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I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman. I have observed her for almost twenty years. She embodies grace, style, optimism, and hope and I have aspired to be like her since the moment we met.
I must acknowledge she is beautiful. She’s tall, svelte, blonde, simply, chic and gorgeous. But her true beauty comes from so much more. From a smile which rarely goes away; from her genuine concern for others around her; from her rare complaints about anything or anyone; and her desire to always turn lemons into lemonade.
If she complains or laments, it must be only to family or very close friends in her inner circle, because I heard no complaints when a brown recluse spider bit her hand during the night several years ago and froze the nerves throughout her fingers. I heard no complaints when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and endured the process toward healing. In fact, she has used these situations as a catalyst to study good health practices, and share what she learns with others with passion and conviction.
I watched her as she cheered her daughters through athletic competition. I know there were times she wanted to scream at referees for unfair calls, but she would quietly shake her head and begin to cheer the next play. Unlike me, the screamer standing next to her. I have aspired to be like Sara for years and often think of how she would handle a situation I might be facing. As I have shared here recently, I hope I am learning more and more each day to be a woman of poise and grace.
So, here we find ourselves in the gratitude week. Just prior to entering this week, my washing machine died full of water and clothes; my microwave died; my son’s car had a front tire completely fall off while he was driving; my doctor says I need a sinus procedure to clear my “severely” blocked sinuses; and (now I realize this has humor to it) I fell off the top of an exercise ball and seem to have cracked a rib or at least deeply bruised my side. These are all surrounded by world news headlines which have many of us fearful and concerned. Of course, my heart is broken for those walking through far worse tragedies than falling at the gym.
But, women like Sara have taught me to not sweat the small stuff. The appliances are fixed, my son is safe, and my side is feeling better. During my reinvention twelve years ago I began to understand the most fashionable accessory I can wear every day is a smile. I take life one day at a time, and find reasons at the end of each day to be grateful.
I have another friend who struggled with gratitude. She began during her “mommy years” at the end of each day to journal three things she was grateful for on that day. Deidra showed me books and books of those gratitude lists she has kept for years. Soon, gratitude was internalized and became her way of life. I must also add that I share the same faith as these women. Our faith is about relationship and not religion and that is what helps us all to persevere. Both of these ladies are on the list of the most stylish women I know. Personal style embodies all that we are inside and out.
Just like poise, we can learn gratitude. It takes practice in small bites. Perhaps the journal idea will help if you struggle. Or you may need a mentor to emulate like I had with Sara. But there is hope. You can turn your gratitude meter up even during difficult times like today. It is good to appreciate what we have moment to moment, and to discover joy in both, small and large things.
So, what are you grateful for today?
I am so grateful for all of you. Please keep smiling and have a joyous Thanksgiving!