Ordinary Gratitude

Not all things deserve gratitude. Or do they?

No one feels grateful to stand in a long line at the DMV*. But if we are there, it means we have a CAR, for which we can surely be grateful.  If we have a CAR, then we likely have paved roads to drive on, functioning traffic lights and walking paths along side and for these we can be grateful.  If we are walking on paths and driving in cars, then we must be in good health and for that, of course, we are grateful.

I could keep going, but the idea of following the gratitude is an easy exercise. It’s a brilliant way to live mindfully and to remind ourselves to stay positive, to stay in the light.

Years ago when I was in college, there were times I felt my world was spinning out of control; I couldn’t find my grounded place. At the time, some classes were over my head, I wasn’t making great friends, and I missed my family. I felt deeply sad.

I called a friend (from the payphone at the end of the hall!) who suggested I focus on the good in my life and start a “gratitude journal.” Desperate to feel better, I tried it. Some days the only thing I could muster to be thankful for were small, very small, like … “Grandma’s blanket” or “my cotton flannel pjs.” But I noticed a trend; there was never a day when I could not find something to write down. In fact, most everything I was truly grateful for, was an average, ordinary thing.

I have kept a Gratitude Journal on and off for over 30 years now. I have taught each of my kids to keep one as well.  It is a healthy way to move about in the world and easy to do:

  1. Find a beautiful blank book and designate it your Gratitute Journal.
  2. Write every day one or two or five things for which you are grateful. There are no rules other than that. The items can be in list-form or a narrative. Pictures, drawings, photos, all ok. Be creative, this is your journal 😉
  3. Repeat daily.

The practice builds on itself, and like anything else done with consistency, it becomes a habit. For me that habit carried over into my subconscious thoughts and ferried me into healthy adulthood.

Through the years, I continue to be thankful for so many things and I cannot help but continuously point out the gorgeous sky to my kids, or the refreshing rain, or the moon.

Gratitude is the key.  It turns chaos into order and foggy thinking into clarity. Whether you journal at night before bed or first thing in the morning, commit to beginning each day with a grateful heart.

Below are a few holiday-inspired nuggets of small-world things for which I am truly grateful…

~ I am eternally grateful for all our friends, everywhere. You make our world complete and way, way more fun.

~ I am thankful to be able to teach (and learn!) at home/on our boat. Each day we find that we have plenty of ordinary, normal things that make us smile.

~ One of the greatest gifts our travel-school has given our family, is the gift of quiet, quality time together. I’m thankful for that.

~ I love my kids’ friends. They are each beautiful, kind, sweet. Boys and girls. You know who you are. I am thankful for you!

~ I am grateful for my supportive, loving husband every minute of every day.

~ Thank you Mom and Dad!

~ There are no words to express my gratitude for our three amazing children and their individual, adventurous spirits.

Our 2018 Thanksgiving will be spent onboard our Huckins, Timbalero. My original plan was to roast a simple chicken in our tiny galley oven, served alongside crock-pot mashed potatoes and fresh green-beans.  Though, we have just been invited to join friends for the day, which sounds even better! Regardless of where we are, amid board games, dear friends and lingering boat projects, we are thankful for it all.

This holiday season, feel good about all that your are doing from the grand to the mundane. Enjoy life’s little moments and ordinary tasks, because we are lucky to have the inconveniences our privilege requires of us. And if you are not sure, start a Gratitude Journal!

*Sorry to pick on you, DMV. But really, nobody likes you. I’m sorry about that.

Boatyard photos in this post were taken this morning by Tony.  TIMBALERO is happily nestled in line with her sister-ships under Huckins’ covered dock. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  xx

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol Cronin says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to the Rey family, and thanks for the reminder about gratitude! I’m guessing there might be more to the DMV story, too… 🙂


  2. Joan Porter says:

    Lyn, Thank you for your wonderful post! Happy thanksgiving to you and your family!



  3. Carol Hedback says:

    Thank you Lynne
    I love the gratitude story and will start my journal
    Wishing you a great fun loving journey


  4. Marilyn Keenan says:

    Lynne: Saved and finally read this. It’s very thoughtful and wise.

    As you will continue to see, the older we get and the more we have, the more grateful we are for the smaller, simpler things. In fact, we so want to leave behind the big things that cost us much not just in money, but in time, effort, and frustration. We can’t wait to NOT own a home and to live in a much smaller, easier place that someone else has to maintain….yes! Then we can just go do things, see people and have experiences unfettered. But I think we’ve told you that. (And I’m very happy for Debbie & Gene and the much smaller home.)

    Speaking of the DMV, we recently had to renew our MD drivers’ licenses. We carefully picked our time to go, there was no line, and we were out in minutes. But renewing required five pieces of ID: our old license, a passport, a social security card (or official document from social security with our full # on it), and two more documents that had our current home address (like an electric bill and an insurance document). We wondered how hard it would be for lots of people to have or obtain all of those documents—for some, it seems impossible. What do they do? So I’m grateful we had all of those. Ha! Yes, a small thing, but it eliminated lots of frustration.

    Glad you had Thanksgiving with friends and hope your Christmas month will be full of joy, love, and fun. Today is exactly 30 days until we arrive in Key West. And we are so grateful for that opportunity. Love, Marilyn



    1. Lynne Rey says:

      Thank you Marilyn! Tony and I truly value the inherent simplification that happens when we move onto the boat. It is such a blessing and we also feel lucky to be able to do it. We are in Ft. Lauderdale now, heading to the Bahamas for the winter this year. Not planning to be in Key West, but we sure love meeting up with you and Steve any chance we can! Maybe Miami in Feb?


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