Grateful for Many Things

I am in reflection mode on this beautiful Sunday. 

I'm feeling so grateful for the many blessings I have in my life. In fact the mere thought of being grateful is something I am happy to have implemented more into my life over the past few years.

My mother and oldest sister came to visit me in Baltimore over the weekend from Ohio. This is the second such trip, as they took time this past March to visit me when I was down in Raleigh (when I was on my first assignment with the firm). Just like the previous trip, this visit was very fun. 

I'm very grateful that my sister coordinates a place to stay, packs up my mother, puts her into the car and then drives a combined 16 hours to spend in effect, one whole day with me. It's not an easy job for my sister to undertake. While my mother is capable of a lot of things, her mobility and mind have begun to slow at a pace I am not comfortable witnessing. 

I have a great roommate in Abby. She is the best non-girlfriend/girlfriend ever. She spent the entire day with us. This included a trip to a fantastic store in the Hampden neighborhood of the city and a much needed nap (mostly for my Mom, but we all took advantage). I am grateful for her friendship and her participation really made the day a lot more enjoyable. 

The main event was a trip down I-95 for Sunday themed dinner at my DC sister's place in Rockville. This would be the first time experiencing this ritual that I have been a part of for the past 11 or so odd years for both Mom, my sister and surprisingly Abby. 

Dinner of steak, potato casserole with a dusting of bacon, strawberry salad and green beans was served. We had rose and red wine to drink and we washed it all down with a blueberry and peach cobbler topped with ice cream (yesterday marked the fourth consecutive day I had ice cream). 

The meal, as it has always been, was delicious. 

I'm so grateful for my DC Family. They are a tremendous asset in my life and I cherish the opportunity to spend time with them. Selfishly yesterday was special for me, because a lot of people I love were in one room for a few hours enjoying some fellowship (which includes making fun of me). My sister asked me if I did this every weekend. I told her that in fact I did. She told me not to screw this up. 

Sound advice. 

It's a beautiful day outside. I'm grateful to work, eat and sleep everyday in complete comfort. God has blessed me with friends and family and friends that are family. 

I made a conscience effort about two years after attending a retreat to be mindful of gratitude. It has made a big difference in my life. Gratitude puts everything into perspective. Being grateful slows everything down.  Gratitude has numerous health benefits. 

Gratitude is the foundation of the daily prayer the Examen. Despite my education in the Jesuit tradition, I really found out about this prayer after speaking with a priest in the fall of 2014. Although I haven't been completely disciplined in the entire practice of the Daily Examen; gratitude is the one thing I have pulled out and made a priority in my prayer life. 

If you have a moment, stop and ask what are you grateful for? May I suggest that you think beyond the usual relationships and opportunities in your life. If you are open to that process, how does that make you feel?

Gratitude is a special gift that can open up so many possibilities. I hope you can take some time to reflect on what it means to be grateful and make it more a part of your life.