Today, my heart is full of gratitude for a number of things, which just goes to prove, yet again, that when we appreciate every little thing, positive or negative, life gets better and better-er.
How wonderful to end this year with a Gratitude post! On Dec 31 2014 I thanked outside the box.
2015 has been a year of collecting smiles, and much more. It has been a year of strengthening friendships, enjoying the kindness of strangers, being appreciated and loved.
Of course there have been tears, but we won’t focus on those right now, except maybe a passing mention. Let’s run through the highlights of each month, shall we?
The year began on a positive note – great blood sugar levels with all the other tests coming in nicely!
Sury and I celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary. We’re grateful for each other.
Got published in an anthology orchestrated by Samantha Redstreake Geary titled Of mists and magic
An oven entered my life (thank you BlogAdda) and thus I made my baking and YouTube debut. So much fun to create!
This month is devoted to my favorite blogging challenge – the April A to Z Challenge and this year, I decided to be different and have a theme, writing letters to my son. I loved it.
At the end of April, a dream came true. I met The Dalai Lama at his residence. Yes, I am still writing that post!
May brought my son’s 12th Grade results. He made us proud by making it to the top 1% in the country, bless him. He worked so hard. I won a washing machine (thanks again BlogAdda!) Actually Sury did. He’s in charge of laundry at home.
I had a delightfully unexpected trip to Ahmedabad along with other bloggers to visit the amazing Tata Sanand manufacturing facility, (thank you Indiblogger!) and the big bonus was meeting my bestest friend, Ravi, while there.
In July, I also had a lovely visit to the international Art of Living Foundation, thanks to an invitation from my friend there.
I’ve always felt July is a unique month for me in terms of life-changing, and this year was no exception. July 18 brought news of my son’s admission into the IISER Mohali for their BSMS dual degree course. I couldn’t stop crying, naturally.
August 1 found us at Vidur’s new home for the next five years. College! Yes, I had more reasons to cry, but of course there were tears of joy as well. I am grateful he is settling in well and adjusting like a champ. Some time in August, I was pleasantly surprised to be included in this top self-development blogs list.
My health blog, Be Healthy, Be Happy won the best health blog award at WIN’15 (Thank you, BlogAdda!). I was on a mission when I started my health blog and this is such great motivation to keep on. It was shortlisted in the top 10, then moved into the top 5. I am humbled that it emerged winner.
Oh yeah, I also turned a full deck of cards this month – and my friend Ravi gifted me this beautiful canvas print.
I admired the photo on Facebook when he posted it and four days later, I was holding the frame in my hands. So grateful and overwhelmed. Come to think of it, Ravi has never once missed my birthday or anniversary since I met him decades ago.
To make this birthday special, I decided to compile an ebook titled “Collecting Smiles” with my blogger-friends’ posts. What was planned as a quick pdf has become a much bigger project as I am now working on making it an Amazon book. I am grateful for my co-authors’ patience and hope to publish it very soon!
My son came home for a week and it was wonderful!
I participated in a wonderful initiative by Mahita Fernandez called Feed Your Neighbor, where the goal was to feed 1 lakh people during Dussera. We did that and more. Here is the whole story. And this activity segued into an ongoing one – HUG – via which we distributed blankets in November.
In October there was a fun blogger meet sponsored by ITC Foods and along with other blogger friends, was thoroughly enjoyable. We even won third prize in a cookout!
We spent the first ever birthday without my son who turned 18. This month also saw both Sury and I coming down heavily with the ‘flu from which we eventually recovered. We were grateful we were safe at home. Also grateful to be included in the Best and Most Inspiring Personal Development Blogs 2016 Awards Nothing like peer recognition. November also saw us worrying about Chennai and working actively to make lives better.
November is incomplete without mentioning the NaNoWriMo. In my fifth year with this writing challenge, I managed to put together a series of short health guides that I hope to see on Amazon this year. I love the writing discipline in this month!
I also committed to posting on Coffee With Mi everyday during November, and did.
December has been very eventful, not the least of which was Mother Nature’s fury, when my home State suffered the worst disaster ever. We got busy from the last week of November when rains literally drowned Chennai, resulting in loss of lives, livelihoods and homes. The disruption was absolute. We were privileged to be involved in relief work. I am grateful I am blessed to have the opportunity to contribute towards making lives better. The relief work is still in progress and will be, for a long time to come.
Several years ago, I got into the habit of starting my day with a prayer of gratitude for everything I have. I do it with more intensity now for the things we take for granted – the air we breathe, our cozy home, food to eat, our beds and all the frills we live with. I will continue to purge and donate surplus items.
December brought my son home for his end-semester 3-week vacation and naturally, we’re thrilled. Even more thrilling was an invitation from his school, inviting us for their Annual Day Function where he received an award for academic performance and cultural activities. I am so grateful this happened when he was visiting. Makes such a big difference!
An unexpected trip to Kolkata for a week was quite delightful and I had an extremely pleasant time.
While in Kolkata, I was very lucky to find a wonderful takeaway restaurant that sent me healthy food every day. If ever you are in Salt Lake City, Kolkata, I highly recommend checking out HomeFlavour. Mr Vikas was wonderfully kind and thoughtful and made sure I ate on time by sending me delicious homecooked food. He even called me to discuss my preferences. (Hi Vikas!).
It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving
I am especially grateful for gifts I’ve received this month. These were in the form of experiences, interactions, love and thoughtfully chosen things.
We played Secret Santa at the BAR and thoroughly enjoyed the guessing games and interactions that came along with it. So much fun to see the ingenious ways that gifts were sent with Shailaja and Sid providing clever clues in verse when it was time to guess!
December is also a month when I like to take stock of and I was excited to receive a fabulous gift- I took it as a sign from the Universe. Here’s what I got:
I am excited to own Leonie Dawson’s 2016 shining year workbook. I’ve been a subscriber for the last two years and am a big fan of her message and art. This year I figured I’d get myself one and folks, this one is absolutely awesome and I love it. I am going to do my best to make 2016 memorable and you can too. As the year unfolds, I’ll share my experience with it. I signed up as an affiliate and if you are ready to shine, order your 2016 shining year workbook/bundle here. Any commission I earn will go to charity.
I have steadily increased my contributions to my favorite charities and welfare homes. I am thrilled to also be sponsoring children now.
There is much much more to be grateful for!
My gratitude circle automatically includes:
- Family and friends
- Strangers who were kind
- The quiet people who emailed me regularly
- Clients who were wonderful, and continue to be.
- Meeting blogger friends – so much fun!
- Skype conversations with friends who are geographically far but have permanent residence in my heart.
- Authors and publishers who got in touch.
- Fantastic books I’ve added to my library
A very special thank you to Vanita Cyril, who has been a constant support in everything I did, motivating, encouraging. She rocks like nobody can.
2015 has also been a year of great learning.
I’ve been consciously practicing the following.
- To focus on the people who love and care for me
- To take time off to relax
- To see hurdles as a blessing
- To see goodbyes with a positive mind
- To live in the present moment
- To appreciate every little thing
- To view my diabetes as a timely nudge to take better care of myself and my family
- To let go of worries and hurt
- To keep my heart open
- To give at every opportunity I get
Never forget that walking away from something unhealthy is brave, even if you stumble a little on your way out the door. – Mandy Hale
I have also learned:
- Not to stress over things and people. Things work out. If they don’t, this too shall pass.
- Not to set the alarm without my glasses on. I can’t read the am-pm and end up depending on my biological clock, which, usually dependable, becomes lazy on the one day the alarm didn’t go off.
- Not to put off important things. That includes the little things.
- To let go of the things that don’t make me happy.
- To put up the “no entry” sign to people who rush into my mind with their dirty feet.
- To say No. It feels good. And makes life brighter.
- To simplify life
- To be patient
- To focus on my health
More than anything, I’ve been practising mindful living – living in the moment, for we know not what tomorrow might bring. Change has been a constant, and I am deeply grateful for all the learning that it brought me.
I am all set to make 2016 a very memorable year.
I have a goals list – that I call a wish list. I’ve set myself deadlines. I have accountability partners to motivate me. I am going to make it my mission to do my best to achieve them. I’ll share each victory as it happens.
I am looking forward to a great year of blogging and writing, and of course, publishing.
My message to you today is:
Hug a Friend Today
Best friends are treasures.
Hug them for their caring.
Applaud their accomplishments.
Laugh with them gratefully.
As I sign off with a group hug to you all, I want you to know I love you.
I wish you a very happy and fantastic 2016!
“I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.”
Join the December Gratitude Circle bloghop. Participate with your own gratitude post and add your post link to the linky below.
Please note: From next month, I’ll be hosting The Gratitude Circle bloghop alone and look forward to your continued support.