Home Gratitude Grateful By Default, Grateful By Design #GratitudeCircle

Grateful By Default, Grateful By Design #GratitudeCircle

by Vidya Sury December 28, 2017 30 comments
Gratitude transforms life. #Gratitude #gratitudecircle #bloghop

Someone asked me how I have a whole bunch of things to list in my gratitude posts. Well—here’s my secret. My gratitude journal. I write in it on a daily basis and it becomes a record of happy/grateful times. All I have to do to write a post is the manual version of control+c and control+v.

Of course, I am also glad that I have a camera and love taking pictures—this helps me capture memories. Just as well, considering that as I grow older, I need mnemonics to GPS me down nostalgia lane, which is one of my all-time favorite destinations.

To say that 2017 has been tumultuous, exciting, traumatic, busy—all at once—would be an understatement. But I guess each one of us has her own version of this. After all, that’s what life is all about. Sometimes the ups and downs balance each other, sometimes they take longer. In the end, they do.

So, onward to the last Gratitude Circle post for this year

For 2018, I’ve got this super-jazzy journal that looks almost edible and too good to use. But I will enjoy writing in it. I’ll probably use a pencil, you know, so I can erase any typos. Also, have a huge stationery fetish. Enough of that.

Like last year, when I looked back to move forward, I am going to pick special moments from each month’s gratitude circle post this year, since my posts are practically monthly roundups.

Let’s go!

January began, smiling in gratitude

Gratitude Circle January 2017 Vidya Sury

I started the year determined to focus on the good stuff and that, to me, meant minimizing time spent online. I took time to stand and stare. I started the year with travel, just as I’ll be doing this weekend. Don’t laugh, but I found the cutest pair of coffee pants. Jan was also the month when I won the Orange Flower Award 2017 for the Wellness Writing category. So wonderful. I spent the month purging all my extras—still on the job. What takes years to accumulate does not disappear overnight, you know.

February, that short but crazy month had my gratitude journal overflowing

Feb 2017 Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

We celebrated our wedding anniversary, a day now tinged with a wee bit of sadness, as the day before is my mom’s death anniversary. We miss her all the time.

In Feb, I was invited to cover the Global Investors Summit at Ranchi, Jharkhand and got featured on TV and in the newspaper. Fabulous trip. I connected with an old classmate for the first time after 1979. What a feeling.  Even as my cup runneth over, I received a print copy of the book I contributed a chapter to, followed by an email with a princely royalty of $45.

Feb Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

Eventful and exciting! Also got featured in the Top Parenting Blogs That Rock the Web – always nice to be noticed!

March brought a rude wakeup call in the form of a massive shocker

A wake up call Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

Lightning struck, literally, taking my system, my backup hard disks that were connected to it at the time, and my router. In short, I lost all my data, including the backups. Long story short, I had to start from scratch with a new system, a new router. I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I lost all my work. All my photos. That was the moment when gratitude came to my rescue. I focused on what I had, rather than what I had lost—which is a heck of a lot compared to millions of others on this planet.  As if that wasn’t enough, I had problems with PayPal which eventually got resolved. Because what goes down bounces back up. I promised myself that I would stay cool, be mindful. And grateful!

The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.

April was all about what really matters

Gratitude Circle. Expect Nothing Appreciate Everything. Vidya Sury

I struggled to piece my work back together. The month’s highlights were some travel, doctors’ visits, participating in the A to Z Challenge, and the usual routine stuff.  I focused on the little things with gratitude. Life does go on, no matter what, eh? I also started a new project: Project Inner Peace. Try it. You’ll love it.

May put me back in touch with my soul

In touch with my soul. Vidya Sury May Gratitude Circle blog hop

After all, summer was starting and my son was going to do his summer project from home. I still didn’t have a computer to work with and was managing with my rather slow laptop—but I concentrated on spending time with my son, cooking, enjoying outings and generally being happy. I was thrilled that The Diabetes Council reached out to me to collaborate on a post that involved answering a few questions in relation to blogging about diabetes, along with 34 bloggers. Here is the post. May is also the month when our dental visit saga began. It goes on still. Just grateful we can afford treatment. Each day may bring its share of crazy, but life is definitely better when we focus on the good stuff.

June was all about Gratitude and Service Therapy

Gratitude and Service Therapy June Gratitude Circle Bloghop Vidya Sury

My version of the newly-introduced GST. It was a month spending time with family, the joy of having my son home for the summer, good news, sad news, bad news, girlfriend dates, watching movies, reading, working, cooking, book launches, repairs galore…and so on. I also blogged less here, although I was writing daily. Six blogs, ya know. Then, I was featured in an interview here. That was fun!

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can.

So in July, I tried to make my own normal

Making my own normal Vidya Sury Gratitude Circle

We followed by family tradition by taking turns to fall sick, thanks to the heavy rains. We also managed to have a good time—that’s easy when we’re together. We cooked a lot, binge-watched TV, and the end of the month got busy with Income tax filing. We managed to take a short trip together to Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. We spent wonderful times with friends. Also, this blog turned 14!  Can you imagine? My heart is filled with gratitude.

In August, I was Zentenced to Gratitude

Zentenced to Gratitude Vidya Sury

It was a very pleasant place to be. My son started his third year of college and we slowly got back into our routines. I sincerely practice the AEIOU process I’ve written about earlier. The month also saw heavy floods across various parts of the country, including where my son lives and we worried like crazy as they were confined to their campus for more than a week. In August, I was invited for the Women Writers Fest as part of the blogging and social media panel and spent an enjoyable morning interacting with interesting people. The month wasn’t without its downs, but I love how, in the long run, I prefer to remember the good times.

September, my birthday month

Gratitude must be part magic, for when I fill my heart with gratitude, anything is possible

I couldn’t help thinking for the nth time that gratitude is my magic potion.  My son wrote me a beautiful poem, as did Sreeja, my friend. I also reconnected with a college friend after 30 years! The rest of the month was crowded with hospital visits and catching up with work whenever we could. Hospitals are major time-sucks—but you already know that. But I’ve learned to enjoy catching up on my reading there since there’s no network or signal in the building. I’ve learned to feel grateful for the forced rest.

October found me basking in the cozy warmth of gratitude

“Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.” #GratitudeCircle Vidya Sury

Although, a major part of the month seemed to go by in a blur. I had the ‘flu, and as a result watched a bunch of movies, lounging on the sofa. There were hospital visits. It was also the month of Navratri,  a blogger meet, Twitter lockouts,  being offline a lot, and repair work. I was grateful for hot water, soup, working from home and oh, time. Lots of it. My son was home for a week and that made everything alright! I felt intensely grateful for my angel Vanita Cyril, who, while I was sleeping, installed the SSL certificates on all my six blogs and moved them to https, then took care of all the related stuff that needed to be done and ensured that all my blogs are now secure with https addresses.

November.  Present Perfect

Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.

And big month! My son turned 20. No matter how many times I say it, it is still taking getting used to! Grateful that he is kind and compassionate and proud that he chose to celebrate by giving his hostel workers a treat. I was also thrilled to make a trip to my favorite city to attend the 5th National Health Writer’s Convention, which was a great experience, as usual. Things were good on the work front, with two of the books I had been editing going to print. I gained a new client and I am so looking forward to sustained work from them. Oh yes, the month has been interspersed with hospital visits. I tip my hat to my husband who is cheerful through it all even if I rant occasionally. Our internet has been iffy, motivating me to get on with housework. I painted half my kitchen and hope to complete the other half next month. Thanks to being disconnected, I was more connected with the things I enjoy—reading, TV, writing. November is National Novel Writing Month and I validated at 103K words around my manuscript “Let’s show diabetes who’s boss—for diabetics, by a diabetic.

December. Grateful by design and grateful by default

My son has been home for three weeks, which means the sun shines brighter, and I am happy no matter what. We had a lovely trip to Tirupati last week—about which I’ll write later. Twice a week, his music teacher drops by to teach him. I am amazed at her attitude as always. Of course, she loves her student and is determined that he should learn a particular raga during this visit. Those evenings are filled with music and it is a treat to hear them sing.

Another highlight this month is the publication of a book to which I contributed a chapter: The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude by Laura Tong.

Of course, we’ve had our usual internet woes and a bunch of other issues. One day I tripped and fell, spilling boiling milk on my hand and bruised my elbow and knee and twisted my ankle.  Still recovering, but I’ve learned to stay cool and enjoy what I have. You know what they say about worrying being like a rocking chair–something to do but gets you nowhere.

Ah, I am a wee bit sobby as we’re busy packing for my son to return to college the day after tomorrow. Sigh. Still, grateful for the technology that keeps us in touch.

All in all, a great year, just like every year! 

On the writing front, I was published in two books and contributed to several round-up posts

On the work front, the inflow has been steady. I am proud I have the confidence to say no sometimes.

On the health front, I am cruising over the ups and downs and not stressing over it.

On the home front, the two-year-old repairs issue with the neighbors upstairs has now ended with them moving out and repairs almost done.

The pigeons still sneak into our balcony, regardless of the net. I am no longer bothered by it.

My ISP continues to conspire to keep me offline and that’s a-okay.

And oh, made some great trips this year.

And #YesIDidIt!

Grateful By Default, Grateful By Design #GratitudeCircle

I am so grateful to my family and friends who help me hold my life together.

And of course, special mention of Vanita, who does it on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. Love her!

I am looking ahead at an amazing 2018 with a grateful heart.

I have miles to go before I sleep.

I’d love to know how your year/December went.

Do share in the comments.

Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

Welcome to the December Gratitude Circle blog hop.

Write your post, add the badge.

Say hello in the comments.

Then add your post link to the linky below.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who links up regularly! ♥

Happy 2018!

Now place your hand on mine below and feel the love!

Grateful By Default, Grateful By Design #GratitudeCircle

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Kala Ravi December 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I like the idea of jotting down daily notes of gratitude and compiling them later. Since I’ve been fortunate enough to be gifted several journals this Christmas, this seems the ideal way to use them. Of course a pencil for the entries! You’ve had an amazing year, sure a few things that pulled you down but your resilience pulled you back. Kudos on the milestones. Having your son around must be wonderful. Enjoy your time with him. Best wishes for an amazing 2018. Love your posts for the positivity they bring.

Shilpa Gupte December 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Each year has its ups and downs, and every ‘up’ and ‘down’ teaches us to be thankful for everything we have been blessed with. Something that you do on an everyday basis! That’s wonderful, Vidya!
I hope and pray that the new year brings along with it good health and happiness and peace of mind to you and your family!
Loved the quotes! <3

Shilpa Garg December 28, 2017 at 9:55 pm

YOU ARE AWE-INSPIRING, VIDYA!! Simply love your commitment and sunny and positive outlook towards life despite the challenges! I write in my gratitude journal on and off, but you have inspired me to make it a daily habit. Thanks for the nudge and will join you for the Gratitude Circle from January! Wishing you a fabulous 2018 🙂

Esha December 28, 2017 at 10:48 pm

Lovely post, Vidya. Your writing always leaves me with a very positive message and an inspiration to take life head-on, no matter what comes my way. What a mixed year you’ve had … but, well done with how you turned it all to your advantage even after the setbacks. Congratulations on the milestones! I hope you continue to achieve greater heights in 2018 too! Happy New Year!

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com December 28, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Hi Vidya! What a wonderful look back at 2017. You do indeed have so very much to be grateful for and I loved how you shared it with all of us. Yeah, we all have ups and downs but when we share the ups with others we are all lifted. Thank you! And I ADORE the quote, “The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.” May 2018 to a better, happier, more peaceful one for us all. ~Kathy

Vanessa December 29, 2017 at 3:39 am

Thanks Vidya for for your dedication and comittment to our sisters !! We, from our busy lives with our families, forget to express gratitude and pen our words on paper ! Thanks for bringing this back to us ! I Always used to write , poems , affirmations , thoughts etc , but thank you for engaging us Aagain in this great art form !! I commit to myself to be as dedicated to write and reflect my daily , weekly , monthly and yearly thought on paper !! I found an beautiful journal book with a brooch on it at Burlington’s ! I am def. getting it !!! Stay safe and be blessed ! Happy holidays !!

Penny's human dad, Gary December 29, 2017 at 6:51 am

Hey Vidya, indeed, a thoughtful stroll though your past year. Like you, my kind friend, even when situations can appear to be negative, I’m grateful for the positive aspects that eventually discover.

Wishing 2018 to be a truly wonderful year for you, Vidya.

Gary 🙂

Shalini December 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Hi five, Mam. You are an inspiration. I’m so glad that you had a great year and that you could adopt the right attitude to negative stress. Love the quotes! Wish you a happy 2018, Mam 🙂

Akshata December 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm

thats a lovely round up post. some amazing things you did in 2017. More than anything I am in awe of your spirit Vidya.. the way you absorb the good and bad with such an awesome attitude. Here’s to a wonderful rocking 2018. So glad to have got to know you and joined the gratitude circle. Linking up soon

Sanch @ Sanch Writes December 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm

So wonderful to hear about your year. I love your optimism and zest for life and hope some of it can rub off me 🙂 You really do know how to look at the silver linings. I must admit, when I do my weekly ’10 things that made me happy’ post, I do feel so much better as I’m making an effort to be grateful for the little things. Hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you!

Rachna Parmar December 31, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Did you get my big Hi-five! Thank you, Vidya, for initiating me on this journey of gratitude. I’ve written a gratitude post every month this year and I feel richer for it. Though I don’t maintain a gratitude journal, I must start on it. I am trying to inculcate this habit in the younger son too. It is so easy to get carried away by negativity that we see around us. Like every time, I love to read each post of yours. It feels like you are sitting across from me and sharing your month with a smile on your face and eyes twinkling and with a cup of coffee in your hand. 🙂 Wish you a beautiful 2018! Keep spreading smiles.

G Angela January 1, 2018 at 12:52 am

Hi Vidya 🙂 Congratulations to you,” you are a wonder women” with so much of energy and enthusiasm, I have enjoyed the journey of the gratitude circle by writing every month and it was such a pleasure for myself and also to connect with you. I do not write in a diary, but yes I keep jotting down in a gratitude folder so that I do not forget, and yes keep collecting pictures as and when I can. Loved reading this 365 days round up and a great flash back with lovely colorful images. Thanks for the initiative and hope to continue with the same spirit in the coming year. Wishing you a great 2018 and wish you health, happiness, harmony and fulfillment to you and your family !!

shilpa January 1, 2018 at 6:33 am

Lovely flashback of 2017. Vidya I thank you once again for inspiring me to write the gratitude posts, there are times when I would not post a single blog post in a month but the gratitude post was one thing I did not want to miss. Thank you Vidya, you are a wonderful woman.

Ramya Abhinand January 1, 2018 at 9:49 am

A yearly round up such as this is a pleasure to read indeed! A steady year indeed for you and a great end to it! Congratulations on the win! Truly deserved. I am so glad I have started doing your gratitude post. Hope to continue it in the years to come!!
Cheers Vidya!

Birgit January 1, 2018 at 10:39 pm

My goal..one of them, is to visit this beautiful blog because 8 fell on my butt and feel bad about this one. I realized that I did not accomplish much due to the severe pain. I had no idea how much pain I truly was in because the good news is that I am better! In October I went to a pain clinic and get Lydacain infusion plus I am now on medical marijuana..I take .2 mg of the CBD 3 times a day and .2mg of the THC once per day. I believe this has truly helped. I can now do groceries and not come back crying. I can dust and do more without having to sit down and feel a the extreme pain for the rest of the day. It is an ongoing issue like your diabetes but I remain hopeful and will persist…just like you. August was difficult because I was the only one at work due to vacations and illnesses which made it beyond stressful. My mom became ill with pneumonia and we were told her lungs have atrophied and actually gotten smaller plus she has something in her lung but there is nothing one can do now. We thought, for sure, she would pass away by October and then, suddenly, she rallied! She has been great and has surprised us, the nurses and staff but I cherish each moment I have with her because of her health. She is in a wheelchair now so she is a big part of my life. She has had some clear thoughts of living upstairs at my home but she has looked at me a few times and didn’t know who I was until she looked at me very close up and then knew who I was. In September I got pneumonia myself so that sucked as well. December, I had a beautiful Christmas because, my health is good, my mom is here, I took time off and enjoyed every moment. I plan to blog more, craft more, walk more and lose weight! Through all of this, I plan to cherish every day a bit more, cherish my family and friends. Whew! You have had a year but one filled with many ups as well. You should be proud of yourself because your son is such a good child. I see many children who have entitlement issues and are disrespectful but your son is great and loves you very much. This is wonderful in my book. So here is to a New Year and May it be blessed

Angel Stew & Devil's Brew January 2, 2018 at 7:17 am

Vidya, on my gratitude list is YOU! You are inspiring and funny and you keep it real and I can feel the warmth flowing thru the computer screen. I am sending not just high 5 but great big hugs to you and lots of love, thoughts and prayers. Happy New Year, my friend. May 2018 bring to you all that is good and wonderful in this crazy world we live in. 🙂

Nabanita Dhar January 2, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Happy New Year, Vidya. Your posts have always inspired me to look at life with a little more positivity. And needless to say, this one is no different. Keep inspiring us with these gems always 🙂

Mahati ramya adivishnu January 3, 2018 at 10:03 am

Here is my hifi to you. That was a great year ! 2 books and many awards 🙂 Congrats Vidya. My December is great too with new students for my dance classes, more time to read books and my Zentangle drawings.

Parul Thakur January 3, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Vidya, I owe it to you for getting me into the habit of counting my blessings so you how much I value you and your blog. You have been a rock through your words and I always leave this place inspired.
The way you look at life is amazing and I am so glad to have met you and know you 🙂 <3
What a fabulous recap of the year and I wish you a happy and happier 2018 🙂
Did you smile today? 🙂

Darla M Sands January 3, 2018 at 8:01 pm

I’m so sorry you fell! As if dealing with diabetes and losing all your data weren’t enough of a trial. Thank you for all the inspiration and wonderful example. My year was dull by comparison, and I’m happy to have spent most of my time quietly at home. Congratulations on the big NaNo win! Namaste, my dear.

Mark Blaise January 3, 2018 at 11:35 pm

Hey Vidya,

At first I thought I don’t have time to read such a long post, I have too many of my own things to do working on my blog. And I almost didn’t. But once again, I’m glad I did.

Reading your post made me feel good all over and really opened my eyes.

Wow, you have an amazing outlook on life! I wish I was even half at where you’re at.

I’ve had a pretty bad year my self. I wish I could think like you do … but boy it’s hard.

When I grow up, I want to be Vidya Sury, hahahahahahaaaaa …

What an awesome nugget to share, ” The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.”

I really don’t know where you find the time to do everything you do. Do you ever sleep?

Keep smiling and sharing,

Love your blog! … even more than mine, hahaha …


Minakshi Bajpai January 4, 2018 at 1:45 am

That is one great look back to 2017. Your post is something that always gives me positive energy and motivates me to look at things with the positive way. I never thought of looking back at months in such a way, but thanks to you as you gave me one more reason to stay motivated and take out the best thinga from life.

Obsessivemom January 4, 2018 at 11:44 am

Woohoo what a year this has been! I cannot imagine how you had the enthu to take up the A to Z after losing your data just a month earlier.
Congratulations on that award, you completely deserve it. Your blog is one happy warm positive space.

JayanthyGovindarajan (@JayanthyG) January 4, 2018 at 8:12 pm

As I read this round-up post, I am glad I am part of your gratitude circle in the last few months. This post is such a memorable walk through of the year that has been and the lovely highlights remind me that I must keep a daily journal this year. Your posts are inspiring and by the end of the read, I have so much to take from it, Vidya. Wishing you stay strong and move ahead this year too and all the best to your internet woes.

Cathy Taughinbaugh January 9, 2018 at 6:19 am

You have had a tumultuous year, Vidya. How you keep moving forward with enthusiasm is inspiring. Glad you have overcome your health issues. I can relate to having to say goodbye to the son. They do pull at a mother’s heartstrings when our kids grow up and move away, don’t they? Love your gratitude posts. Hope 2018 brings you everything your heart desires.

Vidya Sury January 9, 2018 at 10:02 am

Thank you so much, Cathy. Your comment feels like a warm hug! I am looking forward to a good 2018 too–although the year has begun with health issues for my husband. But this too shall pass, I am thinking.

I wish you a fabulous year ahead!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Grateful By Default, Grateful By Design #GratitudeCircle

Paige Burkes January 11, 2018 at 4:22 am

It’s hard to believe your son is in his third year of college already. It seems like it was yesterday that I was reading about your adventures with him years before he was even considering college. The older we get, the faster the years go by. All the more reason to be grateful and reflect on all the wonderful experiences we have every day. May 2018 be a year of great opportunities (the kind you want to say ‘yes’ to), health and so much happiness!! Hugs!!

Betsy January 13, 2018 at 6:05 pm

What a year you’ve had Vidya!! It was lovely to catch up. I, too, lost all my photo and material a year ago. Devastating! Although I had some backups, most was gone. I was able to go through emails and Facebook to recover a little but still… I’m printing out a lot of my favorite pictures now to keep in a file rather than just relying on my computer. Friends have suggested shutter fly or any similar sites. Thank you for sharing all that you are grateful for… it’s inspiring!!

Elle Sommer January 14, 2018 at 3:36 am

What an awesome post Vidya. I totally loved it. Your ideas, your images, the whole shooting match was just a delight for the spirit. Thanks for this.

Janvi Mehtaa October 7, 2019 at 5:59 pm

So glad to have got to know you and joined the gratitude circle. I totally loved it. Love your gratitude posts. Thank you for this…


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