Gratitude is a Lifestyle

 
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I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing the exhortation to be intentional almost everywhere I look. I see it on journal covers and blog post banners. I hear self-help gurus and inspirational speakers talking about it (my personal favorite is Terri Savelle Foy). I’ve even seen it in commercials and magazine ads. Suffice it to say: Being intentional is very important. 

Sometimes we need to take a moment and be intentional in our gratitude. I’m not just talking about writing thank you notes, either. I’m talking about setting down, as they say here in the South, and reminding ourselves of the little things in our lives for which we are thankful. Those things which make our days brighter because they make us smile or laugh.

This sort of intentional gratitude is a lifestyle. I like how Marelisa Fábrega, of Daring to Live Fully blog, says it: 

Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.

I really appreciate the comprehensiveness of that quote. And I fully believe it, too. Not only must we be intentional at making gratitude a lifestyle, Fabrega highlights something more. Gratitude is 100% about expectation. It’s bringing a sense of anticipation and belief that there will be something TO BE grateful for in any arena or circumstance you enter. Grateful BEFORE you have a reason. Gratitude is purposeful because you bring it. 

So today, dear readers, I’m bringing it.

I’m thankful for my ringtone. Yep. You read that right. My ringtone. I love it. Before transitioning to a smart phone, I had a Motorola Razr whose ringtone was The Phantom of the Opera. I loved that ringtone. But, when I got my new phone, I couldn’t find that song. Instead, I selected another much loved theme song: Mission: Impossible. Well, dear readers, the first time I had to run for my phone, I burst out laughing. While I was only trying to get to the phone before it stopped ringing, I kept envisioning Ethan Hunt hurdling obstacles pell mell to save the world. And while Ethan might be on a mission to stop the imminent explosion of something or other, I’m just answering my phone. The juxtaposition was pleasantly absurd. And, after nearly two years of the same ringtone, I still laugh every single time I rush to answer my phone. And laughter doeth good like a medicine. So, I’m grateful for my ringtone. 

And, on the subject of Mission: Impossible, I’m VERY thankful that the sixth installment (Mission: Impossible Fallout) is coming out in theaters this month. Ethan Hunt, dear readers, is definitely an inspiration, or maybe it’s just Tom Cruise (see post here).

AND I’m grateful that Christopher McQuarrie is helming it. Why? Because he always brings a sophisticated element to his projects, and, if you’re looking, they always pay homage to the greats- whether literary, cinematic, or musical. I mean who can forget his stellar, très chic opera sequence in the fifth installment (see post here)?

 He's pointing to his much touted tickler right there. 

He's pointing to his much touted tickler right there. 

AND I’m thankful McQuarrie sought out Superman... er... Henry Cavill and had him don this crumb catcher because it inspired (inadvertently) three separate blog posts. An Homage to the Moustache (directly inspired); Hercule Poirot and the Little Grey Cells (indirectly inspired); and In Memorian: #ShavedButNotForgotten (oddly serendipitous- as it coincided with the shaving off of the famous #Kingstache). 

I’m immensely grateful for iced coffee. Though not a huge coffee drinker, I must confess that coffee- cold and creamy- is a summertime enjoyment. I’m particularly partial to Dunkin’ Donuts' iced hazelnut, but there are a few local cafe concoctions that are quickly eclipsing that love. Ahem- Bongo Java’s Gray Skies’ blissful blending of espresso, coconut milk, and bergamot, I’m looking at you. Oooo! I could go for one right now. How about you? 

I’m grateful for this pan. Yes, pan. As one who loves the culinary arts, I was touched by the lengths my husband went (in research as well as geography- ahem- France...) to gift me this stovetop wonder. I never made a worthwhile omelette until I made one in this pan. And every time I use it, I’m more grateful we can cook together. Just a woman and her de Buyer.

I’m grateful for sangria. I love a cold cocktail in the summer. Particularly one chock full of seasonal fruits. I made up this recipe when my friend, Katie, finished her last day of teaching for the year. Chilled overnight and served in fantastic martini glasses because- well, why not?- it was the perfect summer celebratory drink with which to imbibe. ESPECIALLY as we drank it whilst watching Stardust. Huzzah for Fairy Tales! 

I’m thankful for impromptu coffee dates and picnics and BBQs and canoeing trips and ice cream runs... all those unforeseen but whimsical summer activities. 

I’m grateful for Muay Thai and Pilates. Shout outs to the communities at Nashville MMA and The Balanced Life Sisterhood, both of whom have been a source of endless encouragement as I stretch and strengthen into a better version of myself. (Ahem… a better version that looks great and is confident in her bikinis…)

I’m thankful for consistency (see post here), which allows for steady progress. You know, so I don’t have to worry about achieving perfection all at once. (Am I the only one out there who holds herself to ridiculous standards?) 

I’m thankful that I don’t need to know all four hundred and twenty seven thousand steps necessary for the journey to my metaphorical destination; I just need to know the next one.

I’m grateful each day when someone visits Whiskers On Kittens. (That means I’m grateful for you, dear reader.) Thank you. A thousand times. 

In that vein, I’m thankful for every comment on Whiskers. Or on social media. Every like on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram makes my heart brim with gratitude. As does every share. And, not to neglect Pinterest, which is a personal favorite (and simultaneously a black hole which will literally suck me in...), I’m thankful for every pin. 

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Levi and Lucky Budd and all the Levidromers out there, I’m thankful for you. The games, the puzzles, the quirky levidrome factoids from around the world- they make me smile broadly. We’ll get #levidrome in the Oxford English, never you fear. (See posts here and here and here and here.)

I’m grateful, beyond measure, for my church family, bringing me so much deeper in my spiritual walk, building me up and kitting me out for my day to day.

I’m thankful I’m not on this journey alone. I have friends and family with me each step- cheering me, believing in me, supporting me. Natalie, April, Geeta, Heather, Katie, Mom, Elijah... the list goes on and on. Thank you. I love you each with a depth beyond measure.

I’m thankful for my husband, who works tirelessly so I can pursue this dream of mine to be a published author. He never doubts my talent or my ability. He believes in me whole heartedly. He loves me unconditionally. I’m grateful that he gets me- whether it’s my humor, my allusions, or my heart. There aren’t enough words for the gratitude I have on that score. My life is rich because he shares it with me. 

And last, but assuredly not least, I’m thankful for the morning pets, the textured kisses, and the lap time with my feline familia. Geordie MacPuff, Thane of Cottontown, Clawdius, Purrseus, the Lady Fiona, Zucchini, and Idgy- you have meowed your way into my heart and each moment with you I cherish. You disgustingly adorable little fur babies. 

I know I have repeats from the last time I did a post like this (see here), particularly those treasures in earthen vessels who enrich my life, but that’s part of what being intentionally grateful is all about. It’s an exercise to remind us that the important things in life aren’t things at all. 

Today, I challenge you to take a moment- hell, take five minutes- and be mindful of the things for which you are grateful. And, if a couple of people enter your mind while you’re being thankful, tell them so. Everyone needs to be appreciated. And that, dear readers, is exactly what gratitude is: purposeful appreciation. 

What are you grateful for today?