Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gratitude Award - Beyond my Blog Centenary Post

As I have just written my 100th post on our trip round the Ring of Kerry, this is a timely post - a sort of reverse Room 101, for the good things in life which I'm grateful for, not the "worst things in the world" to paraphrase Orwell in "1984".

I got tagged a few days ago by Treasa over at Irish Mammy on the Run (something I think all Irish Mammies are good at!) with this Gratitude Award - for which accolade thanks a lot - not sure if I should be flattered or not as it makes me think which right now seems like a bit of hard work.

I have to list 5 things I am grateful for and pass it on to 5 others to select their 5 things to be grateful for.

1. My Family - I am grateful for my lovely family - hubby and four children, our daughter-in-law-to-be and our lovely grandchild Sofia. They bring me so much joy and happiness, and we always seem to come through difficult times by having an attitude of optimism. When my beloved mother died two months ago I dreaded the future without her but I have got great strength in my family and friends, and can look back in gratitude for her long loving life and her influence on me and the whole family, which I know was strong and lasting, despite her declining health in the recent years, they all knew her in her good years and she was vocal in imparting her values and moral standards on us all.

2. My life abroad and its legacy - I spent nearly 20 years working in development in remote parts of Asia and Africa and was so lucky to experience things others can only dream of - living among the local communities in amazing places off any tourist map, following the footsteps of Stanly and Livingstone, and the chance to see these countries from a different perspective by living there over years, not weeks.

3. My career - I am so glad I chose nursing as a career - back in the day when it was up there with being a nun on the scale of worthiness in Irish eyes, and it was a vocation for angels of mercy - yet I never really bought into that shtick, as I got far too much out of it to be so sanctimonious; I acknowledge the buzz I get from helping others and being a good nurse. It offered great variety and was a career to take anywhere, and there was always work to be had, regardless of recession or the state of the economy. There are endless options and I love that I chose Public Health now, in my sunset years (workwise!) as it is a nice regular number with lots of professional autonomy, with free weekends and no night duty an added bonus.

4. My Home Town -Lismore - where I grew up and where I now live - I went full circle here, having left at 17 determined never to return to this dull dump - I was going to go out and see the world - which I did, to a point - and I returned after 30 years of wandering about with roots put down wherever our family were posted by our various aid agencies, and where we made a home regardless of how transient. Home was definitely a state of mind, as it varied from extreme basic bush living with no running water or electricity to the lap of luxury in capital cities - and I know which I'd choose if we were masters of our destiny.

5. My hobbies and interests - I am lucky to have inherited some of the skills of my grandfather who was a master tailor - even though I am nowhere near his level, I love sewing and dressmaking, and will try to make pretty much anything crafty. I love knitting and have taken it up in recent years after a gap of nearly 20 years. I love reading, writing and blogging, and cannot imagine how life would be without the gift of books, but it would surely be impoverished. I love life and try to keep a positive outlook on everything, seeing the good rather than the bad is much easier, even though I am always up for a good gossip as long as it doesn't do anyone any harm. I am certainly not a sanctimonious goody two-shoes or a little miss perfect!

I'm back at work after a hectic week of visitors, birthday partying and holiday from work - work was never this mad and seems almost like a sanctuary now! I am not complaining before you start thinking "ungrateful moron" or some such. I am blessed with lots of energy, which backfired a few years ago when the doctor discovered during a routine overhaul bloods that my thyroid was in overdrive, which explained the wonderful svelte figure I'd acquired while eating like the proverbial horse. She put paid to it in jig time with an upwardly mobile dose of Carbimazole. I gained about 10 kg in a year and even though I am now totally cured and euthyroid I am struggling to shed even half that amount to get back to my old size 12 (UK - that's 40 to all you Continental Europeans out there, and beyond that I haven't a clue).

I have to select five blogging friends to pass on this award to - I don't do many awards and won't pass it to anyone who's opted out of tagging and awards, but there are plenty of you who would be glad to post your top five gratitude things, I hope. This was fun and not too arduous.

I will tag the following five bloggers - and ask you each to please pass it onto five others when you post your list.

Catherine @ - http://catherineryanhoward.com/
Marilyn @ - http://heartsdelights.blogspot.com/
Ann @ - http://inkpotsandquills.blogspot.com/
Edie @ - http://munchiesandmusings.blogspot.com/
Susan C @ - http://queenofpots.com/

Many thanks for taking part in this fun meme - I look forward to reading your lists!


Mise said...

A very worthy 5 things, and an admirably sweeping perspective. You come across as a very happy person and one who has followed your own inclinations sensibly and well.

Ann said...

Now this is a lovely one Catherine. I love being reminded to think of all the good things I have to be grateful for. I enjoyed reading your list. I think my list will be similiar in many ways. Thank you so very much for passing this one onto me. And I just love daffodils, they are one of my favorite flowers! Have a wonderful Tuesday evening.

Marilyn Miller said...

I will happy to do it, but not good at passing it on. Watch for it sometime in the next week.

Dressmaking, I was an apparel patternmaker for 25 years and actually sell a small line of sewing patterns on etsy.com. My last job before I retired was with Nike. I sometimes miss the energy of working there, but also enjoying not going to work everyday.

Irish Mammy said...

Hi Catherine
It's a great list, I think it makes sense to stop once in a while and smell the roses. I am so sorry to hear about your late mother, it must be difficult to lose a parent. But I think a person's life should be celebrated and remembered. Sorry to hear about your thyroid issue hope it is resolved now, all the best Treasa x

niamh said...

What a happy post! I love that you went full circle with your life, and that it's going so well for you. You've made some brave choices but it's all perfect now:)

Catherine said...

Thanks everyone for your very positive feedback - it's hard to know what to do with these awards, they do give pause for reflection which can't be bad. I love the diversity of your comments and I hope those tagged have enjoyed their task - I see some are already passing them on to their "victims"!

MISE - glad I came across as happy, generally I am, so it's probably a fair comment. I do try to see the positive in what life offers. Hope you enjoy your weekend.

ANN - glad you were happy to do this - and the daffs are all still around, probably the latest we've had them, hope we'll have a decent summer this year here! Must look up your list - I did comment on your post on the train as it resonated with me.

MARILYN - must check out your patterns on Etsy- have heard of it but am not familiar with it, I tend towards knitting pattern collecting (with the best intentions to knit absolutely everything, a lot like I collect cookery books with about as much results!) I use the paper patterns in Burda magazines I get from Holland whenever I can, as they have a million patterns in the maze of traceable patterns in the pullout section in the middle. A doddle once you get the hang of it.

TREASA - it does help to smell the roses, coffee, whatever - a pause for thought can only be good. I try to make time for all the things that matter but not to get obsessive about any one thing. Thanks for the sympathies about my mam, I wrote her a nice tribute back in March if you want to link back to it.I still miss her madly, but have a lot of good memories to sustain me through the sad times, and a great family. Makes all the difference. And I can see the graveyard yew trees where she's buried from my window as I sit at my desk in the sunroom. So there's a lovely tranquility there. My thyroid is fine too - though if it was a teeny bit in overdrive I'd lose those extra 5kg with no effort! As it isn't I'll have to do it the hard way - cycling, walking and eating less of my own baking!

NIAMH - thanks for that - I dunno about brave, sometimes the choices aren't really options but the only thing to do at that time. I think we'd be still living in the bush if we didn't have family and kids- my mother would have been a pull back to Ireland for her latter years and I am so glad I was here for that. Kids and schooling were another priority - as they fly the nest we are less tied, so who knows in our sunset years we might end up back in the bush!We are happy in the moment though, no point in wishing your life was different and better elsewhere, as we can make of what we have what we will. We are very lucky compared to many. Yes, the full circle thing was something I would never have predicted when I was 17 and off to the big smoke(Dublin!) for adventure and study!

Love to you all and keep the comments coming! Catherine

Anonymous said...

Catherine -

I've been so busy at work this month that this is the first weekend I've had to catch up on all the blogs. Thanks for passing on the award. I'll have to think about it and then post on my blog sometime this week.

Happy 60th to your hubby. I made Victorian Sponge cake for the first time recently and I loved it. Yours looked terrific!