There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


The last rose of the season.
Gratitude is an art of painting 
an adversity into a lovely picture. 
~K. Sri 

There are days and then there are days.....and some days are certainly harder than others. Today is one of those days. Between just plain tiredness and having the sad job of cutting back and saying goodbye to my roses, along with having to withstand an extremely negative and mean-spirited on-line review of our B&B, as well as a very personal heartache, today has seemed like a good day to go back to bed and hope for a better tomorrow. BUT I was gifted with the 'resiliency gene' at birth, so there's no going back to bed or moping around for me.

One of my favourite movies is 'White Christmas', and in one of the scenes Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby sing, "Count Your Blessings". On days like today, when part of me would rather crawl back under the covers, I take their advice and that's just what I do. I count my blessings. Once I started though, it was hard to keep it down to ten, so here are eleven of my Oxford blessingsplus a few more for good measure.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments 
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. 
~Thornton Wilder 

1) Our beautiful autumn this year.

Walking along the Cherwell River
 at Christ Church meadow.
Walking home down Brasenose Lane.
The Oxford University Parks

2) Looking out the window and seeing 20 little 'Harry Potters', walking two by two, on their way to chapel in New College.

3)  Hearing college chapel bells ring each day--it's like Christmas every day.  

Merton College Chapel

4) Jack, Max and I turn the corner and see the clock tower of Harris Manchester College. It's bell marks the hours for us throughout the day.

Harris Manchester Clock Tower

5) This is a part of our skyline every day. Seeing it always makes me happy because it reminds me of one of my favourite movies, "Goodbye Mr. Chips".

The weathervane on the Harris Manchester clock tower.

6)  The Oxford skyline and the "dreaming spires", no matter the season.  

7) Being able to walk everywhere in Oxford and carrying shopping home down Brasenose Lane.

8) Alice Walker wrote a story called "Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful", and I think the same is true with bicycles in Oxford, they make everything more beautiful.

9) My little garden paradise hidden right in the middle of a bustling city. It's surrounded by a tall hedge, with little flagstone steps that lead up into it.

10)  Narnia lamp-post style street lights.  I'm still patiently waiting for Mr. Tumnus to appear under one of them.

11) Now that it's November and a stone's throw from the holidays, Christmas in Oxford!

The Covered Market

The gardens of New College.
The chapel of New College.

If the only prayer you said in your whole 
life was, "thank you," that would suffice. 
~Meister Eckhart

And since it's nearly Thanksgiving back home, I'll throw in a few more things that I'm grateful for..........

12) This year I'm especially grateful for a sweet puppy named Jack. Even if I hadn't been gifted with the 'resiliency gene', one look from him still would lift the dark clouds and make the sun come out.

13) Collecting beautiful eggs every day and being adored by two chickens named Miss Havisham and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

14) The man who makes me laugh, who loves to have afternoon tea with me, loves our travels, who shares my life--all of the burdens, along with the joys.

Stuart, who started and runs Oxford Walking Tours,
leads one of his many groups through Oxford.
15) My wonderful, big, crazy, diverse, and loving family, and my most precious children.

The best job in the world, being mom to these 3 people.

16) Going home for Christmas!!!

Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby,
'Count Your Blessings'
White Christmas

"Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
 to God the Creator triumphantly raise...."
~"Let All Things Now Living",
 by Katherine K. Davis


  1. Just lovely, and inspiring. I, too, amid challenges trying to look at those things I count blessings, and thankfully, today succeeding!! Praise and thanksgiving to God! And prayers for your challenges, too.

    Keep sending us those adorable photos of Jack!! :-) xo

    1. Gratitude, I've found, is the only way to live in the world as it is today--so we can also be a blessing to one another, as you are. Kisses from Jack! xxoo