Gratitudes during the month of November are difficult for those who live in Northern climes. The skies are a wintry grey. Dampness makes the cool air feel downright cold. The trees have shed most of their autumn beauty. Day light is scarce.
For me, November means blah days and low energy levels. I’m challenged to keep positivity in my life.
I was fortunate to have a brief respite in Florida where there was abundant sunshine every day. However, coming home has meant re-adjustment to gusty winds, short days and long, dark nights. It’s left me with low spirits.
That Remembrance Day falls during this gloomy month is fitting. The bleak weather adds to introspection as we commemorate the sacrifice of so many soldiers to protect freedom.
Many in the United States observe November as a month of gratitude. Bloggers post daily expressing gratitudes. It’s a build-up to celebrations of American Thanksgiving later in the month.
Writings about love, family, friends, democracy, and religious freedom abound Certainly these important topics frame my daily gratitude list but, in this post, I’m focusing on mundane, less serious aspects of gratitude.
My November gratitude list consists of the small things that make November tolerable and keep positivity in my life.
1. The radiant heat from a fireplace. Last night I came home from a book club meeting chilled from the cool meeting room and the brisk night air. Warming my body near the fire felt heavenly.
2. Seasonal foods. This is the season for rich soups and hearty stews cooked slowly in a crock pot. It’s also the time for warm desserts made with Canadian apples. Last night our menu included a chicken curry that was warm from the heat of the spices as well as the heat of the stove.
3. Cozy wool socks. Last year I struggled to learn how to knit socks using four needles. Now, these hand knit beauties feel lovely on cold feet. Too bad that I knit slowly and have finished only one pair!
4. Duvets, electric blankets and a new high-efficiency furnace. What more can I say about such comforts that are often taken for granted?
5. The first snowflakes of the season. Yesterday we awoke to a winter wonderland that meant cleaning wet snow off the car before leaving for bridge lessons. The snowfall is a reminder that winter is approaching quickly.
6. Church bazaars and bake sales. I missed the bazaar at my church this year but received samples of home baking from a friend. It’s always a treat to have baking from someone else’s kitchen.
7. A warm fleece. On cool and windy mornings, my rainproof jacket needs insulation. Without a fleece liner, morning walks will be abandoned in favour of the treadmill at the gym.
8. Good books. I’ve re-read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe for one of my November book clubs. My reading list for the next few weeks will include the Giller prize winner, Us Conductors, and all books selected as finalists.
9. Frivolous fun. In the past two weeks, our grand daughter’s Montessori school had two professional development days. On those days, she spent the full day with us. Taking her to play at the park allowed me to enjoy her pure delight as she played with the soggy leaves, climbed on the play equipment and just ran aimlessly.
10. Dark Chocolate flavoured with sea salt. This treat, introduced to me by travel companions during the Florida trip mentioned earlier, is worth a special mention. If you haven’t tried flavoured dark chocolate, you are missing a worthwhile experience.
It’s the small things around us that we often forget. Seemingly unimportant and insignificant events, possessions, and happenings shape our lives. Noticing these and expressing gratitude for their meaning in a busy life brings good feelings. November gratitudes are medicine for the soul!