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Back when things started getting really hard, I e-mailed my Guru and let her know what was going on.  She gave me a list of suggestions to help me get through this.  One of them was to write gratitude lists.  When I had finished one list, I should start another.  It was good advice, but I’m bad at following advice.  However, a few days ago I realized that I’ve been keeping a visual gratitude list.  It started because AnniPotts, one of my favorite sisters, was having a hard time out in South Dakota, particularly since they had just been hit with their second blizzard in a week.  This was at the same time as we were beginning to see new baby leaves on trees, spring flowers, and new life starting to break through all over.  So I started taking pictures with my phone of the beauty around me and messaging them to her.

She loved them, so I started sending her more.  And then I started posting them to my Twitter account too.  Every day I would look for something beautiful to send her.

Or something that made me feel happy, like brand new little leaves on my rosebushes.

Or beautiful, small leaf buds on the tree in front of my house.

After a while I realized that I wasn’t just helping my sister feel better, I was helping myself too.  Every day I had to go look for something beautiful, something hopeful. And every day I found it.  If you’d like to see all of the pictures I’ve been taking (along with an awful lot of pictures of my knitting projects), you can find it on my TwitPic account here.

In the meantime, there are other good things happening.  Last night I got to hold a baby for a long time.  He was warm, and small, and after a while he fell asleep on me, which I enjoyed.  This weekend MDoS and The Beautiful T are getting married.  Both of them have been so dear to me for so long – it’s a beautiful, satisfying thing to see them pledging themselves to one another.  I’m doing one of the readings at the wedding, and baking a major part of the wedding cake.  AnniPotts is coming home for the wedding too, which is wonderful.  And we start a new season of Theology On Tap tonight (which I am trying hard to think of as good and exciting, not just stressful beyond belief).  Also, it looks like Johnsy and I may really be getting a new roommate after all, probably at the beginning of June.  I haven’t decided on a nickname for her yet, but she’s a Kindergarden teacher who’s been part of my circle of Catholic young adult friends for a little while now.  She’s originally from one of the countries which used to be part of the Soviet block (the Ukraine? maybe?), and actually became Catholic at a time when it was illegal.  She’s very cool, and I’m looking forward to having her in the house a lot, even if it does mean I’m going to have to clear off a shelf in the pantry for her, and possibly stop leaving my knitting stuff all over the downstairs.  So life is good, even when things are hard.