Tag Archives: gratitude


We make memories every day, but for some reason, some of them latch onto our minds and especially our hearts more than others.


Last week I spent a few days with one of my daughters at her house in the Raleigh area to help babysit my other daughter’s two little girls while she and her husband were on a trip. I miss those little ones so much since they moved away from here. It was wonderful seeing them fall asleep at night, wake up in the morning, and everything in between…walks, meals, laughter, playing with dogs, eating ice cream (twice!), fingernail painting, playgrounds, deer at dusk, an unexpected double rainbow, doing yard work, silliness, sweetness, and the greatly missed hugs….really just being together.

But one memory I’ll keep with me is going to the nursery with my daughter (and the grands, of course) to look for plants for her yard. There was free ice cream and lemonade, face painting, lots of colorful bridges to cross as we wandered among beautiful trees and flowers and fountains. She decided on Rose of Sharon, hostas, and lantanas. While the older granddaughter had a bright butterfly painted on her cheek, the little one sat patiently eating every drop of her ice cream, then both girls got free flowers to take home. It was a lovely, sweet, and special day I’ll carry in my heart for a long time. Just the beauty of simple everyday life spent out in nature with family.

Granted, every day or week may not be crammed with so many “big” blessings, but I do believe there’s something to be thankful for every single day we’re alive on this beautiful planet.



It’s Apple Season

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

I love this quote attributed to Carl Sagan. Autumn is my favorite season. That wasn’t always the case, but since discovering I was a Pantheist years ago, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the abundance of gifts and lessons that Nature offers us all during the year. Autumn gives us glorious colors, crisp cooler days, a welcome respite from summer’s heat….and apples.

Here in western North Carolina, it’s apple country. Fall brings apple festivals with their kings and queens, local crafts and music, and tasty treats, plus fruit stands dotting these mountain roads, selling many varieties of this cherished fruit, pumpkins and gourds and Indian corn, along with late-summer produce. One such, Barber’s, also has a bakery where you can buy applesauce, apple butter, spiced apple cider, apple turnovers, fritters, muffins, fresh apple cake, and, of course, apple pie. So when I think of fall, I think of Barber’s Orchard, apples, and Carl Sagan, and they’re warm, cozy thoughts, indeed.


His quote is a succinct expression of universal interconnectedness. If sacred means uniting with the universe, the divine, the larger than me, then eating certainly qualifies as a spiritual practice. Back to Sagan’s apple pie, partaking of a slice brings me in relationship with the whole – the people who planted, watered, and pruned the trees; picked the apples; made the flour, the butter, and other ingredients; baked the pie, sold it, or served it to me, if I didn’t make it myself, and the people I share my food with, but beyond that, the sun, trees, bees, rain, and soil, Nature in all its glory, so that an apple pie (or cake!) or whatever I’m having for a meal is so much more than just food sitting on my plate. It’s a microcosm of the entire universe. When I take a bite, it and all those elements that went into its making become part of me and I in some way part of them, and so the cycles continue on, ever related. It’s life, pure and simple. None of us are self-sufficient or living in a vacuum, able to exist without the Universe (not even that apple pie). Without it, none of us would be here. People have different ideas on how the Universe came to be and different explanations for all its intricate beauties and workings and conditions conducive to the flourishing of life, but there are some things I know. It’s here, for this little moment in time I’m here to experience it, it’s my home and nourishment, and I need it.

Yes, sometimes it’s okay to simply do something as mundane as eating dessert after dinner without another thought except enjoyment and wondering whether or not you should have a second helping! We’ve long known how social food is. Eating with someone is a special experience, a time of sharing, whether it’s lunch or some other specific occasion. We bring food when people are born, when someone dies, celebrates a birthday, marries, or achieves some accomplishment or milestone. Making or providing food for another person, or perhaps a non-human animal, is a way to express love and caring for them, but beyond that, it also can become a larger, more elevated experience connecting me to people, other animals, and places I’ll never know or see. So often, the effects of things we do are flung farther and wider than we realize. How often do we take time to think about or appreciate this big picture? Really, what could be more sacred, more divine?


I’ve taken a lot for granted in my life, and now I try to live more mindfully and with much gratitude. That’s a gift that Pantheism has given me since I claimed it as my spiritual path and have interacted with other Pantheists, to help me appreciate every moment, every connection, places nearby and far away, and to be thankful. Autumn is a season of harvest and thanksgiving, and it seems fitting that I’ll celebrate the Autumn Equinox this year (September 22nd) with a slice of warm apple pie from this season’s bounty, remember Carl Sagan, and simply be grateful for everything the Universe has given me, for life itself, and for my extraordinary good fortune to be part of it.

For those interested in saying a simple grace of thanksgiving at mealtime, here’s one in this same spirit:

“Bless our hearts to hear in the breaking of bread the song of the universe.” (Father John Giuliani)

Happy Autumn!


(originally published in Pantheist Vision)