this Facebook page lists loads of great chronic illness blog posts) when I came across My List of Little Joys by Cassie Creley - go check out her post! Cassie writes about how it's been a rough summer for her, with respect to her chronic illness, but then she looks back on the past few months and lists some of the small joys she has experienced. Even though I often write about gratitude and write my daily #GratefulToday post, I realized there is value to a larger look back like Cassie did. This really hit me because I, too, have considered this a rough (perhaps miserable?) summer, with excessive heat I can't tolerate, a lack of outdoor time or travel, and several serious family crises. Despite my generally good outlook, I have been thinking how awful this summer has been and how I can't wait for it to be over. Cassie's post made me realize I am drifting into negative thinking and forgetting to be grateful in a larger sense, even if I take a few moments each day to think about it.
So, inspired by Cassie's post, here are some of my own Small Joys from this summer so far:
- We cleaned out our screened porch Memorial Day weekend, I bought some inexpensive pillows and plants to spruce it up, and we have been enjoying it all summer.
- We bought a new-to-us truck to replace our rapidly failing one. Our old truck was much loved and gave us 217,000 miles and lots of memories, but it's nice to have one for trips where everything works!
- I have been working on two books about chronic illness and have made some important steps this summer - I hired a cover designer and love the final cover, and I found an editor I worked with years ago who is the perfect fit. I finished my part of the editing process and turned the book over to her, which was a huge step forward.
- We have enjoyed an evening out with friends most weekends.
- I saw two great movies: Rocketman and Yesterday - I am VERY grateful for movie theaters with full recliner seats!
- Although our son's decline this spring has been the source of much stress and worry these past few months, we are starting to see signs of improvement from all the new treatments, slowly but surely. Every time we see him smile, hear him laugh, enjoy a meal with him where he's able to enjoy his food, or see him go out with friends, my heart soars, and I feel hugely grateful.
- We enjoyed a nice trip to my hometown of Rochester, NY, to visit with family and attend a family reunion - the whole weekend was relaxed and enjoyable.
- My Big Book Summer Challenge! Every summer on my book blog, I host a reading challenge for reading books with 400 or more pages, and I SO enjoy it. I love finally tackling some of the bigger books on my shelves I don't usually have time for, and I love talking to others about the Big Books they're reading, too (there's still time to join and fit in a Big Book or two before September!).
- My husband and I have been enjoying our favorite summer TV shows, like Imposters, Instinct, Bosch, Sneaky Pete, and Travelers - and now Orange Is the New Black is back for one last season - yay!
- We enjoyed a nice little getaway this week with old friends, camping at a beautiful state park filled with waterfalls. It was nice and cool up on the mountain, and we hiked, kayaked, enjoyed good company, and laughed a lot.
Huh, so maybe it hasn't been such a bad summer after all! Seeing all of these joys listed together like this reminds me that it hasn't been all doom and gloom (and heat).
For one more take on gratitude, check out this TED Talk from David Steindl-Rast, Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful:
His soothing and inspiring talk explains that grateful people are joyful people. He says that often we think that gratitude follows happiness - you get everything you want and then you are grateful - but in reality, it's the other way around: happiness follows gratitude. And he gives some concrete advice on how to be more grateful with his Stop, Look, Go reminder.
So, how about you? What small joys have you experienced this summer? Share your joys and gratitudes in the comments below - as David explains in his talk above, the more we share our gratitude and network, the better the world becomes!