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It’s been a while since I posted here but that does not indicate a lack of gratitude. The reality is I have been swamped with work and have found it difficult to carve out time to blog on a regular schedule. Even so, I continue to live a grateful life and the result is that life continues to be full and vibrant as ever. Tonight I decided to take a few moments and reflect on what that means, to live a life of gratitude. Living thankfully does not mean that rain will never fall, nor does it mean that storm clouds will never interfere with our vision. It simply and profoundly means to me that I am grateful for life whatever life has in store for me. I am grateful for every breath I take, every flower or blade of grass I see, for every person who crosses my path. I am grateful for the lessons learned and those yet to be grasped. I am grateful for the lives and influences of those whom I have lost along the way and for those who have yet to enter my world. I find that living a life of gratitude opens up life to richness that cannot be measured. Last week as I walked along a path after a summer rain I was struck with the beauty of raindrops on leaves and grass along the trail. Even though rain can often created dreary days, there is beauty in the the notion that earth — and life — is being nurtured and thirsts quenched. After the rain colors are more vivid, aromas waft with more intensity, and even the sounds in the air resound with more clarity. Rains cleanse, refresh and renew. There’s a message in the rain, literally and figuratively. Yes, I am grateful for rain.

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The garage is old and showing signs of ill repair. We will have to replace it within the next few years. More than needing a good paint job, there are enough gaps between wood slats in the siding for small rodents or song birds to get in. At times we wonder if a blizzard would pile enough snow on the roof to bring the whole thing down. Even so I still find this old garage to be very useful. We store garden tools and “garage stuff” here but my car fits inside, too. And on cold winter mornings it is nice not to have to scrape frost off the windshield, or sweep snow off the roof or hood of the car. I appreciate that I can drive to work sans twenty minutes of “prep time” making the car drivable. I am grateful for this old, dilapidated garage on cold, snowy mornings here in Cleveland, OH.

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Chanukah has arrived! And with it comes latkes and jelly filled donuts and spinning the driedle and lighting the chanukia each night. It is a joyous albeit minor holiday filled with singing, good food and sharing our light with the world. We remember the miracle of the oil when during the time of the Maccabean uprising, when the holy temple was regained for the Jewish people, there was found only one day’s worth of oil to light the menorah. However, that one day’s amount of oil burned for eight days, long enough to press olives for a new supply of oil for the temple lamps. This is a holiday of light, of miracles, of remembering, and of sharing. I am filled with gratitude for Chanukah and its many layers of meaning and joy. 🙂

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One of the many things I love about my husband is that he enjoys exploring new places in nature almost as much as I do. Hiking along narrow trails through verdant forests refreshes and rejuvinates body, mind, and soul like nothing else I know. And sometimes  along the trail, one is fortunate enough to come upon a beautiful glen or a luscious flower-filled meadow that makes the hike worth the while. On today’s hike we discovered Blue Hen Falls in the Cuyahoga National Forest. We lingered here because the scents of the forest, the sounds of water falling over precipices and tumbling over boulders further downstream, and the earthy, damp smell of vegetation filled us–me–with awe and wonder. At the top of these falls, we rested and took time to sit a while and experience this “gan eden” as fully as possible. I am truly grateful that I can share this new-found place with my husband.

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I love flowers. I love receiving bouquets. My favorite bouquets have always been the dandelion bouquet gifts from my children. It has been years though, since I received a dandelion bouquet. My children are all adults in faraway places, with children of their own. But recently my son and his daughter, our granddaughter Genevieve, drove over for a “daddy-daughter day” outing. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for sitting out on the porch and watching GG run and play in the back yard. And what a heart-warming delight when she breathlessly ran up on the porch and with an ear-to-ear grin presented me with a dandelion bouquet! They are STILL the most beautiful bouquets in the world. I am grateful for dandelions and their feathery seeds, but most of all, for the dandelion bouquets given to me by my children, and now by my granddaughter.

Recently we had the opportunity to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This was a wonderful experience as we wandered from display to display, tapping our feet to the music, at times singing along (lots of times, actually), and remembering where we were, who we were with, etc. when we first heard “that” song on the radio. The history of rock and roll music coincides with the history of my life. This particular museum is contemporary and fun! All museums however, reveal information about how people lived, the overriding philosophies of the times, and contribute to our knowledge of generations leading up to ours, including our generation. Our grandson Jacob and his friend RJ were with us. At times I caught them standing a bit afar, sly grins on their faces as they watched “Bubbe and Zayde” get caught up in the memories of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc. Someday when they are middle aged, they too will be able to visit museums that help them recall times of their lives. And they will continue to visit museums that help them better understand their parents, grandparents, and more. Museums are wonderful places to visit, and to learn. I am grateful for museums!

Chaos rules now. How can one move from a small apartment to a full size house with a full basement and roomy bedrooms and still not find places for “things.” Ah, the joys of moving. On a bittersweet note, there are features of our previous abode that I miss, like the glorious view out on a luscious courtyard where flowers bloomed, birds warbled, and squirrels scampered to and fro. I shot a few last photos of flowers in bloom just outside the window before we left that sweet apartment for the last time. But already I’ve heard birds in nearby trees, and seen squirrels at play in our yard at our new home. We have beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas just outside our living room window, and the back yard is waiting to be landscaped (by me) and planted. We now have a “proper” dining room where we hope to feed many guests in the years ahead, and even a “guest room” for those who choose to stay a while. Our neighbors appear to be friendly, and we are already making new acquaintances. Once we create order here (which may take a while; coursework is as demanding as ever!), I have no doubt that we will find all sorts of sweet and wonderful, awe-inspiring surprises. We always do. So today and everyday, I am grateful for our new home!

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Last shots from our apartment window:


I woke up this morning and through the slats in the blinds I saw brilliant red. I hopped out of bed, ran to the window, and drew open the blinds to be greeted with another breath-taking sunrise. I sat back on my bed and watched as the crimson reds spread into pinks and eventually golden rays. Another day is born. I sigh deeply and am profoundly thankful. Life is filled with all things good and bad, but with each sunrise new opportunities abound. What will I do with today? How will I act? What life-altering decisions will I make? Will I make the most of this day? Will I squander it? Are there hidden gems of kindness waiting to be harvested? What will today bring? I am profoundly grateful for another day to live!

*******This blog has few readers, but it is special to me. Blogging regularly about gratitude nurtures the attitude of joyous living. I will have to take a hiatus from this site however, as the pressing demands of grad school are mounting. I will be back once I finish this quarter, help my child who is expecting her first child in early March, and get through one of our busiest and holiest holidays, Passover. In other words, I’ll be back in April. If so moved, and if time allows, I may add a post here and there, but I won’t be here regularly till the spring. Meanwhile you can keep up with me on my primary post, Inspired Living, where I will continue blogging but on a much reduced schedule. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you in the spring-time again. 🙂 Enjoy the winter months!

If you read Inspired Vision, you know that I am not particularly fond of cold weather, or snow. The older I get the more my body feels the aches and pains brought on by cold weather. I was born in Louisiana and grew up in the deep south (USA). Enchanted by snow as a young girl, I loved playing in it on the rare occasions that we were snowed upon, but over the years I gradually came to dread it. Shoveling the stuff was difficult, and increasingly dangerous the older I get. As I age my balance is gradually diminishing as well, so walking on the slippery stuff is proving to be more challenging with each passing season. Forget driving in snow! Oy vey . . . I can hear you ask, why, if snow poses so many challenges, am I grateful for the stuff? I am grateful for it because snow is beautiful. Snowscapes are eye-candy, a barren  vista turned magical kingdom. I have a little secret: just between you and me, when I see it snow, there is a bit of childlike wonder that still stirs within me. I may not play in the white stuff anymore, but I enjoy gazing out at it. I enjoy snuggling in my favorite robe, sitting in front of my picture window, sipping a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and gazing out on the winter wonderland. Furthermore, despite all the dire grumbling, with very little prodding I jump into my boots, pull on the coat, grab the camera and head out into the treacherous stuff . . . because it is beautiful, and I want to capture some of that beauty to share with you, to keep with me, to remember the season of the year. Yes, between you and me, despite my dislike of it, I am grateful for snow! Who’d of thunk!

What better way to express my gratitude for this, my 100th post on Perpetual Gratitude: A Photographic Diary. This takes ten minutes, and what a wonderful ten minutes it is! Enjoy!

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