it."
"My brilliant daughter has won first place in the state in the National French Exam, and is in the top 10% of the nation."
"I'm so grateful Kristen is better after being in such pain following the tightening of her braces."
"A daughter who is so enjoyable to be around."
"A daughter who scored 30 on the ACTs (97th percentile!)."

Kristen is no longer a kid - she's 27 - but she's still great. She has a master's degree in library science, has a great job at a college library, has a steady boyfriend of four years and is mom to three sweet kitties. And, she calls us every Sunday.



There are many, many entries in that old gratitude journal that I could repeat today:

"The almond trees at the Jewish Synagogue are blossoming." The only two almond trees in the city, they are blooming today as I write this.
"Friday and Saturday night special dinners with my husband: Candlelight, wine, good food."
"The sight of a blue jay in our back yard this morning. They don't visit very often."
"Fountain pens."
"Marie Callender chicken pot pie with big chunks of white meat."
"Not having to get up in the dark, and longer evenings too."
"My 1929 stucco bungalow."
"Living on this beautiful blue, white and brown marble called Earth."
"Having some spending money in my pocket."
"Chicken Carbonara from Minerva's."
"I am grateful that I have my sanity and am also pretty well-balanced emotionally."
"Mocha coffee with whipped cream."
"Books, glorious books."
"A clean house, on a weekday even."



There are new gratitude entries I could add today, ones I wouldn't have made 10 years ago:

1. Dan bought himself a used car today, through the dealership. I get my car back, yay!!
2. Bismarck's terrible economy may be improving at long last. I am getting a few more temp job offers.
3. Being able to reserve books at the library. It's so convenient.
4. Blogging and Internet friends.
5. My crazy, excitable, super-hyper Gracie dog.
6. Dan helped me get rid of a bunch of junk this morning for Bismarck's "Clean Up, Paint Up, Fix-Up Week." This is the week that our garbage men will pick up large appliances, furniture, tree branches, etc.!
7. The sweeping elm branch right in front of our deck is not dead, as I had feared, and is finally greening up.
8. Reading glasses at 3 for $10.00 so I can have a pair in every room.
9. Finding things outdoors that were hidden by winter snows.
10. Things you run across that make you smile, just because. See photo below:


16 comments:

Annie said...

Julie, this is a terrific post and it's exactly why you SHOULD NOT STOP blogging. Even if you only dropped in a couple times a month, so many out here who really appreciate the nuggets of information you give to us. Love, Annie

Odette said...

this is an inspiring post. i have not been writing lately too, but that doesn't mean i abandon writing. i just happen to be busy with other things. but i will continue to read the blogs you folks had been dishing out coz i get inspiration from them.

Marie said...

Oh, please don't give up your blog. I love it! Your writing, pictures etc. Thank you so much for sharing...

Róisín said...

Please don't give up blogging, you have a wonderful space here. Just take this post, for example. I challenge anyone to read it and not start listing their own reasons to be cheerful in there mind as they go. Plus, you know as soon as you vow to stop ideas for stuff to write will start pouring out of you, so you won't end up quitting after all :)

p.s I think my favourite gratitude up there has to be 'post that isn't bills'. Such a rare treat in these online times!

gemma said...

Not wanting my gratitude journals to be redundant I started looking for things...even when I couldn't find anything LOL...that's when real gratitude took over. Thankful for the little things, small moments, a glance,a slant of light,a smile, a kiss, my anamcara.
:-)

Janet said...

I'm glad Gemma convinced you not to give up your blog. This is a great post! I, too, kept a gratitude journal back then but I'm sure mine didn't have much of anything all that interesting in it.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Great post - as always!!!!!

AutumnLeaves said...

Julie, that last photograph is just sweet perfection. I am just happy that you are still finding things to be grateful for...We all go through some tough times and the key to getting through seems to be finding and taking the simple joys. Thankfully, there are many of those.

lila said...

This is a great post! I think you have found some real positive things to list gratefully!
At our time of life, dealing with so much and empty nests it is hard to find "new" and "exciting" things to write about. The same seasons go by each year, bringing their delights...but we have pretty much blogged them already!
I am inspired to work on my blog...soon. It is hard to do right now.
Hugs!
Lila

Leanne said...

dont you dare give up blogging!!

(you said that to me once Julie, and now I can throw it back at you, lol!!)

we all have times when the inspiration has flown, when we are too tired to even think, let alone know what to write. My life has changed dramatically over the last couple of years, and because of that, my blogging has changed too. Having to work/ support myself now takes up so much time, i worry that the little bit of time thats left for me (and how I fill it) will not be interesting anymore. So many things I used to do have fallen by the wayside cos I am just too bloody knackered or pushed for time to do them anymore.

But I do seem to find things to waffle about,and I do hope that they are still interesting.

Your blog is lovely to visit, and always gives me something to think about.

and by the way, if you ever visited here in april- there would be time!!! I'd magic it from somewhere, lol!!

Leanne x

Charli and me said...

Julie, I hope you won't stop blogging. I always enjoy reading your posts.

lila said...

Forgot to say, I REALLY like the graphic you used at the beginning of this post!
So serene and beautiful!

Laurie said...

Dear Julie,
Please don't stop blogging. I think everyone hits a wall with their blogs eventually. I know I did awhile back and that's why I had to start over.
I'm loving this post ~ both the gratitude and ingratitude. Heck life ain't always sticky sweet ~ I know this is bad to say, but sometimes I get tired of reading other blogs where everyday is super wonderful.

Oh and thanks for your comments. Sometimes I wonder about myself and what I believe and if others think I'm nuts.
I have that blog you gave me on my favorites, I want to dress like that everyday!

Rowan said...

I agree with everyone else that you should keep on blogging, you write about so many interesting things. As some of the others have said we all get writers block occasionally, sometimes life just ticks along without anything especially inspiring happening. Or sometimes we just don't feel like writing, I've just gone through a patch like that myself. You just have to hang in there and inspiration will strike again:)

Mrs. Staggs said...

Julie, I'm so glad that you continue to blog, as you are such a wonderful writer.

I sometimes reread my Gladys Taber books, and as I do I'm often struck by how often she repeats themes, as she loves nature and the seasons. I find comfort in that aspect of life. That no matter what else happens, we can count on, and still find pleasure in the smallest of things. I will never stop feeling awe at the first lilly of the valley, or the scent of my lilacs. Recurring themes in life, can be affirming, I think, when they are positive. When they,re not, well then, I think that usually means we still have some things to learn from, and to work towards. It's all good.

Take care,
Lena

Mary said...

Every post you write is so worth waiting for Julie. Don't ever stop, please!