by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919) was a popular poet and author at the turn of the century. Her works include “Poems of Passion” and “Solitude,” which contains the lines “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death. Her and her husband lived in Granite Bay in the Short Beach section of Branford, Connecticut. The two homes they built, along with several cottages, became known as Bungalow Court, and they would hold gatherings there of literary and artistic friends. (Source: Uncover Branford) IMAGE: November Morning by Willard Metcalf.


For this
this ground beneath my feet,
the signs of seasons, yes,
and change

forever change








greatness in small things
and large
this, this ground beneath my feet

holds everything
and me

spinning forward
across a galaxy
a universe

and She
of all things
in every footstep

here, this ground beneath my feet

(Poem + Photo ©2018, Jen Payne. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!)

On Thanksgiving


There is a bittersweetness about this day
So much for which to be grateful.

so very much

Heads bowed, we call out thanks
enumerate for gods and kin:

…..the gift of a full and prosperous year
…..the conversation of beloved friends
…..the meeting of kindred spirits
…..the wonder of natural spaces
…..the beauty of the sunrise
…..the joy of a child
…, laughter, hope

So beautiful…….but transient


How other to reconcile
this changing river beneath my feet—
this knowing
…..of time passing
…..of fleeting gifts
than to feel
so divinely blessed
it makes me weep?

Woman Praying, Vincent van Gogh

Endless Gratitude


If you start at the top of the day, when you first open your eyes, and consider everything for which you can be grateful, the list is endless. Watch…


(Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste – while we’re at it)

Lola Kisses


Flannel Sheets


Running Water

Indoor Plumbing

(Did I mention socks?)


Kirshna Das


Steve Jobs (god rest his soul)


Organic, Fair Trade Coffee

(being able to afford organic, fair trade coffee)

Half and Half

Space Heaters (and socks)

Sandalwood Incense

5 a.m. Quiet

Days Off


Thanksgiving Food

Family (most especially adorable nephews)

Good Friends

Old Friends

Faraway Friends



Daily Om





…and it’s not even 7 a.m.!

(Now you try!)


Thanks Giving


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

– Melody Beattie


Days of Abundance


“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Happy day of abundance to you!

With love, Jen

• • •

IMAGE: Village Holiday (Autumn holiday in the village), Boris Kustodiev, 1914


Happy Thanks-Giving!

It’s easy to forget how easy gratitude is sometimes. Some days we get so caught up in our day-to-day, the things for which we should be grateful pass right by us. Think about it right now…

a sturdy roof over our heads

electricity to cast light into the darkness

immediate access to the world, and friends and loved ones

Several years ago, I started keeping a gratitude journal. Each night, I would write down three things for which I was grateful that day. I was surprised, at first, how easy it was to note the things I had to be thankful for…

a weekend visit with friends

a full and busy day of work

a long and quiet walk in the woods

Every day, no matter how long or difficult, there were things I could include in that journal. Every day.

But it’s easy, on days like today, to get bothered by the things that don’t unfold like a Hallmark movie, and to quickly forget how blessed we are for…

welcoming loved ones into our homes and hearts

a table full of good food that will nourish us all day long

memories of holidays passed that unfold with the traditions of the day

By its very name, this day asks us to give thanks. To sit in reflection for a moment — silently or with hands held or with heads bowed — and name that for which we are grateful.

I suspect, though, if we really thought about it, we could spend a great deal of this day naming our blessings, don’t you think? Much longer than a meditation, a prayer, an exercise in gratitude—the list of things for which we can be grateful could probably unfurl for hours.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

• • •

Gratitude artwork by the lovely and talented Pamela LaRegina. Check out more of her work here.

Thanks Giving

For my friends and loved ones and the sweet connections they offer.

For inspiration and creativity and the muse who arrives so frequently.

For the blessing of good and constant work.

For my home and its nurturing spirit.

For the abundance of open space and natural beauty that surrounds me.

For the trust of my pets: the lovely Emily and fearless Little Black Kitty.

For the freedom to move about this life and this world with few tethers.

For the ability to dream and hope and laugh.

For the ever-present lessons of spirit, love, courage, compassion, and balance.

And for you and your ongoing support, encouragement and insight.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, with love,


• • •

Tulip poplar branches in ceramic vase by Guilford artist Alice Chittenden.

It’s all about the gratitude.

apple pie

Eight months ago, after taking a goal-mapping workshop with a friend of mine, I started keeping a Gratitude Journal. Every night before I go to sleep, I write down three things for which I am grateful that day.

There are some repeats, of course: a friend’s name, my cats, pizza, Friday. But, for the most part, every entry reveals a new trio of blessings.

1. reconnecting with an old friend
2. apple pie
3. taking a random day off

Those, from yesterday.

Some days, the three come easy:

1. traveling
2. Austin
3. breakfast tacos

And some, they do not:

1. technical support
2. cash advance
3. FexEx

But even still, in that little, bedside journal, there are 246 days worth of things for which I am grateful. That’s 738 blessings. Can you imagine?


Think about your own blessings…

your family, your friends, your angels

your favorite treasure, book, food, memory

your skills, your faith, your imagination

your breath, your heartbeat, your dreams

I cannot begin to explain the ripple effect of keeping a Gratitude Journal, except to say that even on the worst of worst days, I am heartened by the constant knowing that I am truly…blessed.

I wish you that same knowing this Thanksgiving, and encourage you to practice the exercise of gratitude. You will be most thankful for the effort.

Happy Thanksgiving, with love…Jen