My Gratitude Jar

flowers -joyHabits, whether good or bad, start off as thin as a single strand of hair – easy to snap. However, if we continue with the behavior, that same strand-like habit will grow to be strong and sturdy like chain links – difficult to break. Having an attitude of gratitude is a habit. This is a habit that I am constantly working toward; it is not easy. It takes work. It requires reflecting, sifting through life experiences, and being aware that there is value in all my interactions.  It is not easy to be in gratitude when negativity steps in, when there is illness, death, or when bad news comes our way. However, I know if I search within, there is always something for which I can be grateful.

Over the years, I’ve attempted to keep a gratitude journal, but after a short period, the journaling of my thoughts became a dormant idea. Some time ago, I heard about the gratitude jar and I promised myself that I would start one. I don’t need a journal or a jar to express my gratefulness, but this tangible means of reflecting helps me to recognize my blessings and joys.

The birth of my Gratitude Jar was on January 12, 2016.  See photos at the end of this post.

My first note of gratitude:

This evening I spent some time with Rosh as she worked on her “bottle this feeling” jars. Her “About” page on her website talks about how being grateful contributes to your happiness – what a beautiful reminder for me as I bottle 101 thoughts in my head. I am grateful to my daughter for reminding me to live with an attitude of gratitude.

Here is another note from January 16th

I’m in gratitude for…

  • Kind, caring, listening ears
  • The gift of time
  • The gift of friendship
  • Knowing when to speak softly and quietly
  • Lessons in time management
  • Being honored with trust
  • Prayers and positive energy

I have decided to grow the habit of being in gratitude today and every day. I find that being grateful brings me joy. Although I do not write gratitude notes with pen and paper daily, I write them with my reflections and actions.

 Today, among other things, I am grateful for your friendship, my health, and the peace, joy, and positive energy that surround me.

 Thank you for visiting my blog!

 With gratitude,



A life Lesson from Sand Mandalas

Dear Readers,

I’ve been away from my blog and your blogs for several months now. A few life events kept me away and even zapped my motivation and discipline to post here and visit with you. Today, I feel ready to recommit my energy to blogging. It will take some time for me to catch up with your posts, but my intention is to visit your blogs as soon as possible.

This evening, I’m reflecting on an experience I had in 2010 which I posted here.

In 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity of witnessing the monks at the Buddhist temple in Miami create extraordinary, intricate, and immensely beautiful sand mandalas. As I observed their patience, skill, and mindfulness of their art, I felt a sense of peace within me. It was hard for me to understand how their dedication, love, and skill to the beautiful art they created will disintegrate after a few days; it will all be swept away and they knew it.

Now, years later, looking back at those moments, I can truly see how anything we create or build, no matter the work, skill, beauty, love, time, and talent we put into it, can all be undone and swept away. We just have to accept, embrace, and be in gratitude for the value and all that the creation brought us.  Life is filled with dual experiences and we learn and grow from each one of those experiences.

I’m glad that you’re visiting my blog!

With gratitude,


March Celebrations

Credit: Bing Images

Credit: Bing Images

Did you know that the American National Anthem is one of the most difficult anthems to sing? Here in America, we don’t generally say, National Anthem; we refer to it as, The Star- Spangled Banner. Last week, on March 3rd we celebrated Star- Spangled Banner Day.

It was written as a poem “Defense of Fort McHenry”  by 35 year old Francis Scott Key in 1814 and was later set to the tune of “To Anacreon In Heaven”, a popular British Gentleman’s Club song. The Star-Spangled Banner, as we know it, was officially used by the Navy in 1889. It was one of the most popular patriotic songs in the United States and 42 years later it became the National Anthem. Although it has four stanzas, we only sing the first verse.

Thanks to Francis Scott Key, the amateur poet and lawyer for penning our National Anthem that I enjoy singing. If you were to ask my children what songs their mother like to sing, they might tell you Christmas songs and the Star-Spangled Banner!

This month, I also have personal celebration –I am celebrating the anniversary of my first year of blogging. I wrote my first post on March 1, 2013.  My heartfelt thanks to all of you who visit my blog, click that like button, and take the time to make a comment. I am indebted to you for keeping my blog alive. I am grateful for the inspiration you give me through your comments and your writings on your own blogs. My life is richer because of you, my blogging friends. Thank you! Thank you!


The Intangible Gift

This week’s photo challenge is about  windows. This popular quote by William Shakespeare comes to mind: The eyes are the window to your soul. However, I won’t be writing about this quote today. I have found that the way we interact with each other, the things we share, the gifts we give etc. are windows – glimpses into our lives.

Recently, I got a special glimpse into a child’s world when she presented me with a Christmas gift.

Bianca* eagerly handed me a gift bag and waited quietly for me to open it. In the bag, there was an apple and two items wrapped in white tissue paper. As I took each item out of the bag, I could feel her eyes on me wondering if I would like her gift. The tissue paper loving held a seashell and a beautiful, handmade, red souvenir box from Honduras.

It was only after I asked if her family went to Honduras that I realized it wasn’t the right question. Bianca and her family have never visited Honduras. The souvenir was a gift to her family. She told me that she found the shell at the beach. The apple was part of her breakfast. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with her kind and loving gesture.

This child gave me a glimpse of her beautiful and thoughtful heart when she presented me with her gifts.


I displayed her gifts proudly in my home for the holidays. Each time I looked at her gifts, a tender feeling washed over me. As I write this post, I know in my heart that the intangible gift she gave me will definitely outlast the tangible gifts. I feel blessed to have such a loving and thoughtful child in my life. I am grateful for her gifts.




My Prized Possession: A Collection of Letters

For the past several years, just around the first week of December, I go to my closet and take out my box of birthday letters and spend a few minutes reading all the beautiful thoughts 37 people penned to me.

I always tell my family that I want to get my flowers when I am alive; when I can enjoy and feel the joy of receiving them. I always tell my family people need to hear kind words and nice things about themselves when they are alive. Why wait until the person dies? My family heard me. For my 37th birthday, one of my daughters spearheaded the “Mom’s Birthday Letters” project. The 37 letters I received brought immense joy and happiness to me then and still do today. These letters have taken up real estate in my heart! Today, I will share with you one of my letters. I’ve retyped it verbatim, except for my name. I replaced my nickname with my real name.


Elaine my dear,

Today as you celebrate your birthday, my thoughts will be with you as yours will be with many others as well. It will be unjust if I do not take this opportunity to congratulate Roshini for thinking about you and creating a gift that will probably end up being your most prized possessions; one you can refer to and cherish long after she is all grown up and gone. My invitation to participation in your book of love is indeed an honor.

Elaine, I have known you for about 17 years and I think you look the same – young and pretty.  Your early adult years were fun-filled for your childhood lingered. I realized that only because we worked together which gave me the chance to know you for the person you are. I watched you grow and most importantly mature through laughter and tears.

We spent some school years together, though not classroom time. We were there for each other for support and to lend an ear. Those days were rough ones and I will never forget them. Those were also good years where we actually developed our friendship as it is today. That time in your life was also blessed, for in my opinion, it forced you to grow up fast.

I remember vividly the excitement you displayed on your 25th birthday. I was very happy for you then as I am today. Youthful days gave you extra energy to deal with the trials of motherhood. You did a wonderful job and your success shows in the three beautiful children you have. Now both you and your husband can welcome their accomplishments with great pride.

Over the years, I watched you blossom into the woman you are. Your educational path led you here, your community involvement, your unselfish thoughts and time devoted to others, your family life, a loving wife and mother…these qualities my friend will continue to bloom and take you into the golden years.

On this your 37th birthday, the pleasure is all mine to be able to call you friend. It was God’s will and my good fortune to see where you were yesterday, where you are today and your journey into the tomorrows ahead.

A special wish to you for  a happy, healthy, and blessed birthday. Cherish today and continue to embrace tomorrow with a smile.



bday cake

A letter to my teachers

In 2007, I wrote a letter to my teachers at Zeeburg Secondary School for an alumni magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine did not take off and I did not pursue any other means of sending my letter. Last month, I attended an event celebrating the 50th year of Zeeburg Government Secondary School and I came back home inspired to find my letter written six years ago. I plan on sending out my blog link so my teachers can finally read this thank you letter.

Although many of my readers here do not know of my school, I am sure that you’ve got at least one teacher who made a lasting impression in your life. 

June 2007

My Teachers,

Although I think of you often and thank you in my heart for educating, loving, and believing in me, I have never taken the opportunity to show you how grateful I am to all of you. This tribute is long overdue, but I hope that my penned thoughts can in some small way express my gratitude to you for your dedication in teaching and nurturing my young impressionable mind. I thank you for the exceptional role you have had in my life when I was your student and for the influence you continue to exert on me as I go through life’s journey.

As teachers, you rarely get to see the fruits of your labor or the extent of your harvest, but it is my wish that you become aware of how your teachings have impacted my life and have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. You not only taught me academics, you taught me how to live, laugh, and love. You helped me to recognize that knowledge does not only come from a book, but from experiences such as mistakes, failures, and setbacks.

In this letter, I pay homage and give accolade to all my teachers. I would like to recount and reflect upon specific experiences, but I want to make it too long. I have encountered teachers throughout my life; each of us is a teacher in our own right, but had it not been for the influential and exceptional educators I found in you, I would not have experienced some of the personal triumphs in my life. You have instilled in me a love for school and the pursuit of lifelong learning. Thank you, my teachers!

You were masters at observation – because of the different activities I had in school, I was sometimes placed at the center of attention where everyone’s eyes were upon me.  Many times I wanted to deflect that attention by giving a poor excuse for not being able to participate, but being observant and intuitive individuals, my teachers recognized my doubt and fear and always nurtured my confidence back into place. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself.

It is said that “teacher expectation” is one of the most important attributes in a student’s success and I can truly say that I bear witness to this belief. Here’s an example of such expectation: I recall when I was about 14 years old one of my teachers sent a message for me to go see him in his office. I was surprised, for this teacher did not teach me any academic subjects. However, he had an administrative role and that got my knees knocking. My mouth was dry. I was scared.

Upon arriving in his office, he looked at me through his thick glasses hanging at the tip of his nose, gave me a reassuring smile, and invited me to take a seat. In a soft, gentle, and kind voice he explained to me the reason I was sitting in his office – my marks (grades) had fallen; they were not where they ought to have been. There was no reprimand or expression of disappointment, just a reference to my gender, age, and the possibility that there might be some reciprocity toward the boys who were paying me much attention. He did not ask me to improve my grades, he expected me to do so. When I left his office that day, I decided to never give him the opportunity to invite me again for such a discussion. Teacher expectation was high. The lessons I learned decades ago have become a part of who I am today. Thank you, Mr. Gobin!

Throughout my years at Zeeburg Secondary I spent much time with some of you, grappling with debate preparation, public speaking tips, and learning valuable life lessons that did not come in a textbook. Familiarity allowed me the enviable opportunity to ask questions that a typical teenager dared not ask of her teachers. My questions were given the attention they deserved, and were answered accurately. I must admit that the boldness I displayed as a teen has not in any way diminished with age! Thank you for satisfying my curiosity.

I would be remiss if I do not mention the valuable spiritual lessons I gained at my Bible Club meetings while in school.  Bible Club was an extension of the values I was getting at home and at my church. I can also say without hesitation that my ability to speak to an audience of my peers, as well as adults was certainly encouraged and nurtured during those meetings. Even today, I often reflect upon those lunch time meetings and bask in the warmth of those fond memories.  Thank you, Mrs. Tulsi for your love, care, and devotion.

My teachers remain a constant source of inspiration – your lessons serve and inspire me daily. Thank you for instilling in me the drive and ambition to embrace the noble profession of teaching. Yes, I am a teacher! Each day as I step into my 3rd grade classroom, I emulate your high expectations and love of teaching and learning. Like you, I am also touching lives, building bridges, and enabling dreams.  Like you, I am also planting seeds of possibilities. Like you, I may not see the fruits of my labor, but you have assured me that I can impact lives decades later.

My teachers, I thank you for your guidance, knowledge, skills, and expertise, but above all, I thank you for educating, loving, and believing in me.

With love and gratitude,


Zeeburg Government Secondary School Photo taken in 2011

Zeeburg Government Secondary School
Photo taken in 2011

Who Throws Cash Away?

Don’t you wish that sometimes our lives, this journey on Earth came with a pause or rewind button? How wonderful it would be to press that pause button when we are surrounded by people who bring joy to us or moments that gladden our hearts. How convenient it would be to press that rewind button and erase the times that caused us pain or hurt.

Recently, I was in a slump that was a shroud that threatened to envelope my smile, my laughter, and my joy. I know I had to do something about because it was making me emotionally exhausted. I did. I was with some eight year olds and I decided to have my own pep talk with them.

Gift of TodayI started off by telling them that each morning we wake up, we receive a gift. I got blank stares. Yes, a gift of a new day was my response. I continued by asking them, “do you ever discard, or throw away a gift?” Their answer came in a chorus of “NO”. Before I could say anything else, one of the boys said, “that would be like throwing cash away”. I was floored. I’ve often heard that wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, but that was the first time I experienced such a profound thought from a child. I told Patrick that I couldn’t have expressed it any better and indeed, if we were to not value the gift of each day, it would be like throwing cash away.

Don't throw that cash away!

Don’t throw that cash away!

Every day is a gift. The decisions we make, be it small or big contribute to how our day unfolds and the impact those choices will have on our lives. Not every day will be glamorous or full of success. Not every day will be peaceful and relaxing. We may not even like what the gift of a day brings. However, our attitude will determine how we embrace each gift.

In my pep talk with myself, I resolved to greet each day with an attitude of gratitude. One way I decided to use my gift of each day was to put a smile on someone’s face. A smile can brighten up someone else’s day. A smile costs nothing and its impact can be far reaching. I choose to make good use of my gift. After all, who wants to throw cash away?