Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Tag

SO, WHERE HAVE I BEEN?   18 comments

I’ve been chasing my tail, but I did catch part of it.

To tell the truth, I had thought I’d take the challenge of writing a blog entry every day, but it just didn’t work out.

Most recently I’ve finished a project called “If Mona Dies.” Yes, I got that from my big brother who did just that in 1998. but his humor stays with me.

What’s that? Well, I’ve been pulling together into one folder all the stuff my family needs to know “if I die” or become incapacitated. I had no idea what I was getting into. My life is just not that complicated, but it would be if someone else had to straighten out the pieces.

Don’t be alarmed. This is not an announcement. I’m planning on hanging around for at least another 20 years, but I remember what a blessing it was when my mother died with everything taken care of. All we needed to do was give away most of her stuff to the nursing home and take home a few small mementos. (a clock and a small leather change purse.) The rest had all been spelled out in the appropriate legal documents. Time to bid goodbye without frazzlement. (I know that’s not a real word, but it says what I mean.)

I want things to be as close as possible to that simplicity.

And I am grateful that I have this problem. Just as my hot morning shower reminds me of people who are deprived of that opportunity, so this activity reminds me how fortunate I am to have a home and all the stuff that’s in it.

Other things have been going on too. I’ve been teaching a course on forgiveness to an absolutely wonderful group of people at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior. I’m still working at finding a new publisher for “Mrs. Job” or whoever she might become. And I’m still gathering data needed to write “My Father’s House.”

Oh, and in between, real life goes on.

My request to you. Please forgive me for failing to follow through on blog events.


Well, what’s so newsworthy about that? Nothing — and that’s the point. After singing a few scales and having one go at “Consider the LIllies,” I lapsed into my usual thought. How lucky I am that I can have this water — clean, hot, plentiful, and there when I want it. Think of the folks in the world who don’t even have enough of it to drink, say nothing of such luxury as bathing.

I can’t help being grateful — and longing for a world where no one is thirsty.

Posted September 29, 2013 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Gratitude begets gratitude   6 comments

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that so many of you “liked” and/or commented on yesterday’s gratitude blog. Sometimes I get the lonely feeling that no one is seeing what I put out. Of course, I’m aware that I didn’t really put this out, but rather I passed it forward. Which obviously was a good idea.

Speaking of passing it forward. I remember years ago in Boston when I was in graduate school I decided one day to smile at everyone I encountered. Wow! What a result. Everyone smiled back. I mean, a real eye-crinkling smile. I suspect some of those smiles got forwarded to others.

Posted September 26, 2013 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

GRATITUDE   11 comments

My throat got lumpy when I watched this — but in a good way. If you haven’t already seen it, please enjoy.  Gratitude

Posted September 25, 2013 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with



  • No matter what happens, you’re not a victim. It’s up to you to determine your response.
  • Embrace your life’s purpose. Make your own unique contribution that turns your environment into a better place and fulfills you.
  • Make the reality your reality.
  • Don’t be distracted by the overwhelmingly negative news around you. Instead, read The Intelligent Optimist.
  • Don’t look back too often. Keep yourself open to today’s new opportunities.
  • Listen to your friends and loved ones, but don’t become dependent on what others think of you.
  • Be grateful for everything life has given you and for every step forward you can take.
  • Make sure you laugh often. Don’t take yourself too seriously.


Page 77, The Intelligent Optimist, vol 11, Issue 3, May/June 2013


I hope these bullet points stir up stories for yourselves and to share here with the rest of us.

I’ve been relying lately on the “Don’t be distracted by the negative news…” point. I remember taking a journalism course in High School where I learned that good, happy events rarely make news.That’s even more true today when news is mostly done in sound bites where bad news seems to fit easily. The good tends to be on-going, not fitting  into one or two sentences.

The suggestion made by the Intelligent Optimist to read itself is more than just marketing. It’s one place to retreat and focus on the positive changes occurring in the world that sometimes seems overwhelmingly dangerous and destructive.

So, I’ve been listening to music more and watching TV news less – giving my brain a break.





It was a white leather-look jacket that drew me into the Christian based clothing store in town. “Hello, how are you?” the proprietor asked. “I’m fine,” I said, how are you doing? “Very well, he answered.” “Good,” I said. “That’s what you want when you’re in business.” “Obama says I didn’t do it myself,” he said. “He’s absolutely right,” I responded. “For example, your customers were able to get here because of the public roads and sidewalks, and the lights to see their way by.” That pretty much ended our conversation, but not my thoughts. Without public highways and roads, his business would have been extremely difficulty to maintain – if not impossible. And what of the harbors and ports maintained by the public by which he received shipments of his products. Or trade agreements with the countries who created the goods he bought … Oh, I think it’s a good bet he borrowed money somewhere along the way, or at least uses banks insured by FDIC. I’ll bet, too, that he relies on the postal service to some extent. And I assume he has a lavatory somewhere in the store, with efficient sewage disposal and safe running water in the sink for drinking. Given that his business is Christian-based, I’m pretty sure his beliefs and subsequent business choice depend upon experiences with others who set him an example and standard. Most likely his church had a guaranteed mortgage at one point. If not, it depended on the community getting together to support it.

It’s not all public funds that support his business. What of all the stores around him, helping to bring in business, and the newspapers that make it possible to advertise his wares. Then there’s all the support those other businesses receive from public funds. Just as his customers probably work for, have been employed by, companies who have relied on the public infrastructure for their success.

But let me get away from his situation and into mine. It is true that my parents saved for my college education – for which I feel tremendous gratitude. My college was supported – like basically all institutions of higher education, by endowments. And I probably would not have been admitted to my college had it not been for an excellent public education at all levels through secondary school. Then my graduate degrees. Yes. I worked very hard for them, but those institutions as well relied not only on endowments, but also on grants, many of which came from public funds. The very research that contributed to knowledge in my field depended largely on NSF grants. I can’t forget, as well, that my entire career as a professor was at institutions supported by public funds.

Yes, I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished, as can the proprietor of the store with the white leather-like jacket. But the pride has to be tempered by gratitude for all who have helped me – us- along the way.

“No man (woman) is an island.”

By the way, I didn’t try on the white jacket, much as I would have liked to. I just couldn’t afford it, even though it was worth the price. I hope others are grateful for whatever made it possible for them to try and buy. And I’m happy for the proprietor’s success. I want that store to be there for a long time to please me when I walk by, and occasionally buy.


From lush green nourished by a summer of rainfall to the heights of the Cliffs at Moher to the depths of a cave carved by ancient waters to barren land strewn with glacial rock deposits, the senses were caressed with calming gratification. One week in Ireland was not enough.

Either we were very lucky, or we brought with us the gift of sunshine to folks longing for an end to the rain. Whatever the reason, we enjoyed perfect temperatures in the 60s and 70s. And relaxation. I’ve come to realize that there are three factors that make traveling so restorative.

1)    We leave behind the stress of daily negative news. (I learned in a course in journalism that good news doesn’t sell.)

2)    The people tourists meet are all employed, resonating contentment.

3)    While the news of joblessness in Ireland, as elsewhere, is tragic, we can take in the information without the pressure to feel responsible for casting and/or encouraging the corrective vote.

Our excursion guide was about the best we’ve every experienced, informative, fun, filled with enlightening stories about the country – the kind one might get sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee.

We were directed to restaurants and pubs where we enjoyed delicious food – always accompanied by potatoes in at least one form. Yes, Gordon, I did have a glass of Guinness or two. And music, classical Irish and traditional.

The economic news was not good, reminding me, as always, of my gratitude that I can travel and enjoy such happy experiences. My joy would be complete if I knew such pleasurable calm were the world’s norm.

Mostly, it’s true what they say. Ireland is a wonderful place to visit.

I haven’t had time to download my photos. Eventually I’ll have something to post here.

Posted September 10, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: