The way I am learning to meditate, is to be still and quiet, and allow my mind to settle onto something, whatever it wants to settle onto, and keep breathing. It is a very low-key, no stress kind of meditation. I don’t beat myself up for doing it wrong, because there is no wrong way to do it. I read somewhere that given the opportunity to rest, the mind will find the easiest thing there is to think about. It’s when we are stressed and bothered that our minds pick on the toughest thing to think about, and rattle it around until we can’t see straight.

This morning, as my breathing became calm and regular, and my head started feeling expanded and bright, the words Gratitude, Grace and Green Beans formed and stayed there. So, they became my mantra for the morning.

It felt like a very soul-expanding, mind-enlarging thing to think, and so I sat there dwelling on the ideas of Gratitude, Grace and Green Beans.

Gratitude is something we practice as a family – reminding ourselves of the things we can be thankful for. Just last night, Ben came to us and said that there are kids who don’t know how to read out loud very well. He was saying that sometimes the kids in his class (he was remembering last year, we haven’t started back yet) will read in a monotone. They will read a sentence that ends in an exclamation point, and not add any emotion or excitement. Scott turned the conversation around from “I do this well, and other kids don’t,” to “How can I use this to help others?”

We reminded Ben that the reason he reads out loud so comfortably is because he has a mom who has been reading to him since before he was born. That is something to be grateful for – but not something that makes us better than anyone else. We have a comfort with reading, and not everyone does. My mom always read to us, and made books and characters and scenes come alive in our minds, so that hearing a book became way better than watching a movie.

As we discussed it, we started thinking that he might be able to read out loud to some of the kids who don’t feel very comfortable reading aloud, and that might help them. Then he mentioned that when he’s reading, he doesn’t stutter, but when he’s just talking, his stutter is more pronounced. Reading aloud to others could be beneficial to him as well. Well, I know it would, because using a gift to help others always helps the giver even more than the recipients.

We were just talking about Grace and Mercy the other night. The thing I love about Grace is that it means being Big of Heart. It implies doing more than is required, for someone who hasn’t necessarily earned it. Being a gracious person then, would mean not counting up points for or against someone or keeping score as to whether they’ve earned nice things or not. It implies wiping clean the scorecard, and giving nice things regardless; just seeing people as deserving, with no strings attached. And if we go through life like that, we bring a meadow of sunshine with us, it would seem.

The Green Beans weren’t just a nice literary device of alliteration. Oh no. We got to harvest gorgeous purple beans this last week, blanch them until they turned a bright green, and freeze them. We also did some corn, but that doesn’t fit so nicely into this meditation, and so that will be a conversation for another day. I love that in the middle of Winter, we have several weeks to look forward to where we will bring out our own little meadow of sunshine, eat Corn on the Cob and fresh Green Beans from our garden and have a taste of Summer.

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