Daily gratitude. It is something I have practised since forever. Along with my twisted sense of humour and superhero sarcastic ability, gratitude is one of the best coping mechanisms I possess. Given the many challenges I have faced in my life as well as the ones I continue to face on a daily basis, practising gratitude is what keeps me grounded. It keeps me focused on all the positive aspects in my life. But, perhaps, most importantly, practising daily gratitude keeps my mind from running away into that deep dark place called depression that would love nothing more than keeping me locked in negativity and bitterness for the rest of my life.
Not long ago, when I still had the store, I had partnered with a local community organization to mentor a troubled teen who needed to gain some valuable work experience as well as some much needed confidence. This girl had been through some incredibly rough times both in her early childhood and during her teen years. One day she asked me how I could maintain such a positive attitude given all the challenges I had faced, specifically, my MS and my depression. This is what I told her: “There is not one negative experience in my life that I cannot turn into a positive. Sometimes I have to look very hard to find it, but, when I put the effort in, I can always find something to be grateful for.”
When YC was six years old, he was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. It broke my heart knowing what lay ahead for him yet I knew that it wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. I decided right then and there that I had to do everything within my power to ensure that he was properly cared for, properly educated about how to manage his disease so that he could live his life to the fullest, and I also knew that how I approached this incurable disease would affect how he viewed it. If I was negative, then he would be too. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do: I put on my big girl underwear, cried behind closed doors, and faced it the best possible way I could.
Every year on the anniversary of his diagnosis (May 3rd), I pulled out our special red plate that we only used when someone in the family had something special to celebrate (like passing a hard test, celebrating a birthday, receiving some good news, etc., and I served their favourite meal on that plate). Then, we would celebrate the good things there was about having diabetes. Now, I know how ridiculous this sounds. How could there possibly be anything good about having a life threatening condition? But, you see, if you look hard enough, there actually is.
We celebrated the people we met whom we otherwise would never have met had he not been diagnosed with diabetes. We celebrated how, with proper planning, he ran his first ever cross country race and the relief I felt when he crossed the finish line. We celebrated the fact that we were helping educate others about a disease they knew little about which in turn helped others understand the many complexities and seriousness of it. We rejoiced that he got ‘special treats’ that his brothers did not. We celebrated each and every year how we had made it through the previous year relatively unscathed. And when his brother (MC) was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes on January 1st at fifteen years of age, we celebrated the fact that, by that time, we were so well educated in diabetes management, we only had to spend one afternoon at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario instead of the full week we had to when YC was diagnosed.
When I was diagnosed with MS (yes, we are definitely an autoimmune dysfunctional family; I also have Hashimoto’s thyroid disease) almost fourteen years ago, there was very little left for me to do but practise what I had preached. There was no point getting all down in the dumps about it so, again, I pulled on my now really big and much wider girl underwear and applied the same principles to my disease as I had done with theirs. The gratitude I have felt since being diagnosed also extends to meeting the people I would never have met had I not been diagnosed, developing a most beautiful and deep friendship with my twisted non-biological sister, helping to educate others about this challenging disease, learning to let go of perfectionism, accepting that it is okay to ask for and accept help, learning what is truly important and what is not (the little things and how those flippin’ damn dust bunnies can kiss my butt until I have enough energy to deal with them) and so much more.
And, so today, on this beautiful Thanksgiving Sunday here in Canada, I am grateful for so many things.
I am grateful for my Sauerkraut and how his love, patience and understanding sustains me which is really fancy speak for I am truly grateful he puts with me.
I am grateful for my three sons, the many lessons they have taught me and how they are following their dreams while remaining true to themselves.
I am grateful for this beautiful place where Sauerkraut and I can escape from all the stressors in this world.
I am grateful for this view and for the beautiful freedom and spirituality it represents.
I am grateful for my resourcefulness and how a little stick fixed the outhouse toilet paper roller situation.
I am grateful for these two for being the best darn fly catchers ever.
I am grateful that Miss Kitty is the best darn kitty in the whole wide world.
You see, finding and expressing gratitude does not have to be a difficult or painful exercise. It can be easily found in the little things like just getting up in the morning after a sleepless night. It lies in a plate of spaghetti made by someone just for you, a loyal friend, shoes that fit, a smile from a stranger, a hug when you need it most, a green light, not tripping over your own feet in front of a crowd, your favourite ice cream, clean sheets, a good cry, an uplifting song, a child’s first word, refraining from punching someone in the throat, a card in the mail, the feeling you get from helping someone out, a sore stomach from laughing too hard, and you, dear sweet lovable you!
There. Is. Just. So. Much. We. Can. Be. Truly. Grateful. For. The possibilities are endless!
Now don’t be thinking that I have inhaled so much fresh country air that I have lost touch with reality. I know that life is not all butterflies and rainbows every single moment of every single day; life can indeed suck the big onion and you can easily find yourself knee deep in elephant poop like I have been these past few weeks but, if you truly and honestly take one moment out of every single day to find that one thing to be grateful for, it will make such a huge difference in your life. Trust me on this one, okay? If I can do it, anyone can.
So, please, do tell me, what are you grateful for right now, right this very minute? Is it the rain hitting the tin roof, not swearing at the jerk who cut you off, a cold clearing up, your baby sleeping through the night, your husband picking the wet towel off the bathroom floor (miracles can happen), a favourite cereal being on sale, you finally beating that level on Candy Crush Saga that you’ve been stuck on for weeks???
And to all my fellow Canuckleheads have a wonderful and truly joyous Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for living in this great big beautiful country of ours, eh?
Happy Thanksgiving! I do my best to practice gratitude on a daily basis as well. A wonderful post! 🙂
You just made it easy for me today 🙂
I am grateful that you took the time to write that post, that I took the time to read it and that it reminded me of thinking of at least 1 thing a day to be grateful for.
Gratitude comes in so many different ways!
I apologize for not replying until today. Your comment was sitting in a different folder on WordPress which I didn’t know existed until a friend pointed it out.
Thank you so much for your comment and for dropping by the Cabbage Patch :).
Thank you for this very inspiring article. We are not going to share what we are thankful for right in this moment because we do that in November. 😉 just kidding. A few minutes ago, Dear Son (4 years old) said “no school today”. He is fond of saying this Saturday and Sunday mornings. I guess, we now know what Dear Son is thankful for right at this moment. Have a wonderful weekend, ok, whatever part is left of it. 😀
Happy Thanksgiving you big Canucklehead, you! I am grateful that you were gone a day and I was able to swipe every single cabbage in that huge patch of yours for coleslaw (yes, it was for the firemen’s picnic and BOY were they HOT!!) I am grateful to have met your house-sitter who is as crazy as we are and willingly helped me pack up the cabbages! I am extremely grateful that I actually slept ALL NIGHT LONG! That is an extremely rare occurrence and one to be celebrated! I am grateful for my husband who actually listened to me and moved to Enid, OK with me. I am grateful that my FB event, “Suze has lost her brain” gave me such wonderful blog topics. And I am grateful that I am stopping now and letting someone else answer too!
Wonderful post! Speaking from experience, even in the darkest circumstances there is a tiny light, that if nurtured, will show one the way to cope and thrive. 🙂
Wonderful and inspiring, what a brave lady you are
Love this. At my current job, we’re dealing with a bunch of upheaval and there are daily dumpster fires to put up with. So to combat this, every day at 2:37, a group of us get together, write 10 things we’re grateful for that day, then go around the table and read them aloud. It’s the favorite part of my day.
I apologize, Lindsay, for not replying to your comment until today. It was sitting in a folder on WordPress that I didn’t know existed until a friend pointed it out to me.
Thank you so much for your comments; I really appreciated your doing so. I especially enjoyed reading about your group and how you write things you are grateful for. To go around the table and read them out loud is wonderful and I can certainly understand why it’s your favourite part of the day.
Fabulous post – we can always find something to be grateful for, no matter our situations. Wishing you a happy day 🙂
Happy happy Thanksgiving to you!!
You are so right. There is always a good side to be found in every circumstance. I was raised that way by a dad who would ask us on a rainy day if the sun was out. We would tell him no, that is was raining. He would then inform us that the sun is ALWAYS shining…..we just cannot always see it. I tried to raise my three sons with the same “sun is shining” mentality.
Beautiful post. We should be thankful everyday.
I apologize for not replying until today. Your comment was sitting in a folder on WordPress that I didn’t even know existed until a friend pointed it out to me.
I am grateful that you enjoyed my post. Thank you for dropping by the Cabbage Patch :).
This post so requires a LOVE button, LIKE seems so insignificant. I am grateful for the hot cup of tea I just enjoyed whilst reading your brilliant post, and for so much more. I am truly blessed.
Just such a beautiful, empowering post. I’m grateful that I read it. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving and I hope we didn’t leave a bit mess after the blogger party at yours 😉
This is so beautiful and well written! I am grateful for so many things in life including my family( including my two grown sons), my home, my job which I love, the mountains encompassing my home, reading a good book, laughing with my husband, a great dinner at home, sunsets, wild animals following nearby trails and fellow bloggers like you, who write outstanding posts.❤️
Outstanding post. Considering what’s happening in many other parts of the world right now, I’m so thankful to be here in Ontario where the sun is shining, no bombs are exploding, and my Prime Minister is a normal human being. Also, I’m thankful for Canadian healthcare, which is most certainly NOT a catastrophe (Donald Trump can leave us out of his crazy stew, thanks very much.)
Wonderful post and happy Thanksgiving Day. Today, among other things, I am grateful for the cool, fall temperatures.
And I’m grateful for this reminder. I have been focusing on major rants of gratitude since yesterday. I decided to ad them to my “to do” list.
Great idea! It is amazing how focusing on gratitude can have such a profound affect on your lives. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂
Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for the little things, like having weather stripping finally put on my door now that the wind is starting up again. ☺️
You’re very welcome. It’s truly the little things that matter the most. Thank you for stopping by the Cabbage Patch. I am enjoying following you blog 🙂
I feel the same.
This is such a positive and inspiring post! Thank you for sharing your gift of gratitude!
Thank you very much for your kind comments and for visiting the Cabbage Patch. 🙂
I am thankful that my family are all safe at home under our roof. We just had an appalling tragedy happen here on the Gold Coast yesterday and everyone is in shock and really upset about it. Awful as it was it could’ve been even worse so I’m also thankful that it wasn’t.
I feel so happy to be here. When I took my phone and started scrolling through the reader I found Cyranny talking about you and your blog and decided to pay you a visit. To bear my heart to you, I was feeling low and directionless and just saw every moment pass by doing absolutely nothing about it. But after reading your post I do feel better and see that things are not as bad as I am perceiving them to be. That said, I wish you speedy recovery as I found out that you’re unwell.
Much love to you <3
I apologize for taking so long to reply to your comments. They were sitting in a folder on WordPress that I didn’t know existed until a friend pointed it out to me.
I am happy to hear that you found me and that my post helped you. I understand completely what you mean about feeling low and directionless and how those feelings affect us.
Hang in there; you are not alone. Sending much love back to you as well <3.
Reblogged this on DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN and commented:
Sometimes it is important to express those things you are grateful for inside your head. Say it outloud!!
I agree, we need to express that thankfulness whenever we can. Clever, funny, and poignant.
Wonderful, wonderful post. So empowering, honest, funny and just what I needed to read today when I’ve been wallowing in a bit of a bad mood and depression. Thank you so much.
Wow, thank you so much for your kind comments. I apologize for taking so long to reply but they were sitting in another folder on WordPress that I had no idea existed. It’s true what they say, we learn something new every day. Thanks for stopping by the Cabbage Patch :). Hopefully, next time, I’ll be more on the ball and not take so long to reply.
That’s quite ok. It happens to all of us at some stage. 🙂
I am grateful for YOU.
As I am for YOU! <3