Grateful for A Quiet Moment

Tonight is the school concert and it is happening in a couple of hours. When my class is not performing their song, I am expected to supervise them in my classroom while the parents watch the show. The day of the concert is a long one; especially when it is filled with excited children. I am hoping that tonight they will be a little calmer than during the day; and that they will bring something interesting with them to keep themselves occupied.

This week I am grateful that for the few moments of quiet that I will have in my classroom before it is filled again with twittering children.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

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Why I Gratitude

Gratitude refers to an attitude of thankfulness and a desire to show appreciation for an action or event. Taken a step further, gratitude refers to an appreciation of what you have in your life – no matter how small. It is an appreciation of small kindnesses that are offered to us in our daily lives. It is only recently that showing gratitude has become vogue – and yet it is an attitude that should be an important part of our daily lives and thoughts.

Showing gratitude is not a habit followed by those who participate in the fast-paced modern world. Instead, daily actions are taken for granted and circumstances are expected as a right. Many people I come into contact with in my daily life look no further than the people in their immediate circle, comparing their lives with those they meet. The broader experience of others in the world is often ignored, or pushed to the back of their minds.

I have noticed a few people have taken up the banner of gratitude in the western world and, in doing so, are moving towards feeling more in tune with themselves and the world they inhabit. Gratitude does help us to experience positive emotions (optimism, enthusiasm, love, joy, happiness) while it moves us away from experiencing destructive emotions (envy, greed, bitterness, resentment). An attitude of gratitude helps us to find contentment within ourselves and the environment in which we live.

So what can we be grateful for? Firstly for ourselves: for our health, our inner strength, our ability to adapt and learn. It may even be something as small as being able to get up everyday and make ourselves our own breakfast, breakfast that we have the money to buy. The trick is to finding the positive in ourselves and to focus on that instead of what we can find wrong in our lives.

Secondly, we can be grateful for the things in our environment: our home, the people who love us, our workplace, something positive about our work colleagues. It is so easy to focus on the negative; so easy to gossip about things that are not done to our satisfaction. Do you not feel lighter and more content when you focus on the positive and what you are grateful for in a conversation? I know I do.

Thirdly we can be grateful for the small kindnesses that are done to us: a cup of tea that is made without request, a colleague dropping by and bringing us the mail, an unexpected visit by a close friend, a hug by someone you know because they see that you need it. Noticing these small things is what makes me content with my life. I have no need to wish for what others have when I notice that what I have suits me and makes me happy.

Since July 2014, I have been writing Gratitude posts on my blog (you can read the posts here). Writing these posts have helped me to focus on the varied things in my life that I have to be grateful for. It is so easy to focus on one thing but, in order to make my posts varied, my reflections have led me to write on a variety of topics each week. Every week I invite readers to share what they are grateful for in the comments or a post of their own. Reading other people’s thoughts encourages me to realise even more things that I have to be grateful for in my life.

Will you join me in reflecting on what you are grateful for?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to the Ragtag Daily Prompt. Today the topic is Gratitude.)

Grateful for Showcase

Yesterday I attended the Pembroke Publishers Showcase. This is an event organised by the Pembroke publishing house for interested teachers to attend. At the showcase, authors speak for 20 minutes about their recent publication and while speaking, give us an insight into what the book covers. While listening, I am often inspired and think about ways in which I can improve my teaching practice.

A quick bite to eat before the event begins. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

This is the second year that I have attended the event and returned to the workshop as I find it inspiring. I also enjoy the day as I get to spend some time away from the classroom with other teachers. As a result of the day, I now have a teacher book that I want to read to add an extra layer to the literacy component in my classroom.

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the Pembroke Publishing Showcase. The day was interesting and inspiring – and I look forward to next year’s event.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Grateful for BFF Time

Saturday morning dawned with grey skies and the promise of a wet day. The gloomy morning, however, did not dampen my spirits as I was to see my best friend. We had connected on the first day I took my daughter to school soon after we had landed in Toronto. We had bonded while our children played in the park. Now those children are finished high school and we still meet to share our thoughts and experiences.

We decided to take ourselves out for brunch and went to a restaurant that serves all day breakfasts. The meal we chose was delicious, the eggs cooked to perfection. Time was of no consequence as we chatted about our daily lives, what we had read, and what we hoped to do in the near future. I savoured the moment as I knew the next time I would see her would be in a few months time.

After eating, the rain prevented us from taking a walk so we went into Starbucks to continue our conversation. Eventually the time came when we had to return home and to our familial responsibilities. Meeting up with my friend was definitely a treat. I am grateful that she took the time to come down and spend a day with me.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection)

Grateful for Family Dinner

Our son has flown into the city for a few days to work and was able to spend some time with us on Saturday. The four of us were excited to see him and could not wait to catch up. We decided to meet him for dinner and take him out to a new Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood. We all enjoy eating Dim Sum because of the variety of choice and, of course, the chance to eat family style.

Family Style Dinner © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

We spent the evening catching up on one another’s stories, chatting about the future, and reminiscing on the past. If we could have, we would have extended the moment but alas, we had to sleep!

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Grateful for Learning Experience

This week I am spending time to learn for the written exam that I have this weekend. As you may remember, I registered for the Canfitpro course in order to be a group fitness instructor. My intention is to share my love of Zumba with others.

Reading through the coursework I could not help but smile as it takes me back to high school and to when I did Biology. Even though getting the information into my head is slow, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to learn the material. It is interesting and it has helped me realise what exactly it is that makes a good group fitness instructor.

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Grateful for a Warm Home

Last week Friday the temperatures dropped and we were reminded that we are in the middle of Winter. Previous to this, we had experienced mild days – so mild that it felt like Spring! Old Man Winter decided to show his true colours and gave us a brutal few days.

Monday began with me stepping out into -33c temperatures and I walked hurriedly to work, bending my head against the icy winds. I did not even take time to enjoy the snow white snow that had fallen on the ground. My only thought was to escape the frigid temperatures and enter a warm building.

As always when it is so cold, my thoughts turn to those who do not have a home to protect themselves from the elements. Since I have moved to Toronto, I have noticed that the number of people living on the street has increased. Reasons for homelessness are cited as being the increasing cost of rental properties in the city, increasing poverty, the de-institutionalisation of mental health care, as well as factors of abuse. I always hope that those in charge of the city would open their hearts and step up for those without a home. I do acknowledge, though, that this is a dream that has not yet become a reality. The homeless are powerless and, as such, do not garner the attention of politicians.

The extreme cold weather has brought to the forefront of my mind how lucky I am to have a warm home that keeps me out of the cold. Not only do I have shelter, but I also have access to a reliable heating system that allows me to be comfortable. This week I am grateful for my home: a shelter that keeps me and my family warm throughout the cold Winter days.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Grateful for Stress-Free Preparations

It is that time of year when most people are bustling around getting ready for the Christmas festivities. Homes are being decorated, and gifts are being bought online and offline. It is a time when many people are stressed with all the planning and gift buying that they feel they have to do.

Currently I am not feeling stress brought on by Holiday preparations. My gifts are bought (albeit still unwrapped) and my freezer stocked. This weekend I shall put up our tree with my children’s help, and I will begin to clean our space for the Christmas period. The most important thing during Christmas is the time that we spend days together as a family – and that doesn’t take much sorting. My children will be happy to open a few gifts, and my husband will be satisfied to eat his favourite pastries and food. This year my eldest daughter wants to go and out and do some family activities. Which ones will be decided on when our son arrives next week.

This week I am grateful that I am not feeling any of the stress brought on by the Holidays. Instead I am looking forward to the family time that I will have with all the children present. This has always been my favourite time of year – and this year is no different.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Shelter

One of the basic human needs is shelter: a place to protect ourselves from the elements, a place to keep warm, a place to call home. During the last two days not only has the temperature dropped dramatically, it has also been wet. Grey clouds have covered our skies, and the wet has been constant. Our weather has reminded us that summer is over and a new season has begun.

As I walked home yesterday I was reflecting on the change of season and how lucky I was to be able to have a place to call home. Each year as the summer surrenders to the cooler weather, I think of the homeless and their daily struggle to find a warm place to rest out of the elements. Each day I unlock the door to my home with relief. A joy that the homeless do not experience.

This week I am grateful to have my home. It may be simple and a little overcrowded but at least I am safe from the outside elements. At least one of my basic needs are being met.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Killer Crime Club Event

As you know, I enjoy attending author events. At these events I get to hear the authors speak about their latest novel, the inspiration for their story, and listen to them speak about their writing process. While they are sharing their experience, I also get a little insight into the writers themselves and see a glimmer of what issues are important to them.

On Monday night I went to an event organised by Harper Collins Canada Publishers for their Killer Crime Club. I had read neither of these books, nor any of the other books by Mary Kubica (A. J. Finn was to speak about his debut novel). Their genre is the psychological thriller which I do enjoy reading. The event was set in an old church,  a very dignified setting.

I found the talk interesting. A. J. Finn has a very good sense of humour even though he writes dark thrillers; and Mary Kubica gets up early to do her writing. A. J. Finn plans out his novel before he writes; while Mary Kubica is a ‘pantster’ who writes the story as it comes to her. Karma Brown was the moderator for the panel and she did a wonderful job. The conversation between the three of them flowed and was so natural.

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this event. Not only did I get to listen to new (to me) authors, but I also got to see that authors are people just like everyone else.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018