Finding Gratitude

Here we are into Thanksgiving weekend during a pandemic that has left some of us wondering what we have in our lives to be thankful for. Sometimes, when things around us seem bleak it’s difficult to see that silver lining. There’s been a lot of talk about silver linings these past months and it’s a good thing. Hope is the very thing that keeps us going, day in and day out, even when some of those times seem nearly hopeless. Silver linings are all around us, but we need to pay attention and keep our eyes open at all times.

FYI: If you’re interested in reading stories of gratitude, why not check out Janice Landry’s book: Silver Linings: Stories of Gratitude, Resiliency and Growth Through Adversity 

What I began to notice, when the lockdown started was that many people were finding their way to my blog and I started to get hits every day, and continue to get hits, on the Thanksgiving Day post I wrote last year– Another Day to be Thankful.  And, to me, that says something positive about us as humans.

People want to feel hope. It’s a natural thing, even when despair creeps in from time to time. I’m sure we have all been discouraged, especially these past months. I know I have, but I have learned that no one can pick me up out of that despair but me. It comes from within, not from an outside source. We are all a WIP, a term we writers use meaning “a work in progress” but, so too, is it true when it comes to our lives. People who have overcome adversity did not do it through lack of hope. That would be impossible.

I’m encouraged by so many of the uplifting post I see on social media these days. Many people are working hard to help themselves and others through these challenging times. I keep reminding myself that if someone turns their own despair and hopeless outward they are going to seem quite crabby and discontent. They are the ones who are posting much of the negativity we see out there. BUT we have a choice to see the lightness or the darkness in any situation. It is all in how we choose to look at things. We have that power within us to turn things around. We just do.

I’ll leave you with this thanksgiving quote. Have a Happy COVID Thanksgiving Day to my Canadian friends :

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie



Reading Local

I’ve always been a believer in supporting local authors. Luckily, we have a lot of wonderful authors here in the Maritimes and I like to give their books a shout-out from time to time. I’ve decided to post two local books at a time for the next little while instead of posting ten or so all at once.

Here are my first two picks. They were both books that my mother received as gifts over Christmas.The first book was written by a former student from the Halifax School for the Blind which, as many of you know, my mother also attended.

Mrs. Beaton’s Questions by Robert Mercer.

Robert Mercer’s life could have been very different. He was born with very low vision and, as a youngster, struggled in school. But through the intervention of a caring teacher and the support of his family, he found his way to the Halifax School for the Blind and into the classroom of Mrs. Beaton. It was there that he discovered his voice, a voice he uses to recount his remarkable journey from a shy little boy to a community leader.

About the author: Robert Mercer was born visually impaired and for nine years, he attended the School for the Blind in Halifax. Upon graduation and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Mary’s University, he joined the staff of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). At the age of thirty, he was appointed National President and CEO for the Institute, responsible for the work of three thousand staff and a hundred thousand volunteers, coast to coast. In a second career, Robert worked for 25 years in the Federal public service, retiring as Assistant Deputy Minister at Veterans Affairs Canada in Charlottetown, where he now enjoys writing books, mostly fiction for children and adults, and is still very much young at heart.

Silver Linings by Janice Landry is a book about gratitude, something I truly believe in. Gratitude in our lives helps us to see all the positive things we should focus. I believe our own thoughts play an important role in out own well-being.

Silver Linings: Stories of Gratitude, Resiliency and Growth Through Adversity

Author Janice Landry asks the very tough question, “What are you the most grateful for?” to fifteen inspiring Canadians from five provinces and two esteemed guests from the United States. One of seventeen is Dr. Bob Emmons, considered to be the world’s pre-eminent expert in the study of gratitude.

Gratitude and resiliency are key cornerstones in the field of mental health. Science-based evidence, discussed by Dr. Emmons and others, underlines the importance of developing and practising gratitude. Research proves being grateful is good for us, both mentally and physically. Gratitude can improve our resiliency before challenges occur in our lives, which they inevitably do.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to be grateful when things are running smoothly. The people in Silver Linings have discovered that gifts may actually emerge from life’s toughest challenges. Landry’s own gratitude practice was shaken to its core when both her mother and a close friend, assisted-death advocate Audrey Parker, died within weeks of one another while she was writing Silver Linings.

About the Author: Journalist Janice Landry received a 2017 national media award and, in 2018, the prestigious Canadian Resiliency Award for The Legacy Letters. Silver Linings is her fifth book. It is dedicated to her mother and Audrey Parker.

Perhaps you’ll consider adding these books to your TBR pile. No better time to catch up on your reading than winter!

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