Show us the way oh Lord. . .

“Others have seen what is and asked why.
I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”

― Pablo Picasso

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(a statue of Christ on the Charles Bridge , Prague, The Czech Republic / Julie Cook / 2012)

What is it that sets us apart form the other creatures on this planet our ours?
Other than that opposable thumb business?

What is it that makes us greater, wiser, better. . .?

Is it perhaps our ability to be compassionate and kind?
Perhaps to reason and analyze?
Or is it is our capacity to be creative. . .that ability to dream, to imagine, to think and therefore to compose, to construct, to paint, to sing, to sculpt, to dance and to build. . .

The ability to even take that which has been ruined and destroyed, even by our own hands, and to remake, rekindle and renew. . .?

I had not intended to have such a serious minded post again this week but it appears that forces beyond my control thought better of my initial decision. . .

Today’s news is laced, once again with the heinous beheading by ISIS of another innocent bystander–another victim to their ravenous thirst for innocent blood. This time it was an 82 year old Archeologist taxed with preserving and saving the ruins of Palmyra.
It seems they held this gentleman for the past month, torturing him in an attempt to discover where the vast treasures of this ancient, and to some holy, site were hidden. He never shared that information with his captors, who knows if he even was aware of hidden treasure, so it was another case of “off with their heads”. . .

Here you may find a link to the full story as found on the BBC . . .
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33984006

In Charles Kaiser’s book “The Cost of Courage” which I shared in yesterday’s post, Mr. Kaiser retells the story of the Vichy Parisian Mayor, Pierre-Charles Taittinger who, following the invasion of Normandy which was the telling realization for the Nazis that their time of Occupation in Paris, as well as all of France, was drawing dangerously to its finale, approached the Nazi’s high commander, General Choltitz, with his final plea for the Germans to spare the city.

It was well known and documented that if Hitler had to relinquish the City of Lights back into the hands of the Allies, then they would not receive a city at all but rather one that had been razed and burnt to the ground. Every bridge crossing the Seine, as well as every monument from the Eiffel Tower to Napoleon’s Tomb had been wired with explosives. The fleeing German troops were to detonate and burn everything in their wake as they left the city.

Monsieur Taittinger implored the General one last time:
“Often it is given to a general to destroy, rarely to preserve,” Taittinger begins.
“Imagine that one day it may be given to you to stand on this balcony as a tourist, to look once more on these monuments to our joys, our sufferings, and to be able to say, “One day I could have destroyed all this, and I preserved it as a gift for humanity.’ General, is not that worth all a conqueror’s glory?”
The General replied, “You are a good advocate for Pairs. You have done your duty well. And likewise I, as a German general, must do mine.”

History tells us that the General was wise enough to know that by now Hitler was indeed a madman and that the war, with the Soviets now advancing from the east, was all but over and that it would not serve the furture of Germany, whatever that further may now hold, to destroy what the French held so dear. There is more to the story, a series of interventions and seemingly miraculous moments which spurred the Allied forces to march upon the city in the nick of time, but I suggest that you read that story on your own as it makes for fascinating reading.

When the church bells rang out echoing across the city, with the deep baritone bells of Notre Dame leading the way, sounding the joyful news of the liberation of Paris, the General was heard to say, “that today I have heard the bells of the death knell of my own funeral. . .” He had sent the troops out from the city with having detonated only the bombs of one of the train stations.

What is it about our splendors and our glories, those monuments we construct, build, make and craft from generation to generation. . . those tombs and treasures we hold so dear and so ever important? So much so that we feel the urgency and need of being tasked with their care, their maintenance, their upkeep and their eventual preservation?
Is it because we see that these manmade wonders are some of the tangible evidence of the better part of our nature? That despite our ability to destroy, to kill and to promote war. . .deep down we know that we strive for the good, the beautiful and the enduring?

These wonders of ours link us to our past civilizations. These monuments of glory, grandeur and beauty of both joy and sorrow allow us to see from where we have come, and in turn we are afforded the opportunity to show future generations the part of us which is better, kinder, gentler, more humane —that side which chose to give rather than to take?

So on this day, when another has fallen victim to a dark and evil menace spreading outward from the Middle East, I am left with the simple prayer, “Oh Lord, show us the way. . .”

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(Duomo di Milano / Milan, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)

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(The Bascillica di San Antonio / Padova, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)

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(Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore / Firenze, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)

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(Basilica Papale di San Francesco / Assisi, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)

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( Basilica Papale di San Pietro / The Vatican / Roma, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)

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(stain glass windows in The Basilica of the Holy Blood / Bruges, Belgium / Julie Cook / 2011)

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(Notre Dame / Paris France / Julie Cook / 2011)

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(détail, Notre Dame / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011)

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(Eiffel Tower / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011)

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(the cross that sits atop the Eagles Nest or the Berghof overlooking Berchtesgaden, Bavaria which was once Hitler’s private mountain retreat / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(St Stephens Cathedral/ Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2013)

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St Vitus Cathedral / Prague, The Czech Republic / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(Rose window, St Vitus Cathedral / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(A section of the Berlin Wall / Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(a section of the Berlin wall / Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(The Brandenburg Gate / Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(The interior of the new German Chancellory, the Bundestag / Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2013)

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Exterior of the Bundestag / Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2013)

I have the perfect solution. . . does anyone know where I can get an anteater or two??

“As regards intellectual work it remains a fact, indeed, that great decisions in the realm of thought and momentous discoveries and solutions of problems are only possible to an individual, working in solitude.”
Sigmund Freud

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(Sleeping anteater at the Vienna Zoo–isn’t he a cutie? Julie Cook / 2012)

How delightfully appropriate that the subject of today’s posted image, as well as the author of today’s quote, both hail from Vienna. Not originally mind you as Freud was born in Moravia which is currently considered a part of the Czech Republic and our little cute sleeping beauty is originally from the wilds of South America, yet both made their permeant homes in Vienna. I am thinking however that our sweet little sleeping friend did not come to Vienna by choice, but I digress.

I have decided that I desperately need to procure an anteater, maybe even two.
They look easy to keep. I can certainly provide a place for them to sleep. I can water them, brush them as that coat of theirs looks like it could do with a nice brushing. They seem docile enough. Surely that little mouth of theirs isn’t filled with fierce teeth and I bet they wouldn’t scratch the furniture like the two knot heads, aka our cats of which my husband so lovingly refers, who happen to call our house home and who scratch with a relentless zeal—hence why I sit on tattered rags. . .digressing.
I bet I can even provide said anteater with a smorgasbord of delectable foods.
An endless and amble supply!!

In fact my yard is full of their food!

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(one of hundreds of ant mounds hiding just on the surface of the South / Julie Cook / 2014)

There have been three recent incidents which have lead me to the desire of the procurement of said anteater–all of which have been of the Alfred Hitchcock variety. . .or more of the Rod Serling Twilight Zone variety. . .or perhaps more like a B grade horror flick. . .or maybe just all three rolled into one.

The latest “episode” transpired earlier this week.
It was late and I was ready to call it a day.
I was just getting into the shower when I looked back noticing Percy (aka one of the knot heads that I dearly love) staring intently at my shirt, the one I had dropped on the closet floor as I was preparing for my shower, intending to take it to the laundry room once I finished washing up.

Now mind you I was currently naked as a jaybird, as that is how I prefer to shower–plus I had removed my glasses as I also prefer to shower with naked eyes. As Percy wouldn’t stop staring at my shirt, I hesitated shutting the shower door, preferring to lean outward just a tad to get a better look at my discarded shirt.
Why was it appearing to twinkle or vibrate or move in place?
Hummmmm.
With the water running, I step out of the shower to inspect this odd phenomenon. Even without my glasses I can immediately figure out as to why my shirt is “moving”
AAAGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
I run screaming from the closet and bathroom, yes, still naked as a jaybird, shower door wide open as the water is still running. And please, don’t let your mind go there as it is not a pretty sight.
My poor husband, who had fallen asleep in his favorite chair watching the late night news, jumps from his chair as if he had just been catapulted heavenward.

“ANTS ARE IN THE CLOSET!! GET THE POISON!!”
This as I make a mad dash in search of poison.
“Why aren’t you wearing any clothes?
My confused, tired and bleary eyed husband asks in great annoyance.
He seems to think company is always about to ring the bell any time day or night whenever I decide, out of grand necessity mind you, that I must make some scantily clad dash here, there and yon.

“ANTS!!! FIRE ANTS ARE IN THE HOUSE!!! GET THE POISON!!!”
Finding a spray bottle of bug killer I make a mad dash past my husband who is finally making his way to see for himself, firsthand, the cause of my commotion.

Sure enough, my shirt is teaming with ants as a nice orderly line is coming and going to the baseboard along the outside wall of the house.

“KILL THEM” I scream as I precariously pick up my shirt and run to the back to door to fling it outside. Yes I’m still naked as a jaybird but its late and its dark out, I could run around naked all night in the yard and no one would see me so it’s okay.

I dash back in and begin wildly spraying the remaining mass and the now confused little trail leading to the baseboard.

“TAKE THAT. . .AND THAT” I shout in triumph of extermination.

By now my husband has made his way to the basement in search of his high powered poison and proceeds to make his way outside in the dark to spray the base of the house outside the closet as there is obviously a mound hiding in the pine straw a bit too close to the house for my liking.

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(I’m not trying to push this brand, but it’s all we had)

I finally throw on some clothes ( you realize that I can hear you sighing in heavy relief) as I proceed to spray and wipe up, then mop the closest.
“DAMN ANTS” I can be heard to wail and lament for the remainder of the night.

The two times prior to this invasion were each similar.
It always starts the same.
Percy begins staring.
One time it was at his food bowl–which was oddly, once again, moving—as there was also a nice little line of soldiers coming in from a kitchen baseboard, once again from an outside wall. My husband, most likely to avoid my high pitched screams of hysteria, immediately dashed outside, finding the mound in the pine straw, at the base of the wall to the kitchen and began spraying the spray of eradication.

The other time was in the laundry room. All with a similar scene of pandaemonium, chaos and poison.

Now you must know that I pride myself in the keeping a very clean, immaculate home. I scrub, mop, dust, vacuum like nobody’s business. I keep a neat and tidy yard doing my best to eradicate the damn mounds which liter the yard like weeds gone mad.

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(you can’t see them in this picture but had this been a video, the earth would be violently moving)

I spend hundreds of dollars on poison, sprays, powders—anything and everything in order to kill these most painful and even dangerous pests.

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(don’t inhale, it will kill you)

If you’ve ever flown into the Atlanta airport. . .as the next time you make your way to baggage, look up—there for all the world to see, is what some whacked out “decorator” thought would be cute—a sculptured trail of giant fire ants climbing the walls onto the ceiling. I find this to be a grave embarrassment for our fine state.
I hate the damn things, and here, for all of humanity to see, the airing of our dirty laundry.
Yes, we here in the South have a terrible problem with fire ants, and we can’t seem to do anything to fix it.

I won’t go into the odd dance performed by many a blindsided southerner who mindlessly ventures outside, rather oblivious as to where and where not to step. Any passing neighbor will quickly recognize the fire ant dance. One step, inadvertently on a camouflaged mound hiding in the thick cool summer grass and within a millisecond, ones foot, leg and lower torso is engulfed in searing pain sending the poor unsuspecting victim hopping, swatting and jumping around the yard madly striping out of any and all clothing.
It’s the only way.
Perhaps dousing oneself in gasoline is the only other option but I don’t recommend that.

All humor aside fire ants have been known to kill young calves, deer, dogs and cats not to mention cause grave concern for those who are allergic to bees. Their bites pack a painful punch and imagine timesing that by 1,000,000,000!

So I have decided on what appears to be the most sound and rational solution, not to mention the most environmentally friendly, riding my need of poisons all in the name of the eternal quest of the total eradication of these damned fire ants!

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(no, my yard does not have a drug problem, rather a poison problem)

Now if I could just talk the Vienna Zoo into letting me borrow their sweet little “pets”. . .

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(a sleeping mom anteater with her young draped over mom’s head / Vienna Zoo / Julie Cook / 2012)

Hyper focused

Most people are good at too many things. And when you say someone is focused, more often than not what you actually mean is they’re very narrow.
Chuck Close

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(Carriage horses waiting outside of St Stephens Cathedral / Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012)

This is me.
“Which one” you ask?
The one on the right
“Why the one on the right?”
Because you can see more of him.
“Him?! I thought you said it was you, as in you’re a girl.”
Details. . .

Yes I am very much like a horse wearing blinders,especially these latest of days.
Meaning, I am looking dead ahead–
No distractions–
Hunkered down with all attention on one thing and one thing only.

I’ve always been this way.
One big issue at a time.
“But wait” you say.
“What about all that multitasking, juggling, maintaining many irons in the proverbial fire??”
Well, yes–multitasking yes–multi focus, not so much.

This is me, for the past several months and most certainly throughout this week.
And I rather fancy the little green ear hats.

Yet it behooves me to be mindful of what must be the true focus of my attention, especially during times of great stress— times, when I am greatly consumed, when my attentions are pulled in every which way.
As in now.
The focus must turn away from me and my world. . .

It is easy to become overwhelmed, distracted to the point of illness, a short temperament–threatening to reign negative where positive is most wanted and needed. . .especially when we are faced with big events, big challenges—consuming events and overwhelming challenges.

Therefore. . .
Let us fix (focus) our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrew 12:2

To focus on what is truly important–not the minutia of life, but rather on the Author and Perfecter of our Faith!
The Redeemer of all Life.
To stop.
To take stock and re-group.
To breathe.
To look.
To focus.
To know. . .
This is the task.
This is the true goal.
This is the life line.
This is my true need!
Amen to that!!

yet I still fancy the little green ear hats. . .
Off to the airport for pick up–very much like this little horse 🙂

Succulent yet tenacious

“Nourish your eye and spirit with inspiring things. They will bloom with your tending.”
S.A.R.K
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(a beautiful tray of succulent plants from the local home improvement store / Julie Cook / 2014)

The word succulent conjures up images of plump juicy, as well as sweet, leaves from such plants as the aloe and the agave, as well for most other sorts of cacti. The obvious object of the thick plump leaves is for the storage of water, as these plants are accustomed to living in very arid, hot, desert like environments. This built-in self watering system makes them rather indestructible as house plants for these plants are most forgiving when a regular watering is inadvertently forgotten.

They are not tall showy plants, boasting vibrant blooms, but are rather short and stocky bloomless alien looking vegetation. They often sport such comical names as hens and chicks and lamb’s tails. Appearing in a wide range of colorful tuberous leaves, many varieties often form beautiful patterns with their concentric circles of leaves.

Succulents may appear to be the more lazy of the plant world as they just simply seem to sit around not doing much. Not all of them bloom or produce flowers. They don’t grow very large in stature and they require very little maintenance, often appearing dormant or even dead.

Yet they are a tenacious lot.

They are not faint of heart as they stand up to extreme heat and drought. They can handle being ignored and often forgotten. They are the type of plant that can certainly take a licking as they simply keep on ticking—they have been around for thousands of years. It is said that a single particular little succulent plant, living at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, dates back to 1780.

There is much to be learned from a succulent, or cactus:
They are self preserving (they gather everything they need, storing it for later)
They are self defending (the prickly varieties)
They can be self healing (as well as healing to others, as in aloe)
They can self nourish (they draw from their stored resources, think of sweet agave sugar)
They hold up under pressure (how well do you do in 120 degrees with a 4 percent rainfall total?)
They hold up under extreme heat (again, back to that 120 thing)
They hold up during the dry spells of life.

So it is, on this new day to this new week of this new season of life, that perhaps we should be mindful of the lowly cacti and succulent. Most often over looked at the garden center.
This hardy bunch of little stumpy leaved plants usually sit off to the side, pushed away making room for the rows and rows of garish flowering plants and shrubs–all as we make a mad rush wanting to purchase the more showy colorful plants as we ready our yards and gardens.

In the long run, which plant out lasts the others?

Those pretty boastful show plants most often need constant pampering and babying. Just the right amount of fertilizer, just the right amount of water–too much or too little and death is quickly at hand. We fret who will water the plants during our time away. Many of these plants are annuals, simply good for a single season which can equate to a costly endeavor.

On the other hand, there is the lowly succulent and the cactus. . .they are hardy, forgiving, tenacious, self sufficient, colorful–yet juicy, sweet, plump and long lasting. A rather good combination for endurance and some rather good attributes to attach to living a productive and prosperous life. We can learn much from these humble plants.

Here is to the succulents and cactus, those lowly and most overlooked of plants, yet some of the most hardy plants to have at home in the garden.
Happy Spring and happy planting. . .

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

The only option for the journey… hope.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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(arbor walkway Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012

It’s the alarm again. . .5:00, 4:30, 4:00, 5:30 –all of the A.M. variety.
It’s Monday or is it Tuesday? I know it’s not Friday, I’d know if it was Friday.
It’s cold.
It’s dark.
Is it raining, do I hear rain? Grrreeat. . .
Pull the covers up.
The bathroom. I need to go to the bathroom.
D@%n-it!!
Ok, ok, I’m up–don’t you see, I’m up already.
Ugh, my feet. Oh they hurt.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this another morning.
I’m not doing this another morning!!

And so it goes.
Morning after morning. Day after day.
This is Life and Life is, for better or worse, a journey.
A long tiring journey.
–Or—
For some, perhaps the journey is far too short.
Time is limited. Deadlines loom, prognosis loom, the ending looms. . .
Depends on who you ask.

And yet we can’t seem to wait for the weekend, or for tomorrow, or for next week, or for the end of the week. . .
–Or–
For some, they don’t want it to be the end of the week, the end of the day, the end of a weekend, or simply not even tomorrow.
Depends on who you ask.

Life is a journey.
It starts the day we are born. . .no, better yet, actually it starts when we are conceived.
It doesn’t end until the day we die. . .no, better yet, that isn’t the end–but then again, I can’t speak to that part as I’ve not gotten that far. . .
But what I do know is that life is indeed a journey.
And there are day’s I’ve been on better journeys.

Yet delightfully each morning, each blessed beautiful brand new morning, hurting bones or not, there is something new, something unknown.
No one can tell me what this day will hold as no one has lived it yet. Oh we can guess given what transpired yesterday, the day before, but still, no one is certain, no one can say for sure what this day holds, what it entails.
There is a bit of mystery here as this is the unknown.
Uncharted waters.
New.

And so it is on this brand new morning to a brand new day to this brand new week, still in the beginnings of a brand new year, I wish for you a journey.
A journey new and full of discovery.
A journey of hope—as that is what each new morning offers to you, as it offers to me, a gift of hope.

Despite any dreary prediction for a new day— be it poor weather, dreaded meetings, unavoidable tests, undesirable appointments. . . no one, not any living soul, knows what is in store for any of us—as no one can see to the other side of the day. Thankfully no one can see.
We may not have much offered to us in this world but one thing is certain. . .just as it is one of the unalienable truths about life, we all have hope–each living breathing person is offered hope.
As hope does not discriminate. It knows not color, race, religion, sex, status, finances, education, geography. . .hope is offered to us all.
Thankfully there is always hope. . . the mere act of a sunrise is testament alone to that single undeniable truth.

So as you start the new journey of this new day, this new week, this new year—go forward, go forward with hope. It’s the only true guarantee any of us is given each new morning.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5

Patient Update

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The journey up the hill in Cortona, Itlay to the snactuary of Santa Margherita

And speaking of journeys and gratitude, as in the main posting for today, I want to offer thanksgiving as well as thanks—-my aunt, my partner in crime, is now home from the hospital. Many of you may remember last week my request for prayers as Martha was having to undergo a very serious surgery to remove her left kidney. A mass had been detected within the left kidney. This had all come about very suddenly as there had been no symptoms…just the result of a routine visit to her doctor—which in turn set in motion a chain of sudden life altering events.

I am happy to report that the patient is indeed now home, hurting, but resting and recovering. The surgeon reports that it appears all that was bad is now gone and life should resume as normally as possible just as soon as the healing takes its course.

So on this Monday morning, I exhale a loud sigh of relief and offer my gratitude to you who offered prayers, words of support and strength for my aunt and my tiny family. May the healing begin so the new adventures may be plotted………..

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(Martha in Vienna, Austria 2012–Hotel König Von Ungarn)

Here’s to prayer , here’s to gratitude, here’s to Martha…..

Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

― Thomas Merton
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Isn’t this a wonderful photograph? A beautiful flower shop in Vienna, Austria, in the shadows of Saint Stephansdom Cathedral–there in what is known as St Stephansplatz—the plaza area surrounding the ancient massive gothic marvel. It is a beautiful image in order to introduce today’s post on gratitude.

I took the photograph at the flower shop this same time last year during a most special trip that was the culmination of gratitude…it was based in having spent a life-time of doing a job that meant so much but had run its course. To celebrate an ending there was the trip, with dear companions sharing in the joy, of a new journey.

But before I ramble on too much longer, there is however, an issue I wish to address on a slightly more personal concept of gratitude as a bit of a side note— as I wish to thank Prasad over on hisinception.wordpress.com blog for nominating me for the Reader’s Appreciation award.
reader-appreciation-award

And as one act of gratitude in turn should give way to another, I would like to pass this award on to Rita over on thebravetraveler.com— As I am a person who truly enjoys travel and all that entails, I have greatly enjoyed reading Rita’s blog of the bravetraverler. Rita’s stories are real life and practical. There is advice and wisdom for us all whether it’s a weekend adventure to the mountains or a trip of a life time across a vast ocean–there is comfort knowing you are not alone in your concern, angst, fear, dread, anticipation, joy, exhilaration and sheer sense of adventure.

Rita helps to make this bigger than life world a little friendlier and more manageable. Kudos to both Prasad and Rita for sharing themselves and their passions which in turn help to make us all a little wiser and a little happier. Gratitude.

I’m not good with these sorts of things as I certainly feel undeserving and rather eschew the attention. I did add an additional page on the About Me page to display those awards that have been bestowed upon this humble blog by some rather amazing bloggers, as I am truly appreciative. I am most grateful, I just tend to take the more quiet route regarding such….but there is indeed gratitude.

Now let me return to the true issue of today’s post—that being the concept of gratitude (not necessarily mine)—which is the ability of being thankful, a quality or feeling of thankfulness. The 13th century German theologian Meister Eckhart tells us that if the only prayer we were to ever say was “thank you”– then that would be enough.

It’s one of the first things we attempt to teach our children—that being the art of saying please and thank you. Here in the South one was always chided by ones’ grandmother if a thank-you note was not written and delivered within the said appropriate window of respectable time….I never really knew what that time frame really was but that I was to start writing immediately upon receiving said kindness, never allowing the dust to even settle.

Every young southern girl worth her salts had a set of note cards— along with a mother who would constantly inquire if the notes of thanks were written by the unknown magic time frame… be it for ones’ christmas gifts or the invitation to dinner by the parents of the boyfriend….If there was a gift or a kindness, there was a note of thanks expected to be written. Which does give way to an entirely different discussion on decorum but we will save that for another day Scarlet.

In the Christian faith there are a handful of types of prayer that are indicative to our faith. Prayers of supplication, adoration, intercession, petitions and of course, thanksgiving. As human beings, we tend to pray those intercession prayers fast and furious. The “please oh please” prayers…the “help, please help, I need you God” type of prayers, the “I desperately need you” prayers. Those are the types of prayer that usually top our list and sneak into our prayer time at the front of the line.

It is, however, the prayers of praise and thanksgiving that are truly more important than probably any other prayer we utter. God knows our needs before we even know our needs but the questions begs…does He know our gratitude? The answer being that since He is an omnipotent God, than yes, He knows all…. but hearing his children offering adoration and thankfulness—that is His music.

Don’t we, as parents, love and even yearn to hear our children offer us genuine thanks? Of course we shrug it all off as if we were simply doing our duty, but inwardly we glow as we now have confirmation that they, our children, really do care about the sacrifices and struggles we make or have taken in order to make certain that they, our children, are happy, ok, and more comfortable than ever we were ourselves. Ode to parenthood and of being a parent—a thankless job that does have it’s glowing moments.

So is God not our Father? He is not a parent who longs as well for the confirmation from the children He loves and adores? Any parent, worth being a parent, does what they do because they are a parent and it is the right thing to do by their children–regardless of thanks or praise. But when there is that small recognition, that little hug, that little uttered “thanks”, hearts then soar and with that magical warm feeling as “job well done” resonates deep within.

So on this new day to this new week, make the effort to express your gratitude….be it for a small kind gesture offered by a stranger, the small acts of subtle love given by a parent or child which are offered your way… or merely for the simple gift of just getting up and breathing freely each and every morning….there is gratitude to offer and express—

No matter how grim life may be, there is always a kindness which is offered–which in turn means there is always something in which to offer thanksgiving. Be grateful for this new day and for all of its possibilities.