The Joy of Gratitude

I am thankful for so much and to many people. Today I would like to thank four sources for reminding me not only of the importance of gratitude but of the happiness and sense of contentment that accompany the humble who thank others.

Sir Isaac Newton (January 4th 1643- March 20th 1727), who is often regarded as the most influential scientist in history and is most famous for discovering the Laws of Gravity.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of ye giants.”

This is one of my favorite quotes. I find it an excellent reminder to be both humble for “we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants.” -Bernard of Chartres (12th century) and to be grateful. (It is a fitting irony that the most famous of Sir Isaac’s quotes is attributable to yet another older source.)

Barry Neil Kaufman born March 28, 1919 (age 96) A co-founder of the Option Institute and Autism Treatment Center of America. I visited the Option Institute to learn as much as I could about Son-rise therapy for my two autistic sons.

Not only does he list being grateful as one of the six steps to happiness in his book Happiness is a Choice but I also remember reading on the back of one of his books something along the lines that if we could fully see all the gifts that God gives us all our prayers would be songs of gratitude. I didn’t know quite what to make of that idea at first but as the years passed and I began to comprehend the difference between God’s gifts and men’s corruptions, I saw that it was true.

The Color Purple (film 1985) I spent a lot of time wondering that the title line is when Shug tells Celie she thinks “it pisses God off when people pass by the color purple without noticing.” Here is a movie about racism and domestic abuse, about the lower than low status of the black woman in the 1930’s. Why oh why was it named after the color of a field of flowers? I don’t know what was in the mind of Alice Walker when she wrote it, but I found a beautiful truth in the wondering of it. I realized that no matter how oppressed a person is, they can still find happiness by appreciating even the littlest and seemly most insignificant of God’s gifts.

Madame Blueberry (1998) Veggietales cartoon.

My kids and I began watching Veggietales after my daughter brought a video home from school. It was about accepting people who are different and came with a package of popcorn and a family survey. After that, we would pick up another video at the library every week of summer. Madame Blueberry was my absolute favorite, she teaches that happiness can’t be bought at a store. Happiness comes from a thankful heart. When I find my self enjoying doing simple things , like washing dishes or scrubbing floors, I often like to sing the song . . 

I thank God for this day

For the sun in the sky

For my mom and my dad

For my piece of apple pie!


For our home on the ground,

For His love that’s all around

That’s why I say thanks every day!


Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!

I’m glad for what I have

That’s an easy way to start


For the love that He shares,

‘Cause He listens to my prayers,

That’s why I say thanks every day!

Thank you Annie from Veggitales’ Madame Blueberry and thank you all who created and inspired you from the biggest to the smallest.

(728 days to go)


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