Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Grateful Jar

What are you grateful for today?

Christmas 2012, I decided to make Grateful Jars for some of my closest friends. It was a gift that money couldn't buy, made from the heart and something small to let them know how much they mean to me. I decorated mason jars and attached a small label with a task, "write down all the things you are grateful for throughout the year with your family and friends and open the jar at the end of the year to read them." One family in particular "K and K" often open their home to many of us and we all gather there, spending many Friday nights, meals, special occasions and girls nights in their kitchen. The grateful jar comes out at all hours and it became a group grateful jar. Often I would send small slips of paper in the mail to be added to the jar. Surprises and reminders of all things great. This past December, we took our families tobogganing and booked a night where we would open the jar and read all the things our group of friends and K and K's family had been grateful for throughout the year. We included the kids and maybe had to censor a few of the later night thankfulness slips of paper. The kids loved it.  What a joy and honour it was to be able to look back throughout the year, laugh and realize how many wonderful moments we all shared.

The grateful jar at K and K's has taken on a whole new meaning this year in 2014. In fact, K had to discover a larger container to accommodate the growing slips of paper that we all have contributed to the jar. There are so many gifts we are grateful for. Things often taken for granted to me have become something worthy of writing down. Rather than write thank you notes to K and K for all their love and support to me in my recent diagnosis, I have been sending them slips of paper of gratitude and thanks for the love they bring our lives. The 2014 grateful jar has become Michelle's thankfulness and gratitude jar, lovingly stored in a place of honour in the K and K kitchen on Upper Blucher.

Even though I am facing this battle with cancer, I continue to find so many reminders and reasons to be grateful. I need to find the rainbows in the storm. I can't wait to look back in December 2014 and read all the slips of paper outlining my journey and I hope and pray that I will be grateful to be in remission at that time. I would like to share a few gratitudes today, on May 13, 2014.

I am grateful for:

The blessing of Jason being free of the pressures of work during the beginning of my treatment and the soul task of caring for me, I am thankful everyday for him.

The resilience, maturity and independence of my children, who are able to fill in the gaps when I am not able to, cheer me up, and cheer me on. Jordan created scrapbook pages that touched my heart and filled me with pride. She is so strong, much stronger than I give her credit for.

The diagnosis of a cancer that is not only treatable but cureable. There are so many others facing much more difficult prognoses, my heart goes out to them. I am thankful that I will be one of the lucky ones and as the oncologist said, "I have a good cancer to have." (There is no good cancer we know that.)

The number of times that I have heard the words "I Love You". Three words that not everyone uses on a daily basis with friends or even family. You really don't know how loved you are until something like this happens to you. 

 A sense of humour and the ability to find laughter. Whether it's joking about being thankful I was blessed with so much hair (losing my hair is taking longer with me than most) or laughing about some of the not so pleasant side effects I face. I am grateful for friends and my family who can somehow find the exact right time to help me find ways to laugh.

The timing of my cancer treatment in that I get to face this in the sunshine, with my kids off school for part of it, that we can take advantage of our surroundings and I am able to spend some time at the cottage, my parents, the schoolhouse and not looking out into dreary cold and snowy weather. The simple act of going for a walk, watching the birds on my deck in my backyard is therapy for me. 

Lastly, I am thankful for the gift of TIME. Time to spend with my husband. Time to appreciate small things that I was far too busy and took for granted. Time to spend with my parents. Time to spend with my best friends. The bonus weekends and bonus days that I will find throughout my treatment where going to the movies is a big deal or being well enough to go out for dinner is suddenly the highlight of my week. I am thankful for time. This is one thing we all feel we don't have enough of. After I am finished treatment, I know that this will change forever. I will be grateful and much more appreciative of the time I get to spend with all of you.

So ask yourself today, what are you grateful for? 

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