Although I have written on this subject numerous times already, we can never get enough reminders to be grateful. Today I realized what an amazing tool this is, one which always works.

As many of you know, Sid and I have been planning to leave for Florida for the past several weeks. We have a small place down there near my cousin and as God has led, there have been so many reasons the decision to have a second home down there was no coincidence. It has been the place of reconciliation with my father’s side of the family over the past several years as well as most recently a place of comfort and joy as my cousin and I face her medical challenges together, not to mention a closeness we never could have otherwise experienced.

That having been said, our trip this year was delayed for a multitude of reasons. After planning around the recent epic Nor’Easter this week, last night we arrived at my sister’s home in Massachusetts for one night there before the true trek south. Leaving is so difficult for us. The closeness of our sister relationship is palpable. As the time came to leave, my heart was so heavy, and yet, Sid and I, and our four legged furry children, climbed aboard the Pugabego. We are on our way at last.

I am writing this from the road as we just left. In processing my feelings with Sid, I said rather than worry about how far we will get, since of course we left later than planned, rather than worry about whether we will be south enough to de-winterize our toilet, rather than go down the bunny trails of darkness, let’s think about all that we have to be grateful for. Between my sadness of leaving and his concerns of the future, we were quite the pair. And so, I started. . .

What a gorgeous sunny day. I can’t believe how clear the roads are for travel. No rain. No snow. No sleet. All went so smoothly so far with planning around the storm. Sid got the trailer fixed and with a new license. We can tow the kayaks! We were able to pick the kayaks up at Wendy’s and all is secure for travel. The engine is running so much smoother after the recent repairs. And so much less road noise now that we have new tires and they are aligned. We have so much food in the RV. How blessed to have this time together. Our pups are such good travelers. God is so good. We have so much to be grateful for.

It was like taking a chill pill. More than that. I was exhilarated! The thoughts of being grateful became a giant shot of happiness! Immediate relief of stress and negative feelings. We kept thinking of all that we have that HaShem has provided. I shared with Sid that I have some stressful emails to handle for work but now I feel so much stronger as I tackle them. Had I just gone to them first, most likely I would have been in a pretty challenging, negative, mindset, only to have to fight harder to feel these joyful feelings. Instead, the exercise of appreciating where we are, here and now, not anticipating a future over which we have no control, but rather, accepting with intention and gratefulness all that we have been given, strengthened our spirits for whatever lay ahead.

It’s important to anticipate exigencies. Yet if they are something over which we can take no action in the present, then thinking about them serves no purpose, other than to not be blindsided which has value if we have the ability to stop worrying about them. Once we have dealt with what we can, the power of appreciating what we have, counting our blessings, and living in gratitude restore our sense of well being. Reminding ourselves to be grateful even more deliberately when life is challenging infuses us during these very moments, truly, with the presence of God in our lives.

Have a gratitude-filled

Shabbat shalom.

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