Gratitude Prayers: Prayers, Poems, and Praise for Everyday Thankfulness by June Cotner


Tracey Columns

By the time we begin our second half, most of us have figured out that life is a non-stop series of ups and downs. Right? You’re cruising along without a care in the world and then WHAM, something comes along and takes the wind right out of your sails.

Consequently, I make a real effort to relish the good times. Not only does it make the moment feel even better but it helps sustain me for the slumps that will inevitably come along.

How do I do this? As cliche as it sounds to some, I practice living in the moment. Spending too much time in the past or speculating about the future has never proven to be a good use of my time.

Equally important, I also actively acknowledge my gratitude for things both large and small. Why? It’s pretty simple – it just feels good.

Most recently, I have been feeling extremely grateful for the people in my life. I’ve just come off a solid week of dear family and friends, all of whom pitched in to give my daughter and her new husband the wedding of their dreams. We sewed, baked, crafted, hauled, built, cleaned, arranged flowers, decorated, set tables. You name it, we did it. Not because it was demanded or expected but rather, because we all wanted to. It felt so right to be such active participants in this life-altering event.

Finally, we gathered around to share and participate in their touching ceremony, as two precious lives were joined together. And then? We all danced into the wee hours with the new bride and groom!  Yes, these days I am over-flowing with gratitude.

So you can imagine the look on my face when I returned home to discover that my copy of “Gratitude Prayers; Prayers, Poems, and Prose for Everyday Thankfulness” by June Cotner had arrived. (Oh, the Universe works in mysterious ways!)

It was as if the final gift of the entire last year of wedding preparation had arrived. I held this sweet little blue book in my hands and read the dedication: “No halos, no wings. Dedicated to all those everywhere who spread kindness every day.”

Yes, I am grateful for kindness.

Thumbing through the book revealed simple treasures. Consider this by Marcel Proust (1871-1922):  “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Yes, I am grateful for family and friendship.

Or “Early Morning Gratitude Check” by Barbara Younger:

Tea kettle on the stove. Check.
Purring cat on the couch. Check.
Furnace rumbling in the basement. Check.
Family sleeping upstairs. Check
Day on the horizon. Check.
Gratitude within. Check and check.

Yes, I am grateful for my home, all it has held and all that it holds.

Or “Thankful” by Marilyn Johnston:

It may be something simple –
like the startling sight of a harvest moon,
the orange orb hanging as you reach the crest
of a hill; or watching your child sleep, one small leg extended
off the side of the bed like a comma.

You may feel it suddenly –
how fresh mowed grass reminds you
of your father in summer,
or your doctor’s words “negative CAT scan,”
or the day your husband returned form war.

You’ll know it –
how life surprises,
catches your breath,
the wonder of it!

Yes, I am grateful for life!

Finally, I am grateful for the work June Cotner has done throughout her career. This lovely woman has dedicated her life to sharing positive, compassionate, and supportive words for all of us to live by. As the published author of 26 books, June has has sold over 900,000 copies worldwide. Clearly she is speaking to those of us who want to both celebrate the positive side of life and feel a connection through the power of words. What a gift she has given all of us!

Yes, I am grateful for June Cotner!

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