National Gratitude Month is celebrated every November. It was declared the month of gratitude in 2015 after author Stacey Grewal advocated for it.
“Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life,” said Grewal, who wrote the book Gratitude and Goals. “Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing. This challenge is a great opportunity to see if you can improve your life by getting more in touch with gratitude.” Grewal pointed out that, on average, grateful people tend to be happier, healthier; more physically fit, have a higher income and have much more satisfying personal and professional relationships. – PR Newswire
“Gratitude – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” – Oxford Dictionary
I will take time to relax, reflect on things I’m thankful for this year, write, and be with my extended family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
I will focus on expressing gratitude in many ways :
1. Write a daily gratitude journal (could be brief)
2. Wake up filling my mind and my heart with thankfulness
3. Be grateful for health (good or not so good) and being alive
4. Be intentional to show appreciation to family members, friends, and people around me.
5. Stop and be thankful for the safe environment
6. Appreciate the natural beauty around me
7. Be generous in giving in a tangible way
What would you add to this list?I would like to hear it.
This means my blogging time will be reduced. I have two posts later in the month. Other than that, I’ll resume posting in December, in time to celebrate Christmas.
It’s an exciting day today to share the goodnews with you about my friend, Elizabeth Gauffreau’s new release GriefSongs: Poems of Love & Remembrance.
About the Book
“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review
“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review
Grief Songs: Poems of Love and Remembrance is a poetry collection written in Tanka form. After her mother passed away, Elizabeth Gauffreau cleaned up the “forbidden rooms” and found the “hidden photographs.” These are the photographs of the author and her father, mother, and brother George.
Grieving is a personal process that can last for any length of time. The memories of the loved ones could be fleeting or lingering moments, and the emotion of grieving could be of the surface or intensely deep.
In Grief Songs, the photos brought back the intensity of the precious memories to the author. Elizabeth expressed her grief in poetry. She paired the poems with each photo included in this collection.
One poem was about the author’s mother took her and George to the vaccination. Their mother gave the kids a treat of root beer floats for being good for the occasion. By the way, root beer is a soda, not a beer with alcohol! Another fun poem was about a youth group picnic when the author and her brother waited for their dad in the car after the picnic. Apparently, their dad didn’t come right away. They pressed the honk for so long that when their dad finally came back; the battery was dead. I loved the poem and the photo with Elizabeth and George sitting on their father’s lap for reading time as a nightly ritual. The lines were, “Waiting until your father gets home, not a threat but a promise.”
There were poems about Elizabeth as a kid for the first sacrament, confirmation, and baptism. What precious memories as she could see the history from the beginning of her life when father and mother holding her in their arms that led to her present life.
Family time such as clam bake at the beach and the family reunion always flashed back fond memories that ache the heart yet bring smiles on the face. The dying takes away a part of the ones left behind yet leaves them something sweet and long-lasting.
The poetry is a short read, yet the emotion of joy and sorrow lingers long after I put down the book. Highly recommended
Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.
This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’. She invited us toshow the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.
The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.
I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.
There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.
I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.
I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.
My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.
Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.
Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.
The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.
Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.
The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “in other words.”
Last Saturday, January 27, 2018, I attended a Women’s Retreat. It was a day of reflection on our personal life in 2017. We spent the first hour leisurely charting the major events, the spiritual journey, and our insights. The following hour was sharing our charts and thoughts. The next hour was meeting in groups of three to pray for each other. We also had individual time to be alone doing the reading, meditating and writing.
The retreat was from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. held in a private home with plenty of space for small groups and individual time. The pace of the schedule was just right. I came away feeling very refreshed and peaceful, ready to face my new journey of 2018.
One precious thing I valued deeply was spending a whole hour with just three people sharing. We were not chitchatting superficial things. We shared our deep concerns and prayed with each other. It was a unique experience that I didn’t have before. It is so often when we meet, we talk about the busy events. If we don’t share our concerns, even when we talk for hours, we still go away feeling unconnected.
After the retreat, one lady and I decided to meet once a month not chitchatting but to share and listen. In other words, we want to be caring friends to each other.