Being Thankful

Sometimes we are so caught up in our everyday problems, or out-of-the-ordinary super problems, we can easily forget that there is always someone else out there with worse ones.


Tight money problems.  Accidents.  Family infighting.  Natural disasters.  The death of a beloved.  The loss of a job.  We look out at this old world and see wars and rumours of wars, country against country, bad government, bad people, and it never seems to end.  Sometimes it seems that every day brings a brand-new crisis, each one worrisome and filled with tension.  It’s a time when it is easy to give in to those old faithful “D’s” – downers, despair, disillusion, disenchantment, depression, distraction, and desperation.  But there’s another “D” – “DON’T!”  Don’t give in, don’t give up, don’t despair.

(Or as Sir Winston Churchill said “Never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in…..”)

Take a moment.  Write it down.  I AM ALIVE. The sun is shining.  The rain is falling,  The sky is blue.  The sky is overcast.  The world is still turning.  The oceans are still there, and the mountains, the valleys, the trees, the birds, the animals, the bees, the butterflies, the bunnies  — and you and me.  (Bunnies are in a special category).


Whenever things start to get to me, I look around for the things in and around my house that I love, (including my bunny), beautiful plants, books, comfortable chairs, collectible things, lovely old and new furniture and family treasures, food in my freezer and fridge and cupboards, pictures of the people I love, my computer connecting me to friends and family, my car in my driveway, raccoons, groundhogs, cats, bluejays, cardinals, crows, migrating birds in my backyard, green grass, golden sunshine, purple violets, leafy trees, misty rain, shrubs and bushes, a glider on my deck, shelves and shelves of books (did I mention I love reading?), a bed to rest on, slippers for my feet, paintings of beautiful creatures and places on my walls, music or talk on the radio, cds, dvds, or peace and quiet – it’s all good.


If I’m still a little restless, I grab my purse and head out in my car for somewhere else, thanking God for every living thing I see, and every manmade improvement I see.  I’m glad of the smooth road and the dependable function of my car, the trees and flowers everywhere, cute little dogs walking their masters, kids on bikes, delivery trucks bringing produce and goods to everyone, my cellphone, the postwoman delivering mail, old couples walking hand-in-hand, and a really good cup of coffee at Coffee Culture, Starbucks, Second Cup or Tim Horton’s.

1280_Cup of Coffee

And even when it’s raining, the sound of raindrops can be enchanting.  A thunderstorm can be electrifying (pardon the pun.)  A Christmas snowfall can be uplifting, and crunchy, squeaky, brisk snow can be fun to walk on.  I won’t go so far as to extol the virtues of ice, but…. on the other hand, when the sun strikes icicles, they can shine like diamonds.


A moment of quiet reflection remembering the love of my life, feeling the deepest gratitude for God’s gift of children, and their spouses, who also become your children.  Much loved.  Yes, much, much loved.  I feel gratitude for being able to feel love so deeply.

These things are just the tip of the iceberg – they’re little-big things, and when you add them all together, we live, (as Coldplay tells us) “in a beautiful world.”

My blessings outweigh my heartaches by a wide, wide margin, starting with — life.

Life is an Adventure … Dare it
Life is a Beauty … Praise it
Life is a Challenge … Meet it
Life is a Duty … Perform it
Life is a Love … Enjoy it
Life is a Tragedy … Face it
Life is a Struggle … Fight it
Life is a Promise … Fulfill it
Life is a Game … Play it
Life is a Gift … Accept it
Life is a Journey … Complete it
Life is a Mystery … Unfold it
Life is a Goal … Achieve it
Life is an Opportunity … Take it
Life is a Puzzle … Solve it
Life is a Song … Sing it
Life is a Sorrow … Overcome it
Life is a Spirit … Realize it


Proudly Canadian


Thomas Ahearn (1855-1938)

(Material provided by Wikipedia, and Bruce Ricketts “Mysteries of Canada”)

Thomas Ahearn, a Canadian inventor and businessman, was born in the Lebreton Flats area of Ottawa on June 24, 1855.

He began work as a telegraph operator (age 15) with the J. R. Booth Company, (volunteering to work for free, so he could learn) later becoming a manager in several early telephone companies in Ottawa, including the Bell Telephone Company (Bell Telegraphone Company) office in Ottawa (1880).

In 1877,  Ahearn created a the first long distance telephone routing from Ottawa to Pembroke, using two cigar boxes, some magnets and wire, utilizing existing telegraph lines. He gave up his cigar-box phone to settle a $16 hotel bill in Ottawa.

In 1881, he founded the firm of Ahearn & Soper, electrical engineering and contracting, with Warren Soper. Later that year, he set up telephone service for Parliament Hill and government offices.

In 1882 Ahearn installed 65 arc street lamps, introducing electric light to Ottawa.  His Ottawa Electric Light Company built a small waterwheel at Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River to supply power for the street lighting, possibly the first hydraulic generator in Canada.

Ahearn formed Chaudière Electric Light and Power Company in 1887, and later merged it with other companies, creating the Ottawa Electric Company in 1894.  Ahearn & Soper set up thousands of electric lights on the Parliament Buildings for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (practice continuing to this day around Christmas).

Ahearn was founder and president of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company, which provided electric streetcar service in the city, and had the first streetcars with electric heaters (a device he patented in 1890 as a “system of warming cars by means of electrically heated water”) In 1891 he introduced the first electric streetcar into Canada at Ottawa, and used the heater for the streetcars in winter.  He also invented a rotating brush sweeper to clear the track of snow.  The company ran as a vast and very successful private operation for over half a century.

Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1892 (an “electric oven”) and used this invention that year to prepare a meal of Saginaw Trout with Potato Croquettes and Sauce Tartare, for his friends and family, which he delivered by streetcar to the Windsor Hotel, causing the Ottawa Journal to say “…everything had been cooked by electricity, the first instance on record….”  In other words, he was the first person in the world to cook with electricity.

He, with William Wylie in September 1893, founded the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, which manufactured streetcars.
Streetcar built by the Ottawa Car Company for the Toronto system

(Streetcar built by the Ottawa Car Company for the Toronto system)

In 1899, Ahearn was the first person to drive a small electric automobile in Ottawa.

On June 1906, Ahearn was appointed director and elected president of Ottawa Gas Company.  In 1908 he formed a holding company called the Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company, Limited, which wholly owned Ottawa Gas Company (which Ahearn and Soper bought) and Ottawa Electric Company.  In this way, the private sector continued to compete with Ottawa Hydro for decades.

In 1912, as well as being vice-president of Wallace Realty Company Limited, and director of Canadian Westinghouse Company Limited, Thomas Ahearn was listed as president of Ottawa Electric Railway Company, Ottawa Electric Company, Ottawa Car Company, Ottawa Gas Company, Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company and vice-president of Ahearn and Soper Limited.

In 1927, Ahearn, with Prime Minister MacKenzie King and Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe, made the first transatlantic telephone call to Britain.

In 1927 he was placed by Prime Minister MacKenzie King as the first chairman of the Federal District Commission, the predecessor to the National Capital Commission, (five years).  In this capacity, much of Ottawa’s parkway network was developed, as well as the Champlain Bridge across the Ottawa River.  He was named to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1928.


(Champlain Bridge over the Ottawa River)

In 1932, Ahearn was appointed chairman of the Broadcasting Committee for the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation.  One of his tasks was to produce a coast-to-coast radio broadcast of the festivities on Parliament Hill.  For this, Ahearn built the 32,000 kilometres of wire needed to connect the country from east to west.  Governor-General Lord Willingdon said that this “had done more to create a national spirit in Canada than any other movement.”

Thomas Ahearn died June 28, 1938, and is interred in Beechwood Cemetery.  There is a street in Ottawa named after him in Britannia, Ottawa.


Thomas Ahearn’s son Frank would become the owner of the Ottawa Auditorium and the Ottawa Senators hockey team.  His daughter, Lilias, married Harry Southam in 1909, the publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, and part of the Southam newspaper empire.



When the stress of daily living
Takes more than you can be giving,
Leave your papers and your pen,
Leave the family and the den,
Leave the bankbook and the bills,
Here’s a way to cure your ills.

Find a day that’s warm and hazy,
And a stream that’s wide and lazy,
Beneath a tree beside the stream,
Close your eyes, to think and dream.

Thank of happy times gone by
Think of blue and brilliant sky,
Think of laughter and of love,
Think of twinkling stars above,
Stretch and yawn, remembering
Leaves in fall and flowers in spring.
Think of lightning and of rain,
Think of joy that’s close to pain,
Think of love’s first trembling kiss,
And a smiling, bright-eyed miss,
Remember triumphs, ecstacies,
Surrender to the soothing breeze —

Let your heart relax, and then
Lift lightened burdens up again.

© E J Finn (Collie)


Give me a day and a road and a song!

A day with a scrubbed and shiny face
washed by sweet-scented rain,
dried by fluffy towels of wind
with hot little sunbeams
dancing all around,
and cool wisps of breeze drifting by.

A lazy, wandering, winding road
that stops to see a field of buttercups,
and walks beside a happy stream,
races with rabbits down a hill,
then lies and rests beneath a sheltered bower.

A song begun by crickets in the grass,
with harmony provided by the birds,
a fluting solo whistled by the wind,
and echoed by the rolling vales and hills,
with thunderous climax by the waterfall.

A day that ends with moonlit road
beneath a starry sky,
While Mother Nature cradles all
and sings her lullaby.

© E J Finn (Collie)


Josh Groban

Joshua Winslow “Josh” Groban, born February 27, 1981, (Los Angles, CA) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and record producer.  His first four albums have been certified multi-platinum, and in 2007 he was charted as the number-one best selling artist in the United States, with over 21 million records in the nation.  He has a brother, Chris, who shares the same birthday, four years later.  In the tradition of being American (or  Canadian), Josh’s roots are varied:  Russian/Polish on his father’s side, Nowegian/German/English on his mother’s side.  I think this is a fitting song for today’s post.

Josh GrobanHere is a video of Josh Groban’s song”Thankful” (h/t to Formula4Change on YouTube)



Somebody Said It…..

(A lot of blessings and gratitudes and thankfulness – but stick with me, it’s really worth pondering……..)

All that we behold is full of blessings.  (William Wordsworth)

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. (John F Kennedy)

Delight in the little things.  (Rudyard Kipling)

Do you consider yourself a blessing or just another person? (Jonathan Anthony Burkett)

Fall seven times, stand up eight.  (Japanese Proverb)

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  (William Arthur Ward)

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?” (William Arthur Ward)

Got no check books, got no banks.  Still I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.  (Irving Berlin)

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.  (Jacqueline Winspear)

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity:  it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all (William Faulkner)

Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  (Kak Sri)

Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.  (Marianne Williamson)

Gratitude is medicine for a heart devastated by tragedy.  If you can only be thankful for the blue sky, then do so.  (Richelle E Goodrich)

Gratitude is the best attitude.   (author unknown)

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  (Jean Baptiste Massieu)

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  (Aesop)

Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.  (Joseph Wood Krutch)

Here are the two best prayers I know:  “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you thank you.”  (Anne Lamott)

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it.  I want to have lived the width of it as well. (Diane Ackerman)

I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.  (Benjamin Disraeli)

I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them.  The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.  (Rita Mae Brown)

I was angry because I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet.  (Author unknown)

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.  (Meister Eckhart)

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.  (Robert Quillen)

If you have lived, take thankfully the past.  (John Dryden)

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.  (Gerald Good)

It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks.  (Donald Curtis)

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die;  so, let us all be thankful.  (Buddha)

No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.  (Elie Wiesel)

Rest and be thankful.  (William Wordsworth)

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.  (G. B. Stern)

Take as a gift whatever the day brings forth… (Horace)

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  (W. J. Cameron)

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.  (William James)

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.  (Eric Hoffer)

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  (H. U. Westermayer)

The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes.   It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches.  It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day.  What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.  (Michael Josephson)

The world is full of such wondrous things;  we should all be as happy as kings.  (author unknown)

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  (Elizabeth I Tudor)

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  (Thornton Wilder)

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.  (Fredrick Koeing)

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.  (Willie Nelson)

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?  (G. K. Chesterton)

You can also look at your body and think about how the blood flows and the fact that your body is in constant renewal.  It is a miracle of creation happening within you every second of the day.  This is something to be thankful for.  (Celso Cukierkorn)

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.  (G. K. Chesterton)

Signing off …. ej

Music Or Books?

Just Askin’



A question I’ve often asked of people is “If you had to choose between music and books, what would you choose?”  For me, that is not an easy question to answer.  I eat words and drink music, and I crave both.

If you were on an island, with wild beasts and wild people all around you, would music appeal to them, or the sound of the human voice speaking? Continue reading

Welcome To My Back Yard

6937192-green-leaves-wallpaper-hdMy office looks out onto the back deck of my home, where I can turn the slatted blinds and see into my tangled backyard. Tangled because there are things growing there that I did not plant, and yet would not destroy. My yard has fences all around and trees that had to be cut down because of disease. One was a poplar and one was a birch, and when they were gone, I really missed hearing the wind constantly singing through the leaves, watching migrating birds landing for a rest, seeing filtered sunlight through the leaves, and feeling the cool oasis of sheltering branches. It was a long, hot, sad summer without those beautiful trees.


The following spring, I noticed little saplings growing around the fence lines and instead of cutting them out, I left them, curious to see what was growing there. Today, at the eastern end of my deck I have a beautiful, strapping, strong big-leafed young maple tree shading my deck, with its fingertips starting to brush my bedroom window in the night breezes. I don’t mind the gentle “tap, tap” – it’s my connection to my maple tree.  I still have my beloved lilac tree, which every year gives me sweet fragrance. Now, I also have two wild cherry trees (birds love them), one choke cherry tree (love it too), two small maples, a couple of aspens, and several small leafy trees I’ll have to identify one of these days.The guard the perimeter of the fences, making a moving picture of lush green leaves whenever there is a breeze. They are filled with birds, their nests, their song.

Continue reading