Grace and Gratitude

Here we go!! It’s the beginning of 2019 and after contemplating the idea of starting a blog for over a year and having people encourage me to start one… It’s here! Grace and Gratitude is launching today!!

Let’s get a couple things on record here…

  1. First and foremost, I am not a writer. My strongest subjects in school were math and science so don’t expect any Pulitzer Prize winning posts! It will be more conversational writing (and may even sound a bit technical). Sorry, it’s just the way I was trained!
  2. This platform will mainly be used for me to share my story. It will be more along the lines of a personal journal. I’ll be sharing all sorts of things I’ve learned along my journey so I hope it will be informative and educational, too. Also, if at anytime you have questions about something I’ve posted, I’m an open book. Please feel free to send me a message through the “Contact” link in the menu up above and I would be happy to answer anything you send my way.
  3. If you’re loving my header picture … it’s one of my mom’s sunset pictures over the lake behind her house, the house I grew up in. If you know my mom, you know she likes her sunsets! When I was thinking of a picture to put on the blog I was looking for something peaceful and serene. I thought one of my mom’s pictures would be perfect. Thanks, mama!

Ok… So let’s start with the name… Grace and Gratitude… Where did it come from? What’s the meaning behind it? Well, a few years ago when Brandon and I were living in Dover, IN, our neighbor down the street, Kris, was teaching yoga classes in her home. During a yoga class Kris played Olivia Newton-John’s album “Grace and Gratitude” during our yoga session. I didn’t know Olivia Newton-John was still making albums and I definitely had no idea how important that album would become in my life. There were a couple songs that really stood out to me, one was “Grace and Gratitude” and “Instrument of Peace” a reworking of the prayer by St. Francis of Assisi. Kris would play the album on random days during a yoga session. There were a few times while listening to the album during yoga it would bring up different emotions for me. I occasionally can get emotional during yoga and this album seemed to enhance that effect.

When my dad passed away and we were working on songs for his picture slide show I wanted to add “Grace and Gratitude” and “Instrument of Peace” to the playlist. I just felt those songs were fitting to how I was dealing with the passing of my dad… Looking back on the time we had together with grace and gratitude and hoping for peace while going on without him here. There for a while when Kris would randomly play the “Grace and Gratitude” CD during yoga when those two songs would come on it would be a nice little reminder of my dad. It would often make me cry but that was ok. It was almost as if God knew the days when I needed to hear those songs the most.

Then, a few years later when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was drawn to the “Grace and Gratitude” album again to help me through that difficult time. The whole album just brings a calming affect over me. Different songs will speak to me at different times. I had been listening to the album so much during my recovery from my mastectomy that I had the urge (another way God speaks to me) to mail it to one of my friends who I thought would like it. As I was searching around online to order the CD I stumbled across some articles and a video of her singing “Grace and Gratitude” live on the Today Show in 2006. After seeing the headlines from the articles I discovered that Olivia Newton-John is a breast cancer survivor! She and a friend co-wrote the album as a “healing” album. I had no idea! This album that had been special to me for the past few years now carried even more significance to my life. I then loved it even more!

Olivia spoke out this past year in September of 2018 releasing information that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She was initially diagnosed in 1992 and her cancer returned in 2013 with a tumor on her shoulder and then recently a tumor on her lower back. So I’m assuming she’s dealing with metastasis to her bones. I have also read that she is seeking traditional therapies as well as natural and holistic therapies. Latest reports say that she’s doing well and It sounds like we have more in common than just a liking of her album!

In researching a little more about the album while I was typing up this post I discovered more information that I never knew. The album was created for relaxation and meditation (something I’ve tried to incorporate more of in the past 2 years). What was really cool to find out was that the songs were inspired by the sacred 7 chakras and also the writings of Depak Chopra and Carolyn Myss. I have read two of Caroyln’s books this past year and have really learned a lot about the chakras, too. If you have never heard of a chakra before I will definitely post about them in the future, but briefly, they are the 7 energy centers of the body from the base of your tailbone to the top of your head. Below is a basic diagram

So, yeah, “Grace and Gratitude” holds a special place in my heart. When I was thinking of a title for my blog I was tossing around ideas with a couple very close friends and one of them asked me if there has been a saying or mantra that I’ve used to help me through tough times. It didn’t take long for me to come up with Grace and Gratitude. I knew as soon as I said it that was the name. It has been my default thought as I go through the different ups and downs that life throws at me. I will walk through the struggles with grace and at the end be able to look back on all the struggles with gratitude in my heart. Truly, it’s cliche to say but, I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for those struggles and for that, I am grateful.

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