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Feeling gratitude is a wonderful habit to cultivate. I’ve heard from many people that having a daily gratitude journal or other form of consciously expressing what you are thankful for is a life changing habit.

This evening I experienced gratitude in a circumstance that I wouldn’t necessarily expect to experience it. I was outside washing the wok after dinner. Outside because the kitchen is currently not usable. I cooked dinner on a portable camp stove on our back porch and in the backyard on the grill. I washed some of the dishes in the bathtub but decided the wok should go outside because I didn’t want to have the clean the bathtub after cleaning it.

Cooking and cleaning outside reminded me of an experience from what seems like a lifetime ago. When I finished college I moved from the north-east to Miami. I spent a month in Jamaica at a farm with very few amenities. We slept in a tent, ate what the locals ate and had a wonderful time. I found out many days into that trip why the young man who was cooking for us wasn’t in school. He couldn’t afford a uniform. We gave him money for a uniform and hoped that he would go back to school. There was no kitchen at the farm and Henry continued to cook simple foods outside for us and for some of the other people who had come to stay. He collected wood and made delicious meals for us with whatever we had on hand. We ate rice and sardines, rice and beans, yam, and one time we had a really special meal of chicken. Remembering that experience and the joy that I felt in Jamaica reminded me of how much good fortune I have in my life and how I take so much for granted. Leaning over the bathtub to wash my dishes I was grateful for hot water. I was grateful that this is a temporary situation while so many people in the world don’t have a regular source of clean running water. I was grateful for being able to wash the wok outside after a delicious meal of sockeye salmon and green beans and bacon. I’m thankful for my health, my family, my home and the love that surrounds me each and every day.

Thank you as always to Courtney Carver of Be More With Less for her inspiration. Her latest post on gratitude is a call to all of us to find what we are grateful for and to express it.

I hope that you find something to be grateful for on this day and every day. Remember what matters to you and be thankful for it too! Thank you for reading this!

Wonderful post.You are so right. So often we forget about the little (and not so little things) we should be thankful for: from getting up in the morning to finding anything we need in store. I grew up with not having hot water or any water on some days, having to wash dishes in a cold soapy water in a bucket and not having enough gas to heat up our house, yet I don’t ever remember feeling like I was missing something in my life.

I must admit that now that we have the kitchen functioning again I am grateful that I’m NOT cooking outside tonight! It does become easy to take things for granted and to become upset or angry when those things are not available. Another friend told me that she is re-starting a gratitude journal after giving hers up several years ago. I think I’ll do the same. Even if it’s one thing each day that we remember to be grateful for, it sets an intention to look for other things to appreciate as well. And it’s also a reminder that we really aren’t missing anything in our lives…

I had my kitchen remodeled last year in summer and I spent a month cooking on the grill, the gas plate that it had and microwave in the garage, washing dishes in the backyard or bathroom sink so I know exactly how much fun you had. As far as gratitude journals go, I started one, but didn’t keep up with it cause I do book, blog and newsletter writing while also working full time and I just didn’t find time, but you are inspired me to go back to it. It’s important to give ourselves a perspective on how good we have it. 😀

Oh it’s definitely time to start the gratitude journal. My husband gave me a set of three of those darling little Moleskine journals for my birthday, no excuses! Just thankfulness…

Pat, thank you for this beautiful reminder about gratitude. I welcome all such reminders, it seems to me I could never over express my gratitude. Love the stories of your time in Jamaica & your “temporary” locations of cooking and washing dishes.

~ Dena

Thanks Dena- I even got out an old photo album of my long ago trip to Jamaica and found a picture of Henry cooking. It wasn’t even a camp stove, just some rocks set up to make a raised area for the cooking pots. Amazing! I’ll try to scan it and attach it to the blog. Hope all is well with you!


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