30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge: 2015 Edition

A Month to Be Grateful: The 2015 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge

November 02, 2015

I’m joining Dani DiPirro’s 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge again this year (I wrote about last year’s here and here). I figure concentrating on what I have and am grateful for will ease the pain of what I’ve lost.  Plus it’s fun!

I enjoy and welcome the chance to slow down and ponder the many things I’m grateful for and, I admit, take for granted. I’ll post my daily entry on Facebook and on Instagram if any of you want to follow along. If you want to join in, click here for DiPirro’s post announcing the challenge, and here for the list of prompts.

Today’s theme is “Inspiration.” So many things inspire me in different ways that it’s hard to pick just one. I’m inspired by the beauty of nature, by music, and by people I look up to, just to name a few. Since I’ve been reading the book What Makes Olga Run? I’m especially grateful for the inspiration of older women who live vibrant, exciting lives on their own terms. Reading about Olga Kotelko makes me push myself just a little harder during HIIT class and encourages me to believe that getting older doesn’t have to mean I can’t do the things I want to do anymore. While I have no desire to be a master’s level track athlete like Olga, I do want to be able to walk, bike, ride Tank, and do yoga for as long as possible. I don’t want to be held back from doing the things I want to do because my body is too weak or out of shape to allow me to. Seeing and reading about examples of people still active and vital in their 90s inspires me to believe I can be that way, too. (Ms. Kotelko died in June of 2014 at age 95. You can read more of her story here.)

What are you grateful for today?

30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge: 2014 Edition

Want to Join Me in 30 Days of Gratitude?

November 03, 2014

According to a growing amount of positive psychology research, there seems to be a link between gratitude and happiness. Those with an attitude of gratitude are generally a happier and healthier lot (you can read about more of the benefits of gratitude here: “10 Reasons Why Gratitude is Healthy”). I want to be happier and healthier, and my attitude of gratefulness is one thing I can influence, so why not do some experimenting? I’m ashamed to admit though I have much to be grateful for, I often focus on what I want but don’t have.

With that in mind, in November I’m participating in Dani Dipirro’s (Positively Present) “30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge.” Every day on Facebook, I will post a photo and brief description of something I’m grateful for, using the prompts she’s provided. I’m doing this for two reasons: First, I do really want to focus on what I’m grateful for. Second, I want to see if I can do something for 30 days straight! I have a bad habit of tearing off all gung ho for a project and quickly losing steam. It’s time I built some stick-to-it muscles. What better way than becoming more mindful of what I’m grateful for?

Today’s prompt is “Dream”—what we dream of, both literally or in the abstract; recurring dreams; what we daydream about.  I could easily have slapped a photo of Tank here and called it a day, because he’s a significant dream come true that I’m grateful for. However, I already posted a photo of him on day one (“Beauty”) and I’d rather not turn this project into a photo album of Tank pictures. Instead, I sat for a few minutes thinking about other dreams I’ve had that have come true, and those still just out of my reach.

What I decided to post today: I’m grateful for the chance to fulfill my desire to write.

The tools of my trade

Essentially, I’ve been a writer since high school when a creative writing teacher named Marie Tollstrup taught me how to harness the words swirling in my head and shape them into various forms of prose and poetry. I’ve worked as a writer (and editor) full time, part time and freelance my whole adult life. At times I’ve made enough to support myself, and others I’ve made little to nothing. I have been able to spend hours reading and writing and exploring and playing with words, starting pieces and throwing them away, filing them for the future, submitting them for others’ perusal. I haven’t always made the most of my opportunities, whether through fear or distraction or laziness, but I have had the luxury of trying.

If you want to see what else I’m grateful for, you can do so on my Facebook page (click on my Facebook link on the left side of this blog. If we’re not already friends, send me a friend request.) I will also be writing more posts on this challenge on Catching Happiness, but not every day.  And if this sounds like something you want to do, too, please join in! The original challenge can be found at Positively Present, “30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge: 2014 Edition.”

What are you grateful for today?



March 09, 2012

I’ve been wanting to take a walk on the nature trail in my neighborhood with my camera for a long time. Usually when I’m on this trail, which winds for about four miles around my subdivision, I’m walking briskly for exercise and I don’t have the camera with me when something appealing comes into view. Yesterday, in the spirit of nurturing myself, I took half an hour to wander the trail near my house.

 A little breeze kept it from being too warm for comfort, but it was definitely warm enough for the shorts I was wearing. So much for winter. I turned right out of my back gate, and came to a large retention pond, now dry because of an ongoing drought, and the architectural skeleton of a tree. Every time I walk past this tree I think it would make a good line drawing. I took its picture, and maybe next time I’ll bring my sketchbook out instead. New growth has appeared on the branches—I’m not sure what kind of tree this is. Anyone know?

 Next, I snapped a shot of a neighbor’s purple martin house. Purple martins are murder on mosquitoes, something we have quite a lot of in Florida.

 The large oak tree and bench near a second retention pond, deserted today, but usually a good place to see birds:

 A four-legged neighbor:

Another tree dressing itself for spring:

I wish I was here:

…but I think the neighbors might object to my taking a nap in their back yard.

I turned around and explored the trail on the other side of our house, looking for signs of a return of the wild hogs (there was plenty of old churned-up earth where they foraged, but nothing new) when—surprise! I found this guy/girl sunning itself on the bank of a third small pond.

 As I walked home, I listened to the bird songs and the little rustlings of lizards in the dry leaves. The sun shone, the breeze blew and all was right with my world, at least for a little while. I’ll have to remember to wander with the camera or my sketchbook the next time I want to soothe an anxious soul.

Where do you wander to soothe your soul?

I think this is a little blue heron--he/she is keeping an eye on that gator!