yhst-67380419885148_2271_330221420the Luckiest People Alive!  Several years ago my husband, Mike, found this card, and gave it to me, and it made its way around to other family members.  (My sister-in-law even recycled it as a birthday card for her sweetie which he opened in a warm, energetic, and overflowing family gathering!  How perfect!)Image 38

Fresh back from a wonderful family vacation, and after an exhilarating, early morning roller-blade today around Stanley Park in our glorious Vancouver summer weather, and anticipating a camping trip on San Juan Island with grandkids later this week, I take a deep breath of appreciation and gratitude, and am inspired to share the moment with you.

Not that there aren’t dark spots — friends with serious health challenges and financial difficulties, close ones with relationship bumps and grinds, not to mention the overarching climate crises and worldwide crunches in so many sectors.

Still, taking the moment-to-moment breath and reflecting on the ways I am lucky, blessed, fortunate… give me strength and grounding to hold, and take action, where appropriate, in the troubled areas, whether it’s feeling compassion, offering time and resources, or reaching out in other ways.  Gratitude transforms and empowers me, shifts my focus to the larger picture, fills my heart. It nourishes my spirit, lightens my soul, and even the load!

I hope and trust that your summers are going well.  Mine overflows:  a road trip with my daughter and grandchildren took us cross country from Bellingham to Washington DC, with rich and rewarding and moving stops — including campsites with muskrats and owls, the breathtaking Badlands, Laura Ingalls’ Homestead in SD, a museum of Rails and Trails in Omaha, and an in-depth exhibition on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa, and a museum in Ohio about the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped slaves on their way to freedom in the north — all highly recommended.

Then to top it off, two weeks, with perfect weather and no mosquitos, at Point O’ Woods on Fire Island — a family reunion with the Austrian contingent, and all packed happily in to my brother, Jim and wife Pat’s bungalow.  The rafters sang!  We had family tennis, sand and sun, delicious food, two birthday celebrations, rousing games of Pictionary and Scattergories, sunsets to gasp at, dawn walks and yoga on the beach, a Lobster fest, and just plain old fun and good times together.  We even experienced a daddy pipefish and his giving birth to hundreds of teensy, weensy baby pipefish!

As I said, we just might be the luckiest people alive!Image 21

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Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.    Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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