This post is inspired by two other bloggers who both recently wrote lists on gratitude and beauty. I think I’m meant to showcase some new products but as I have not received any freebies I’m not feeling the
So instead my first impulse was to write about all my well used household cleaning equipment that is very pretty, I have some things a colourblind 1950’s housewife would be proud of, including but not limited to, flower cuffed washing up gloves (purchased for me by my husband) and three other dirt tackling devices:
But then I realised that these things don’t make my life more beautiful, just less UGLY. Dirt is ugly and getting rid of it is uglier. I could show you a picture of what I pulled out of the basin plug recently. I HATE that job, because, like cleaning the toilet, it’s truly gross. No, in fact I will show you the photo. I bet your basin dirt isn’t as bad as my basin dirt.
Sorry this is not beautiful and I am not grateful for it. I do not delight in housework. However, I do love it when it’s done and at least my multicoloured equipment distracts me while I work.
But while I was trudging through my day I went to hang out the washing and stopped for a minute to look down. I have very few flowers growing in my garden that I planted myself but quite a lot that got there by accident, through no effort of mine – I really have no idea where they came from. This huge pile of Nasturtiums pops up every summer just underneath my washing line and I absolutely love it.
So then it struck me, the beautiful gifts I am really grateful for are the things that add beauty to my life that are profound in their simplicity and are common to everyone. These are all things that separate us from animals who have no appreciation for them! I would go so far as to say these are all things that have some time or other left me speechless or moved me to tears and I couldn’t imagine life without them. These are things that resonate with my soul, and quite probably with yours too.
So the first thing I am grateful for are things that grow – from fragile flowers to towering trees – God could have made the world green but He didn’t, He filled it with every colour of the rainbow, in so many delicate or robust forms.
Second: mountains, sea and waterfalls – all natural features that, by their awe-inspiring ability to turn nasty, leave me breathless with fear. My favourite beach is Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town, South Africa because I spent five years of my childhood living above it. Now we live within twenty minutes of the sea in Ireland and I have come to prefer the beach in the winter time, when the sea is at its most vocal. My favourite mountains are the Drakensberg Range in South Africa and you can’t beat the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe for sheer terrifying magnificence. Recently we were on the Isle of Skye where the mountains have their heads in the clouds and their feet in the sea, and they are adorned with ribbons of waterfalls that run from their tops to their toes so that best of all three is achieved.
Third: Books and writing – how less intriguing would life be without stories? How much less fun would I have if I couldn’t write? What a delight to own so many pretty notebooks in which to scribble!
Fourth: Art and creativity– Do you also have a deep admiration of all the incredible talent in all those wonderful art galleries? I had the privilege of going to art school for four years but have not exhibited in any galleries (unless you count my house). My granny was an artist so I inherited her ancient box of chalk pastels and I also have my own set of gorgeous Caran D’Ache Aquarelles which have lasted over twenty years, my only regret is that I don’t use them as often as I would like to. I still try and teach an art class each summer:
Fifth: Music and singing – Sometimes I also the extraordinariness of music for granted. Our individual tastes are what make us unique – mine is eclectic. I enjoy most types although I’m not much into heavy rock or death metal. Handel, Samuel Barber and Rachmaninoff sit happily next to Depeche Mode, Abba, Kari Jobe and Francoise Hardy on my CD shelf (fact: if you own a CD collection you are most likely in your 40s). My music loves are all linked to special memories.
Sixth: Good food and drink – I love great food and a good glass of wine but mostly I LOVE BEANS! Yes I was also taken aback when I realised that but more accurately I love just two: the coffee bean (speaking of which…) and the cocoa bean. But thinking further, for my toast I’d pick baked beans or peanut butter (actually a bean too) over other toppings and I absolutely LOVE broad beans but never seem to find them in the supermarkets here in Ireland.
Seventh: dance and sport: I have always loved to dance, any type, and it’s been my dream to one day get onto ballet pointes so I’m going back to classes in a couple of weeks, maybe I’ll achieve my dream before I’m 50? Not being a very sporty person, it wasn’t until this summer past that I realised how great it is being part of a team when I joined our local rowing club. After weeks of training and saying that I wasn’t bothered about the races, I raced in one regatta, experienced pain second only to childbirth and then decided it was one of the highlights of my life (we won a trophy). However I pulled a muscle in my bottom (surprising how many muscles you row with) so now I need to get fit for next season – hence ballet.
Eighth: Children – would I never get to this point? Yes, I am grateful for the fascinating joy of a newborn baby and I am sure one of a parent’s greatest pleasures is watching their children play. What a privilege to be a parent and more importantly to be grateful for when our children are well. I wrote a post a few months back about some health concerns we had over one of ours, last week we were given the all clear but the enormity of it only hit me this morning when a friend pointed it out. I couldn’t be more thankful for that and this brings me to the next point.
Nineth: Good relationships, friends and family – when I got married I was certain that I was the most loveliest person and my husband was very lucky to have me. Now I’m learning that I’m just as lucky to have him because the truth is, I’m actually not as lovely on the inside as I show the world. The best part of any good relationship is not only do they bring out the best but also the worst in you, rough edges are exposed enough to be worn down a bit and if it’s a GOOD relationship, you forgive each other and grow closer. My siblings and good friends do that too – I have the BEST friends of ANYONE.
So finally that brings me to my tenth point: I am thankful for the ABILITY to be thankful! It it makes perfect sense to me that if I feel grateful, it’s because there is someone who I can thank. It is not hard for me to have faith in a Creator because of this sense of gratitude that I have to something greater and more powerful than myself where all these wonderful things came from in the first place. And this brings me back to what I said right at the beginning – these are all things that feed my soul – so my soul cries to the One who made it Thank You.