I ‘d like to engage in a bit of a philosophical conversation on this Labour/Labor Day focusing on the importance of gratitude in our lives.

I am certainly grateful for the importance labour unions have had in my life. When I started working for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) back on June 2, 1975, I was told that the very next cheque after the first one I received would be 30% higher, as the union had negotiated an amazing increase for its members. We received a further 15% pay increase as a result of subsequent contract negotiations and many more pay increases and improvements in benefits during the (nearly) 18 years with the company. At one point, I was even on the negotiating team that helped negotiate at least one of our collective agreements. That was quite the learning experience, and I am grateful for having had that opportunity.

My father had also been involved with his trade union many years ago, so I suspect that it has always been in my blood to sympathize with the plight of workers — despite the fact that I have been a self-employed entrepreneur for the past 17 years. (My father also came to be a self-employed entrepreneur following his years in a unionized environment.) So hats off to all the workers of the world — whether you are your own boss or you are employed by someone else.

I am also grateful that I live in a place where good medical care is readily available. The Canadian public healthcare system may not be perfect, but it is readily available to us, and certainly put our worries to rest this past week when my husband was examined by the Emergency Room doctors at Selkirk General Hospital and diagnosed with a severe case of cellulitis. He has quite the worrisome rash surrounding his surgical site (he had bypass surgery in Feb) and is now being medicated for it.

Reg makes a happy hospital patient and makes me grateful for our medical system.

Reg makes a happy hospital patient and makes me grateful for our medical system.

I am grateful for numerous interactions I have had with long-lost and distant family members who re-entered my life this year. And the many friends who brighten my days and share my experiences.

I am grateful for the wonderful (albeit short) summer we have had in Manitoba this year. Several of the recent posts on this blog have focused on the fun and adventures we have shared over the past few months.

And I am grateful for my work as a writer, author and editor that enables me to learn and share that information with all of you. My work has taken me to many amazing places and provided me with the opportunity to meet many intriguing people. I am endlessly grateful for that and hope that the learning never ends.

I have been fortunate enough to have crossed paths with other like-minded individuals who acknowledge the importance of gratitude in our lives.  Stacey Porto operates a terrific website at: If you sign up for her free e-newsletter, she will send you a copy of her excellent 19-page report called, “On Being Grateful: 12 Ways to Practice Gratitude for Health and Happiness.” The report is filled with numerous helpful tips on how to incorporate a more significant level of gratitude into your life.

How about you? For what are you most grateful? And do you let those who are important to you know it? Do you openly show your gratitude to those who matter to you? I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts on this most important subject. Until then, please know I am grateful for each one of you.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

19 Responses

  1. Beverly says:

    How inspiring you posts on gratitude are!

  2. wizardofwords says:

    I recently came across this blog that focuses specifically on gratitude, and this week's post is important as the author is collecting people's thoughts on gratitude for an important project.

    You may wish to read and comment at:

  3. wizardofwords says:

    Came across this fabulous quote on the subject of gratitude and wanted to post it here so that it's not lost:

    "Gratitude consists of being more aware of what you have, than what you don't." -Author Unknown

  4. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for sharing that neat line from your grandmother, Suzanne. I have indeed been guilty of the "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality. But as your wise grandmother knew, it's pretty darn green right under our feet! So it's best to focus on the now and be grateful for what we've got — and where we are.

  5. Suzanne says:

    My grandmother used to say "if everyone hung their problems out on the washline you'd run to get your own." I didn't get it when I was younger but I certainly do now. Count your blessings, the grass always looks greener on the other side and all of those cliches are very true. Thanks for sharing the positives we should think about every day.

  6. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks to Jay and Margaret for their comments.

    Margaret, yes, Reg is on the mend. The pills worked!

    And, Jay, your posts have taught me much about gratitude. For anyone who is unfamiliar with Jay's blog, find it at:

    Cheers to all.

  7. The Etiquette Guy says:

    Writing about gratitude, especially as well as you do, Doreen, cannot be overdone. It is one of the most sadly lacking elements of western society today. I write about it on an almost daily basis as you know and applaud your blog wholeheartedly!

  8. Margaret Ullrich says:

    Lovely posting to read during this weekend filled with holidays and sadness.

    Yes, there is always something to celebrate and be grateful for. We just have to remember that the good often outweighs the bad.

    Hope your husband is better.

  9. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for joining the conversation, Jodi. Nice to hear from you again.

    It is indeed important to be grateful for the small wonderful things in our lives in addition to the big ones. Too often we focus on the grand scheme of things and ignore the small and simple pleasures. Thanks for reminding us to appreciate those.

    And absolutely … positive energy begets more positive energy. I remember taking a marriage preparation class back in 1975. The priest was pretty strict in his views. But he did say something that has always stuck with me: "If you want to be happy, surround yourselves with happy people." That is so true, and I will always thank him for that mantra.

  10. jodi (bloomingwriter) says:

    How nice to see not only your post, but words from other friends and acquaintances (Hello especially to Irene Gordon, who I haven't seen since Ottawa!) Your post is timely, as you know from my own Facebook musing earlier today.

    My own life is sometimes beset with challenges, including difficult family members, clients that don't pay in a timely manner, and some debilitating and cranky-making health problems.

    But when those things are getting to me, I make an extra effort to be grateful for the good things in my life, from my longsuffering spouse to my loyal cats/feetwarmers to the GREAT clients I do have to the fact that we live in this beautiful place in this mostly awesome country to my amazing, generous kind friends.

    I don't think it's at all Pollyannaish to try to look at the brighter side of things, to have glasses that are half full rather than half empty. If it is…well, I'll wear my Pollyanna bonnet with pride.

    I also think that positive energy and gratitude begets more positive energy, and more things for which to be grateful. Even things that might seem small to others, such as the fact that my yellow-flowered buddleia is actually flowering, well before frost! (Okay, maybe you'd have to live here and know how quirky these plants can be to really appreciate the jubilation I felt in photographing that plant this afternoon. But you get my point.)

  11. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks to Lisa, Christine and Irene for joining in on the conversation.

    You're right, Lisa! Sometimes we have to step back and tally up all that we have to be grateful for. We're often surprised when we see a list of all the blessings in our lives.

    I'm with you, Christine. Actions speak louder than words, and it's important to "show" those we care about that we care about them and not just tell them.

    Glad to have you back onboard, Irene. It's an encouragement to anyone else having tech problems in posting comments: try again and it usually works the second time around. I'm grateful you did as it's always great to hear from you.

  12. irenemgordon says:

    Hi again,
    Since the test message got through, I'll try again. I'm very grateful for family. Two comments about family that I've always liked are these: 1) "I always love my children even when I don't particularly like them." I think any parent can relate to that one — especially when the children are teenagers.
    2) "Home is where when you go there they have to take you in."

  13. irenemgordon says:

    Hello Doreen,
    Still seem to be having technological gliches, so I'm just sending this test message.

  14. Christine Peets says:

    Hi Doreen:

    Some suggest that we tell the people we love that we love them, and we should say this every day. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and if we hear the words too often they might ring hollow. That said, we do need to tell or show those who are important to us how we feel–and I try to do that, perhaps not daily, but often.
    Whether we say it out loud or not, it's important to show gratitude every day, and I try to do this. The "Golden Rule" that we learned as children, and exists in one form or another in almost every culture, is one that we should put into practice: treat others the way you want to be treated. Simple courtesies of "please" and "thank you"–especially "thank you" are so important.

    I too have a life for which I'm grateful–and I'm grateful for the people in my life and all that I have learned from them. You are one of them.

    Thanks for writing this, and inviting comments.

  15. Lisa Bendall says:

    It's always worth taking time to focus on the positives. In my experience, it's easy to get distracted by challenges. But when I make a point of tallying up all the things I'm lucky to have in life, it keeps everything in balance. Thanks for writing on this topic!

  16. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks to Stacey and Deborah for starting the conversation on gratitude. Your comments are most appreciated and I hope you'll return again soon.

    And you're right, Deborah. We, as writers, are so darn lucky to do what we do. I am so grateful for the kind of exploration and discovery writing enables me to do.

  17. Deborah Carr says:

    Ah, Doreen..a wonderful topic. Becoming a writer has taught me to feel gratitude in large doses. I've met so many wonderful people, heard so many touching stories. Writing has opened my eyes to a myriad of miracles in each and every day. What more could a person ask than to fill their days with an activity that they love each and every day?

  18. Stacey Porto says:

    Great post Doreen, and thank you for your mention of my website and report on gratitude!

    Your questions at the end of your post are so important. To answer, for what are you most grateful for, I would say family and friends, first and foremost as well as health. I believe each day of good health is an absolute gift.

    Also, I am grateful for the self-exploration that I have done that led me to finding my true purpose in life, which is to inspire and coach people in becoming their personal best especially through the practice of virtues.

    Openly showing gratitude to those who matter to me is something I will practice this week, and I challenge others who may not do this as often as they should (me included) to do the same.

    Thanks again – Stacey

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