Gratitude Challenge


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Unsubstantial fear seldom lingers long enough to take root in my mind and suck me into its clutches. Perhaps my eternal optimism makes me somewhat delusional in that I always strive for a positive outcome when faced with a negative situation. Some might caution that concerns about the aging process fall into the realism category rather than just an apparition. As I near the age of collecting social security, the search for a balance between the two worlds becomes more difficult.

While the days of scheduled doses of meds for high blood pressure remain at arms length, wrestling with uncle Arthur (aka: arthritis) has become all too familiar. During one of my restless nights of trying to find a position that did not apply pressure to an unhappy hip or knee, which is nearly impossible if you sleep on your side, my mind began to slip into a dark abyss. Abhorring the notion of getting back up to take something for the pain, I began searching for an alternative distraction. Prayer often serves as my relief and after a few decades of the Rosary, I eventually squirmed myself into an acceptable shape with the use of extra pillows and a little luck.

As I mentally traveled some of the by-ways in my journey, I wondered if I could somehow avoid the daily use of pills by pre-medicating with gratitude. Could Philosophical Schools of Thought delay the inevitable aches that accompany the Golden Years? And with that in mind, I challenged myself to write at least one good fortune each day, for at least a month, and see if it made a difference. Even if it doesn’t aide in warding off the need to swallow an Aleve now and then, the resulting list of blessings might come in handy when (or if) I become physically or mentally challenged and need an affirmation of the prosperity I have enjoyed for so long.

And so began the month of August. With pen in hand, I began testing my inspirational hypothesis.

August 1: Today I’m thankful for more than 22,000 days of exceptionally good health. So many others have been challenged from birth, yet for some reason, I have been one of the lucky ones. Short of a broken wrist and irritated gall bladder, my visits to the doctor have been few and far between. Meanwhile, my volunteer hospice visits warn me how fortunate I have been. Even my worst day does not compare with what others are experiencing.

August 2: I joke about the challenges of being together with my spouse 24/7. Seems we’re glued at the hip. Reality is, I am blessed to share my retired years with my caring and playful partner. Just last year, three of my dear friends buried their husbands, leaving them to struggle alone. Everyday household chores, decisions and adjustments to finances create new hurdles for them to overcome, besides the silence of an empty home and the loss of a faithful friend with whom to share their thoughts. My heart aches for each of them and watching their struggles deepens my appreciation for the gift of being married nearly 42 years.

August 3: Bright morning rays pour through my bedroom window long before I’m ready to rise each morning. A room-darkening shade could take care of that, but the greeting serves as a reminder that my eyesight allows me to revere a sunrise at my choosing. A world void of masterfully detailed butterflies, brilliantly perfect flowers and warm precious smiles would be difficult to endure. DSCN0372Fall Bouquet

August 4: Mother’s don’t get much better than the one who raised and nurtured me. She would have been 85 today and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her unselfish ways. Tears still fill my eyes with each memory, yet, I strive to celebrate the 82 years she spent with our family, and not dwell on the years she has been gone. Mom and PumpkinsHappy Birthday Mom. Miss you bunches.

I’ll continue to share my thoughts through my blog as the month progresses. Why not join me in my gratitude challenge and share some of your thoughts.

Joy, joy, joy


Sometimes joy spills over from one day to the next, like a baseball winning streak.  I love when that happens.

The abundance of springtime pleasures, like sunny skies, luscious green lawns and trees that are cloaked with leaves, helps to keep my mood elevated.

Thursday evening my husband and I had dinner with my daughter, her boyfriend and his three members of his family, who were visiting from South Carolina.  We tried a new barbeque place that came highly recommended.  It turned out to be a shack, literally.  Fortunately, everyone accepted the accommodations without complaint.  Good food and good company made for a pleasant evening.

Friday, the plans were to visit the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis with the visiting family.  Storms rolled in from the west and we cancelled those plans.  Instead, we all met at a large nearby nursery where we spent an hour or two enjoying the abundance of flowers and plants.  The pleasant substitution fulfilled my urge to see mother natures’ bountiful display and to purchase a few additions for our garden.

Saturday morning I sat at the computer, frustrated that I had not found words to fill the pages of the document on the screen.  For three weeks, I tried to compose a poem to present to my brother-in-law at his eightieth birthday party.  Suddenly, my fingers began pecking at the keyboard and words appeared, as they often do.  I have found that I just need to receive them when God is ready to send them my way.

In the afternoon we attended a wonderful outdoor party for the octogenarian.  The temperatures neared 100 degrees and the humidity left everyone drenched, yet visiting with extended family on such a joyous occasion made the conditions bearable and well worth the brow wiping.

When I returned home Saturday night, I delighted in reading a post on Facebook announcing the husband of a dear friend received a phone call for a life-saving liver transplant that he desperately needed for months.

An email from my brother informed me that another relative had made significant advances in recovering from a debilitating illness.  I believe it is a sign that prayers are being answered, even if the message came with a cautiously optimistic warning.

By the time I attended church on Sunday, my cup overflowed with blessings.

I hurried home from church anxious to get an update on the condition of the liver transplant recipient.  Much to my dismay, our internet service did not work.

Computers are my nemesis.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  My ignorance consumes many frustrating hours when something goes amiss.

I don’t really understand the difference between a router and a modem; much less know how to make them function properly after a glitch occurs.

After trying the standard options of disconnecting and restarting the pc and laptop, I turned to my husband for help.  Understanding that he shares the same limited knowledge, I watched as he completed all the familiar procedures that I performed.

He successfully restored the internet access on his personal computer.  Relieved that I could get an update on the condition of my friend’s husband, I could sleep peacefully and tackle the rest of the problem on Monday.

Unfortunately, the wireless access continued to elude my laptop.  Rain dripped down from the cloudy skies, threatening to dampen my spirits, but I am not one to lose my patience easily.

My frustration level did not rise until I realized that I could not print from my laptop without the internet connection.  On my umpteenth try, I decided to move a few wires to another port and managed to restore the connection.

After cheering and exchanging a high-five with my husband, I tried to contain the feeling of superiority that overcame me momentarily.

Life regained momentum in a positive direction.  Now, if the clouds part long enough to get a walk in, I’ll continue the winning streak.