I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend for those in the states. We went on a little road trip for the weekend and also had a lovely picnic. The day off was also nice to reflect upon service, and sacrifice. What did you do?

Lately I've also been thinking a lot about gratitude. My dad recently got back from a very developing country in Africa and I can't stop thinking about some of the images and stories he shared with me. It fills my heart up to know how much many of us have been given. Do you ever find yourself taking things for granted .... simple things incorporated in a daily routine like hot showers and air conditioning ... the internet? Unfortunately when I am not consciously thinking about it -- I do.

With all these thoughts of people dealing with adversity and gratitude running around in my head, I decided to renew my old habit of writing five things I am grateful for each day before I go to bed each night. Not a new concept for sure, but in the past I've found it to be a very uplifiting practice. I find when I am more aware and present -- more good things come into my life. There is a quote I just revisited by Melody Beattie that I love which states,

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."


Have you paused lately to think of what you are grateful for? What comes to your mind? Do you keep a gratitude journal? I'd love to hear about five things that have made your day today.

(images by my dad)


Unknown said...

one thing i can be sure of myself - is i am VERY gracious for everything i am, have, become, encounter! - lovely post - your dad is precious!!!

*kiss kiss*
~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Mary said...

Beautiful post. I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible, which has brought this topic to my mind as well. I agree it's a wonderful thing to stop for a moment and think of what we're grateful for. I use my blog for a similar purpose, writing "three beautiful things" posts most weeks - my reminder to stop and smell the roses. I could easily do it every day - I have a lot to be thankful for! Five things for today? the top of my head: my big comfortable bed with clean sheets, good music to entertain me during my commute (Basia Bulat this morning), avocados, my cell phone, and my front porch. (I don't have air conditioning! ;-)

rachel @ blackeiffel said...

Wow -- that is great Erika!! I am thrilled to know how gracious you are.

rachel @ blackeiffel said...

Mary -- That book has been on my list for quite some time, maybe it is time to pick it up and read it. Thanks for your list!

Cristina said...

Rachel, thanks for the beautiful post. I've been keeping a gratitude journal since February 2009, and I do believe that taking time to focus on the positive aspects of my life, and being grateful for them, helps a lot. My 5 things for today, off the top of my head: my husband's love, my cats, being able to afford a taxi drive into the city centre, chatting with a friend, sunny weather. :)

Anonymous said...

I remember as a young girl talking with my parents as they tucked me into bed about five things I was grateful for that day. What a precious habit to keep up with! Today I am very grateful for health, freedom to educate myself, air conditioning, good books, and the gracious God that gives me my every breath.

Wahzat Gayle said...

Your dad's pictures are amazing!
Five things that made my day today?!
1)Water flowing from the faucet (we are having a water shortage in Jamaica)
2) My twin girls celebrate their first birthday today :) they are too sweet
3)being free to blog walk, write, create while sharing time with my children no 9-5 work schedule
4)my talent - I made brownies and I am going to make cupcakes
5) God loves me and you that makes me smile every day

Thank you for the lovely post and reminder. Keep good

Lisa Mackay said...

fantastic post, and your dad takes wonderful pics. It reminded me very much of this clip: where he talks about people taking everything for granted (also it is HILARIOUS). Alas it is so easy to do. I am grateful for my boys' smiles, today's sunshine, my cozy bed, my music (and I guess my hearing!), and a full year of maternity leave... Thanks for the post!

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

I am a big fan of writing down gratitude. These photos reaffirm that for me. Thank you :)

Leigh said...

I love these photos! What beautiful mothers and children.

letterstobetsy said...

what a lovely post! The pictures are truly inspirational! This truly makes you realize what you should be grateful for in life.
Thank you for sharing!

nichole said...

Those are beautiful thoughts, and beautiful images.

I've been thinking a LOT lately about how lucky I am, and honestly how I want to conduct myself moving forward/what I want to teach my boys (how to be honorable, men), etc.

I think I've reached a point in my life where I'm content with "myself" (job, family, friends) and I've been focusing outside my narrow world. It feels great.

Did you ever read Erikson's stages of psychosocial development? I think I am squarely in the generativity vs. stagnation phase. It's a really interesting theory:'s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

Thanks for this day brightener!

simone leblanc said...

amazing post! a nice reminder that we can always show more gratitude!

captain kk said...

amazing images. you're right, we could all be a little more grateful in our lives... for me, right now.. hnmm. 1. my own little happy, healthy & loving family. 2. hot oats with honey for breakfast. 3. having a job i love. 4. naughty snacks.. had a chokito bar the other day.. oh my god - so good! 5. a hot, hot, shower at the end of the day.

Unknown said...

I just took out my planner and wrote that quote on the date of 25 November 2010. Thanksgiving. I am sure I will need another reminder by then.

Five things I am grateful for today...
1. My husband making the coffee.
2. A phone call from my brother.
3. Music that makes me feel.
4. The ability to remember great memories.
5. Watching my daughter ride a two-wheeler for the first time.

I also highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible. It is one of my all time favorites.

Thank you, and your Dad, for a wonderful post.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful post! What gorgeous photos! It was just the pick-me-up I needed.

My five points of gratitude today: fresh produce in my home every day, my true love's remission from cancer, sunshine + blue skies, strawberry rhubarb pie mmm mmmmmm, the appreciation I am given for my work.

I feel that we all need to stop comparing ourselves and be grateful for what we have in our lives. This is not to say that we should not strive to reach higher; rather we should enjoy every step of our journey through life.

michelle said...

1. being a mother my two daughters
2. kissing my husband in the kitchen
3. online shopping
4. naptime
5. loving where I live

Jenny said...

Your post inspired me to do a "I'm grateful for" post on my blog. I'm always grateful for the reminder!

Emelia said...

I loved your dad's photos (and I love your blog!).

Today I was grateful for:
1. The sound of the rain outside relaxing my tense shoulders.
2. My mom and brother, and my ability to travel to see them.
3. Having a job.
4. Having a job I love.
5. Having a fresh egg in the morning.

I started a blog today! Here it is for anyone interested:

Nicola said...

It is so true, it is easy to take things for granted. Your dad is a great photographer! I'm grateful for a warm house, good health, great friends and family and the comforts of life.

Unknown said...

Your dad is an amazing photographer. Thank you for reminding us all to be grateful. Love your blog!
-Deb for Ouidad

Verus said...

As for me, I am gracious for:
-my family
-the love I could give and I was given
-the beauties on Earth ( a flower, a sunset, the riverside next to my parents house, a song...)
-when I see people helping each other without any interest
-and you, for making me think over these good things in my life :-)


Susannah said...

love this post and reminder. i spent a good deal of time in west africa and these photos made that season of my life come rushing back.

grateful for:
*an 8 day old healthy, feisty baby girl
*health insurance
*clean water that comes out nice & cold from my fridge or faucet
*the laughter of my two year old while she plays with my husband
*friends bringing me treats and meals while i nurse all the day long

ps read poisonwood bible years ago-LOVED it. highly recommend. :)

Maryellen said...

Such a lovely post and something I try to instill in my two young children. On a related note, I recently attended a memorial service for my 91-year-old uncle who passed away earlier this year and who had an amazing life as father of 9, successful surgeon, mayor. He once wrote to one of his children that a long life is a gift from God and a full life is our gift to God.

shine little light* said...

I write things to be thankful for in my blog every week. Its so healthy to force yourself to be positive. Especially as we have so much and take so much for granted. Where abouts in Africa are these photos? I just got back from Uganda myself!

Crystal and Todd Stewart said...

I have been thinking a lot about your dad lately and praying for his safe return. I am anxious to hear about his travels away.

1. A Heavenly Father who has given me faith and hope when the world seems to be a little darker some days.
2. A husband that doesn't have a temper and allows me to have one once in a while.
3. My two Pembroke Corgis that daily, crack me up because they are so short, but suprsingly long.
4. A desire to travel the world, and the internet that allows me to go there, when the bank account won't.
5. A family of creative, inspiring, loving, compassionate, hysterical people that are always there when I need them.

carolina said...

just came across your blog, beautiful quote!

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