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This week’s Gratitude Sunday really started last Sunday when we got together with my mom, my Aunt and my cousin and her family and we shared an Easter dinner that included the best prime rib I’ve ever eaten. That set the tone for a very good week.

Quotes on Gratitude

A week or so ago, Orna Ross blogged about a retreat she attended with Thich Nhat Hahn and shared these quotes.

“Don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. Smile, breathe and go slowly… Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth… Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

Gratitude list for the week ending April 14

  1. A hyacinth in a vase next to my bed, such that I fell asleep and woke up to its lovely scent.
  2. Attending a fascinating talk by Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works
  3. Making plans to see Les Mis with a college friend this summer, which has special significance for us
  4. Outdoor runs
  5. Lilacs in bloom
  6. Tulips blooming on Pearl Street
  7. Getting to see the movie Titanic on the big screen again – and in 3-D!
  8. Reading my book with the sound of rain on the roof
  9. Another helpful and supportive meeting with my in-person critique group
  10. Laura Backes helped me solve a problem in one of my manuscripts – a problem I’ve been trying to fix for TWO YEARS!

What are you grateful for this week?

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This week’s Gratitude Sunday post…

Quotes on Gratitude

“The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.” — Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.” — Marcia Wieder

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran

Gratitude List for the week ending January 21

  1. Jay’s teacher said about him, “His face tells thousands of stories that he would never be able to express in words.”
  2. I volunteered for the School Food Project in the kids’ cafeteria this week, as a chef came in to demo cooking stir-fry.  Watching the kids gobble up that food, veggies and all, was a delight.
  3. I FINALLY got my business bank account open.  So much hassle and such a relief to get it done.  So you can all start sending me money now! 🙂
  4. Having movie night with the kids, watching Mr. Popper’s Penguins (and eating pizza and popcorn).
  5. My mom had the kids for a sleepover on Friday, giving me the night “off,” which I used to take a long hot bath and read my book.
  6. I got to spend a whole afternoon skiing with a girlfriend while our kiddos had a lesson.  Amazing how many runs you can get in when you’re not constantly stopping for bathroom breaks, hot chocolate or to warm up little fingers and toes!
  7. I am grateful for the 12 x 12 in 2012 community.  I’m in awe of the response to this challenge and how much the group members are already helping and supporting each other.  It’s an inspiration!  Don’t forget the deadline to sign up is January 29th – one week from today!
  8. I received and accepted a Top Secret opportunity this week that won’t be Top Secret for much longer.  And no, it’s not that I got an agent, but I am SO excited about it!! 🙂
  9. I got to go for a run outside on a rare 60-degree day.  Doesn’t happen much in Boulder in January.
  10. Listening to Em’s classmates all tell her what they appreciate about her during her “birthday circle” at the school.

What are you grateful for this week?

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I have now officially made it farther through the program than I have on my previous two attempts, so that’s an achievement already!

Week 3 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Power.”  This week deals with being open to opportunities and accepting gifts that come in the form of synchronicity.  By committing to our creative power, doors will open.  We need to walk through them.  We also need to avoid self-sabotage and the sometimes savage criticism of others – especially with our early work.  Cameron spends a lot of time discussing the difference between constructive and useless criticism.  We need to be very self-protective of our inner artists and avoid the second kind like the plague.  It made me thankful, again, for my very constructive critique partners!

Morning Pages: Yes! They now feel natural to me, although I must admit I was tempted to hit the snooze button this morning…

Artist Date:  After first seeing it with my cousin over the weekend, I went by myself for a second viewing of the movie Breaking Dawn.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’ll wait…

Finished?  Great.  Yes, I will admit I loved the Twilight series.  You laughing can’t possibly be more embarrassing than a 40 year-old woman showing up at the theater alone to watch a movie about hunky teenage vampires, believe me.  I think that’s the first time I’ve ever gone to a movie alone period.  At first it felt uncomfortable, but then I enjoyed it.  I never get to see movies otherwise, so I might start going more often now that I have the artist date as an excuse. 🙂

And yes, I am well aware of the debate surrounding the quality of the writing in the books.  True, it is not Pulitzer Prize winning prose.  Stephenie Meyer has taken that fact straight to the bank.  The movies have been pretty cheesy so far too.

But what Meyer (and now the movies) did do was create one of the greatest pieces of escapist fiction that’s come along in ages.  What girl doesn’t love an epic star-crossed love story where the hero is a sparkly Adonis with great hair and superpowers?  Were it not for the second half of Breaking Dawn – both the book and the movie – it would be a perfect fairy tale.  SPOILER ALERT: Because I’m here to tell you, I don’t care how much you love somebody, it’s no woman’s fantasy to get pregnant on her honeymoon and end up having her half-human/half-vampire baby break her bones in utero and then need to have said baby chewed out of the womb.  Ew.

In short, it was fun, and that’s at least part of what an Artist Date is supposed to be about right?

Any “Aha” Moments?  I felt inexplicably sad and anxious at various times during the week.  Cameron says that’s to be expected as you get “deeper” into your creative recovery.  I’m still not sure what is behind those feelings for me though.  I just lived with them rather than chasing them down.  I also suppose that was another reason why escaping into Breaking Dawn felt like a welcome break.

A few favorite quotes from the Week 3 chapter:

“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something.  Say, instead, that you are doing it.  Then fasten your seat belt.  The most remarkable things follow.”

“As artists, we cannot control all the criticism will well receive… We can learn not to deny and stuff our feelings when we have been artistically savaged.”

“We must learn that when our art reveals a secret of the human soul, those watching it may try to shame us for making it.”

“Do it.  Creativity is the only cure for criticism.”

Criticism can indeed be harmful. I have one piece I wrote that got ripped to shreds in a public forum (although thankfully I wasn’t identified as the author).  That piece was very close to my heart, and I was shattered by the criticism.  This happened almost two years ago, and I have not shared that piece with one other person since then – or done anything else with it.  This week’s work is opening me to the idea that I’ve made it worse by accepting and believing the remarks rather than resolving to move forward.  Have you ever had such an experience?

Week 2 Check-In

Week 1 Check-In

The Artist’s Way

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Here to teach you, I am

One of the coolest things I did this week was watch The Empire Strikes Back with the kids.  My all-time favorite of the Star Wars movies.  And while the things Yoda says are not exactly about gratitude, they certainly are wise.  A strong spiritual teacher, is he.  So in lieu of quotes on gratitude, this week, sharing my favorite yoda-isms am I.  Enjoy.

Yoda Quotes

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

“For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us… and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this… [nudging Luke’s arm] crude matter! You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere!”

“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”

And a fun favorite…

When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hm?

Gratitude list for the week ending August 13

  1. Well, watching The Empire Strikes Back with the kids.  Em’s reaction to the “big reveal” of Luke’s father was the exact same as mine.  NOOOOO!  She hasn’t stopped talking about it since.
  2. Two “date nights” with Mom.  One nice dinner out and another to go see The Help.  I almost never like movies made from books I love, but they did a great job with this one.
  3. In preparation for WriteOnCon this week, drafting two query letters and starting a comprehensive revision on another manuscript I have brewing.  Good to be back in the game.
  4. My first post-Italy pilates class.  Felt good to start to counter-balance the impact of the pizza, pasta, gelato summer.
  5. Crickets chirping (I know I said that last week too, but it’s so lovely to work at my computer in the evening to their nighttime serenade)
  6. The health of my family and friends.  I am always thankful for this, but tragedy struck a dear friend of a dear friend of mine this week, which always puts the important things in life in sharp perspective.  My heart is with my friend and her friend’s family.
  7. I have received unexpected and surprising compliments on my posts about Italy this week.  I’m glad, because I have so enjoyed writing them.
  8. My dictionary and my thesaurus.  And Rhymezone.com.  How my writing would be so much more of a struggle without them!
  9. Gearing up for the start of school – tomorrow!  This is bittersweet, as I’ll send my baby on the bus this year.  But he’s ready, so I should be too.
  10. Having a girl’s night with Em – getting a mani/pedi together

What are you grateful for this week?

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Another week, another Gratitude Sunday…

Quotes on Gratitude

“Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Gratitude List for the week ending March 26

  1. Making it to the semi-finals of Brenda Drake’s Show Me the Voice Blogfest.  Here is a picture of my celebratory cork. 
  2. Enjoying Spring Break skiing – last week of the season for us.
  3. Warm, sunny days on the slopes
  4. The time to READ!
  5. Taking the kids to see the movie Rango.
  6. Kids, dog and father reunited after he was gone for a four-day business trip
  7. Family game night
  8. Stella, the Golden Retriever puppy we met at the vet’s office here in Keystone (don’t ask!)
  9. The smell of the earth under melting snow
  10. Homemade Chex Mix 🙂

What are you grateful for this week?

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From Viewpoint Trail, Boulder

This week made it easy for me to write my Gratitude Sunday post since it was so fabulous.

Quotes on Gratitude

“People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have.” — Richard Carlson

“So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done.” — Marion Wright Edelman

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.” — Thomas Jefferson

Gratitude List for the week ending November 6

  1. Farewell dinner with a friend who is moving to Portland
  2. Watching the kids play and enjoy their basketball games
  3. Michigan managed to (barely) win their football game
  4. Finding an untouched apple tree in an open space field not far from our house.  Pie or cobbler anyone??
  5. The writing community.  I officially thanked my critique partners on Tuesday, but I’m continually amazed by how generous and supportive my fellow writers are.  Especially as evidenced by all the comments on my earlier post about being temporarily stumped by PiBoIdMo.
  6. I know I’ve said it and said it and said it, but I’ll say it again: I cannot believe the outstanding weather we have had this fall, which continues.
  7. Sitting outside in an open-air restaurant with the kids yesterday, watching the game and them finding “secret passageways.”
  8. Taking Em to see the movie Secretariat.
  9. Walking in the open space fields with Rocky, enjoying sweeping views of the Front Range and cows grazing in their nearby pasture.
  10. A beautiful hike with a friend (and Rocky) on a stunning trail I had never hiked before.

What are you grateful for this week?

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This week, it’s the simple things I’m thankful for.

Quotes on Gratitude

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” — Thornton Wilder

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

“Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted–a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner

Gratitude List for the week ending June 26

  1. A lifeguard named Mitch, who saw Jay fall off the child platform during swimming lessons and jumped in to pull him out of the water.  I could use this one as the whole list really.  I’ve been thanking him in my head every hour of every day this week.
  2. A great run with Rocky yesterday morning
  3. Finishing one good book and starting another
  4. Glacier ice cream
  5. Afternoon snoozes after mornings at the pool
  6. Fun with friends Friday – the kids played, we went to lunch and then saw Toy Story 3.  The moms got to talk for more than five minutes without interruption.
  7. Playing in the pool with friends
  8. Mom’s flank steak dinner
  9. Scoring tickets to a live event with Eckhart Tolle
  10. Last night, Jay fell asleep, all in his own, immediately.

What are you grateful for this week?

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