365 Grateful blog



Guest Post - Amy Gill - 100 Hits of Happiness

Hailey Bartholomew - Friday, October 28, 2011

I am so sorry the blog has been a little unattended.  My computer went to computer hospital to have surgery and I was not smart enough to write down all my log ins before it went away.  I couldn't access anything !!  Here is another great blog from Amy Gill.


A Hundred Hits of Happiness

“When you realise how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. “ ~Buddha

As a sequel to my 365 Grateful Project I decided to start something new – A Hundred Hits of Happiness. The aim was to take a photo a day for a 100 days of something that makes me HAPPY.

This didn’t quite work out as planned… I currently have about 249 photos!

Seems I can’t stop!!!

So I thought today I would share with you some of the things that make me HAPPY…

* Running barefoot in the sand.

* 100’s and 1000’s.

*  Morning swims.

* Beautiful bright flowers.

* Sweet dreams.

* Mucking around with my brother.

* Dinner at the park.

* Hands to hold.

* Hot chocolate in the rain.

* Coming home to my crazy girls.

*  Packages.

* Watching my children grow and learn.

*  Cups of tea in my favourite cup.

*  Bubbles.

*  Fresh air and sunshine.

*  My mum.

*  Portuguese tarts.

*  Flying kites.

*  Backyard ballet.

*  Cuddles.

* Creativity.

*  My pink princesses.

* Roller-skates.

* Music.

* Watching Annabelle eat spaghetti.

* Gorgeous girls dinners – gorgeous food, gorgeous wine, gorgeous company.

*  Quiet moments with my baby.

*  Being part of a community.

*  Feeding ducks.

* COFFEE.

* Sunday lunch with friends.

*  Annabelle’s infectious smile.

*  Pony rides.

* Sailing.

*  Rosie Cheeks.

*  Watching elephants play.

*  Friendship.

*  Water dancing.

* My connection with my husband.

* Playing with the girls after a stressful day at work.

* Forgiveness.

*  Rainy Sunday afternoons.

* My macaroon bouquets.

*  Being a teacher.

*  Playing crocodiles.

* Fairy floss.

*  The little things Andrew does for me – Like mop the floors!

* Umbrella fairies.

*  Bubbly toes.

* Cloud watching.

*  Seeing things from a different perspective.

* Laughing.

*  Cheesy grins.

*  Pussycat kisses.

*  Time with friends old and new.

* Sandcastles.

* The feel of grass under your bare feet after being stuck in the car for forever!

*  Hanging out, eating and talking with my dad.

*  Relaxing in my big claw-footed bath.

*  Autumn.

*  Picking daisies.

*  Weddings.

*  Peek-a-boo.

*  Climbing tress.

*  Candlelit evenings.

*  Tuesdays.

*  Old school movies.

*  Baby bike bowling. (Don’t ask!)

*  Butterflies and memories of my Rosie.

*  Easter hat parades.

*  Colour.

*  “I love you’s”

*  Baking cupcakes.

*  Daydreaming.

 

I could go on for pages, but what I am really interested in is …

What makes you HAPPY?????





Guest Post - Lori - Practicing Gratitude

Hailey Bartholomew - Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lori has been doing the most amazing paintings as a grateful project.  You can like her Facebook and check out more of her work.

Practicing Gratitude

Wow, all my paintings for my gratitude project are on my art table right now!  I decided to get myself organized since I am three-quarters of the way through it. 

When I look at this pile of goodness, I want to jump up and down and clap my hands and laugh endlessly.  I CANNOT WAIT to give them all away!  I want to start flapping my arms and spinning in circles around the table.  Maybe even do cartwheels.  This is a joy pile.  A love montage.

I have never done anything in my life that has made me as happy as working on these paintings. 

This project places gratitude front and center- in my mind, in my heart.  This is where I want gratitude to stay.  I have learned that being grateful is a practice.  I need to keep it in my mind at all times or I can easily slide into ungrateful complaining about the little irritations in life.

I’ve also noticed a surprising connection between gratitude and fear.  When I’m aligned with gratitude the fear often disappears. 

In fact, it happened today.  I checked our bank account on-line and noticed that there was only $64.00 in checking…$64.00!  That was WAY less than I was expecting.  Minor meltdown.  Deep breath.  Oh, okay, this makes sense.  Lots of extra expenses I had forgotten about.  Okay, now let’s transfer PayPal money over to checking.  Thank goodness for the money I have in PayPal.  Thank goodness someone created PayPal so people can conveniently buy my work from afar and have it delivered to their doorstep.  It opens my market as big as the universe!  Thank you PayPal.  Okay, I also have two checks from my local cooperative art gallery.  I’ll go to the bank today and deposit them.  Thank you Cazenovia Artisans!  I already went grocery shopping, kitchen is stocked.  I am so grateful.  Gas tanks are filled.  Thank you. 

 

One minute, “Oh my God, there is NO money!”  Next minute, “I am so grateful for all that I have.”   My fear turned to gratitude and appreciation.  Thank goodness!

I have already decided that once this project is over and I hold the exhibition and have given all 100 paintings away, I will still continue this active gratitude practice in some way. 

 

I want to keep my grateful heart.  





Introducing Sarah Davies - new guest blogger!

Hailey Bartholomew - Friday, October 07, 2011

I have known Sarah's husband Dan for a few years and I have just started enjoying getting to know Sarah.  What a world changer!   Sarah's boys are also some of the loveliest little people you will meet.  Enjoy this introduction - it is inspiring. Hopefully we will hear from Sarah now and then.    Toni

Introducing Sarah

I’m pleased to share with you this entry of gratitude. I am Sarah Davies, Mum to three little boys and wife to an absolute legend

I’d like to tell you my grateful story. Therefore I have to start by telling you how I first came to be so ungrateful.  I was always positive once. I grew up living in “Fairy land” as mum would say, in love with the simple beauty of life and nature. I loved grass and flowers and the smell of clover and was always deep inside my head lost in a world I can only describe as “happily humming.” I loved to laugh and talk to people and see others laugh. I loved being spontaneous and free and float against the current of what the world decided was normal.  I loved to paint and write and sing and when I think of that person I think of a girl who was never knocked by life’s blows, for she never gave them enough attention to even feel them hit. That was me, that was the young woman my husband met, the woman he married and for a good while that was who everyone around us knew me to be.

In 2008, 3 days after our firstborn’s first birthday and 5 days after our 5th wedding anniversary I lost our second baby at only 10 weeks pregnant. When it happened I was partly not surprised, that motherly intuition told me something was not right all along. However I was surprised by the sting of death and the realization that I was not immune to pain or heartache as I thought I was. With the loss of our baby, I lost my passion for romance, my enthusiasm for spontaneity and my belief in the power of beauty. I lost a baby and somehow I also lost me.

We had our second son a year later yet I was living a little numb. It was like the very ground in which I walked on my entire life had fallen away and instead I was floating through, never really touching anything. Part of me was hateful. I’ll confess that I found my ability to yell in situations where once I’d laugh, I found my ability to use cuss words…. frequently and I found an ability to complain a lot where once I would have said “ It doesn’t matter”. Instead of being a girl who used to unknowingly deflect negativity, I became the breeder of it in my own home. I was like a festering piece of fruit that just got stinkier with every day. We still lived and made plans and had hopes for the future. Only it was like I held everything and everyone at arms length in order not to let anything fully touch me, in case it broke and broke me with it.

Then one day not too long ago, my husband came home after chatting with Toni. He told me about Haley and her Grateful story and I thought to myself “I should try that, it couldn’t hurt me!”

So I picked up a journal and I began my first entry of gratitude and it was like a Lilly bulb that lay dormant inside of me began to stretch a thin green stem toward sunlight. With each day I began looking forward to my entry of gratitude. I began to smile more. I began to laugh again and strangest of all, people starting saying I had a bright face! Only a few weeks into my grateful journey I had four people in one week say what a bright face I had, or “you just seems so bright”. And with that I knew I was on my way to that girl I once was.  It was like I was on drugs! J Grateful drugs.

Like any vitamin supplement…. the longer you take it the better it benefits your body. My first entry was on the 19th of May 2011. That’s 134 journal entries to date, although I haven’t written my entry today.

We now have three beautiful boys and we are about to pack up our house and head off on a crazy adventure to Tasmania, fighting for others against modern day slavery. I’m sitting here and in reflection and today I am grateful for Haley. I am grateful, someone whispered in her ear to be GRATEFUL. I Grateful she listened and began whispering in the ears of others. I am grateful that message reached me and help me shed my skin.

In sorrow and Fear I tucked myself inside a shell, thinking it would save me, only to realise that I was withering beneath it. I am grateful, to be grateful, to realise that this world has so much beauty in it. It just longs to be named and honored. I am so glad to be here. Shedding my skin and starting again.

I realised in the writing of this blog that I have not painted since we lost our baby. Three and a half years and I haven’t picked up a paintbrush. That’s nuts considering I used to sit at my easel whenever I had a moment. I know I’m not quite there yet. I’m still healing. I’m so glad though for the chance to start again and the realisation that healing is within my own hands and easy, if only I let the world be, and simply be grateful within it. Maybe I need to find my paints….

This is me, 



Glad to be Grateful!


365 Grateful - a documentary about the extraordinary power of gratitude.




Guest Post - Amy Gill - Becoming Fearless

Hailey Bartholomew - Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Becoming Fearless

A couple of times a week I have the opportunity to work with my dear friend in her year 7 English class. I always feel blessed to be given the opportunity to step into another teacher’s class and last week was no exception. My friend told me before the lesson that we would be completing a writing task about fear and asked if I had a story of a time I had felt fear to share with the class.

 I couldn’t think of a thing!

I racked and racked my brain and eventually came up with a story about my travels in China. It went something like this:

When I was younger I travelled to China where I worked and studied for a few months. One day my travelling companions and I decided to take a two day trip out of home in Nanjing to explore Huangshan – The Yellow Mountain (part of the largest mountain range in China). We ascended up the mountain by cable car where we stayed the night in a hotel at the top peak before we started our descent down the Western Stairs the following morning. Sounds like a walk in the park right?

The Western Steps are 15km from top to bottom. They are at times so narrow that they will only hold the breadth of one person. (Which is ok unless someone is coming up the other way.) Some parts of the stairs have railings, some parts don’t.  Some parts have ‘railings’ but you and I probably wouldn’t refer to them as that!

So here I am with my four companions ready to descend, a little afraid of heights but I have told myself it can’t be too bad. We want to reach the bottom well before sunset. About half an hour into the trek it starts to rain. We have raincoats so it isn’t too bad. About an hour later it is no longer ‘just rain’ but torrential rain. Water begins to cascade down the cliffs. It flows across the narrow, ancient crumbling staircase, which seems to be clinging for dear life to the side of the mountain. I begin to feel afraid.  Each step is taken slowly, with caution. None of us want to slip of the edge.

To be honest I thought we were going to die that day.

By the time we reached the bottom it was dark, we were hungry, frozen and none of us were talking to each other at all.

“Would you do it again miss?”, asks one of the year 7 kids. “Absolutely”, I say without hesitation. “It was exhilarating”.

On the way home from work I kept pondering this idea of fear. I had difficulty when first asked to come up with a story. Why?

I realised it was because once we have passed through fear we no longer see it as fear.  Instead we see it as an accomplishment, a moment of strength, a glimpse of courage. In a sense, we become fearless.

I actually have faced fear many, many times in my life, (in fact I talk about the most scary time in my life in 365 Grateful), but the fear isn’t what I remember about those times. What I remember is… “I made it”.

So today, I am grateful for fear…

For without fear we wouldn’t have courage,

Without courage we wouldn’t have strength,

And if we never discover our own strength,

How can we possibly know what we are truly capable of?                   by  Amy Gill



 

Standing on the top of Huangshan.