Gratitude Prayer

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‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. “Thank you” expresses extreme gratitude, humility and understanding.
Alice Walker

Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee. Yes, I do realise that the kitchen looks as if it had just been wrecked by an untimely earthquake – just ignore the mess. We are renovating and re-decorating. Yes, you can sit on the big pot of paint, the paint on the lid is dry. Would you like a stroopwafel? One of our mindfulness meditation retreat guests of last year, Claire-Marie, kindly sent us these from Holland. No, you can only have one. And don’t give any to that dog, no matter how she bats her eyelashes at you and looks at you in a pleading I-have-had-an-operation-I-should-be-fed-comfort-food sort of way.

Talking about animals and operations, I have prayed many gratitude prayers this week. More than one of our animals have been ill this week, most of them are now much better. It made me think how grateful I am for the animonsters that share our lives, our house, our ups and our downs:

Melchi’ore, a Newfoundland x Belgian Sheppard bitch, the gentlest and most generous of all dogs I have ever know. Most intelligent too. 

Ebonie, a pitch-black gutter cat, small in stature but huge on character and attitude. This one doesn’t suffer fools gladly but she does have the courageous heart of a lion.

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Her sister Liquorice, aka Lillie Langtry, is just as black, but much more laid-back. Lillie tends to keep a low profile until she wants her dinner and then she makes her demands known in an incredibly loud, deep and gravelly voice. 

Casper, our tomcat, is a working cat (our one and only) and he takes his responsibilities very seriously. Mice tremble and run for the hills at the sight of him. He keeps the mice from stealing our horses’ hard food and he keeps our straw and hay mice-dropping free.

Aurileo d’Alegria, our little ray of sunshine, golden as only a pure palomino stallion can be, with his little-boy-lost air of contrived innocence – anything to get that last carrot.

All the above four-leggers were rescues.

Belle de la Babinière, my soul-mare. Belle is a huge Friesian mare, pure black, her mane falls own to her knees. She is exceptionally beautiful, and although she is fully aware of this fact, she is never conceited

Her daughter, Aurore d’Alegria, nearly as beautiful as Belle, but more playful and insatiably curious. Aurore is always up for anything, you name it, she is ready to try it. And that includes drinking beer from a can.

Bass, our glorious Tinker stallion (now actually an ex-stallion but he does not seem to have noticed yet) who runs his little herd with patience and understanding but without tolerating disrespectful behaviour

Tess des Sources Sacrées, our other Friesian mare, who is addicted to hugs, who melts into a puddle of contentedness when you groom her and who literally wilts when you turn your back on her.

The Duc D’Alegria, a gentleman through and through, who never fails to greet us and is always happy to see us, with or without carrots.

I can scarcely imagine my life without one of them, nevermind all of them. I could certainly not host our mindfulness meditation retreats without them. They are an integral part of our retreats, especially the horses, through equine-guided meditation and equine-assisted experiential learning.

[Update: Since I wrote this, we have lost both Melchi and Leo. Leo died in March 2018 and Melchi in October 2018. I miss them both enormously. We have rescued two more black cats though, Lucie and Sophie, who do their best and succeed admirably in brightening up our days.]

I am so grateful that Melchi’s operation went well and that she is now nearly fully recovered.

If you have finished with that coffee, you can help me paint this wall. Get the screwdriver so that we can open that can you are sitting on.

Gratitude Prayer

This post is part of the MJP Gratitude Challenge and the Ten Things of Thankful Challenge (#10Thankful) – isn’t it lucky that we have exactly 10 of them? If you click on either of these links, you will find several more similar posts to read and you may even decide to add one yourself. This post is also part of the #Weekend Coffee Share collection of blog posts, hosted by Diana of Parttime Monster.com. 

10 things of thankful#weekendcoffeeshare

Midlife Sight and Insight

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If we were having coffee together on this Saturday morning, I would tell you how grateful I am for my sight. As you may know, we have just come back from holiday, and I was thinking how much I would have missed out on during the holiday if I could not see. Hearing is, of course, important too, and so is tasting, smelling and feeling, but not being able to see would be difficult to cope with. I do not see very well, but what I can see, I am immensely grateful for.

I am grateful that I can see

  1. enough to boil a kettle-full of water, to pour the hot water into the cafetière on top of a generous heap of freshly grounded coffee beans and then to add a dollop of cream to a steaming cup of blissful blackness

  2. the frothy pink blossom that has exploded on the flowering cherries trees this week

  3. my two black cats cuddling together in a pool of sunlight

  4. the satisfied smile on my husband’s face as he repairs the fencing posts damaged by the winter storms

  5. the first swallows returning from their visit to sunnier southern parts

  6. to plant the new Cox’s Orange Pippin apple tree in the orchard

  7. to weed and till the vegetable garden in preparation or this years sowing and planting

  8. the horses getting frisky with spring exuberance in their meadow where the grass is starting to grow with renewed determination

  9. to read e-mails, shopping lists, musical scores, a newspaper, an engrossing book

  10. to take pictures and to look at pictures I have taken before, pictures of my childhood, of friends and family I miss, of places I have been to and would like to go back to and of places I would like to visit one day.

I am also very grateful that I can see well enough to write. This week I have spent a lot of time writing, about our Transformational Retreats, especially as I am designing an optional coaching program to follow the retreats and help participants put the changes they have decided to make during the retreat into practice once they get home.

I wish you an exciting weekend, full of beautiful/amusing/fascinating/compelling sights, insights…and vision.

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller

This post is part of the MJP Gratitude Challenge and the <strongTen Things of Thankful Challenge(#10Thankful). This post is also part of the #Weekend Coffee Share collection of blog posts, hosted by Diana of Parttime Monster.com. 

10 things of thankful#weekendcoffeeshare