Capturing Gratitude

I once read that Carly Simon took a polaroid photo every day and kept them in a special album.  As I remember it, she did so to spur herself to record specific things for which she was grateful.  Depending on which phase of her life this was, perhaps there were a lot of photos of James Taylor.  Then again, one woman’s James Taylor is another woman’s discard.  Or put another way,  life isn’t perfect even if you’re married to James Taylor.  I digress.  My point is that I don’t know what Carly did with her photos, or even if the magazine got it right that she took one per day.  If I knew her, I’d ask.  Since I don’t, I can’t.

Yet I like the idea of doing something each day to jolt myself into more gratitude.  I tried Carly’s gratitude photo idea one year and made it 11 days.  I found that file recently and couldn’t remember exactly what about my vacuum cleaner made me so happy that day, but I’m glad it brought joy.

Another year I started a special calendar in iLife (Mac feature for the four of you who haven’t downed the Kool-Aid yet), and I recorded something I was grateful for every day — for about 17 days.  Apparently, I get grumpy mid-January.

This year the grumpiness is setting in early, right here on the 11th in spite of the fact that I’m publishing this post at 11:11:11 just for fun (“Yee-has” all around, please!).  I think I’m grumpy because I’m cold and menopausally sleep-deprived.   Grumble, grumble.

Whatever the cause, I need to kick my butt into gratitude gear before the day/week/month/year slip-slide into the Potomac River and take me out to sea (by way of the Chesapeake Bay).

So I’m looking back at 2010 and naming some top moments and cataloging some favorite photos:

  • Feeling God’s love and presence very keenly as I drove around the country alone on a road trip
  • Sitting on the front row twice at the best theatre performance I’ve ever seen, Sophisticated Ladies with Maurice Hines and the spectacular Manzari Brothers, Leo and John (an Arena Stage production in DC)
  • Getting to hear the stories of 25 people who have recovered from substance abuse, having them trust me with their stories, compiled for a book called Hope Realized
  • Three days in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the jam-packed Festival of Faith & Writing and delighting in there being nothing cheesy
  • Having a number of what felt like God-ordained encounters with strangers who became friends
  • Many coffees and margaritas and meals with people I enjoy an awful lot

And some photographic highlights:

As always I’ll ask, what were some things for which you were thankful in 2010?

~ by Cary on January 11, 2011.

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