The Practice of Gratitude
While watching Hillary Clinton’s interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN recently, I was impressed with the simple, frank and wise words she had to say to a George Washington University student. The student asked, “if you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
The former secretary of state had this to say to her, “… I have described myself in the past as intense, as, you know, passionate, as service-minded, because that’s how I have tried to live my life. And, you know, sometimes, just like every other human being, I’m disappointed in what I did or didn’t do, or whether it was the — meeting my expectations and all of that. And then I have other less happy words to describe myself.
But one point I want to make really quickly, and that is — and I say this to young women and young men, but I’m primarily asked by young women — is, if you’re going to go into the public arena, how do you think about yourself and how do you behave? And, there, I think it’s very important for you to take criticism seriously, but not personally. And don’t let yourself get pulled down by other people’s opinions, because I think what you think about yourself, what you say to others about yourself really does affect how you present yourself and eventually who you are.
So, I do try to stay positive about other people and myself. And when I find myself kind of getting into a “uh” mood, I think about my blessings. And I try to practice what is called the discipline of gratitude. So, I’m grateful. That’s probably the number one word I would use”. 
I don’t agree with all of Mrs. Clinton’s political views but we do have what she considers to be, “the number one word” in common, we both want to be known as grateful woman.
A Life of Gratitude
Along with the rest of the world, I am saddened by Maya Angelou’s death last month. Many gratefully remembered this great, poet, author, activist and luminary.
Michelle Obama was one of the speakers at Maya Angelou’s memorial. The First Lady said to those who gathered to pay tribute to Dr. Angelou, “She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, ‘each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory’. She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.”
At the same memorial, Oprah Winfrey told how, Angelou, her close and constant friend, could shake her out of bouts of self-doubt. She taught her to look beyond trouble and spot the rainbow in the clouds. Winfrey said. “Maya Angelou is the greatest woman I have ever known,”  Winfrey wiped tears as she recalled Angelou’s guidance throughout her career. “She taught me the poetry of courage and respect.” 
“This, I know for sure, sure, sure. Being grateful is by far the single most powerful thing you can do to change your life… If you want to fulfill your desire and your destiny, start by being grateful. ” – Oprah Winfrey
During an interview not too long ago, Oprah Winfrey presented a side of Maya Angelou that not too many people are familiar with, Maya Angelou, the singer-dancer as Miss Calypso.
When Oprah asked Dr. Angelou what would you tell that young Calypso singer today, Maya replied, “I would encourage her to forgive. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.”
Ms. Angelou continued, “I had to get to a place where I could forgive the man who had raped me when I was 7 years old.” I had to get there, and that was a matter of incredible mental gymnastics and then I had to “think of what I had done to other people and see how I’ve been forgiven…”.
You can see the interview here:
Ms. Angelou has it right. The love found in forgiveness is a gift.
I believe God filled humanity’s greatest need for forgiveness with His Son, Jesus. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, the penalty for sin was paid.  We are justified by his grace as a gift. Through his blood, we have peace with God and are born into His life of love.  And for that, I am eternally thankful.
Our Grateful Life
This month my husband and I celebrated a milestone, our 30th wedding anniversary. Having a joyful marriage, after three decades, is a testimony to God’s goodness and my husband, Steven’s grace. It is great accomplishment. a blessing for which we are very grateful.
My nephew Jeremy tied the knot this month and married his sweetheart Heleana. The vows they said to each other were very loving and touching. I wish them many blessings and gifts from above. Nothing is better than being with the one you love.
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10
Sending blessings and love to all, Linda
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