Thankful For Gratitude

Have I always been grateful? I can’t say as I have, but I have never been ungrateful either, if that makes any sense. I’m learning that genuine gratitude is something that comes from a place of conscious effort. Not being ungrateful is something that – in and of itself – can be taken for granted. It’s a state of being, so to speak, like being healthy or even employed. Actually acknowledging, “Hey, I’m healthy,” or “Look at me. I’m employed,” shifts the state of not being ungrateful into one of active gratitude.

IMG_1302I recently attended one of Oprah’s “Live The Life You Want” weekends in Houston, TX, and I literally left feeling changed – as did many of the other men and women who filled the Toyota Center. I’d heard the gratitude message before – even from Oprah herself – but this time it hit home, and I’ve been consciously shifting my perspective since, and with amazing results.

Something magical happens when you stop striving to have and simply strive to be. When it becomes blatantly clear that all you need is right here, right now, your heart overflows, and you begin to feel more fulfilled. Great word, that one: full – filled.

I’m thankful for so much this Thanksgiving: My family, my friends, my health, my work, my apartment, my fridge full of food, my tank full of gas, my plants, my stories, my laugh lines, my toothbrush, my socks, my pillows, my nail file . . . well, you get the picture. Everything. Every little thing. Genuinely.IMG_0441

Take your “not being ungrateful” to another level. See not only the loss of, or the absence of, but – instead – the joy of having had and the presence of abundance that exists now.

I wish each one of you – who I am also grateful for – a joyous and happy Thanksgiving.

Another great word, by the way: Thanks – giving.

**This blog is also available on my website at




Birthday Presence

I passed another milestone last week, and in so doing, found myself reflecting on the past year(s) and wondering what the future holds. Funny (or maybe not so much) how birthdays of my youth were so much more about outward thinking than they are now.

dance on the beach

‘What will I get for presents?’

‘Where will I go to party?’

‘Who will party with me?’

‘How many of us will there be?’

Now it’s more about presence than presents. Just being here is pretty special, and that appreciation has led to a whole new variety of questions:dinner with friends

‘Who are the quality people I most want to spend my day with?’

Or . . .

‘Where can I go on a work night that will allow me to get home at a decent hour and not feel like I danced with a Mack truck?’

That may sound depressing to some, but it’s really not.

I’m blessed to still be here and healthy. No, I’m not old, unless you’re looking at me through the eyes of a child (or a 20 year old birthday girl) but I have reached the age of facing one’s mortality. The newly diagnosed of my generation – close friends among them – seem to be multiplying, and I have learned to appreciate the people I care about with an open heart.

Being long past the age of feeling immortal, and thinking that my generation will last forever, I now make a point of practicing gratitude on a daily basis. True, I’m often too fatigued to fully grab the world by the tail and swing it over my head, anymore, but I do think that I’ve become better equipped at recognizing a decent tail when I see one (mind out of the gutter – I was referring to opportunity).

The key, I’ve discovered, is presence, and I want lots of it. I want it in the conversations I have with friends, the time I spend with family, and the daily task of just being me. I think we should all ask for presence on our birthdays, and we should be generous with it, as it just occurred to me that it’s ultimately the present that we give ourselves.

Bday pic

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Ah . . . The Little Things

I subscribe to a number of blogs, but my favorite delivers a list of five things that the author is grateful for on a daily basis (click here to check it out). I just love it. Short, sweet, and all things positive. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.


This blog also directed me to the website, Grace In Small Things, that has been “waging a battle against embitterment since 2008.” Brilliant! An actual bandwagon that I found myself jumping onto without hesitation. Who knew?

It may not be all that obvious by the content of my posts, but I do have a tendency to play the role of skeptic. Often times, when I’m writing my blogs full of positive reinforcement and encouragement, it’s because I need to hear the words myself. I’m one of the “Rant, rant – mutter, mutter – grumble, grumble” variety, who eventually kicks themselves in the ass while screaming, “Wait just a minute. Things aren’t that bad. Smarten up!” Therefore, this process of finding grace in small things is right up my alley. Wonderful, inspiring reminders. Grumblers beware.

And what am I grateful for today?

  • Breathtaking 66 F/19 C degree weather
  • A happy little dog
  • A night full of mind boggling dreams
  • A day full of soul tingling creativity
  • Websites that remind me how important it is to make lists like this one as often as I possibly can

Click here to order Control Switch

Leana’s blog can also be found on her website at



Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin

That pretty much sums up 2012. Just . . . wow. The best year I think I’ve ever had. Well, so far anyway, but be sure that I’ll try and top it this year and every year after that. In fact, my goal is to look back on the whole journey with the same smile I’m sporting tonight. And why the gleeful grin? Because I’m grateful. Grateful for the generosity of friends and for so many great life lessons, including:

– True friendship spans oceans. Thanks John G.

– Adventures are ongoing. Thanks Shirley M.

– Family is forever family. Thanks Sharon F-M.

– You can dream big and inspire multitudes. Thanks Regan G.

– You can live in the moment and wallow in love. Bless you little Toby.

– You can have absolutely nothing and still exude joy. Thank-you people of Haiti!

SO blessed to have had this past year, and now “onward and upward” as my dear friend, Jenesse, used to say. This year I’ll hold my first novel in my hands (thank-you for your patience) and start my second. I’ll visit favorite cities and explore new ones. I’ll reconnect with special friends and make new ones out of strangers. I also plan to learn everything I can about love and marketing, so feel free to share your wisdom on either.

Most importantly, this year I plan to express my gratitude for the generosity of friends by paying it forward. Giving creates possibility. Possibility creates hope.

CHEERS to a great new year, everyone!

And I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for an entire year. Who knew I had so much to say? (Oh, you know you want to leave a reply now)


** This blog is also available on my website at