Service of Gratitude

December 29th, 2009

Categories: Appreciation, Gratitude, Hope, Positive Thinking

The New York Women in Communications Foundation has launched a Gratitude Wall on its web site. For $10 you can let the world know that you are grateful to someone and why. Along with the message, you can also post a photo.

The initiative–recently posted–helps support student scholarships. It got me thinking about appreciation and of whom and about what I’m grateful.

Even in the best of economic times, every year has its downs for someone–it’s a universal condition my sister reminds me with each crisis. A friend, Anne, says “Nobody gets out free,” especially when you tell her about the So-and-So’s who live picture-perfect lives in a Father Knows Best 1950s-style family. All grandparents are around and in good enough shape to enjoy their brilliant grandchildren–slated for Harvard, Yale and Princeton–and siblings on both sides of the family live near one another in Kumbaya-mode–cousins, too–and, of course, there’s plenty of money all ’round.

I could take this occasion–the cusp of the New Year–to compare this year’s losses, fears and stresses and see which one of us “wins.”  I know that some readers are in the proverbial eye of life-transforming tornadoes.

But to help readjust the balance in our hearts, especially if the bad currently outpaces the good, I’ve opted to list some of the things for which I am grateful and welcome you to do the same. Every time I think I am done, I think of more things. That’s a good sign.

**My husband, friends and family. Without them, bereft wouldn’t begin to describe my feelings.

carasmall1**My furry, huggable, destructive, mouse-killing, lap-snoozing, moody kitty cat.

**When my Blackberry, computer, printer, telephone and the electricity work.

**Every day I get to enjoy our country house.

**The Millbrook Free Library [where I write many of my posts].

**When I can renew an unfinished book on line.

**The office I go to and the people in it.

**The students I mentor and continue to be in touch with.

**Dinner at home is a treat and often a surprise. My husband has become the most creative and superb cook and we eat far better chez nous than in most restaurants.

**The view of the East River from our apartment.

**When I discover a craftsperson who makes something creative in a fabulous way.

**NCIS, The Closer and Law & Order, even in reruns.

**George Stephanopoulos on Sunday mornings.

**Everyone who takes the time to comment on the posts in this blog and/or to contribute a post.

**When someone gives me spectacular service or is courteous.

**When I discover a great topic to cover on this blog–I’ve already thought of a bunch for the New Year.

**Flowers and plants, especially the ones that survive winters in a chilly house.

**A spectacular concert. We heard a goosebump-raising one recently by the Bard College student orchestra that brought the audience to its feet.

**The hope and promise of a New Year.

So tell me, what are you grateful for?

13 Responses to “Service of Gratitude”

  1. Catherine C Said:

    **A husband who is solid as a rock, as dependable as the tide, and who really understands and lives up to all those words in the wedding vow he took 35 years ago.

    **Good friends — the kind who are there in bad times as well as good and who go the extra mile without being asked.

    **Having the wherewithall to help family members in need.

    **My mentors and my mentees, who give me perspective.


    **Cooking and good food.

    **Books, music, art, film, museums and the cultural abundance we have here in the Northeast.

    **Clients who are truly appreciative.

    **Having been born into the country and time that I was.

    **Grandparents. I was lucky enough to have great greats, and greats, as well as a full complement of grandparents who lived long enough for me to know them well.

    **A mother who taught me that love is expandable. It doesn’t diminish as you add more people to the circle of those you love.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Catherine C,

    And at least another thing: Talent. You are one of the best writers I know which is evident by your thoughtful and beautifully crafted list. Thank you.

  3. NenaghGal Said:

    ** First and foremost family – my husband of 9.5 years, my wonderful 9 year old daughter, my creative parents and lovely brother – and then my huge extended family both here in Ireland and back in the states.

    **My friends – anything can be solved with a few girl friends and several glasses of wine and supportive emails – both ways.

    ** This beautiful country I live and the choice I made to move to it and change my life.

    ** Turning 40 and loving it.

    ** Meeting amazing creative people who inspire me not only for my blog but for my life.

    **Travelling, good food and attempting to cook it.

    ** Great books to curl up with every night before I turn out my light – could not live without them.

    **Grandparents who inspired me and are with me always even though they no longer are with us.

    ** My health, without it I could not appreciate any of these other things.

    Wishing all of you a very Happy 2010 – it will be a better year!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am superstitious and am afraid to jinx myself but agree with you that good health means the world and thank God for it.

  5. Diane B. Said:

    **My faith, God’s love, the multitude of blessings in my life, and my belief that Good conquers evil and hope destroys fear.

    **My 87-year old mother who continues to guide and mentor me and who reflects beauty, love and kindness in her spirit and her actions.

    **Old friends who have stood beside me over the years to celebrate victories and offered a shoulder during sorrows.

    **New friends in my life whose generosity of spirit warms my heart.

    **The joy and satisfaction I’m enjoying from the launch of my coaching practice this year.

    **The beauty and power of words.

    **Serving my clients and changing their lives in some small way.

    **The smart, generous, amazing women in my networking group.

    **Great wine, music that touches my soul, a crisp Autumn morning in NYC, snuggling under a down comforter on a cold winter night … like tonight!

  6. Ann L Said:

    I am thankful……To be able to see with my eyes, hear with my ears, know that my heart still has a soft spot, my soul still has room to question, life still offers new experiences (good and bad)and all the people I love are safe.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I wish that like all of you my mother were still alive but she is very much with me and in my heart. When she died, I lost a best friend not to speak of one of my biggest fans.

    We shared a sense of humor and could see the quirkiness of a situation and crack up until our stomachs hurt and tears rolled down our eyes which could drive quite crazy those with us who didn’t get what was so funny. Along with my father, she was among the most ethical people I’ve met, correcting errors at the cash register in favor of the store even when she could well have used the windfall or reporting found money at a grocery store. She never preached but was a model of how to conduct yourself.

  8. Amy C Said:

    This comment was a Tweet sent by Amy C:

    JMByington Fab blog post! – I’m grateful for L&O, working tech & great views as well (&of course INCREDIBLE mentors!)

  9. Obediah Said:

    As a devout disciple of that greatest of pessimists, Arnold Toynbee, I am prone to taking an utterly dismal view of the world and its future, but to answer this question truthfully, I must go out of character and voice my always warming, never absent and difficult to express properly, gratefulness to my wife who has put up with me so generously and selflessly over these many, many years, and has kept me well and alive far beyond my entitled span.

    On the other hand, I am also almost as grateful that I had the great good fortune to grow up when I did, not earlier and certainly not later. In childhood, thank God, there was no television just books, good, meaty, well written in decent English books. In youth, there was much opportunity to do solid, interesting work in stimulating environments–work in which one could take true pride at a time when pride came before money. In maturity, while the moral and structural foundations of Western civilization had already begun to crumble a little faster, I was still able to savor many of its lingering benefits. And in old age, came the computer and with it remarkable benefits to the researcher, along with its darker side, and modern medicine, which, along with my wife, has too kept me well and alive far longer than I had any right to expect.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You are fortunate to have a wife with such powers, but my guess is that it is you that followed the right paths that kept you alive, and that your decisions, along with strong genes and talented doctors, have done the trick.

    So let’s drink to luck and being smart!

    Happy New Year.

  11. AA Said:

    I am grateful for
    **Good Health
    **A family who loves me
    **Friends I can Trust (Yoo)
    **And even the ones I can’t trust (they usually have interesting gossip)
    **My little home – be it ever so humble.

    Negatives –
    **Mostly I hate the war and all the nasties it brings with it, meaning all the deaths of innocent people, ruined families and lives. Nothing spectacularly different from most people I would guess.

    Happy New Year.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If more people shared your list, the world would be in a better spot right now and you wouldn’t have to add the negative–with which I agree.

  13. Nancy Farrell Said:

    I’m grateful for my friends and family and I’m in awe of how they put up with me. They believe in me and they overlook and/or forgive my many faults and shortcomings and they keep me interested in life. As strange as it sounds I’m also grateful for people who have been especially nice to me when they didn’t have to be. They’re the ones that reduce me to tears every single time:

    **The woman who brought me a cup of coffee while I was in the cardiac waiting room during my husband’s heart attack. I tried to pay her for it but she said, “Oh, honey, it’s only a quarter.”

    **The man in Milan who got off the bus we were on to put me (and my friends) on the correct bus.

    **The people who stopped and found me a chair in a pizzeria after my necklace was snatch off of my neck

    **Officer Reilly who chased and apprehended the alleged necklace snatcher.

    **The friend of the auto mechanic who gave me a ride to the car rental place after a car accident far from home. He wouldn’t take any money for gas even though it was a long ride.

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