Great Big Gratitude

David, May 2016, refusing to hold still for a photo!

There’s something about this photo–out of focus, but somehow capturing the joy of spending time with this big man, my beloved. He’s been gone nearly five years now, and I still thank God every day for him and all the memories we made together.

What we focus on matters. I feel the truth of that every day and highly recommend The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay. In his book he doesn’t shy away from  tough subjects, but manages to find delight every day in spite of disheartening, even maddening realities. Truly inspiring.

I was also thinking recently about a book I read nearly a decade ago, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I remember being challenged–even in the midst of hard times–to start a gratitude list,  presumably with the goal of eventually reaching 1000, at which point gratitude might be almost automatic. One would hope, anyway. I’m afraid I began to stress out somewhere around 200, trying to think of new things, until one day I wrote, “#182–Realizing it’s okay to thank God more than once for the same thing.” Yeah. It took me a long time to come to that genius conclusion. I confess my list never made it past 200, but I still have the journal that holds it, and even that simple list inspires gratitude when I reread it.

I find old photos are excellent gratitude triggers. So in the spirit of thanks giving and Thanksgiving, I am forever grateful for . . .

. . . great big stunning vistas like this . . .

Rocky Mountain National Park (from the top) – July 2013

. . . for Paris and that perfect French blue . . .

Paris – May 2013

. . . for La Rochelle and the inexhaustible patience David displayed for my frequent photo stops . . .

La Rochelle with David patiently waiting, not quite out of frame – May 2013

. . . for sunsets like this . . .

Sunset on Panama City Beach – March 2015

. . . and this . . .

Key West – February 2015

. . . for fields of poppies on Île de Ré . . .

Photo by Pascale – June 2019

. . . and dear friends who would stop the car to let me jump out and get a photo pretty much whenever I wanted and who shared so much of France with us . . .

Pascale and Jacky in Bordeaux – May 2017

There are too many adventures to choose a link, so just check out the France category to find them all. Merci, Pascale et Jacky, pour tous!

I’m still grateful for this amazing tree . . .

The Never-Give-Up Tree – near Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire

. . . that inspired me so much I wrote a poem in which it was featured.

As I continue to spend much of my days with Chelsea’s little ones, especially Brooks, I’m reminded of when our girls were small, and I feel great big gratitude for this pic of some of my favorite people . . .

One of our annual trips to the pumpkin farm — 1988

Praying for you: grace and peace and no trouble at all finding delight and reasons for gratitude every single day.



9 thoughts on “Great Big Gratitude”

  1. Love this post (as I do all of your posts) You are a wonderful writer. I have so many wonderful memories of you and of David and of the girls. I’m so thankful for those…. With gratitude, “Diane Catlin” (as the girls always said! LOL)

    1. Dear Diane! I mean Diane Catlin 😉 ! I too have so many great memories with you and our family. Wishing you and Michael a joyous Christmas and the very best 2023. Maybe we can finally manage to see each other again!

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