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Gratitude for New Beginnings

A new beginning! We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new… Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises. Imagine that we could walk through the year always listening to a voice saying to us: ‘I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!’ Imagine!”

--Henri Nouwen, author of ‘Life of the Beloved’.

I was thinking about this quote as I sat outside looking around at the beautiful Nature that never ceases to inspire me! Winter time in Johannesburg is really stark and bleak. The trees are stripped bare without their leaves and the grass is a dull grey/beige colour after the frost. Certain plants like my elephant’s ear and arum lilies hang their blackened leaves sadly, mourning the warm summer months. Even my poinsettia, which was covered in beautiful flowers for the first time ever, suffered with the sprinkling of snow a couple of days ago! (yes I know! Snow is a most unusual occurrence in Johannesburg!) All the blooms hang their petals unhappily and are slowly turning into an unattractive brown. Just looking at this devastation, made me feel very negative.

The quote reminded me that there are new beginnings everywhere and one simply has to change one’s mindset, converting the negativity into gratitude directed at experiencing the beauty that does exist. Sometimes this beauty is difficult to see but I kept looking and did not allow this to suppress my creativity! Luckily we have the most beautiful, crispy blue skies on these icy days and when I walk in my garden, my majestic aloes, in full bloom, form a stunning contrast against that sky!

Crisp Blue Sky

The sun-birds rely on the aloes for food, especially in winter. They come and visit the tall stalks, covered in blooms. All the other smaller aloes on the ground also now have the opportunity to show off their more gentle shades of orange this time of year.

New thoughts of inspiration were still swirling around my head when I drove past the most beautiful aloe on my way to visit my elderly mom in Pretoria.

Group of Aloes

It was a most unusual plant with deep red flowers on its upright stalks. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop to take a photo and I only realised after I left, that the next time I go there, the aloe would no longer have its flowers. Luckily I asked my sister who visits my mom almost every day to take a photo!

Once I returned home, with the image of that aloe still fresh in my mind, I immediately went into my studio and started sketching and creating from memory. I find that while I do my free motion ‘sketching’ on my sewing machine, I allow my mind to travel to all sorts of places. I couldn’t help thinking that our time here on earth is very brief. Whether it means living life on the edge, sitting quietly and meditating or finding solace in your art studio and creating art, start every day with gratitude for a new beginning! I try to use my time wisely and treat each day as a gift that I cannot wait to open! I give gratitude every day and find inspiration in all the small things around me - even in my winter-devastated garden!

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