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Alisa Murray’s Living the Sweet Life | Expressing Gratefulness | April 2017

April Sweet Life 2017

Expressing Gratefulness

Lent comes each year and I spend those weeks, as so many of us do, fasting from some things that I like coupled with reflecting on my life; contemplating what I can improve both spiritually and physically. After all of that time in a reflective state, my mind looks joyfully towards a time to celebrate with friends and family. Friends and family are never far from my mind as each day I try more and more to let those that I love know what they mean to me. Call it getting older, becoming more aware of my own mortality or just getting old with age and becoming more nice… having a strong sense of gratitude and being capable of showing it is a sign of maturity that I quite like actually.

I wear a leather cuff almost everyday that says simply “Be Grateful.” I came across it in a little boutique and many of my friends have commented that they liked it. I wear it to continuously remind me to be mindful and aware of what it is that I do have and not to dwell on the things that I do not. Sometimes this works and other times when things are just not clicking in the directions I want them to be going I look down at that leather cuff and want to stomp my foot and pull it off! That little voice though in my crazy head stops me and after a few deep breaths and in just a few days or even an hour or so of just being ornery I come back around. We all, you see, should wear an invisible bracelet reminding us to be grateful!

There are several ways that I have found to express gratitude, some are easier to do than others of course, but we all should implement them into our lives so that we are enriched and reminded form time to time of what we all do have. Lives well lived are with rich relationships and not “stuff!” Firstly, each week I make it a point to write a thank you note. It might be for a lovely towel that is brought in a hostess welcome or for an unexpected gift from an old dear friend. It might be for a loving spouse that decided to make tea and breakfast and let a certain someone you know sleep in a few extra hours! Either way I write them and truthfully I write them as much for me as I do for the recipients!

I feel another way to show someone gratitude for them being in your life is to give meaningful gifts.. you know stuff that you know suits that person, not a generic whatever that you randomly picked up! When the holidays came last year we were visiting family after having not been at Christmas in over 19 years! The family members wanted to draw names and then proceeded to tell all of us to buy each other gift cards, which was a fairly stupid idea if you had asked me. I ended up not only buying them a gift card, because they is what they asked for, but I had made for each of them a monogramed leather clutch. That way each of them had something personalized and lasting from just us. That is truly being thoughtful, and shows that you are mindful of their likes and have taken the time, which by the way is also very valuable, to go out of your way to make sure a gift selected for them is actually for just them!

Another way that I show my clients, who are my friends, that I appreciate them is through hugging them. Touch is the first sense we acquire and it is an important act that builds relationships. Listening to a friend without casting opinion, being the first to say your are sorry, and offering to help with a project or a new move or with shopping…all of these are small ways we can show gratitude towards others.

Whether you are randomly smiling at a stranger, writing a letter of thanks or hugging an old friend; all of these acts are a display of being grateful. Gratitude is something that is taught and learned and as we age; it is more valued in our relationships. It is a symbol for me of graciousness that I am proud to be well versed in. The best part about having gratitude is that it is two-fold. The more we show others how much we care and appreciate them; the more thankful we become of our own lives and the less we long for more “stuff!”
Take Care of YOU!

Alisa Murray’s Daily Dose of Sweet…|#alisamurray #auntieAsavestheday

You need to go outside… do it now and once more before the sun sets this day. Take a DEEP breath and look up into the clouds and watch them for a solid 10… do it… do it right now. Cloud surfing is so easy and should be done each week to clear the mind. You can thank me later! ~ Auntie A


Look what I found in the sky! A HEART! 🙂 

Alisa Murray’s Living the Sweet Life : The Daily Dose

Award Winning Columnist Alisa Murray’s Living the Sweet Life | An ode to My Camera for all that we have created together, I wish to say deep thanks!| #alisamurray


Well I’m gonna miss her. For five years she has been a faithful companion and has delivered when asked each and every time exactly what I wanted. Through the surf in Galveston ….in the heat of our most humid days in my yard and she’s even taken one for the team once or twice when a diaper-less newborn had to go pee! Not many humans can hold such accolades as she. Of course, I am referring to my camera.

When I went recently to the most fabulous Degas exhibit at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts I saw a gloriously comprehensive collection of the artist works. I have followed him for almost 35 years..traveled to Washington and Paris just to see his work and even have replicas of his ballerinas in my home. What I wished I could have seen or dared to even touch was his brushes. The magic that he gave to the very instruments to make his craft would have been an even larger treat for this old artist.

My camera is, like my brushes and increasingly more my laptop; one of the most important “things” of my life. Without them I could not create, nor paint or write. So I want to thank her because for 5 years at aprox 1000 frames per day for almost 7 days each week she did give me her everything. I was shooting and she froze and I coached her through repeatedly taking out the battery and carefully placing it back into her hoping she’d come back for one more round. And she did, like an old friend it was as if she just knew we had to finish this last one together! Sure enough, as I clicked that frame and turned her off it was to be her very last. Brian tried to turn her back on and she was completely and utterly finished refusing to even acknowledge another frame. But you see she gave me that last frame, she died not leave me hanging in the middle of that shoot without her. I won’t forget that. How cool would it be to truly have friends like that? I am deeply grateful for her loyalty and duty in my hand.

I’ve got all my old cameras and a handful of old brushes and I’m keeping them. This last camera was the first one in nearly 20 years that I pushed until she could go no more and I like it that way. I think about all of my brushes and recall they too have had the same treatment. We should live our lives giving until we can’t give another thing. The world would most certainly be better for it! These companions as it were though that having been such a large part of my life, deserve to be honored and kept because of their duty and loyalty. When I am gone I sure hope someone decides to keep them around too to remember me by because they are as much a part of the art I have spent my life creating as the art itself!