Gratitude and a give-away

The give away is one tin of my skin balm, Mary's Skin Survival Balm
The give away is one tin of my skin balm, Mary’s Skin Survival Balm

When I’m having trouble feeling grateful, one thing that I do (to help myself break out of my self-imposed suffering) is to sit down, look around me, and notice all of the gifts that have come to me in unexpected and delightful ways. Sometimes my eye will fall on a cute vase that I just picked up for $1 at the thrift store. Sometimes, I’ll notice larger items that came to me out of the blue, and sometimes, I’ll think about a phone call that made my day, but no matter what comes to mind, I always feel better by the end of this little game and interestingly enough, it seems to summon even more gifts.

Several weeks ago, I was standing in the check-out line at the IGA, and a woman came over to me and started complaining about how difficult things had been. The man behind us, then offered her his spot in line and stepped back. She didn’t even acknowledge him or his gift, she just put her milk down and kept talking about her fears. I didn’t “blame” her….I’m sure that I’ve been in that place too; so wrapped up in my own little world of problems that a gift could literally knock me over and I’d miss it, but it was just so apparent that her unhappiness was largely due to her limited “vision”.

How many gifts come our way every day that we miss or dismiss as nothing, insignificant, or unimportant, when the very act of noticing (and appreciating) the small things, opens the channel for more, and helps us to have a much happier life?!

So what better day than today for a give-away, and the way that you enter is by commenting on one gift that has come your way in the last week. I will choose a random winner on Monday the 28th.

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” Eileen Caddy


82 thoughts on “Gratitude and a give-away”

  1. Mary, this week I have been blessed with the true love of friendship. A dear friend lost her 95 year old Mom and our little group, who’ve been friends all my adult life, were there for her. Today another good friend is in the hospital having received the horrible news a few days ago that her unborn child had no heartbeat or movement. I’m sitting with her husband now. I know that if I need anything from them, they will be there for me, and that is truly a gift.

  2. I am grateful for the gift of grocery shopping with a friend ~ it gave us time to spend together and catch up with each other!

  3. Dear Mary, this is a beautiful idea. I believe that gratitude is contagious…….as others experience how grateful one person is, it opens the pathway for more gratitude to spread around….like how smiles are contagious. I am most grateful for finding my horse soul-mate Remington. After Romeo’s death last year, I searched for another horse…..keeping my heart open and my vision clear. Remington came into my life last week, bringing youth, joy, wonder and a deep sense of connection. I realize now more than ever that by keeping my mind clear and my spirit filled with how grateful I was to be able to visualize my perfect equine partner, he has appeared. Gratitude is like a presence, something that is always there, just waiting for us to recognize it…like the arm of god around our shoulders at all times…we need only to feel it to believe it.

  4. I belong to a gratitude list. It’s the best. I’m so grateful for the gift of it every day. Grateful to be reminded to be grateful every day and to read about what others are grateful for in their lives. The gifts are all around us…all the time…it’s the acknowledgement that makes the difference. Pray to have my eyes open every moment to God’s gifts of love and compassion in my life and everyone else’s 🙂

  5. I am so grateful today to have had the training to know how to be in the solution and not the problem and not whirl with the drama…i thank AA for that!

  6. I do a reading program at the Library with my dog. The kids read to them and it has gotten to be the highlight of my week. Last night during the program, there was this absolutely delightful little girl who was about 7. She struggled with her reading but was so animated and fun that when I left after the program I smiled all night thinking about her. To me a great gift given because I am still smiling about her as I write this!

  7. I was given the gift of opportunity. My mother-in-law has been ill lately- in and out of the hospital. I was given the opportunity to help. I accepted the opportunity, and I have been amazed at the numerous gifts I have received in return: appreciation, love, kindness, and even roses!

    1. Thank you for this post. I am in a position where I may need to let others do for me. I would like to see that I’m offering them a gift.

  8. grateful for the opportunity to bring my dear friend into Boston once a week for her check-ups.. She has non hodgkins lymphoma and had a stem cell transplant in October …. of all of our friends, I am the one who is retired and able to take her. And in thanks and gratitude from my friends who are working , they bought my dinner Tuesday night when we all went out ….a lovely surprise and one filled with love.

  9. Patricia Leathers
    I work as a CNA in an assisted living facility and I’m so grateful for the chance to serve this lovely group. This is a very vulnerable stage for them and they’re so appreciative when shown love and compassion, especially the kind that supports their integrity…it’s very humbling but also a privilege to serve in this position.

  10. We have so many things to be grateful for… Janette, I too am grateful for AA and like Caran, I too have a grateful list. But this week I am most grateful that my partner, Pam, is getting better after taking a very bad fall 10 days ago in our camper, that put her in the hospital for a couple of days and required several stitches to her forehead. I am also grateful to the medical staff of the Beaufort, SC hospital who were so nice and took such good care of her. As you say, Mary, gratitude is all around us if only we are sensitive to it.
    Best to all.

  11. I had surgery this past week. I received many gifts of patient kindness from the staff at Fairview Hospital. There was one nurse that stands out in memory named Kathleen who covered my shift for the two days I spent at the hospital She was very understanding and cared about my needs,She saw that I wasn’t ready to be discharged and advocated on my behalf which made a world of difference in my starting my recovery. I give thanks for her gift to me.

  12. My gift this week came when my two daughters that are very busy within their own lives (both work) called and asked me to spend the day with them this Saturday. We will go out to town to a little town in Illinois to browse the little shops and have lunch. I cannot remember the last time I did this with my girls, if ever. I was thrilled to be asked and with great joy and anticipation am looking forward to Saturday! I will enjoy the moment….moments and the day!

    And will appreciate their love is asking me to go along with them.

  13. I am grateful for your blog this morning, Mary, and these comments which are perfect for me to hear today. I’m requesting all of you wonderful people to keep me in your prayers. I went in the hospital a few days ago with one issue and the doctors found three devastating problems that need further tests. I am alone because my daughter is too ill to help me and I haven’t had the energy to make special friends since moving here to care for her. But I’m so grateful for the kindness of the doctors and hospital staff. I also heard a young man on the news last night say that his cancer is a gift because he has grown.

  14. A gift I have been given this week was a call from a friend, one whom I don’t see so often, because of her busyness caring for her infirm mother and my conflicting work schedules. She called to make a movie and dinner date for Saturday – a rare treat in both our lives. I am so grateful for this opportunity for good times, and a catch up with a beloved person in my life.

  15. I get to bring my husband on a trip to see the grandkids. We didn’t think he would be able to come along. We are f;ull of joy for that oppertunity.

  16. I was blind to for more than 1 year how blessed is to work with someone who is the polar opposite of me. Until last week I was complaining about her opposite character and feel resentful. God opened my eyes through very humbling situation to see that and I am more than thankful and grateful to work with her. She is like a gentle breeze in warm spring.

  17. Celebrating my grandson’s tenth birthday yesterday – he is such a dear sweet gift in my life. I’ve only known him for two years since my son met his mother(they have since married). My little fellow lets me see the world again through a child’s eyes, and what greater gift is that! When he asks me, “Grandma, will you play with me?”, I really feel like I am receiving the best invitation in the world, because all he wants is me, to be with him, to play together.

  18. I gained a new friend this past week, at a point in my life where I was feeling I had nothing worth offering. This was such a nice surprise.

  19. I just came inside after shoveling snow, filling bird feeders, and attempting to walk around the field with my dogs this morning in Western NY. (It’s really deep in spots!) I am grateful for being able to appreciate the beauty of the snowfall, for having a toasty home to warm up in, for being able to provide birdseed to my feathered friends, and for my two canine companions who are always up for an adventure, no matter the weather.

    Thank you for the reminder to be able to see this, Mary. I’m grateful to you!

  20. The gift of health as I recovered from the flu, the gift of the flu, being a way of cleansing the body and slow me down to reprioritize my life.

  21. When I got back to the history museum where I volunteer weekly realized I had lost my eyeglasses. I knew I had them when I left my home and must have lost them at the post office where I had stopped before going on to the museum. I returned to the post office and checked the area where I had stood to write out a check to mail – they were not there. The lady and her young daughter helped me look around. I then decided to check with the postal clerk. She mentioned that as a man was leaving he noticed my glasses right outside the door and took the time to pick them up and give them to her. A true randon act of kindness from someone I will never be able to thank. I will trust the universe to return to him my grateful thanks. At least I was able to thank the lady and her young daughter for their willingness to help me search.

  22. My 3 yr old granddaughter telling me….” I really like you, Grandma, you’re beautiful!!!! My gift for the year!

  23. I am grateful to all these commentors who took the time to write down their experiences and share them with all of us!

  24. Two mornings ago, when I awoke the house was on the cold side, which seemed almost normal since it was windy & in the teens outside. But, no. Not normal. I watched the thermometer descend into the 40’s… A quickly responsive plumber replaced a defective part in the boiler. A miracle! We had heat again. Each hour of this cold spell I am grateful for the warmth, and, also, for the plumber!!

  25. I am very thankful for all these comments this morning, because they’ve put the challenges I thought I’ve had this week into much better perspective! Before I even read Mary’s post this morning I picked up my dog and hugged her and thanked her for putting up with my less-than-stellar attitude this week. And now I’m thankful we’re getting the respite and promise of a sunny 60 degree day here in New Mexico, so I can take her (and me) for a long walk, which will make everything better. One nice day in the middle of a cold winter is a beautiful reminder that Spring will come.

  26. The gift that I keep noticing…week-to-week are the people who continue to show up for our little community yoga class out here in the country where I live and teach yoga. I could not have this class without their participation. My heart smiles every time I walk into the space!

  27. Mary….I am so greatful for your blog ..going thru a rough patch right now…I don’t post often but read daily and reading your blog and everyones posts makes my day……….Thank you

  28. Mary, I guess if you’re ever stumped for a topic some day, you can always invite us to share our gratitude stories. I find myself smiling as I read them all. What a great delight it is to share other’s little moments. Makes our flock more like family every day!

  29. I intended to post the gift of having a hawk playing in the wind at tree top level on Sunday, while my husband and I were working in a sugarbush. .Extra sweet was having my husband whistle to it , just like I always do. Knowing that he sees the world differently because of me was yet another gift. Now that I’ve made my way through these wonderful posts, I have more to be grateful for in this community. And to Christine Catherine, Blessings to you.

  30. I’m grateful for the gift of my husband who shares my dream of living on a farm and that we’re on the journey together to make it a reality.

  31. I was blessed this week with a CT scan that told me and my docs that my condition was stable and I needn’t return for a year. That was a BIG gift, for which I was very grateful. But then I always try to finish each of my days by finding something that took place to spark gratitude.

    I always wonder what wonderful hormone gets released when you feel gratitude, because it sure feels nice!

  32. Last week my husband had surgery on his knee, requiring him to bed rest, I resentful that I had to get up early and do all the things he use to do. I laughed at myself thinking that and looked at from a different perspective. I was appreciative of all the things he does for ME!! that I have been overlooking for years!!! HOW lucky am I!

  33. I was vey grateful this week when we drove an hour south out of the mountains to stay in a nicely-located Motel 6 while we looked for a new-to-us truck (the realities of fixed incomes). Hubby got out the lawn chairs and we sat down right in the quiet parking lot to savor SUNSHINE and warmth on our frozen faces. At that moment, who cared that we have 5-6 ft of snow encasing our home up north! Nice to see everyone’s grateful situations. Here’s to spring, sometime!!

  34. I am grateful for my computer so I can read Mary’s post and all her followers. I am also grateful for the energy to go to my local animal shelter a couple times a week to take the dogs out of their enclosures to run and play in the fields. This makes me and the pups crazy happy to run around like kids. I suppose also I am grateful for my awareness of other’s being attentive to me and being able to be attentive to others.

  35. The gift of my children that have grown into wonderful young adults. My son just got his first job in Florida which is a long way from Pa. I miss him but am grateful he will be doing what he has planned since he was in middle school.
    May G-D keep him safe.

  36. I’m almost always grateful in a general, big picture sort of way. For my daughter, grand kids, loving friends. Today I bring my attention to capturing the small,exquisite moments of my day. Holding them up to the light, taking time to acknowlege them.
    That is what I am grateful for in this sunny, snowy winter morning .
    Beth Dollar

  37. The other day I was was running errands at rush hour and was at the last one trying to pull out into traffic. Seeing the long line of traffic I realized I wouldn’t be getting home for a long time. Then out of nowhere, a car stopped all the traffic behind them, flashed their lights and let me out. Such a small unexpected gift that came at just the right time!

  38. I am grateful for the gift of my partners support. He had worked hard at understanding me when I’ve brought up difficult issues and he has had my back when I’ve needed to advocate for myself.

  39. Mary, just look at the responses today…so far, 47, your cream is surely sought after and I will put myself down for it as well. Yesterday, I received news that a friend died..a chap who used to be my next door neighbour and who I had an awful crush on growing up. I was upset, then offended that death is now taking my friends in greater quantity. Gratitude amounts, at my age, to not having to sit down on a chair to put my sox on in the morning and not loosing my balance; gratitude amounts to just being alive and living where I do. Someone asked me this morning if I was happy. I said that I was content and that happiness grew out of being content. He had to think about it and I don’t think he got it…
    SandyP in Icy cold Ontario, Canada

    1. Well, I get it, Sandy P., and always love your spot-on responses. I especially related to the “…offended that death is now taking my friends in greater quantity” part. Your words were perfect for this particular type of situation. I can’t wait to share this with a great friend of mine who will also “get it.”

      Thanks for your offerings!

  40. Umm, so many, but a friend had me call a friend of hers about a health issue my horse is having. I had such a wonderful talk with the new person, it really supported the track I am choosing to help my horse live a long & healthy life. One friend opening the door to another… lovely.

  41. Gratitude just does not begin to cover it. No, sirree. It’s more akin to AWE.

    I’m sitting here at my little corner of the house where I plant myself every morning, anxious to open the door to this wonderful world of hearts and souls right here on this page. From my vantage point, I see several books penned by Jon Katz on the bookshelf; smell the divine eucalyptus aroma of Mary’s balm on these thirsty fingers; lean into a cheerful, comfy pillow at the back of my chair created from the magical mystery of Maria Wulf’s mighty sewing machine; glance up at a soulful collage of canine portraits by Kim Gifford. ALL of these things are linked through a connection of community I’ve never actually met personally yet feel an affinity for beyond description. WOW. That little frost-bitten mecca of northern New England oozes warmth no matter the season!
    Caring, compassionate, conscious. I am blessed EVERY day I can look towards sharing here with the kindness of all of you.

    [Good luck to the winner of the balm–it’s luscious! I already won so don’t enter my name. I just couldn’t keep quiet on this topic!!]

  42. I am very grateful for a warm house on such cold winter days. I grew up in a very cold house, so cold that hot water bottles would sometimes freeze before morning. We had no furnace, and had to make a mad dash to a wood stove in the kitchen to get dressed for school. I am so thankful that I have the resources to turn the furnace up if I have to, in addition to a cozy gas fireplace/stove in the kitchen where I can soak up a good dose of heat at once. May I never forget how fortunate I am or ever take it for granted.

  43. my (23 yr old) beloved son asked me to join him for breakfast. . .being with him, eating, laughing, talking together is such a precious gift. . .I also have the daily gift of sweet finches coming and going from the feeder outside my kitchen window. . .it is definitely the little things in life that bring so much joy and fill one’s heart in the moment. . .

  44. I am grateful that I learned to realize at an early age that Life has ups and downs but if you ride the down a better day is around the corner. We get back what we give out….be kind to everyone and everything….you will be find comfort and peace in your heart.

  45. It was 17 degrees below zero last night, and I am thankful that I am warm enough in my home and that my car started for work!

  46. I am grateful for an opportunity given at work. I was able to demo a Cooking Class idea I had to the owner and management team of the grocery store where I work. It felt great to present it and the feedback was positive. Thank you for letting me share.

  47. Tomorrow is six years since my husband died and I am grateful everyday for the many years we had together and the beautiful children we raised.

  48. several years ago a wind storm and heavy rain took down a large black walnut tree in our yard. It left a big hole which thanks to the hard work of my husband and daughter is now a fish pond. I am grateful for their love and the gift of this little piece of heaven on earth.

  49. Yes, put my name in the hat as a possible recipient. I have order two but I find my husband needs one as well.

  50. I am so grateful for all the sweet people here and through other channels that sent prayers and positive energy my way for a succesful heart procedure last Friday. So grateful and deeply touched. It has made me cry. This outpouring of spirit has never come to me before. I never connected with many people growing up. This past week has been unbelievable. Thanks and love to you all, Cindy

    1. Cindy, I am reading your words in the evening in Arizona – Mary’s wonderful forum is like being able to gather around a welcoming fire at night, – we share our stories, we gather strength – I am thinking it’s coming on year number TWO, that Mary has offered her beautiful wisdom, shot like an arrow out into the sky! And, oh how many points of light she has gathered – we are the lucky ones!

  51. I’m grateful for words of comfort… whether it is a book, poem
    or just the right expression from a dear soul….the memories of
    those who have passed, savoring all the wisdom they offered…
    all these words are tucked into my heart…thank you…

  52. I’m grateful for a text I received from a friend saying she has a book for me she thinks I’ll enjoy and she’ll leave it in my side door if I’m not home. This means a 1/2 hr drive for her. Did I mention that she’s 80? I am so grateful for the gift of her friendship. Her joy, enthusiasm, and endless curiousity are contagious and time spent with her always leaves me feeling so lucky to know her.

    1. I am grateful to have spent two days with my son and his girlfriend in NYC. We had a wonderful time enjoying each other’s company. We shared a book club, dining, a play and all of the beauty of NYC in the winter. My grown son appreciates his Mom’s company just as I have always treasured his!

  53. I am grateful for so many people and things! I am an emerging artist, and recently a friend bought one of my paintings and interviewed me for Artists of Utah magazine. As a result of that article, I was invited to participate in a fundraiser for an art gallery/foundation and was encouraged by their director to apply for an exhibition. I am so lucky and thankful~!

  54. I just returned from a work related trip to San Francisco a beautiful city. But a city is a city, homeless people, mentally ill alone on the street, people that are among many but lonely. I got home and have been so grateful for so many things. My warm bed, a shower, the space that I have around me. Woods to walk in etc, etc.. I did not feel pity on these people it just made me very very grateful for all the wonderful things I have in my life.

  55. Mary, I have been struggling with my divorce, and a gentle friend just asked me very pointedly, “How are you doing”. She actually wanted to know. I am so grateful for those friends in my life.

  56. I am grateful for the gift of laughter I shared with my 87 year old Mom this week! Grateful for the gift of her life!

  57. Some friends from the UK are in town, and it’s been really difficult to coordinate schedules to see them. This week was crazy at work, crazy in my personal life, and just the worst time to try to meet up with friends and relax, but this was the only week they were free. So we settled on last night, and now I’m so grateful we did. There is nothing more soothing to the soul than laughing with good friends, and for a few hours, I forgot all about my own petty problems. I’m so grateful for my friends!

  58. Having fully embraced a grateful heart in recent years, every day brings an opportunity to enjoy life more fully; however, this past week brought a new moment of gratefulness. In rather superficial but sincere terms: I am grateful to no longer feel that fitting into my ‘skinny’ jeans really matters. Being fit (okay, getting fit) and being comfortable in my own skin is not too shabby of a ‘state-of-mind-and-body’ to enjoy.

  59. About a year ago I was talking to a woman and commented on how pretty her shirt was. She told me how she had purchased it at a thrift store in Clifton Park. She mentioned that whenever she was in that area she always stopped in there and what a wonderful place it was. I had never heard of this place before and live close to this business. She said that it was tucked away off of Rt 9. Every now and again I think of this conversation and this place because I wanted to check it out. So, today I decided to check it out because my older daughter is growing out of everything. Recently our financial situation has taken a big hit and in an effort to conserve money I thought trying this place out might be helpful. Well I found it and much to my surprise, today was their last day at their current location. They are moving tomorrow and everything was on sale. Fill a bag for $2!! What a gift for me, not only was I able to purchase several shirts and sweaters for my daughter and save so much but I was able to find this place that has been on mind for a year! And how fortunate was it that I chose their last day, if I hadn’t gone today who knows if I would have ever found it! Life works in very mysterious ways.

  60. Today, I ran into a friend who had been away for a long while – we both chose the same out of the way Thai restaurant to have lunch. We ended up talking for hours and I left feeling so happy that we found each other again. What a gift that was!

  61. Had a friend stop by earlier this week and spend a good bit of time with me. I really enjoyed it and was surprised by the visit as it was out of the blue. The greatest gift he has given to me is to listen to what I have to say as much as I listen to others. What a gift he has been in my life lately. He is the best.

  62. Mary, I am grateful that: medical procedures/tests done on my husband and myself, in the last month, have come back better than expected! that my cats and dogs are healthy! that I was able to walk outside today,(Sunday), and enjoy the blue sky and peace on this hill with my critters! that I didn’t go completely bonkers,(it was tough to stay calm), when my mother called with her newest version of complaints! I am truly grateful that the house is warm,I have the Sunday NY Times and I am without want – BUT you said to pick one gift that came this week – so here goes – on Wednesday at lunch with a group of retirees from our school, I realized what a gift it was to share in their lives – one’s trip to Hawaii, another’s cute grandchild, the adjustment of one to the loss of a spouse, the determination of another to get out and go, I won’t go into everybody/everything but the fact that I’ve been a witness to and part of these lives, on whatever level, has been a gift for this still city girl who moved up to these hills almost 30 years ago and still bridges both worlds!! Mary, near Cooperstown

    Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 13:46:25 +0000 To:


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