Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
Autumn beauty in the city.
No recipe today, my friends.  Those of you cooking tomorrow’s feast already know what you’re making.  But before we break for the long weekend, I wanted to say a few personal words about life and love and this past year.

This was a year of changes for me. Some good, some bad. I hurt more and cried more this year than I have in many.  But I have also opened my head, my ears and my heart to receiving feedback that I would have rather not gotten. Criticisms that hurt and stung and caused me to question my life in a way that makes you feel lost and alone in the universe. I listened, though, and took them in.







Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
Strolling by the river down the block from my apartment.
But as the year draws closer to ending and as we count down to my favorite holiday tomorrow, I thought it was important to dry my tears and talk about those things for which I’m grateful and which have made me very happy this past year and the years before.

Lightbulbs.  Lightbulbs made me happy.  And batteries, and computers, and phones and cameras and probably half a dozen other electronic gizmos I rely on that broke and were replaced by someone who cared that my life would run seamlessly.  And rolls of paper towels, and bottles of shampoo and giant boxes of aspirin made me happy.  Because they were the things that made my life easier and took care of daily needs.

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
A winding road through Pallisades Park. One of my favorite Thanksgiving weekend memories.

Most of all I was happy with the time spent.  The laughter, the shared gestures and inside jokes, the “us against the world” mentality that comes from a meeting of the minds. The rambling road trips, sometimes to nowhere, sometimes to locations I consider my happy places.

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
An autumn vacation road trip to breathtakingly beautiful Vermont a few years ago.

Throughout this year, I've never once been guilty of being ungrateful.  But I have been terribly guilty of not expressing my feelings properly.

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
The Montauk Lighthouse at dusk. Click here to read the story behind the photo.

More often than not, the greatest pleasure I could have given someone was simply to let them know how happy they made me. But I allowed life’s problems and worries and trivialities to get in the way. Part of the growth I’ve been working toward is to make sure I am never guilty of that again.  To make sure that I will not only treasure what I’ve been given but return the pleasure by expressing how much it means to me and how grateful I am that someone cared enough to make sure I had what I needed and wanted.

There are a couple of people in my life (one male, one female) whom I love more than I can say.  And there is never a moment in my heart that I don’t bless the day I met both.

Gratitude, Tears and Reflection
Speaking of gratitude, as I sit in my office writing this, I’m also grateful for the pile of fur currently asleep on my foot.  Every day of these difficult few months, she’s greeted me at the door with pure joy when I felt none, licked away my tears and snuggled against me when I didn't have the strength to get up.  

She was a birthday present, five years ago, and I can never look at her without thinking of the man who gave her to me.  It was a gift that has brought me more joy than I can describe.

I don't know yet exactly how this journey will end.  But while I’m wishing myself more happiness and personal growth in the coming months, I am remembering to express the gratitude I feel for what I have and what I've learned.  And that includes all of you, who stop by here to read my words and give my recipes a try. When you leave me comments on how much you enjoyed one of them, it touches my heart, brings a big smile to my face and makes it all worthwhile.

Have a wonderful holiday, my friends, and tell someone you love how thankful you are for them and how happy they make you.

xoxo
Anita

14 comments:

  1. Anita, what a beautiful, heartfelt, honest, eloquent post. As much as I always love your amazing recipes for delicious food, both savoury 'n sweet, and of COURSE, the booze, my favourite posts from any blogger are the ones where they pour their heart out. I think we all fall into the trap of taking things for granted, seeing only the negative and letting all of life's stresses get us down (I'm the guiltiest of all. I'm always whining about something!) but you're absolutely right - there's so much to be thankful for. We should always tell the people we love how we feel. And thank GOD for sweet fur babies. Like Hadley to you, Abby is a constant source of joy and love in my life. Thank you for sharing this, lady!

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  2. Thank you for your beautiful honesty and your great reminder that life, regardless of its level of pleasure, is to be cherished and not taken for granted.
    It sounds like you've been through many difficult times this past year and I feel like a horrible friend for not being able to sense that and offer to help.
    Technology is a wonderful thing, as it connected the two of us, but it's a horrible at relaying emotions.
    I wish I could reach through the monitor and hug you... but that's impossible, so I'm just going to have to figure out a way to do it in real life.

    If you ever need a listening ear for anything at all, please know that I'm here for you <3
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friend.

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  3. Thank you Anita, for opening up your heart to us and reminding me (and perhaps others) of what is really important in life. Not just in the big picture, but in the moment too. xoxox

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  4. Hugs to you <3 I will say from experience that when one year sucks, the following year makes up for it. Take care and message me any time if you need someone to listen :)

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  5. Close the door on the negatives and focus on the positives. I am forever grateful for all your patience, insight, creativity and feedback on helping me set up my blog. I continue to enjoy our "coffee klotches" commisurating over the world of advertising and production. Stay optimistic and nothing but good things will come your way - you deserve it.

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  6. Beautiful post, Anita, and a great reminder to stop, be grateful and to express that gratitude to those who deserve it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the photos of your special memories. May your year to come be filled with blessings as wide and deep as your tender heart.

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  7. My heart goes out to you Anita as you sift through these trying times. I am thankful for your friendship and I'll always wish the best for you. Hopefully the coming year for you will be filled with a lot more happy than sad. Virtual hugs to you. xoxo

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  8. I think it was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said something like: We develop our character through the streams of life. That you can reflect in such an honest and poignant way says a lot about your character, Anita. ~ Thank you for a real-life reminder that we should be grateful all the time. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  9. Anita, this post is so beautiful. I love that you're making an effort to focus on the positive and on being grateful <3 I hope things just get better for you!

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  10. I'm so thankful you have graced my life, Anita. You are like the highlights in Hollywood hair - I always notice when you aren't around FB. I am so proud of how well you have maneuvered this path - I could only hope to do it 1/2 as well if I were faced with the same situations. Happy Thanksgiving - and try not to work tomorrow. I love ya! xoxo

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  11. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos. I sure can relate. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  12. Dear, prayers are with you. With love in Christ, Allen.

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  13. Anita, thank you for sharing. This could not have been easy to write, although I'm sure it was cathartic to get out. Know that we love you and you always have a friend a subway ride away, generally with some sort of treat to share when you need someone to talk to, laugh or just a huge.

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  14. You are an inspiration, Anita. I'm sorry life has thrown you some loops this year. Keep on doing what you do so well. xoxo

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