Posts Tagged With: abundance

What’s Missing?

I wrote this post on Tuesday. Specifically for Gratituesday. And then I couldn’t make myself finish it, or push the publish button. I suppose because it’s the kind of irritating writing I don’t like to read, especially when my day-to-day life seems composed of nothing but uphill struggles and crap to muck through.

Let’s be honest here, shall we?

It’s not always easy to see past difficulties and troubles in life and count blessings or feel grateful. Why is that? Lack of perspective? Lack of sleep? Lack of understanding?

The inability to feel gratitude, to notice and appreciate the good and great things about my life occasionally overtakes me and then I feel miserable.

Sometimes, on Tuesdays I feel almost like I’m bragging, although I don’t mean to. Sometimes on Tuesdays I feel embarrassed by the abundance I have in my life.

And then sometimes on Tuesdays I struggle to find something I feel grateful for. And then I feel ashamed that I could feel that way.

Just one tiny spot on the planet where poverty thrives.

One tiny spot on the planet where poverty thrives.

By any measure, particularly on a global scale, my life is one of riches, comfort, ease, wonders and glorious blessings. Even the poorest person in my city is better off than most of the world. Compared to eighty percent of the people on this planet I am a wealthy person.

Maybe I need to convince myself when I’m having a bad day, when the bills pile up, when the troubles I face feel extra daunting. If that’s the case maybe I should look at what’s missing and what’s not missing in my life.


  • I’m not homeless.
  • I’m not hungry.
  • I don’t wonder about fuel to cook with or light at night.
  • I don’t fear reprisals if I voice my opinions or disagree with authority.
  • The air I breathe isn’t contaminated or polluted or making me ill.
  • Little restricts me if I choose to travel.
  • No major disease riddles my body or challenges my health or life.
  • Access to all sorts of information isn’t restricted or filtered.
  • I’m not persecuted for my religious beliefs.

Not Missing:

  •  I have food in the pantry.
  • Clothing choices abound, as do shoes.
  • Clean running water comes into my house with ease.
  • I’m safe in my neighborhood and in my city.
  • A variety of transportation is readily available.
  • If I really need medical care I can find a way to get it.
  • I’m able to communicate with extended family easily and quickly.
  • I can read and write, and so can my children.
  • Growing up I had two parents and siblings and everything I needed.
Not my neighborhood.

Not my neighborhood.

All of that reads like fairly basic, and almost silly stuff that just seems commonplace and ordinary. It’s only basic in some limited parts of the world, and even then only in some parts of some cities. The whole world isn’t like where I live and work and play and write. Hardly. I live in a utopia, a wonderland, a bubble.

I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh, real poverty could never happen here in America, not now, not anymore.”

I cringe when I hear such isolated and naïve talk.

To those who think such thoughts I say this:

Drop by a food pantry sometime. Volunteer for a day or two. Talk to a few of the people who come in for help. Open your eyes.

Google this term: “Countries at War.” Enjoy that reading. Or look up “Global Poverty” then look around you. Want a more realistic comparison? Then just ask your search engine to look at  “Poverty in the U.S.”

Sometimes we just don’t see the gloriously green forest all around us because the tree we’re banging our sad little head on gets in the way of our view. I’m one of those most guilty of such behavior.

Blessed beyond measure. That’s me!

Grateful for it all? You’re dang right!

I hope your view turns out as spectacular or better than mine.


“May our effort, confidence and concern for others be the altar from which we pray for personal abundance.” ~Laura Teresa Marquez

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, The World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blooming in a Drought

My Poinciana tree.

My Poinciana tree.

It’s Gratituesday! See this tree? Yes, it’s a tree, not a bush. It’s called a Poinciana. It’s died twice, well, practically died, I suppose. It’s very frost sensitive. When we get our one or two hard frosts each winter, regardless of my heroic efforts to cover it in sheets, water it deeply and protect it from the damaging freeze, it takes a major hit. Two years ago it certainly had died. All those lush leaves turned brown and fell off, while the branches also kind of curled up at the ends. I pruned when Spring arrived, not terribly hopeful of anything coming of it. When, lo and behold, a second trunk shot out of the ground beside the first dead one, produced copious branches and became a full leafed six foot tree by summer. Amazing.

This past winter, in spite of my best efforts, it froze again, although not as badly. The center and underside stayed green and leafy, only the tops froze. So the tree got shorter, but fuller. Even with a mild spring and plenty of water it hasnt gotten any taller. It really looks like a massive bush now.

What does any of this have to do with what I’m grateful for this Tuesday?

I’ve been looking out my back window every day for a week now, watching the branches and leaves on this stunning tree wave in the breeze. Reminds me of a long green velvet robe undulating behind someone running across an expanse.

Look closer at the bottom of the photo. See my nearly dead grass. That’s with regular watering. Nothing I do will revive it. I hope it makes it through the summer.

This tree, thriving and surviving and growing and showing off in the breeze, does so in the midst of a desert. Rocks, harsh temperatures, the driest of dry humidity,  and very little care. I wonder if it knows how rare and beautiful it is. I wonder if it recognizes how rich and abundant its life appears.

I feel that way about my own life. I live, by any measurable standard, a rich, wildly free, abundant life. In spite of a drought I have water available.

That joke people are always throwing out about “first world problems” isn’t really funny. It’s meant to shine some perspective on our ridiculously abundant lifestyle.

I have nothing to whine or complain about. Nothing.

I have all I need. I have most of what I want. I have more than enough and then some. Lately, I’m almost ashamed at how rich my life is.

But instead of shame, I feel immense gratitude. And naturally, along with that feeling rides a desire to give back, to share, to help, to spread the wealth.


Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments


It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m more thankful than I’ve felt in ages. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that I fight back tears as I think over the overflowing abundance my life consists of.

Then I wonder if it comes across as bragging or something like it. That’s surely the last thing I want to communicate.

Maybe I worry about that because it’s been a year filled with amazement, miracles, blessings, luck, joy, happiness and most of the good things you could imagine life might hold for a person. It’s been an unusual year.

A normal year for me usually feels like a mountain climb above the tree line without extra oxygen and the food and water nearly gone. Throw in only gray rocks for scenery and a dark ominous sky, then add hundreds of switchbacks and no end in sight to the hardscrabble. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but like most of you, my life isn’t a walk in the park every day.

Sure, I manage to find the hidden and the obvious good and happy things in a year like that, but that doesn’t negate the daily battle or the toll it exacts on me.

So to have experienced an unprecedented year of abundance in almost every facet of my life stuns me. I’ve included a few photos of recent beauties and wonders that might just barely begin to explain, where my words fall so pitifully short.

I only hope you find your life at least as richly filled with the joys of life as I have this past year.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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