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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thankful

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The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.

― Henry Ward Beecher

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Hoping your hearts are thankful today and that you recognize the blessings that surround you. Have yourself a Happy Thanksgiving.

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In Gratitude

 

Thanksgiving has long been a favorite holiday of mine. So, for the next few days leading up to that holiday, I thought it might be a good idea to have the blog’s focus be on the subject of gratitude. Instead of Shark Week, it’s kind of like Gratitude Week on the Art Channel. To start, I am running a post from a couple of years back that deals with the idea of thankfulness.

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True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.

Seneca

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This new painting, which is about 4″ by 15″ is a bit of a rarity. It is done on plain watercolor paper without the benefit of the texture from the gessoed surfaces that I typically use, much like my very earliest works. It was a nice change, reverting to working on the smooth surface of untreated paper. There’s a sense of purity in the way the colors flow on and set to the paper’s surface.

Very clean. Crisp.

I call this piece In Gratitude.

The words at the top from the Roman philosopher Seneca very much capture the spirit of what I see in this painting and aspire to in my own life– to be always conscious of and grateful for that which I do have in my life.

I talk and think a lot about gratitude. Gratitude for where I am in the present moment sets me free from dwelling on the past or fretting about the future, both things out of my hands. Gratitude also makes me recognize the importance of those who have played key roles in my life.

Recognizing that one depends on the help, the love and the recognition of others in their life is a key element in finding a level of contentment in one’s life.

We do nothing totally alone.

I may claim that my work is my creation alone but it is, in fact, a compilation of the interactions of my life with those who I have encountered along the way. They have formed my sight, my perception of this world, and given shape to the hoped-for world that shows itself in my work.

And for that alone, I am so grateful.

So, this seems like a simple small painting but for me it speaks volumes.

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

― John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1963

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JFK said the words above just three days before his assassination in 1963 and it is as a good reminder now as it was then that words of gratitude mean little unless we express our gratitude with meaningful action. I thought I would share a Thanksgiving post that was written in 2009. Little has changed in the time. There’s still terrorism, war and greed beyond comprehension–I could add a few more bad things but let’s leave that for another day. But the message here echoes the words of JFK from 1963, that gratitude is best expressed in action. Have a good and peaceful Thanksgiving.

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It’s Thanksgiving 2009, the last one of this first decade of the new century. It has been a decade that many would like to put well behind us.  A decade of terrorism, non-stop war and unabated greed.

But there are still reasons for giving thanks. Friends and family and the love that is there. The moments of joy that brighten many dark days. A kind word from a stranger. The sunshine and the rain that nourish us. The food we eat.

It’s simple. It’s anything and everything.

In a universe that is seemingly infinite, we are riding the tiniest clod of  soil and water. We have consciousness,  aware of the world around us.

We are alive.

So, on this last Thanksgiving of this decade, look around and be thankful but remember that Thanksgiving is a word of action. It is not static. Be active and express your thanks to those around you. If you have the ability, show your thanks to the world by helping those who have not been quite so fortunate in worldly terms. Or by extending a hand in some way to those who sacrifice on our behalf, such as the soldiers who are spending their day away from those they love.

Volunteer at your favorite charity. Write a check to your local food bank.  Just do something to help someone besides yourself.

Thanksgiving is a word of action, after all.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving…

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Thornton Wilder Gratitude QuoteAnother Thanksgiving and  it might seem that it would be hard to find much to be thankful for in this turbulent world with its endless cornucopia of anger, hatred, intolerance, injustice and inequality set out for our consumption each day.  With a diet of so many negatives it would be easy to forget that one simple thing that truly feeds and sustains us– gratitude.

Recognizing and acknowledging those things that make us happy is such a simple thing yet we somehow lose sight of it.  I know my life feels so much more complete when I see how I am made happy by the light that the full moon casts on our evening walk.  Or in the way my studio cat, Hobie, runs to me with an audible purr when I enter in the morning. Or in watching the deer play and stroll through the studio’s yard, one or two sometimes stopping to stare in at me through the window.  Or in the songs of the birds in the woods.

Or in something so simple as a stranger returning a smile and a hello as they pass by.

Just little things that we sometimes overlook in the crush of the world.  But things that are important in our real connection to the world.  So today set aside your fears and anger and whatever else eats at you on a regular basis and try to think of those people who make you happy, those moments that might bring a smile or a tear and anything that gives your life fullness.  It’s not always easy but life ain’t too bad.

Here’s one of my favorite songs.  I know it makes me happy even when I am strolling along and can’t get its chorus out of my head.  It’s Be Thankful for What You Got from William DeVaughn from back in 1974.  Have a great Thanksgiving.

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Snoopy ThanksgivingIt’s Thanksgiving and hopefully you haven’t waited all year to express a little gratitude for the good things in your life.  If that is the case, get on the stick and start giving out the thanks, pronto.  If you have been grateful throughout the year, relax and listen to a little Thanksgiving-inspired music.  It’s pianist George Winston‘s version of the theme from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  The cartoon itself is not quite up to the level of A Charlie Brown Christmas but the music of Vince Guaraldi always shines.

And I am thankful for that.  And for Snoopy.

PS: The original YouTube clip with the George Winston version has been taken down but I have inserted Vince Guaraldi’s original below.  You can hear the Winston version on YouTube by clicking his name above or here.

Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving.

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Peanuts Gang from A Charlie Brown Christmas - Chas SchulzI’ve been taking a few days off here around Thanksgiving, taking it a bit easier in the days that kick off the first days of the Christmas season here.  I can’t say I’m as big a fan of the holidays as when I was child but I still feel that same warm fuzziness when certain songs of the season come on the radio.  Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song or Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, for example.  One of my all-time favorites are the wondeful compositions from  Vince Guaraldi for  A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Hearing the relaxing tones of Christmas Time Is Here with the children’s chorus is like zen candy to me–it just pushes away all the bad things we,ve come to accept as part of the season and fills the void with a peaceful calm.

I thought I’d share Diana Krall‘s take on this great piece.  It lacks the children’s voices but it is lovely nonetheless and a good way to head back into my work.

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GC Myers- Facing Oneness sm

From too much love of living,
    From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
    Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
    Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Garden of Prosperine

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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