As I reflect on this past year, I am discovering many things for which I am grateful.  Recently I read these profound words:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”        Melody Beattie

And so begins my year of gratitude.  This year with all its blessings; its ups and downs.  Especially the downs, for without the downs my life would not have changed for the better.  I would not be writing this blog or my memoirs and I have come to love and rely on writing as a much needed catharsis.  My writing has touched many of you and I in turn have learned from you.  I am so grateful for this blog for it has now been included in Blotanical and among the Best Garden Blogs.  I am meeting many bloggers virtually and reading their incredible works.

And with the writing, I have discovered memoir writing.  I have submitted work and recently was a finalist in one contest.  The best part though is the trip down memory lane.  I am grateful for those memories and the wonderful, joyous feeling they evoke.  The family that are still with me and those who have died, but whose memory will never fade from me.  My writing this year also has prompted me to dust off a children’s book I wrote in 1996 and the notes I have for many more.  I hope to learn about self-publishing and finally get the book published.

I am grateful also for the heritage of my ancestors.  Those who left me this legacy of gardening that I recently discovered.  Their love of gardening, the smell and feel of the soil; the love of their roses and vegetables know throughout the neighborhood now living again through me.  I honor their memory by taking up the hoe once again.  In doing so, I hope to instill in others a love of gardening; of growing beautiful living things.  The addiction of these beautiful flowers and the need to grow more and more.  To never be done with that garden for it will forever grow and change with me throughout my life.  To make my corner of the world a more beautiful, “green” place one garden at a time.

I am grateful for the people in my life.  My family and friends who have always been the rocks of my foundation.  And great neighbors who want to share good times.  And here’s to the wonderful, hard working colleagues from the job I just left and those I am meeting in this next phase of my professional career in education.  Thanks to the gardeners all over the world I have begun to meet through social media and blogs.  And the new friends.  Those who found me and told me I had beautiful gardens and a talent to share.  Now this year I will be starting my own garden design business; Purple Door Garden Designs.  Website should be up in a few months and I have lots of designing to do already.

I am grateful for the friends who said everyone has that “right eye”; you just need to learn to develop it.  So to the friends that encouraged that artistic side of me; who gave me art lessons every Friday on the patio this summer thank you.  While I still have a long way to go, I want to keep going with their help and expertise.

I am grateful to those who have helped me regain my health and my sanity.  Practicing meditation, acupuncture, massage, Reiki; all these renewed me and helped me deal with life in a most productive way.  Not dwelling on the stress.  Taking the lessons and really learning from them.  Helping to open my eyes and turn my stubborn head in the right direction.

Most important, I want to thank the person who is most accepting of me; who makes no comment about my addiction; who is the reluctant garden helper (with little kicking and screaming); who I can’t imagine living my life without–to you Bob (my husband)!!  You make every day worth living.  I am grateful for each day I wake and you are there sharing it.  Those precious breaths I almost wasn’t able to take.

When the sun rises and sets each day I know I am a better person because I have lived and learned something; I have met new people and talked with old friends.  I am doing the things I love.  I have just what I need to live a comfortable life.  So what are you grateful for?  How do you express it?

‎”As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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