gratitudeIt’s that time of year…everybody’s talking about being thankful. “What are you thankful for this year?” “List the top ten things you are thankful for!” We are “tweeting” it, “Facebooking” it,  all day long.

It’s good to stop and remember and realize how much we have to be thankful for. At least most of us do.

But what if you don’t feel you have much or anything to be thankful for? Maybe you have lost your way and your hope.

I am all about gratitude. I am a yoga teacher. I end most every class, everywhere, with a “moment of gratitude”. For some of my students, it’s easy. They probably get distracted with the listing of all of their blessings. For others, like my kids at the mental hospital, some of them with their bandaged wrists and arms, they may not be able to find much to be thankful for on a Thursday morning. I implore them to “think of just one thing, right now, in this moment”.

That’s all any of us really have, this moment.

I love yoga, I love people, and I love God. He says, “Be thankful in all things” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18). That is hard. I cannot always do this. But I keep trying. I will keep leading others to try to find even “just one thing”, if not more.

According to an article out of Harvard Medical School, focusing on gratitude can increase a person’s health and improve their overall state of mind, causing them to actually report feeling happier. Experiencing and expressing gratitude to one’s partner is reported to increase the quality of the relationship and make communication better and easier. The list goes on. It’s worth trying, and it doesn’t cost any money. The benefit would seem to outweigh the cost, the effort.

However sometimes the effort is great, and the work is hard.

Here’s something to think about: When you look back on tough times, can you sometimes see the blessing in the struggle? It seems it is often the times of adversity that cause us the most growth. We strive for prosperity and happiness, but often the daily grind, and even the painful times, are the ones that grow us, develop our character, and make us who we are.

Perhaps there was a situation,  or even an entire season that was hard, but the passage of time has brought you a gift. Time has enabled you see the storm was purposeful.  Maybe you are better, stronger, “cleaner”, or clearer after the deluge. Maybe you  have more gratitude and appreciation because of the hard time.

It’s a simple, perhaps silly, example, but there was a time I had 4 small children, and was living in the inner city in a two-bedroom apartment without a laundry room. I had to walk across 6 lanes of traffic with large black trash bags full of laundry and the 4 small children once a week. I had either a stroller or a little upright shopping cart to get my cargo to our destination. I’ll never forget the day a bra fell out in the middle of the street. Laundry day was long and hard. It was very physical, hot, sweaty work, with snacks, crayons, Matchbox cars, home school work to organize, and children to keep safe. There were even diapers to change. All of this against the backdrop of Jerry Springer on the TV, bulging pockets full of $20.00 worth of quarters, gritty laundry detergent on the floor and counters, and the sounds and soapy smells of the washing, transferring, drying, folding, and organizing of clothes and linens into piles, then into clean trash bags, and back across the street.

I did it, we did it–multiple times. I’m not even sure what my kids remember. I know they often thought it was fun. We shared our snacks and coloring books. We made friends.

I now have 5 kids, and thankfully, they are old enough to help with, or even do, their own laundry. Yet, it is never done. There is always more to do. It’s a lot of work, and I do not enjoy it. However, I am thankful for clothes, for the kids, and truly thankful for my washer. I will never again take it for granted.

There have been many things through the years that have been hard. Some of them make inner city laundry look easy. I can honestly say I am thankful. I am grateful for what the storms have created in my heart and mind. The hardships have all worked together to make me a better person.

Peace and Lavender



RENEWAL: the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again;
the state of being renewed.

A note of thanks to the season:
Welcome Spring, I am so glad to see you. Bare, brown branches extend their arms, and now display shiny green leaves, holding little clusters of flowers in their once gnarled fingers. The carpet of brown, dry grass has turned green and soft. It feels good under my bare feet. Your warm sun feels comforting on my face and shoulders. I am excited to see your wildflowers popping up like sprinkled confetti along the grey highways and open fields.

Many of us feel grateful…even hopeful. This season, more than any other, seems to signify a sense of renewal. All around us, at least in nature, things seem new, fresh, and strong.

A charge:
What can we do—me and you? What can we do to experience renewal in our lives? How can you bring in something new and fresh? How do you feel stronger mentally, emotionally, physically?

Can you add to your yoga practice? Or maybe start a yoga practice? Maybe you could just try one new pose that you never thought you could do. You could mediate. We all know it’s good for us…even just a few minutes a day. We can eat more veggies…and less sugar.  And we can be present. Be in the moment…with our children, our partners, ourselves. Perhaps we could smile more.

A thought:
Would we try harder if this was our last Spring? A dear friend of mine is living like it is her last. She has lived a long, full life, and now she faces cancer. She is battling. Cancer is winning. She knows, yet she lives with a renewed spirit. She is strong in many ways. She hurts, she coughs, she winces. Her lungs are angry, old and tired.

But she is not. She is somehow radiant. She smiles with me and my children. She listens and is present for all of our stories. She sits on the patio and enjoys the springtime sun, the flowers, the breeze. She does not complain. She walks in gratitude. I have learned many things from her. In this precious season of her life, I am learning that it is never too late for renewal.

May Spring support and nurture you. May the green grass and bright blossoms remind you, and invite you, to seek and find the places you need renewal in your life.

Peace & Lavender


Welcome to Yogiolio!

This is a place to come and learn about yoga, essential oils, and other goodness.

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I am a passionate girl with lots of thoughts and words…so get ready for it!

I hope I can teach, inspire, encourage and share lots of love with my readers.

I am hoping many of you will interact, and teach me as well.

Thank you for stopping by…really, thank you so much.  I hope you stay awhile.

And I truly hope I help your day, or your journey be a little sunnier, a little richer, and

maybe give you something new to think about.

Peace & Lavender