The Art of Gratitude

March 8, 2016 010photo by Eva 2016

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.”                       Wayne Dyer

I like to enter sweepstakes and contests…just for the fun of it(…I know a lot of people spend a little time every day playing the various games on Facebook, etc., I enter sweepstakes.

There are usually several sweepstakes for books and I was pleasantly surprised two weeks ago when a package came in the mail with a book I’d won…”The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan.  “How a year of looking on the bright side can transform your life”>

The words “grateful” and “gratitude” have seemed to be showing up everywhere lately and my first thought skimming through the book was, “it’s all nice but really, could just feeling grateful change my life that drastically?”  Since the new year, I had been focusing on being grateful…not to the degree of actually writing it down, but consciously making an effort.  If I’m driving alone in the car to/from work, etc., I’ll consciously focus on everything I’m grateful for…whether it is presently in my life or not.  When the book arrived that day, my first thought was, “well, I must be on the right track but it looks like I need to amp it up a bit.”

This book is one that needs to be read in its’ entirety first and when you are ready to start implementing it, reading each month’s chapter.  Janice Kaplan naturally starts hers in January but starting any month of the years absolutely works.  Each month focuses on a different area.

What I really liked about this book is not that she is telling you how to be grateful…but all of her research and quotes…making it a well thought out book.

The four seasons each deal with a different topic:  Part 1 was Marriage, Love and Family. Part 2 was Money, Career, and the Stuff we own.  Part 3 was Gratitude and Health.  Part 4 was Coping, Caring and Connecting.

Some of her interesting research comments include:

“Around 18.5% of individual differences in people’s happiness can be predicted by the amount of gratitude they feel” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

“Researchers have found that people who write down three things they’re grateful for every night(or even a few times a week) improve their well being and lower their risk of depression”.

“Grateful people reframe whatever happens to them.  They don’t focus on what they’re lacking, they make sure they see the good in what they have.” Dr. Robert Emmons

“Experts used to claim that it took just twenty-one days to form a new habit, but a recent study out of Universal College, London, found that most of us need more than two months and sometimes as many as six to make a real change in behavior.”

Dr. Brent Atkinson, Northern Illinois University/Couples Clinic and Research Institute…”believes there is strong neurological evidence showing that circuits in the brain can be primed to create stronger feelings of connection.”  He advises clients to sit for five minutes a day and dwell on good feelings or happy times they’ve had with their spouse. “Studies suggest that these simple mental practices can strengthen the neural circuits that generate feelings of connection.”

and lastly…

The “looking-for-the-good approach”  “Filter everything through the lens of gratitude and come out with a completely different response.”

This is a book worth reading and let’s face it, if we can change our lives simply by the act of being grateful, it is well worth implementing.






The Quilt

My neighbor and I enjoy going to yard sales and church jumble sales every chance we get.  She works on Saturdays a lot so whenever she is free we make it a point to go and usually leave early…sometimes the yardsales start at 7 am so that means an early start.

Today we did a few local ones because she had a bridal shower to attend in the afternoon.  I usually take my roll of quarters and a few ones but today I also had a $10 bill stashed away “just in case”…  We have found that towards the end of summer, the yard sales tend to be pretty good because people want to get rid of their things and price them pretty cheaply.  There was one house today where we know the owner goes to a lot of auctions and sells on Ebay a lot…so he was eager to get rid of the excess items from the box lots…I got a whole box of items for 75 cents…one being a vintage Westclox Baby Ben wind up alarm clock…with the bonus being that it actually works!

I got a box of ribbons on rolls…a big box of ribbons on rolls…(you should have seen my husband’s face on that one…I already have a huge box of ribbons….”but I didn’t have these colors…”…he just rolled his eyes…  Add to that I got two adjustable screens for the windows(he appreciated that…), several pairs of vintage clip earrings that I will use for my fabric and paper flowers, two small cupcake pans made in England with four in each(he got all excited when he saw them and mumbled “Bakewell Tarts….”…and during dinner proceeded to tell me exactly what was needed to make Bakewell tarts…guess who will have to make them…?  Will keep you posted on that one…

And the “piece de resistance” was a vintage quilt…there it was at this one yard sale…all folded up…a patchwork quilt of triangles made into squares, muted faded colors along with muslin…hand quilted, full sized.  I touched it lovingly and admired the handiwork and the fact that it was perfect…no spots anywhere.  My first thought was, “oh, this is going to be an expensive one…”  When I turned the little price tag over and saw “$10″…I had to blink….thought it might have been $100…no…$10.  And the fact that no one had bought it yet?  Well, that baby was coming home with me.

When I went up to pay, the couple said it was handmade by the man’s mother who had just passed away and they were in the process of emptying the house.  I was so appreciative and they smiled saying they were glad it was going to be loved.

I got home, hung it outside for a bit to air and it is now on my white iron daybed.  I go into the room and just sigh with joy…the room that just three weeks ago was so cluttered and horrible…is now an oasis of peace and tranquility…amazing what decluttering and an vintage  quilt can do to a room :).001atil next time…Eva