Gifts & Graces: June 2022

Gifts & Graces

Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.

Paulo Coelho

Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make June better.

The New England Coast. I appreciate the allure of a tropical beach – all silky white sand and turquoise water that invite me to get my feet into the ocean. But it’s the New England coastlines that capture my heart. These beaches aren’t for perfectionists. New England beaches inevitably include rocky bottoms that will twist your ankles as you wade into the water if you’re not careful. Smelly, squeaky clumps of seaweed. And murky, greenish water, which is gaspingly frigid even in August. But this is home to me, with a beauty that simultaneously captures both the struggle and loveliness of life.

Coming Home. As much as I appreciate a break from my daily routine, I love coming home. Multiple years of Covid isolation have taught me that being home all the time does make me restless, but a week away is enough to make me rediscover all I’m grateful for in my everyday, somewhat repetitive, daily life. The transition back to the routine makes me nutty for a few days until I get back in my rhythm, but I am quickly reminded that I am essentially a homebody at heart.

Monarch Butterflies. We’ve encouraged milkweed plants to grow in our yard for several years but haven’t seen any monarch caterpillars on them till this year. We enjoy watching the caterpillars munch on the leaves and seeing how much they move from plant to plant. A side benefit is having so many bees on the flowers – they seem to love the plants as much as the butterflies do. We’re also hoping eventually to see the caterpillar-to-butterfly chrysalis process!

Summer Reading. I’ve decided I would benefit from a summer reading plan. I usually read a lot of non-fiction, but I’m less excited about picking up those books now and realize I’d prefer lighter, more purely entertaining reads for the summer. I’ll stick to my plan to read more Thomas Merton this summer but will intersperse these books with lighter fiction. My usual choice in fiction is mysteries, but books that don’t feature a murder might be a bit more relaxing! I’ve started reading some Young Adult books over the past few weeks and have enjoyed discovering new authors (as well as rediscovering some books I loved as a teen). If you have any favorite book recommendations – I’m open to any genre – please leave a comment and I’ll add it to my list!

A closing prayer

Dear God, please help me pay attention to the many gifts and graces that you bring to my life. Let me gratefully acknowledge the people and things that fill my days with joys that range from small comforts to immense love. And thank you, God, for being with me each day. I am humbled and inspired by how Your Spirit works through the actions of so many people. Amen.


  1. I love this monthly post. Simple yet deep, and always filled with gratitude. Love it! As for books, your read soooo much more than I do, and I tend to like mysteries so I’m not sure you’ll want to pursue any of my recommendations. But books I’ve enjoyed recently: Peter Swanson’s “Every Vow You Break”, Alex Michaelides’ “The Maidens,” anything by Laine Moriarty, and Kate Quinn’s “the Huntress”.


  2. Hi, Cathy!  Thank you for your faithfulness to posting your meditations along with the inspirational photos. I find that home in the gardens surrounding our house is a good place to be. Gratitude for plants, flowers, sunshine and rain – and all the birds!   Barbara


    1. Barbara – thanks so much for commenting! Summer in New England, with all the flowers, greenery, and birds, definitely makes up for our long winters when nothing grows. It’s indeed a blessing to sit outside on our deck and admire it all. And I get additional joy going to the garden centers to wander around all the plants/flowers looking for the perfect ones to add to my yard.


  3. “murky, greenish water”, but still good enough for a small brown dog to occasionally drink when swimming. :>

    thanks for sharing! I can -never- be reminded enough of how abundantly God has blessed me/us… for me, spending time thanking Him brings me peace and dispels anxiety.


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