Today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice, marking the arrival of my favourite season. It is also a day where I feel a twinge of sadness - as each day will progressively get shorter, slowly seeing us into autumn and then winter.
Last year to mark the love of all things summer my friend Kelly and I played a hashtag game on Twitter - #summergratitude. We posted daily snippets of things about the summer which we savour - from big things, to small things, from photos, to things that we did that day. We’ll be doing it again this year, and it just happens to coincide with Kelly’s birthday which is today - happy birthday Kelly! Thank you for starting #summergratitude last year, which helped me to feel happy for each and every day of summer, while it lasted. I hope you have a wonderful year ahead.
The Oxford Online Dictionary defines gratitude as:
Gratitude. noun. The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Stopping and pausing to give thanks is like returning to old familiar habits for me. My high school celebrated Gratitude Day, where we were encouraged to send “mahalo-grams” to each other, to give thanks to others. Thanks for anything at all, to the people who made our life just a little more special.
(I went to the oracle named Google to find out when Gratitude Day is held nowadays, and wound up finding these images from “back in the day”. Classic. Seeing these old mahalo-grams totally brought back memories - and they made me wonder what Liana Bond is up to these days!)
Thankful for beginnings
This past weekend DH and I were invited to a friend’s son’s christening. We were truly honoured to be invited to be a part of the occassion. Celebrating a new life. Being with old friends who we don’t see often enough. And being able to give their son a present that we are all already planning to enjoy together in about 17 years time
My friend chose to decorate the tables with white peonies.
A perfect choice for a summer’s christening - the peony is a sun loving and long living flower. Hardy. Likely to stay happy and healthy year after year. Here’s hoping the same for their family.
Mindful of the darkness
The sad thing about the long days of summer (and in particular this longest day) is knowing that from here out, until December, the days will be getting shorter.
The longest day is time to pause and give thanks for the sunshine, and also to pay respect to the forthcoming darkness.
With this in mind, the US Alzheimer’s Association has an initiative this year, encouraging people and groups to exercise through the longest day of the year. My sorority’s chosen charity is the Alzheimer’s Association, and as a member of our European Alumnae Chapter, I am marking today by being a part of a team which is raising funds that will go to researching a cure for Alzheimer’s - the oncoming darkness that so many people face.
Starting in the morning in Italy and ending in the evening in Calfornia, a group of us will be exercising in “shifts”, passing the virtual baton to one another throughout the day, to raise money and awareness for the research into Alzheimer’s, to offer hope to those afflicted with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers. I’ll be doing my part of our longest day during my lunch break by joining my usual Wednesday afternoon spin class and then following up with a quick treadmill brick run after to total an hour of activity. At sunset in each of our timezones we will light a candle, to show our support.
If you would like to contribute to the team effort you can do so here (click on the “Make a Gift” link on the right hand side of the page).
Thank you. #summergratitude