The greatest of gifts don’t come in wrapping paper. Sharing a loaf of just-baked bread with a friend, butter slipping into each steaming crevice. Washing the day down with a daring new drink – just enough to take the chill out of the air. And, above all, filling our hearts with gratitude for simple moments.
These are the best gifts of all.
Especially that last item – gratitude.
With gratitude every moment is a gift.
Gratitude fills up the giver and the receiver.
Gratitude isn’t about whether the glass if half full or half empty.
Gratitude is being glad there’s a drink there in the first place.
I’ve had some half full and half empty moments over the last few years. I became best friends with my mom. She was a huge support throughout my twenties and when I began this blog. And then I wrote a book and … I don’t know. Everything changed. We spoke every day while I was writing – laughing and sorting out dates – but now she’s gone into retreat. This time, instead of Samoa, Mom went to India and the Vatican. She’s sent newspaper clippings and rosaries.
All I know is that these objects don’t soften the blow. I miss her. My sister and I cry about it sometimes. Grown women, crying for our mother. Mom would call that tragicomedy. And she’d be right.
Perhaps it was too much, sharing our lives on the page like that. Editors will remind you to be mindful of one thing when writing memoir: no one asked to be in your book but you. It has to be difficult, people say. At least that much is true.
So I focus on my daughter. I teach her the holiday traditions Mom taught me. We’re making yarn ornaments and homemade pasta. Cooking and crafting keeps me busy. Seeing my daughter smile keeps my heart from breaking too much.
Oh, the gratitude I feel for this little girl’s smile.
It’s a funny thing. Gratitude fills you up, even when your heart is broken.
Since Life from Scratch came out in March many of you have written to share your stories of overcoming hardship, of reconnecting with family, of finding your own peace, even if you cannot change circumstances. This holiday season, I find myself humbled by your stories. You say my story has helped you? Your stories have helped me.
Who knows what the New Year will hold.
I know there will be more half full and half empty moments.
Things will change. They always do. Nothing is written in stone.
Meanwhile, I am determined to remain hopeful – and grateful.
For this life, this day, this heart.
Just for you
For those of you who have read the book or purchased one for a friend, I want to say thank you. Please know that I wouldn’t change a word. My heart is true on those pages.
As an expression of gratitude I am offering an autographed Bookplate Sticker to the first 50 respondents. Consider it a virtual book signing… All you have to do is email me who the bookplate is for, what the message is, and the address where it needs to be sent. If you don’t want it personalized just let me know and I’ll simply sign my name and put a standard message. For details, see the image below.
Thank you for being a part of this adventure.
See you in 2016.