mindfulness of gratitude

“Soup” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life’s drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.
~ Phillip Moffitt
(Yoga Journal, July-August 2002)

Happy Thanksgiving!

wind, sun, water ~ gifts

“A Sunflower from Maggie” by Georgia O’Keeffe

The earth gives away for free the power of wind and sun and water, but instead we break open the earth to take fossil fuels. Had we taken only that which is given to us, had we reciprocated the gift, we would not have to fear our own atmosphere today.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer
(Braiding Sweetgrass:
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge & The Teachings of Plants

a single evergreen sapling

“Helga Ancher Sitting by the Christmas Tree” by Anna Ancher

Even though the use of evergreens dates back to the Greeks and Romans, the use of the holiday tree is said to have originated in the eighth century Germany. Legend has it that the Christian St. Boniface was trying to convert a group of Druids. Try as he might, though, he couldn’t convince them that the oak tree was neither sacred nor invincible. In desperation, he finally cut one down. When the tree fell, it crushed everything in its path but a single evergreen sapling. Boniface declared it a miracle, then proclaimed that the fir tree belonged to the Christ-child. After that, trees were brought into homes as holiday decorations. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century, however, that the Germans thought to decorate the branches. Some historians say that the first ornaments — fruit, nuts, and cookies — were used as offerings to thank the spirit of the tree.
~ Dorothy Morrison
(Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth)

safely gathered in

“The Harvest” by Frederick Morgan

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest-home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
~ Henry Alford
(The Poetical Works of Henry Alford)

Happy Thanksgiving!

a way of life

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
Kentford Farm ~ 5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

To be worthy of the astonishing world, a sense of wonder will be a way of life, in every place and time, no matter how familiar: to listen in the dark of every night, to praise the mystery of every returning day, to be astonished again and again, to be grateful with an intensity that cannot be distinguished from joy.
~ Kathleen Dean Moore
(Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature)

first thanksgiving

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
~ Edward Winslow
(Mourt’s Relation, 1622)

Happy Thanksgiving!

moments of awe

Image: Fire Island National Seashore
Image: Fire Island National Seashore

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
~ John Milton
(River of Life: How to Live in the Flow)


11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Baby ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

As the four of us piled into the car one night to pick up some pizza at Z Pizza, I realized that this was the last Thanksgiving all four of us will be in our 50s – next year Tim will be 60. Where did all the years go???

Again we took the train to Washington, DC and then the Metro to Springfield, where Tim’s brother Dan picked us up after his session in Cardiac Rehab. There was so much to talk about, and so many notes to compare… The household cats (Baby above, Tammy below) took little notice of our arrival.

Tammy ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Tammy ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

The new plant-based diet was a hot topic, and the guys decided to make some pasta from scratch, with a pasta machine Dan dragged out from storage in the garage. They used a broomstick to hang the pasta – after cleaning the stick part thoroughly. It was fun listening to them solve logistical problems as they went along. And the pasta was such a hit that they made it again a couple of days later!

Tim and Dan ~ 11.23.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Tim and Dan ~ 11.23.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

After a few days I was totally hooked on the cappuccinos Dan made with soy milk. One night on CNN we all watched with great interest, Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack. We did wind up having a turkey, and one night some salmon, but other than that we enjoyed vegan and vegetarian fare, Fran inventing a gluten-free vegan lasagne that was out of this world!

Below – Baby anticipating her share of the Thanksgiving feast…

Baby ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Baby ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

A lovely centerpiece on the coffee table…

11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
table set for Thanksgiving ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

While Tim and Dan went golfing on Friday, Fran and I went shopping in historic Occoquan, Virginia, where there was not a Black Friday deal in sight, and a friendly gnome reminded dog owners to mind their manners.  🙂

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

At the Golden Goose I was thrilled to find a Norwegian Julenissen (Santa) figurine, five and a half inches high! I’m sure he will show up soon on this blog if I get a good picture of him while decorating for the holidays…

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

We had a great lunch at The Blue Arbor Café

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

Whimsical rest room signs…

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

And this is pretty much when the picture-taking ended – I was having too much fun to continue!

Saturday Fran and I took the two Freds out for lunch at the Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant. Fred and Fred have been friends for over thirty years. One is blind from birth and the other is intellectually disabled. They had no one to share Thanksgiving with so Fran wanted to do something special for them. She was afraid these meat lovers would balk at the idea of eating at a vegetarian restaurant, but they came along with open minds and really enjoyed their selections. I had the yummy Eggplant Medley.

Sunday we all went to see The Descendants, which was an excellent movie. Then the guys went to wash the car and make more pasta while Fran and I shopped at Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria, a Fair Trade retailer. I bought two blue egg ornaments from Peru, looking into the cut-outs there are little snowman families inside. The cashier wrapped them very carefully for the train ride home on Monday.

Tim gave Dan a bottle of port which should not be opened until 2018. That’s seven years from now, a goal for them to look forward to as they adopt this new plant-eating lifestyle in order to reverse their heart disease and beat the odds. Here’s to family and life!

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
~ Hippocrates
(Regimen in Health, Book IX)