My day did not start out to be unusual. It started leisurely with coffee and my dachshund perched on my lap. Slow and easy…all is well. I knew “it” was in the mail but I had not prepared myself fully for how my heart could be affected by “it”. How could I? “It” hadn’t arrived yet. But when “It” did, my heart shifted from peaceful and relaxed to full speed ahead fueled with uncertainty.

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“It” was the manuscript for my book, Living in Gratitude. One might think I would be exhilarated and happy, and measurably I was, but I simply would not allow myself to get overly excited as I leafed through those daily post of gratitude. Gradually I began to turn on my heart, as I got critical over the content. I began to scoff at my dream of getting it published. Who do I think I am? This uneasiness energized me to complete the unusual task of reading all 365 posts in one afternoon and to make changes along the way.

I was surprised when John asked to join me at the table to read along with me. At first I felt prickly about that. I was sure his eye would be as critical as mine. I felt defensive. I felt shame…what if he engages me in my contempt? Alas, I forged ahead as John began to respond, “Yes, I remember that day.” “I love this post about our grandchildren.” “Wow, you nailed this one.” “Mary, you have written some great questions to challenge your readers. Good job.”

John’s kindness caused me to relax into this task as we began to chat, recall, reminisce and remember. I realized that I had slipped into an old pattern of turning against myself even when something is for good. I spent a lot of years sabotaging offerings of kindness and goodness that are nourishing to my soul and body. I restricted my food intake and choices for years…I cursed my hunger…I cursed what is for good. How easy it was for me to return to destruction during a time of blessing.

I sent the manuscript back to the publisher longing to feel good about it. It wasn’t until I confessed to John how I had turned on myself did I feel released to savor the goodness of the project. All John said was, “I’m sorry you are being attacked this way. Why wouldn’t the enemy go after you with so much goodness and gratitude to offer.” It was enough to hear those words to unlock the kindness for myself to enjoy. I was free…I could think…I felt creative once again. Good old gratitude/kindness brought my heart back into focus. My fears and doubts were gone.

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I am discovering I have quite a capacity to take in goodness and the outcome is promising. My heart’s lean is for gratitude. I love what Melody Beatty says about gratitude.

             Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

So my Red Tent Living readers, my hope is that you will find some gratitude for yourself to embrace today. Coming soon is the promise of my book, Living in Gratitude, to prompt you along the way. I believe you will be refreshed by the simplicity of what gratitude holds for you and for me. My guess is you will find a good dose of kindness that will bless you and mostly likely someone close to you.


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Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.
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