Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving Thanks

The theme for this week’s Community Photo Challenge is ‘Give Thanks for…’. Join us by entering an image that conveys the meaning of these words to you – and help us all to better understand the things that you are thankful for.

If you know me or have read previous entries in this Journal, you already know that Thanksgiving is perhaps my most favorite holiday. While Christmas has deeper and more profound meaning, the overwhelming nature of its celebration and all the preparation can leave one reeling by the time the day itself approaches. But Thanksgiving still holds at least some of its original intent – and the spirit of simply taking the time to express appreciation and gratitude for all we have is in many ways the embodiment of the way I try to live each day.

Some years are easier than others to be truly thankful, as challenges come and go. And these past few years have in many ways been more difficult than most. But in the end, one need not look very far to find things and events and people for which to be thankful – and this year is no different.

I am thankful to wake each morning and face a day filled with new opportunities. I am grateful for the warmth of the sun and the beauty of nature that lives just outside my door. I am thankful for light in all its forms and the truth it reveals, even within the shadows. I am thankful for God and country and the beauty of the land. And at the end of each day, I am thankful for the stars, the peace they bring and the hope they offer.

My life has been blessed by people, both new and long familiar. There are friends to whom I can always turn and a special one to hold. There is not a moment when my heart is not full - and, no matter the depth of the darkness at times, there is always a reason to smile if I look hard enough. I am grateful for the ability to see the beauty in all that surrounds me – and for those who help me to see.

Whether there is more sunshine in your life or clouds this year, I wish for you the perspective to see the things which are good and right and decent and loving – and to let each and all of them guide you, give you hope and grant you peace. Thank YOU for reading!

Monday, November 3, 2008


This week's Community Photo Challenge topic is, appropriately, Autumn. This photo is just for fun, since I am honored to continue to serve as a judge, but I hope that it inspires you to find one of your favorite autumn scenes and post an entry.

Our fall has been gloriously warm and sunny for the most part, but lack of rain in late summer and early fall has subdued the color - and finding opportunities to capture the traditional beauty of the season has proven challenging. This photo was taken not long after sunrise (and those who know me know how rare a shot like that can be!) at a State Park not far from here. A flock of geese flew into the shot just to add some interest, and I was most appreciative of their timing.

As the days shorten and temperatures fall, the colors of autumn serve as a reminder of the beauty of nature and the promise of the spring to come. Winter may sometimes be harsh in climates like ours, but life continues under the blanket of snow - and warmth comes more from the inside, which is not a bad thing at all. The change of season also causes us to alter our routines - and perhaps causes us to take stock of where we are and where we'd like to be in the journey of life. But wherever you are in your journey, I hope that you pause to reflect on the beauty of the here and now - and let the colors of autumn carry you through the more subtle shades of winter. Each season brings its own blessings, and those who take the time to see and appreciate them find light and warmth no matter the color of the sky or the numbers on the thermometer. I hope that you cherish each day - and always find the blessings within.