It feels like our Fall season has brought some fragility to my extended family, just like the falling leaves. Still, there is so much to celebrate, including the life of my dear Auntie Stephanie. We brought the kids to her ranch house on Halloween night, for festivities complete with lions, and honeybees, and bears–oh my!
“Where your heart is, there your treasure is.”
In this present moment, I am thankful for my 38th trip around the sun. On October 30th, 2017, my mom and dad said “Yes!” to my arrival, and I am so glad. I am grateful to God for the Love that created me and continues to move and shape me. This gratitude extends to my younger brother, Jordan, and the immediate family members who are home here with me: Kat, Daniel, Rosalie, and Gabriel. I am grateful for my Uncle Brian and Auntie Stephanie–we celebrated her birthday on Halloween night.
I appreciate Aunt Stephanie in this moment, now looking back on her birthday and enjoying the photos I captured a few days ago. I treasure the Auntie she is to me, so full of kindness and care. I thank God for the good example she sets with her generosity, courage, resilience, devotion, and creative spirit. Her birthday speech was filled with glitter and rainbows, bursting with gratitude as she counted her blessings, calling them by name, celebrating the people, the feast, the home… And in turn, we all delighted in these treasures together. Her grateful nature is a great example for me. For all of us, really.
This grateful nature of hers is especially brilliant and beautiful to me, because her attitude is her choice. Being optimistic or pessimistic is a matter of perspective, and one attitude draws what we want while the other attitude pushes it away. Just like everybody, my Auntie faces plenty of challenges in her life situation, including the physical thirst that resulted from a water shutoff at her ranch house earlier this week. She trusts that the Creator will create, and the Provider will provide, and she does her Work both the spiritual and the physical worlds to ensure the treasure is received in a grateful way.
“What you appreciate, appreciates.”
Here’s a personal testament to the power of appreciation. My Uncle Brian gifted me with a macaw feather once. It was the first time I’d held such a beautiful feather, shining iridescent blue and green. I held it for hours and eventually drifted to sleep with the feather on my pillow, feeling elated. Somehow, I rolled on top the feather in my sleep! Thankfully it handled my weight OK, but I returned the feather to my uncle for safekeeping, until the day when I made a proper cedar box for the feather.
Then, as the months went by without the feather, I made my first cedar box. Just after completing this task, I traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, documenting the movement there. I participated in activism and ceremonies, eventually ending up in a tipi meeting. The sister sitting beside me gifted me a feather from her cedar box–a macaw feather! Today I have my uncle’s feather too, and that’s the way appreciation works wonders, multiplying more of what we want.
The Grateful Vibes
This is the month of Thanksgiving, and so naturally, we’re seeing an upward trend in the #gratitude posts. I’m excited for this. Just this year, I started writing in a gratitude journal, recording hopes, dreams, and wonderful things on a daily basis. I am thankful to you, dear reader. I am thankful to God for your safety, for your strength, for your happiness, and for your wellbeing.