Tuesday, November 12, 2013 • 9:59 AM Post a Comment

This Gratitude Business

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

I’ve written about how other years I’ve found the thirty days of gratitude challenges somewhat amusing, because I have long “gotten” the concept that gratitude improves your life. It’s a tool: to see the half-full glass more clearly and to see more clearly. The mindfulness people probably would agree with me about this. I like it though, reading people’s status updates about what they feel grateful about on any given day (this month).

My first foray into this kind of structured gratitude happened organically—with my kids, and it was “three good things” and it didn’t even have quotes. I’d have the kids tell me three good things from the day. Sometimes we did this on the walk home from school; other times when we were lying down at bedtime together for a pre-sleep snuggle. For one year, my third guy’s good thing from school always included recess.

I’ve folded a little gratitude structure into blog posts over the years—and I have a tiny mindfulness thing (not that I thought of it that way when it began, nor do I think that each morning) at Twitter (over there I am @standshadows), where I look out the window to the morning sky (#Sky) every day. I love that moment. It’s a deep breath first thing.

All of this is preamble to say that it’s the last day of this season’s Tuesday Market. I count this particular farmers’ market and my warm friendships with the farmers as one of my deep pleasures throughout spring, summer and fall. If you recall, the SNAP (food stamps) benefits are doubled at this market. You probably remember the PIE contest. You saw—I hope—our video (with thanks to Stephen Richardson and Chris Landry) in support of our Indiegogo campaign, again to benefit FoodStampsX2. If you missed all of this but love the idea that people who care raise money to ensure access to the cutest market ever—and in so doing make food accessible and support local farmers, you can donate now. We would like to meet our goal for 2014 before the first stalls are set up in April.

Part of what makes this so special to me is that I cared enough to jump in—and was rewarded by the satisfaction of what it means to make an effort. I wholly support you in your community efforts, or your efforts to do right by a friend in need. These things count. They may get you little glory, but you know you did something that mattered and in that way, you made the world a little better. Go for it.

Photo of these Market kids and the most beautiful pie: Ben James

Along with my gratitude for Tuesday Market, I am really grateful for the yoyo people—at A2Z and Yoyo Expert and Remy’s pals in my dining room. It’s amazing how much focus and passion and friendship and joy all these orbs and strings bring to my guy. This week I’m also grateful for the many moments that were hard and required a breath, a reframe, and a statement of faith—words like “I know we can work this out,” even when the how-to is unclear still. Lui Collins sang a song that has the line, “The only way out is through.” That works so much better when you believe it and believe in the process—and your people.

Three to share: I wrote two essays other places, yesterday at Brain, Mother, the blog of Brain, Child (that’s backwards isn’t it? The magazine came first, but hey) about driving my teenage kid to the polls and elections and values. I could stick in a grateful that I don’t seem to have to drive my kids to the mall. I also wrote about getting mad followed by an apology (mine) with my kids over at Kveller last week. My pal Molly Hatch’s Etsy shop goes back online today—jubilation for her fans (I’m one!). Finally, Bob Graham—I’ve taught Saskia to say we have an author/illustrator crush on him—has a new one that I’d only like more had I gotten the English publisher version so it said “Mum” versus “Mom” but in any case I love it: The Silver Button. It’s a gentle moment of a story, in which nothing really happens. No surprise I love it: stories in which nothing happens was the topic of my graduate school thesis (fiction writing).

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