the blessing of choices

Bodhi paying a visit, as I sat at my desk yesterday

I brought Luke to the river yesterday in the late afternoon. I’d planned on being there about an hour, but 10 minutes after I arrived, a large group showed up. I don’t mind loud or rowdy people who are having fun, but this felt less like fun, and more like potential trouble and I didn’t want to be there, so I left. I was having a hard time not judging these people, and I wondered why I had dove-tailed with them.

I came home, sat in the garden for a while, and threw Luke a ball. As I settled in, I realized how much had been going on over the past few days, but instead of trying to figure out what was wrong, I thought, “I am going to choose one thing that is good in my life right now.” I started thinking about the food that I’d had for lunch.

A friend and I met at a local restaurant and had the most delicious meal (we asked for the recipe but were told it was a secret), so she found it on-line, sent it to me, and this led to me thinking I’d go to the store tomorrow, buy the ingredients, and try to recreate it.

And then it dawned on me; I get to go to the store and buy whatever I need to make this dish. I can decide what to make for dinner. I can choose what I want to eat. This is something that I’ve always taken for granted, or even looked upon as a chore, and suddenly it was feeling like a profound gift.

.. the thoughts expanded out from there. I  no longer felt irritated at the river people, I even hoped that they had a good time and all went well for everyone. I was grateful that I had the choice to come home, grateful that I had a home.

“I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have, than to have things I am not able to appreciate.” Elbert Hubbard

If you would like a weekend assignment, how about picking one thing in your life that you are happy to have, but don’t usually give much thought to; like running water, clean sheets, your grocery store, or even a comfortable pair of shoes, and sit for 5 minutes with your only intention being to appreciate that one thing…and get ready to be surprised at what this will open up for you! (and feel free to share your experiences over the weekend with us)

43 thoughts on “the blessing of choices

  1. Dear Mary,

    I would suggest that you were not so much judging this group of people but picking up on subtle cues that suggested a potential for trouble, and you were right to leave to protect yourself and Luke.

    What a lovely turn around you made by focusing on appreciation!

    i’m glady accepting this assignment and will have a difficult time picking just one thing to appreciate–there-in lies another gift! The huge bucket full of choices I have to be grateful for. Maybe I will focus on the bucket as it overflows in my life.

    Love the picture of Bodhi!
    Thank you for another gift to appreciate.
    Happy weekend to you and all the members of your WFFF.
    Love from Fran

  2. Headed home today after a week at the lake with my husband, adult kids, and grandkids. So very much to be grateful for!!!!

  3. Now, see, this is where we’re so different, Mary. I started reading and was sure you were going to say how grateful you were that you could go to that restaurant and not have to cook it yourself. Because that’s what I would have been grateful for. And I love to cook — really!

    I have a new favorite Italian restaurant where the chef makes the most amazing, lightest pasta I’ve ever had. And she will give you cooking lessons! But I am having a hard time convincing myself I want to pay her to teach me to make this pasta when I can just pay her to make me the pasta herself. And sit and enjoy it with friends. And a glass of wine. . . .

  4. Lovely! I am grateful for a great deal…and often when I think on those things, like you said, it spins off to other things I hadn’t thought of and makes me even more grateful.

  5. When I was still living and working in Florida, I was driving to my teaching job early one very humid morning bemoaning my lot. Suddenly I started thinking of Christopher Reeve who I had recently seen interviewed. He and his wife were thrilled because after much hard work, he could move by his own will – the tip of one finger. I looked at my two hands clutching the wheel as I continued driving to the high school where I taught. I thanked God that I had a job, that I was healthy enough to go to it, and that I had two hands to grip the wheel and drive me there. That extended out to being grateful for my eyes to see the road and all my other healthy working parts.

    Today, at 4pm, my sister Patty in Houston Texas is having surgery on her hip because she took a fall the other day. So this is an unexpected and non-elective surgery. Please pray for her.

    I wish you all a safe, happy weekend of small things to be grateful for…one thing at a time. Thanks for the reminder, Mary.

  6. There are so many things I am happy to have, but to pick one that I usually don’t give much thought to or that I take for granted was a bit harder. So I walked away from my computer to give it some thought. And this will sound a bit weird I’m afraid, but I will share it anyway. I am really happy to have a window in my bathroom! I have had homes where there was no window in the bathroom…and I recognized that my thoughts while showering, drying my hair, etc were often more on the serious or intense side. But with a window in my bathroom, I hear the sounds of the birds chirping, the rain falling, can see the mountains and sky, the moon at night, and my thoughts seem to be much more light-hearted. I am grateful for that bathroom window and for the sounds and light it lets in first thing in the early morning and even in the dark of night. I am happy to have windows.

    • Kathye,
      I can totally relate. I have a good-sized bathroom with TWO windows, after
      living without any in our previous bath. Every single day I totally appreciate
      these windows – the light, the fresh air, the sights and the sounds.
      Becky

      • Kathye, I totally relate to bathroom windows. When I added a master bedroom and bathroom to my home, having spent three months living in a coach house which had a bathroom window right down to the edge of the bathtub, I did the same with our added bathroom. It is a luxury to me. I lie in the bathtub watching the half curtains (sheers) gently blow in the wind, I, too, listen to the birds and squirrels chirping at one another, I look over tall spruce trees…I don’t have to think beyond this to be grateful for where I live and how I’m living at the moment.
        SandyP

      • Ahhhhh…your bathrooms sound lovely! And so glad I have some WFF compadres who love bathroom windows too!

  7. This morning as I got up, my female dog Lucky was still on the bed, and I enjoyed burrowing my face into her freshly shampooed coat and giving thanks for her and her health and all the joy she brings me. These feelings were heightened after seeing the photo that “went viral” as they say, yesterday of a man cradling his 19 year old very arthritic dog in the warm waters of Lake Superior. He has had the dog since he was an 8 month old puppy and credits him for saving his life at a time when he was feeling suicidal. Now all these years later, his old friend is having great difficulty sleeping because of his arthritis, so the man takes him out into the lake where he is lulled to sleep, buoyant and seemingly free of pain. He stands there for hours, giving back to the creature that has brought him so much joy in life. Mary, once again, you have given us the gift to remember we have a choice – and it makes all the difference in the world when we evaluate any situation. Do we see all there is to grumble about, or can we be thankful for the freedom we have to tilt the looking glass and find the light? Kathye, I am not surprised at all that your bathroom window means so much to you as you start your day. May light shine upon you all this weekend, dear flock!

    http://www.stonehousephotoblog.com/2012/08/john-shep-on-lake-superior/

    • Dear Susan,
      Thank you so much for sending this beautiful picture and story! Those two are greatly blessed to have such an incredible relationship. Both of them, very fortunate, now the rest of us for sharing in that.
      From Fran

      • Oh Susan, what a story. There is something special about animals that help us along the path of life and we, in turn, can do the same for them.
        SandyP

    • I will never find the words to do justice to such a beautiful thing. Thank you, Susan, for giving us this gift.

    • The thousand words this picture speaks are all spelled L-O-V-E…I couldn’t stop looking at and feeling the peacfulness on both their faces…thank you Susan for sharing this…I hadn’t seen it.

  8. Good Morning to all. I find myself being thankfull for my yellow rain coat ( the kind that makes you look like a yellow duck, kind I wore as a kid) we had lots of rain anf flooding this past weekend, and the rain coat made it easier to be out in the weather, plus the fact
    that on my last birthday, my Mom asked me what I would like to have and I chose the rain coat for some reason, I think maybe because she is elerdly and in poor health and I still wanted to be the little girl, rain coat brought back memories, enough said:)

  9. I spent so many years of my life wishing it away….’tomorrow’ would be better, ‘next week’ maybe that bill could get paid, ‘next year’ life would be happier.

    All of a sudden, I was blessed with insight and realized just how fortunate I am. I have a roof over my head, I have a car to get me where I need to go, I can afford food, I can do almost anything physical without thinking about a physical handicap, I am blessed with friends and family….the list goes on and on.

    And so this weekend, I’m going to focus on being grateful for having recognized how much I have to be grateful for. It almost eluded me.

    Happy weekend to all of you in our dear flock. And thank you once again, Mary, for your insight and your sharing, and all of the pictures of your wonderful creatures!

  10. Dear Mary,
    Having had a son leaving on the street, then sober, then living in after rehab in a little clean and sober room in skid road and now living in pernament housing 7 blocks away from there God has taught me through my son how grateful I am. Every weekend my son takes the Blue Line and spends a day with us. He is now going to school and has finally realized that yes he can be brilliant in school. But the stories he brings home each week about the people who live in his building or people on the street that he knows and the compassion he has for them is amazing. So when God brings a blessing and healing to one in a family he also blesses many. I never knew how blessed I am until all this happened and I guess God wanted me to pray for all of them. I mean I would always pray for the poor and needy but now I have a wonderful first hand source, my son for this. I also realize how blessed I am to be living in this little beach town all my life. Yes it isn’t one of the huge houses that surround me witht the lastest furniture or interior design, or have the huge electronics every where or the newest cars, but it is full of love and blessings and I am truely blessed. Joan

    • Joan, thank you for sharing your story and for the wonderful healing that has taken place in your son’s life with his hard work, and your love and support. Bless you both, and all your family!

  11. Well, dear Mary and people of WFF. It is very hard to follow all that has gone before. Each and every post has brought me something, a smile, a realization of my own blessings in this life, a feeling of compassion for others who have struggled, for sunlight and birdsong through a much appreciated window:) So… I am grateful today for all of you and for the mouse click that opened up this world of Mary’s blog and in turn has opened my mind to new ways of thinking and viewing this wonderful planet. Today is a very good day indeed!
    And, I love that sweet Bodhi face!

  12. I just wanted to share with the group an experience today that made me pause in gratitude and thanks to God, the universal intelligence. My daughter is an older (28 year old) undergrad who needed additional money for her fall tuition. We went to the bank to get a student loan but got a rejection letter today. However, in the very same stack of mail was a letter that she had won a $4000 scholarship–almost the amount she owes. We thought it was divine intervention that the two letters came in the same mail today. Truly wonderful!

  13. Several weeks ago Pam and I began writing at least one thing we are grateful for at the end of each day. We (separately) make our notations, and often we each end up with a ‘list’ of things for which we are thankful. It helps tremendously to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are. It has become a regular and very healthy practice.
    Good weekend, all.
    Kudos to you, Mary!

    • Ken, I love that suggestion, right before your head hits the pillow, there has to be ONE single thing to be grateful for at the end of the day, and I am sure that writing it down will mist! our sleep like an atomizer and halo of sweet dreams! Thank you for this!

  14. There is indeed so much to be every grateful for, but right at the moment I am so appreciative of cool breezes blowing the curtains. Aaahhh. And for peeks of green showing in brown, dry grass and the off and on soaking rains over the last couple day. And temps in the 70s instead of the upper limits of the thermometer.

    This has been a wrenching week that has included wracking sobs. And as I pause to say thank you, I’m enveloped with a sense of peace even though the pain is still sharp.

    • Sally, checking in Friday night, I am so sorry this has been a hard week for you, may you also feel enveloped by all of us, as we grow together day by day, month by month, we are White Feather Farm Flock, gathering around you, and I hope you feel peace this weekend. We are already tail-gaiting Sandy P, in our little red wagon, as Cheryl -B proudly posted us in her poem. We are also by your side. Peace and Blessings

  15. Mary, I love the look on Bodhi’s sweet face. Yesterday when I saw on the news the dog in his owners arms, sleeping peacefully in the water, I cried.
    I would love a window in my bathroom, but I am grateful for a bathroom. There are so many things I am grateful for and I’m especially grateful for Mary’s blog and her following flock.

  16. What a wonderful suggestion. I have learned to start my daily prayers with praise an thanksgiving, but certainly don’t spend enough time really concentrating on the uncountable blessings in my life.

  17. I so appreciate the reminder to be thankful for the small, daily comforts and blessings we usually overlook as we become swept along with the tide and pace of ‘living in this time zone’.

    But this weekend I’m busting out at the seams with monumental gratitude for the major, life-changing series of events that have blessed my life in the seeming blink of eye; a micro-second in the sands of time encompassing these last two months.

    From the serendipitous discovery of a writer and blogger named Jon Katz, I owe a debt of gratitude and admiration for opening my eyes and heart; in turning OFF the cacophony of fear and turning back ON the dream machine.

    And, then in turn, for introducing me (and numerous others) to the magnificent Mary Muncil. Several months ago, Mary invited everyone to send her a written ‘dream wish’—our grandest and boldest aspirations—which she ceremoniously sent outward to the spirit world.
    Well, Mary has some very special mojo because my dream has been set in motion and is on the verge of fruition! I’m excited beyond words and anxiously awaiting ‘signing on the dotted line’ to a dream come true.

    Mr. Katz and Ms. Muncil: you are both guides and spirit leaders of the highest order. I sincerely hope you both realize the incredible impact you’ve made on my life and loves. Forever and ever grateful. Namaste.

    • Cheryl, as I read your entry here, I felt such excitement for you and common ground as I came to Jon Katz blog after reading “Izzy and Lenore.”. I loved the book so much, I just wanted more and that lead me to Jon’s blog and eventually to Mary’s. Serendipity did play a role I believe. I am so happy for your dream come true and hope you will share more with us here. Blessings.

      • I’ll sing it from the rooftops when it’s a done deal. I feel like a kid on the merry-go-round, reaching for the brass ring—yippee!!

  18. I am thankful for the air conditioner that is working in this 101 degree heat:) Mary, I am also thankful for you. You help and improve the lives of so many – you are the pebble thrown into the still pond and we are the resulting ripples that go on and on……Thank you sweet Mary:)

  19. Mary – I’ve been thinking about this assignment all weekend and all sorts of wonderful things that I appreciate have gone through my mind. Was that the point? 🙂 After spending much of the past few days canning peaches and making jam, I realize how thankful I am to have a wonderful paring knife! It fits my hand perfectly and does its job well.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. The sense of community you have created here, Mary, is so lovely, and I am thankful for that.

  20. Cheryl, I can’t wait to hear your news! Please keep the flock informed when the deal is donel. It could be anything with your talent. It’s so fun to be in such a vibrant, fun group of people with Mary as our flock leader.

  21. I’d like to add one more comment to this thread and say that I am grateful for that little red wagon I was pulling in my mind with the White Feather fellowship as I headed off into the US, NY State and down through the Alleghanies to Lewisburg, PA, where the breeder kindly delivered the pup…a 7 hr drive from where I live here in Ontario, Canada. I am grateful to something my husband said and he’s often not all that positively encouraging when he said: “you’re a good driver” and I thought of how often people are criticized and put down by others, by their parents and how one word of encouragement goes such a long way; one word of support can change and alter attitudes.
    SandyP in Canada

    • Oh Sandy, I’m checking in tonight, Sunday, and so happy to know you arrived safely back home, and felt our little red wagon of love tailing you All the Way! I am also moved by what you shared, your husband’s four words! “you’re a good driver”, and how that empowered you (before you set off? or something you just remembered?) No matter, I really feel sometimes that the best thing we can offer each other, and it costs nothing, is encouragement, that one word, that smile!, that says, “Yes, you can do it, I know you can, and. . I am with you”! xxoo from Arizona to Canada!

      • Susan, my husband grew up in a very sarcastic family but it was always jokingly sarcastic, so he is, to me, on the more negative side of anything that happens. When he said, just before I left for my trip, that “you are a good driver” it stayed in my mind all though the trip whereas before I’d felt so apprehensive, I felt confidence then as a result of someone else’s confidence in me. And then a thought flashed into my mind of how I’ve known a family member who, because of his own insecurities, put his own children down and how insecure his daughter is now and how badly it’s affected her life. It doesn’t take much to give a word of encouragement and it can have such poistive results in people’s lives. SandyP

  22. Stories. I am happy about & grateful for stories of all kinds – spoken, written, fact and fiction. I’m especially grateful for the wonderful blog entries and responses I get read here as I begin my day. Thank you.

  23. I’m grateful to find this website and the insights of those who read and respond so positively. So many blogs contain outpourings of unhappiness that it is refreshing to find a place where good commentary with gratefulness for the small but important blessings in life prevail. I believe they are all around us if we slow down and take time to notice them.

    • Thank you John for that…I am truly delighted to have the blog thought of as “refreshing”…keeping a positive, uplifting tone is my first intention for this blog.

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