One of the things I love about having lived in different cities is now I know people all over. It makes for great excuses to travel, cuts down on accommodation expenses, and I believe has truly enriched my life.

One of those people is Donna, who lives in London and I met while also living there. We’re both active in an alumnae group in Europe, which keeps us in touch and we see each other at events every few years or so. People are hard to sum up in a few adjectives, but if I had to, I would say she’s fearless, determined…an all around go-getter. Now I also have to add practicer of gratitude to the list.

Along with her friend Kelly, they decided to create the #SummerGratitude community, using the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to encourage all of us to be mindful of the gifts summer gives to all of us.

I love this concept, as I think gratitude, like the great Oprah tells us, is something that must be practiced and cultivated. Too often we get bogged down by the crap in our lives-the defeats, the let downs, and all the other ‘bad stuff.’ Taking a second to reflect on the positive-what we do have instead of do not have and makes us smile and laugh instead of cry can make all the difference in our attitudes.

The pictures and thoughts with #SummerGratitude range from the beauty of the outdoors this time of year to being able to be outside and actively enjoy it. It may be a favorite summer treat or activity or a breathtaking moment, like a storm rolling in from Lake Michigan.

In recent weeks, I’ve have to really challenge my self to practice some gratitude. While my post surgery recovery hasn’t had any major setbacks, my face is still not working the way I would like. Smiling makes me sad sometimes because I know it’s not my smile. I feel so self-conscious when having a long conversation with someone because I inevitably have to wipe my eye that’s not blinking enough yet.

But the gratitude must go on. Whether it’s enjoying a card from a friend reminding me that I’m still a ‘sexasaurus’ or flowers arriving at my door with well wishes attached. A friend reassuring me that my anesthesia experience couldn’t possible be as bad as his (and he was right- his story involved a Code Brown after going under). Gratitude is for friends stopping by to visit or sending us restaurant gift certificates because they know my boyfriend was responsible for food provision.

I am also so thankful to have met other ChicagoNow bloggers last night who were wonderfully friendly and supportive. It was my first time meeting any of them in person and I was a bit nervous at first given my amateur newbie status. But there was no need for nerves, just some hugs and laughs. The Blathering event was truly something worthy of some #SummerGratitude.

Check out Donna’s original post that inspired this one.

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