Stuffed to the Gills

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving my farmgirl sisters! By the time some of you read this post, Thanksgiving Day and all the trimmings’ will have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we should toss out gratefulness along with the potato peelings does it? Whoa girls, hold your horses for a minute. Before you strap on your shopping shoes and head out into the madness of another holiday shopping season, there’s something we need to talk about! You know, if the media machines and advertisers had it there way, we’d be Christmas shopping in June! As it is, it pains me to see all the back to school stuff for sale in July before I’ve even purchased my new bathing suit for summer! I think we need a reality check and I’m gonna be the one to do it! Right here, right now, THIS moment, let’s talk about what it means to be TRULY GRATEFUL… not just thankful, all year long.

Being thankful is easy peasy compared to being grateful. It’s programed into us early on when we learn to mind our P’s and Q’s. After years of training, saying thank you becomes second nature. But, being grateful takes practice. So, how do we learn to be grateful? There’s no grateful gene. It’s not pre-determined like blonde hair and blue eyes.
 I believe we all begin our journey to gratefulness in our own time due to our specific backgrounds and experience. One thing I do know, is that grateful doesn’t just show up uninvited. You have to send and invitation! 
I was in my early thirties when I went looking for grateful.
Oh, I was thankful enough and happy enough but I thought I should know a little more about grateful. Remember Sarah Bran Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance? That book became my daily training bible for coaxing more grateful into my everyday life. Her essays, poems and quotes focused on feeling grateful with what is while still dreaming big. I remember being so excited about it that I gave a few copies as gifts too! She was really on to something with her idea of Simple Abundance back then and her words set me on my way to having more grateful in my life on a daily basis. I loved reading a different essay each day ( usually at night just before I turned out the lights) on ways to invite more grateful into my life and you know what?
 It worked! Being more grateful became a habit, not just something I felt at Thanksgiving.
After one year of reading, not only did I feel more grateful. I WAS more grateful… and I’ve been practicing the art of being grateful ever since!
One of the ways I practice being more grateful is through my photography. Taking photos of all the things I love makes me feel grateful for the beauty in nature.
Being grateful doesn’t mean faking that you’re okay when times are rough. It means that through the tears of what ever your challenges and sorrows might be, you look for something, ( even just ONE thing ) to feel grateful about.
When things are going your way, it’s easy to be grateful and it’s also the PERFECT time to hold your arms out wide open to the universe, God, Spirit, Buddah, Medicine Man or the Tree Gods and ask for more! Don’t be satisfied with just one serving of grateful! There’s plenty to go around!
My Aunt Nan showed me how to do it like this! You can do it too! Can you believe she used to change my diapers a hundred years ago? She’s still teaching me things!
Ask to see your gifts more clearly and how you might use them to bring more good to the world. Pray more, not just for yourself, (and listen) but for everyone else, and the world! DREAM BIG, plant your own dream seeds and support the dreams of other’s too. Then watch what happens! 
 Before you know it, you’ll be ” stuffed to the gills “ with so much grateful, you’ll have left overs spilling out of you everywhere you go.
Grateful is FREE and PURE organic nourishment for your soul.
Here’s a look at my plate full of grateful for this year.
As I sit here today, all of my family members are healthy. ( knock on wood) I am grateful and I acknowledge everyday, how lucky we are to have our health and what a gift it is. I also have loved ones who are facing health battles right now and the recent loss of loved ones and they are fighting the good fight. I am grateful for their presence in my life.
I am grateful for my husbands steady employment through these last few years, even though he, along with so many other employed Americans go to work each day not knowing if it will be they who are let go due to this still very challenging economy. My husband is no different. Still, we are grateful.
I am grateful for my love of many things and the beauty I encounter each day.
September Morning Glories
I’m grateful for my mom, who is also my best friend!
Most of us can count the days on one hand that have changed our lives significantly for the better from that day forward. You know, the kind of days that have so much spark in them that the light never burns out! Oh, it might dim from time to time but that just means you need to dust the bulb off to get it streaming at full force again.
Meeting my handsome Yankee and marrying him along with the birth of our two children add up to 3 of those shining days for me
and the fourth one was the day I discovered MARYJANESFARM in a local Barns and Noble while attending the annual performathon for the school where our daughter takes her music classes! Just thinking about that day brings me back to the rush of EXCITEMENT and INSPIRATION I felt as I read the title of the magazine for the very first time. I swear time stood still as I read the words!
And, I hadn’t even turned a page yet! Well, it turns out there was more than magic in them there words! A lot more. I met a kindred spirit in MaryJane, Meg, Carol Hill, and my dear farmgirl blogging sisters too! When I became sister # 1199 I went from being the oldest of three children (the other two being my sweet brothers) to having a couple thousand NEW SISTERS and an entire flock of farmgirls to chat with too!
Here are a few ” girls ” from my farmgirl chapter The Home Town Farmgirls.


 From left Pat, Cynthia and Amy!
That magic I’m talking about is ” the stuff of dreams ” !
MaryJane inspires us to believe ALL of our dreams big and small are not only attainable but easy to reach, if we just keep workin’ at them!

And I believe it too!

One of my painted ladies titled: REACH FOR THE STARS! 
Shery J ( our ranch farmgirl blogger ) said it best in her most recent post. “Mary Jane is her (OUR) mid- life idol” ! I was 47 when I found MJ. Her good work put a new spring in my steps towards 50 and made my path a little clearer too! This time last year I was still ” dreaming ” of becoming MaryJanes Beach farmgirl blogger “! I planted the seed last summer, but, like all seeds, it needed just the right amount of germination time before it could sprout! Am I grateful? YOU DANG BETCHEE! And honored too!
I look so forward to our twice a month hen parties ( in this space ) where we get to gab about all things farmgirl and life as it comes.
 No matter where the tides of life take you be sure to make grateful your main dish every day. Soon, you’ll find being grateful comes as natural as saying thank you! I’m tellin’ ya! It works!
Well, I’ d better get going sisters. That’s grateful knocking on the cottage door! We’ve got a date to count our blessings…
Here are some great links for adding the Daybook of comfort and joy and The Simple Abundance Journal of gratitude to your life! Both by, Sarah Bran Breathnach
There are so many creative ways to be more grateful on a daily basis… How do you invite grateful into your every day?
P.S. If anyone is interested in how I painted the little black dresser let me know in the comments section. I’ll be happy to give you the recipe!
Here you go Pamela!


 DRESSER RECIPE:  The dresser is made of pine and was a thrift store find. It had originally been painted white, so I sanded it down until all chipped paint was removed. The undercoat is red primer because I had some left over from another project ( but you could use a red eggshell paint or even milk paint ) Once the primer was dry I painted all drawers and the dresser with MATT BLACK American Accent paint ( from Home Depot ). Once dry, I used my palm sander to sand back the edges of the drawers and the top edges of the dresser, exposing some of the red undercoat and even some of the old white underneath. The squares were applied using a checker board stencil ( easily found at Michaels Craft Store ) with antique gold craft paint. The stars on top of the dresser are also a stencil with the same antique gold craft paint.

The stars on the drawer pulls I also got at Michaels in the unfinished wood section. I painted them all red, then applied gold leaf sheets ( you can use flakes too ) using gold leaf adhesive. I used a spray polyurethane sealer in a satin finish on the dresser and gold leaf sealer on the stars. It’s important to seal any gold leaf work with gold leaf sealer to keep it from tarnishing. ( unless you want it to of course ) ! The wooden knobs ( drawer pulls ) that sit on top of the stars were orginal to the dresser so I painted them red and black then sanded them as well!

  1. Patricia Smith says:

    I am so grateful for my dear friend that is an inspiration in my life every day!
    Thanks for a beautiful post, it made my day!

    awe… Thanks Pat… Time for Tea soon! xo Deb

  2. Laura says:

    I am thankful this Thanksgiving and everyday for my "Farmgirl" Debs who always keeps me inspired through a very difficult time in my life right now. Thanks for all the beautiful photos. I want to frame all of them. Love you Debs.

    Aunt Retts

    Love you too!!! Debs

  3. mary says:

    thank you.
    what a great gift,sending out these titles by S>B>B<
    along with some thoughtful words from yourself.
    just found you. cant wait to read your past blogs and the future ones.mary

    Welcome Mary!  Thank you so much for reading and commenting~ Have a great day! Deb


  4. diane says:

    Thank you for the reminder to be grateful…Sometimes envy and/or want can leave being grateful in the dust…but it is at those times when I really ask myself, "would you really want to have her life just to be thin or beautiful or rich?" or some question like that. It is at that very moment that I realize that I would not change my life if it meant I would never have had the wonderful parents I had, the wonderful brother I had, the amazing children and grandchildren I am blessed with, the sweetest husband (any other man would have put a pillow over my head in my sleep, hahahah), and a best friend who takes me as I am…what more REALLY could a person ask for???? Thank you for reminding me of all this. Happy Thanksgivng, everyday!!!

    So true Diane. We are all guilty of letting those devilish thoughts of lack sneak in and try and ruin what we have…. Practice makes perfect… I’m still practicing too… and I love what you said about your husband… I removed all pillows from our bed when I started menopause! LOL! Thanks for reading! Deb

  5. ellen says:

    This one’s a keeper!! I won’t delete this one because I know I’ll want (need!) to re-read it – especially during the dark rainy winter here in Seattle. Your photos are so beautiful and your spirit full of sunshine. It’s 2am and I am wide awake (thank you menopause!) so I am very grateful for your good thoughts.



    Dear Ellen, WONDERFUL! I’m glad " this one " will come in handy as winter progresses… I plan to post lots more sunshine and BEACH amongst the snow as we get further into winter here in New England. Today, how ever it’s sunny and warm. 60 degrees! Thanks for reading! Deb

  6. nameDonna says:

    I’ve got so much to be grateful for…I learned this early on, as a child, I was lucky to grow up in a country farm with a family that wrote the book on grateful. They looked for the best in everything and found it, of course we had tough times, but that is when you look for the good and find it! Love your pictures and writings!! Love the ocean, I live in a small town in Maine, just 1 hour from the ocean, and right in the middle of mountains…the best of both worlds…

    Dear Donna,

    Lucky you! I bet your family book on grateful is a great read! 🙂 Thanks for your kind words here today! Deb

  7. small cars says:

    This was precisely the answers I¡¯d been searching for. Amazing blog. Incredibly inspirational! Your posts are so helpful and detailed. The links you feature are also very useful too. Thanks a lot 🙂

    You are most welcome! Glad you enjoyed! Deb

  8. Pamela says:

    Thanks, Debbie, for the wonderful post. I WOULD like to know how you painted the dresser, especially how you created the checkerboard sides. Thanks for everything.

    Hi Pamela,

    You are welcome! I’ve added the recipe at the bottom of this post! Thanks for asking and for reading too! Keep us posted on your project!



  9. Aunt Nan says:

    Another absolutely wonderful blog…of course, you know I get so much inspiration from you!
    Aunt Nan

    Ditto Aunt Nan! Lots of love, Deb

  10. Libbie says:

    Oh, Deb! Your post is fantastic! I can just *FEEL* your enthusiasm for life and for MJF and for, well, the WHOLE of things. Thank you so very much for the boost and for the smiles. With thankfulness AND gratitude – and a big farmgirl hug, xoxo, Libbie

    Aww, thanks Libbie! So nice of you to " stop by " and see me here! Farmgirl hugs from across the miles! xoxox Deb~

  11. Shery says:

    GRRrrrreat blog. LOVE the photo of you and your hubby on the boat; and the door latch…and and and. visual feast top to bottom…oh, and ‘reach for the stars’ – DARling. Thanks for the fun and feastful pit stop :o) my farmgirlfriend.

    Aww, thanks Shery! You are most welcome! I knew you’d love the photo of the door latch! I always think of you when I have rustique things to photograph! So glad you made it by! xo Deb

  12. Love all the beautiful pictures, thank you!

    You’re welcome! Thank you for reading. Deb

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