Day 344, Wednesday 1 April
Karen let me help her in the kitchen lol. Traditional vs Easter themed rum balls without the rum. Feeling grateful that I have a wonderful partner who is so much fun to work with
Day 345, Thursday 2nd April
Some days are so hard and my heart aches when someone I love is having one of those days. You know who you are and I just want you to know how amazing I think you are, how much I love you and how grateful I am that you are in my life.
You are never truly alone when you are loved, stay safe
Day 346, Friday 3rd April
Some days I wonder if I’ll ever get it right. And then I look at my children…. Love you all and miss you more
Day 347, Saturday 4th April
Sometimes it’s really hard to find anything to be grateful about and today is one of those days. Even though I know there are heaps of things I could be grateful for, I’m miserable and not really feeling very thankful at all. I’m not going into the why’s, suffice to say I’ll be fine and it’s just one of those ‘hards’ that we all get to deal with along the way.
So in the spirit of 347 days of gratitude, I’m going to do my best to remind myself that self-pity and misery aren’t going to make this week any easier and try to find as many things as possible to be grateful for.
I am loved by so many amazing people.
I’m sitting under a solid roof with a warm fire going.
I have food to eat and fresh water.
I have access to my friends and the world at my fingertips.
I can read and write.
Most of my senses are working just fine, except the common sense one, that needs work.
My body gets me from A to B.
And most importantly, I have chocolate.
I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter break, but if you’re not, I hope you have something that makes you feel grateful and loved
Day 348, Sunday 5th April
Feeling grateful for an artistic bent
In the spirit of keeping things light hearted as much as possible this week, I am engaging in a little art therapy to wile away the hours.
Day 1 – painting of something with a tree in it and an anatomically incorrect paper mâché version of Halley
I wish I was with you babe, but as I’m not I’ll do my best to keep you amused with my creative ramblings. Love you
Day 349, Monday 6th April
“Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says,
‘I’ll try again tomorrow'”
Day 350, Tuesday 7th April
Feeling very grateful for awesome friends. Thanks for your company, hugs, amazing food and wine and great laughs today. Love you all
Day 351, Wednesday 8th April
Finally got around to taking my guitar in for servicing today. Feels great having it working properly again although my fingertips are bloody sore lol.
Feeling grateful for simple country songs that don’t tax my skills
Day 352, Thursday 9th April
I miss you and I’m grateful that it’s only two more sleeps till you come home
Day 353, Friday 10th April
It’s amazing how much a glass of red and a homecoming can lift your mood lol
Just over 20 hours to go and I can barely wait. Sooo grateful it’s Friday
Day 354, Saturday 11th April
Back where we belong
Day 355, Sunday 12th April
Feeling grateful for lovely weather, drives in the bush, a wheelie bin full of hedge clippings, steak and veges and Lindt chocolate. A most excellent day
— with Karen.
Day 356, Monday 13th April
Well the 10 day countdown until my Year of Gratitude is over has finally arrived and I’m feeling a bit of an anticlimax lol.
Part of me is grateful that it’s nearly over as it’s been difficult some days to commit and find something to be truly grateful for, and part of me is going to miss doing this here each day because there has been so much positive feedback.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself this past year; about how I think, feel, act and react and I believe this year of gratitude has helped me immensely.
Over these last days, I’d like to share some of my favourite posts and comments and why they have meant so much to me.
Day 357, Tuesday 14th April
I started going through my posts looking for favourites to include in the countdown to the end of my Year of Gratitude and the first one that hit me was Day 2.
One of the hardest things I’ve learnt this year is how negative I can be at times. On the surface I try hard to stay positive but I hadn’t realised how under the surface, there was this little voice buzzing around saying some pretty crappy shit. Actively searching out the good things in my life has helped to quieten that voice and though I wouldn’t say it has completely disappeared, it has become more of a bystander that I don’t pay much attention too. The following excerpt pretty much sums up the way my head was working when this Year of Gratitude began…
Day 2 …but mostly I am grateful for daughters who take on massive jobs without being asked and I am extremely grateful even though I know I don’t show it appropriately. I am grateful that I am big enough to say “I’m sorry” Jessica Brownrigg and Abby Whitehead you mean the world to me and I am sorry that I’m not very good at showing that.
I am an ungrateful sod. Last night my eldest daughter Jess and her youngest sister Abby decided to clean up the garage. Picture this – our garage is a decent size that opens up to the under floor space of the house (4 bedroom house) and it has a room attached to it that has been used for various purposes over the years; everything from a workshop to a bedroom. We have lived here for nearly 15 years and for the past two years I haven’t been able to park my car in the garage because there is so much shit in there. Since last Christmas we have barely been able to get in to the garage because of the accumulation of camping gear, tools, materials for renovating the van, stuff from my mum’s estate, kids/partner asking to store things they can’t fit in their houses and the kayaks that we decided we had to have.
So the girls decided to clean up; at night, in the rain.
I was less than impressed as I watched them dragging stuff out into the drive in between showers. I imagined everything getting soaked (it didn’t) and I bitched in my head because they were rearranging everything and I probably wouldn’t be able to find anything. I went to bed in a vain attempt to put it out of my mind and ignored the occasional bangs and crashes that echoed through the floor boards.
Jess left, Abby went to bed, I think I said thank you but I can’t be sure. Images were still racing around my head and distorting anything that may have vaguely resembled gratitude. The next morning I went down to the garage and I spat the dummy. The girls had placed the seat of the van on top of some hay bales next to a pile of rubbish. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t belong to me, it was not an ideal location due to problems with mice. I sent a rather curt text to them both asking them to put it back in the spare room and went to uni.
That night I came home and the seat hadn’t moved. I thumped my way around and lugged it back to where I wanted it before storming inside in a very grumpy mood. I can’t remember what I said to Abby but I have no doubts that it was inappropriate. Not long after she stormed out of the house with tears in her eyes; her parting words were, “You are so ungrateful!”
Those four words floored me. Here I was on Day 2 of my grateful challenge feeling pretty proud of myself for finding all these things to be grateful for and my daughter tells me I am ungrateful. I walked down to the garage to get some wood and shame hit me in the face, literally! The previous day the wheelbarrow, lawnmower and kayaks had all been lying in a jumble and there was no way anything could be accessed. I walked into this space, reached for the wheel barrow and whacked my head on one of the kayaks. I stood back and looked, confused and unsure of what I was seeing. Then I looked around the garage, I really looked.
And I cried.
I had gone into the garage that morning looking for problems and I found them. In my haste to criticize I saw nothing but problems. Now as I stood looking around for the first time with eyes open and shame and guilt in my heart, I saw what they had really done. The lawnmower and wheelbarrow were accessible; the kayaks were hanging from racks tied to the beams above. The pool table, previously covered with every tool known to man was clear; all the tools back in boxes waiting for me to sort them out and return to their various owners/cupboards. The garage floor was clear enough that if I chose I could move the pool table back and bring the car in. The spare room had been rearranged in such a way that we could access everything in there and Jess had collected the last of her boxes to take home and all the rubbish had been removed and stored around the side of the house to be taken to the tip and the last of mums things had been brought inside, things I had almost forgotten I had.
I was ashamed, humbled and very, very sorry.
I wrote a text to both the girls apologising for my behaviour, Jess accepted my apology and forgave me, Abby didn’t reply. I apologised on Facebook, she mellowed but still nothing was said. I’m thinking, bloody hell Ab, I said sorry! And then I realised I hadn’t said anything at all. I went up to her bedroom and knocked on the door. Still ignoring me, I spoke through the door; I apologised, I said I was an idiot, I told her how much I appreciated what they had done and how ashamed I was of my ungratefulness. I still don’t know if she heard me or if she was asleep. I hope one day she reads this and if she hasn’t already, finds it in her heart to forgive me for being such a twat that day.
Day 358, Wednesday 15th April
8 days left
I love the following post. It might surprise some people but there was a time when the thought of being myself terrified the crap out of me. I have been ridiculed for my differences, shunned, isolated and at times have been hurt deeply by people who think they know better. It took me a long time to be comfortable with who I am, it took even longer for me to stop listening to the negative comments from people who think they know who I should be.
If I could go back 30 years and tell my teenage self one thing, it would be this, “You are who you are and you are perfect just the way you are. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that’s not good enough, or wrong, or evil. Follow your heart and your dreams, there will come a day when it will all make sense and
WEAR WHATEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE
Taken from Day 58
‘Be Weird. Be Random. Be Who You Are. Because You Never Know Who Would Love The Person You Hide.’
Today I am grateful for me. I make no apologies for who I am.
Sometimes I am embarrassing, I say and do things that aren’t always socially acceptable, I don’t mean to embarrass you, I just sometimes forget to engage my brain before I open my mouth, that is a part of who I am.
Sometimes I dress in clothes that are weird, old fashioned, different and sometimes just plain wrong lol. I am a creative person, I express myself visually, that is a part of who I am.
Sometimes I sit under the moon and listen to the earth. Sometimes I work with the elements, weaving the energy around me; because I can, that is a part of who I am.
Sometimes the Earth, spirits and loved ones, speak to me. Sometimes I talk back. I am not crazy, I am just engaged in a conversation you can’t hear, that is a part of who I am.
Sometimes I throw my power with so much force it scares me, I feel the strength in that energy and I know that I hold enormous responsibility for how I use it. I try to use my power wisely, sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I hurt you, I don’t mean to, that is not who I am.
Sometimes I love, so deeply, so openly, that I get frightened. It happened with my children, and every now and then it happens with another adult. I feel raw, vulnerable and scared. When I love you, I give you my heart and soul, it breaks my heart when you pull away from me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because without love, we are nothing and love is who I am.
Today I am grateful for me
Day 359, Thursday 16th April
I love my parents very much and am so grateful for the support they have shown me over the years. I’m sharing this post again because the link at the end is one I think every parent needs to read xx
Excerpt from Day 162
I grew up within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and I loved it. I loved the deep sense of community, the fellowship of people who believed in a common good and the love and support that surrounded me, from our priests and fellow parishioners.
I believed with all my heart and soul, the teachings of Jesus and I believed that the people around me believed them too.
And then I stepped outside the box.
I became a teenage mum.
God only knows what it would have been like if I’d come out as gay at that time instead. Being pregnant and single was bad enough.
I was kicked out; out of the church, my youth group, my life.
The people who had loved and supported me for 16 years turned against me and I was devastated beyond belief.
My only saving grace at that time was my parents who, instead of turning against me, walked away from that community (not before speaking their mind) and took me back into the fold.
Were they angry, disappointed and sad? Of course they were. But I was their daughter and they loved me. They not only took me back in, they renovated their house to accommodate a new grandchild. They walked with me every step of the way and they helped me to raise her.
That is what makes a good Christian.
When I came out 20 years later they opened their hearts again and held me close. I know they struggled to accept my sexuality, the church had woven its web; but first and foremost I was a human being and their daughter and that was enough for them to be able to love me for who I am.
To all the parents out there who have a gay child, to all the parents who have a young child that doesn’t know who they are yet, please read this article.
I wouldn’t be here today if my parents hadn’t shown me that I was worthy of life and love.
Day 360, Friday 17th April
Today I want to say a huge thank you to Jo for getting me started on my week of gratitude. It’s been an interesting ride and I’m very grateful, thank you
Day 361, Saturday 18th April
No one post could sum up how I feel about these two amazing people so I’m not sharing a past post tonight, rather, this is an attempt to convey my deepest love and respect for you both.
Where would I be without you two?
If mum and dad were my first love, then you guys were definitely my second. You’ve loved me, hated me, laughed and cried with, for and at me. We’ve been to hell and back and my life would be so much less if you weren’t in it. No matter how far away you are, know that you hold a very special place in my heart and I am always here for you
Day 362, Sunday 19th April
I’ve shared numerous posts about my kids over the last year, too many to recount in one post, so tonight I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you for everything!!!!
You are my rock and I love you more than words can express.
Day 363, Monday 20th April
If you are seeing this post it applies to you…
I grew up in a huge family and although we only saw some of them at Christmas time, I was constantly surrounded by the knowledge that those people loved me, that I loved them and that we would always be there for each other if we could. Time has shown me that this doesn’t always happen and for a long time that made me incredibly sad.
One of the lessons that mum tried so hard to teach us was about the importance of family and that lesson has stuck. What I didn’t realise for many years was that family often consists of people who are not blood relatives.
Tonight I wanted to acknowledge my family; the old family, the ones I’m related to and the ones I grew up with who have made the effort to stay connected, and my new family, the ones who have come into my life through my children, my partner or through friendship.
I started this post with the intention of tagging all the people who I call family but soon realised that this would be incredibly difficult. Of the 391 people who are my FB friends, only 46 of these are pages or new acquaintances.
As I looked at each person’s name, I realised that ALL of you are incredibly important to me in one way or another.
Some of you have shown me that family really can stay in touch if we want it bad enough.
Some of you have become additional children, siblings or parents.
Some of you hold my deepest, darkest secrets
Some of you still like me even after putting up with me all through school
Some of you have put me back together in my darkest days.
Some of you have been with me at times of great joy
Some of you have held me while I cry
Some of you have let me hold you
Some of you have shared posts with me that have helped me to grow
Some of you have commented on my posts and shown me that I have something worthwhile to give
All of you have let me into your lives in some way and trusted me with your friendship.
And all of you have touched my heart or my life in some way and I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of you.
Day 364, Tuesday 21st April
“In the deepest, darkest, depths of my soul,
You see me
In the light of morning, full of new promise,
You hold me
In the dusty corners of my ancient mind
You find me
In so many small ways, each and every day
You love me.”
Baby, this past year with you has brought so much joy to my life. You are my rock and I am eternally grateful that we found each other at last.
Day 365, Wednesday 22nd April
One year ago today, I started a week of gratitude, thanks in part to inspiration provided by Jo Green The Wollstonecraft Legacy. At the end of that week I decided to challenge myself to a year of gratitude. At the time, I thought it would be fun, maybe a bit challenging and possibly a good learning curve. I was wrong.
This past year of gratitude has been amazing, it has been enormously challenging and it has been an even bigger life lesson than I ever dreamed possible.
I have spent many hours soul searching for things to write about; things that are really important to me. In doing this I have gained a deeper appreciation of all the wonderful people and events in my life and I feel I have come out of this with a greater awareness of the need to be grateful and to actively acknowledge my blessings.
There have been days when I honestly felt like saying, “Fuck this shit, I’m going to Wonderland” and just as many days when, although the mind was willing, the heart just wasn’t in it. There are many posts that reflect this, a simple meme, gratitude for Panadol or some other pain killer or posts that just didn’t have the heart in it that I know I could have given.
At first, I would get cranky with myself on these days, because a part of me felt that if I was going to do this, I had to do it to the best of my ability and therein lies the answer, I WAS doing it to the best of my ability. On those days when everything felt like it was falling apart, I did my best to find something to be grateful for, no matter how small it was and that was the whole point of doing this.
It is easy to be grateful when everything is going right, not so easy when everything is going wrong. Committing to this year of gratitude forced me to look deeper, to push beyond the depression and grief, to search out the reasons that have held me on this planet for 46 years.
And some days that has been bloody hard.
I love my kids, I love my family, I love Karen, I love my friends, I love my life and I love me, but depression has an insidious way of camouflaging everything we love, it turns our focus inwards. In some ways, I consider myself lucky. I’ve battled with depression since childhood and I have a pretty good idea of what that means for me and how best to handle it. I know my triggers and I know what I can do to help me get through those low periods, but it has been a constant struggle for longer than I can remember and when you are constantly fighting something, you get pretty damn tired.
I have known for a long time, the impact that chronic depression has on the body and mind; what I didn’t know was that all these years of fighting had taken an enormous toll on my appreciation of life. I have spent so many years fighting to stay alive that I had forgotten how to live. I had forgotten how to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and it was only on occasions that something or someone would penetrate the mists in a way that brought me out of myself that I would ‘see’ what was really going on around me.
Of course I’ve had intensely happy periods of my life, so many with my children, being in love, amazing holidays or great jobs and often during those periods my depression would lift for weeks or months at a time.
Eventually though, the darkness would start to overshadow everything and I’d be back to fighting again.
But this year something changed.
I stopped fighting.
And I started being grateful, really grateful, and it has changed my life.
The depression is still with me, I am constantly aware of it sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear but something else has joined it. Alongside the whispers that tell me my life is shit, is the voice of gratitude reminding me how extraordinarily good my life is and it’s loud, so much louder than the voice of depression.
Today, on the last day of my Year of Gratitude, I am grateful that I committed to this and I will be eternally grateful for the lessons I have learnt.
Love and Light