Notes on Gratitude

This morning I was doing a poor job of paying attention to the present moment. I was all over the place in my mind, making a chore list and checking it twice—so much to do, so little time and all that jazz. Distracted, I took a few minutes to run to the restroom and commenced to take care of business. I reached for the toilet paper and, much to my chagrin, realized that he who shall not be named used it all up and didn’t replace the roll. Figures, I thought, annoyed. I reached over, careful to hover above the bowl, and opened the nearby cupboard to retrieve a spare roll, and—you guessed it—there wasn’t one.

Damn it, I thought, and sat back down. I was home alone; no amount of yelling would have ushered in my rescue.

I’ve worked hard over the last few years to let life circumstances way more serious than running out of toilet paper not bother me. Yet, there I was—stranded and pissed off, pardon the pun. I was perfectly prepared to settle in and pass the air-dry time by thinking up a few devilish retributions, and I don’t mean in that cute sort of devilish way, either. I may have even engaged in some childish name calling, turd! although I’ll deny it if you tell anyone I said so.

Just as I was about to really let my mind run away with me—what, between thinking about the future and what needs to be accomplished before our trip and ruminating about the past and what’s been left undone over the last several days—how dare I be so inconvenienced!, just as I was about to dive into those thoughts, I smelled the most amazing smell.

An incredible aroma emanated out of the open cabinet. I took a deep breath in through my nose. The smell was a beautiful combination of lily and narcissus, gillyflower and fuchsia, passion fruit and shea butter. See those soap bars at the bottom of the photo?  I was enveloped in their heavenly scent. I took another deep breath in and let it out. Immediately, I saw in my mind’s eye the smiling face of the person that was with me in the store in Boulder, CO where I purchased those bars of soap. Two seconds later I was lost in pleasant memories of the weekend I spent there, and all the people (so dear to me) with whom I spent it—joy coming from one simple delightful whiff. The thrill of my conniving thoughts to swap out a tub of shave balm for intensive moisturizing hair conditioner evaporated and was replaced by gratitude for the memories of that special weekend with special friends.

I swiped a couple of tissues out of the Kleenex box behind me and then made my way to the garage where I grabbed enough t.p. rolls to avoid this harrowing situation for at least several weeks and was present minded enough to remember to be grateful also for toilet paper’s existence. I went about my day cool, calm and collected. When he who shall not be named returned home and asked how my day went, I simply said, “Great. Thanks.”

We are surrounded on a daily basis by objects that might be considered mundane. Take a minute to notice one, right now, be it a bar of soap, toilet paper or a deck of cards and let that object remind you there’s nothing special needed to have a wealth of gratitude at your fingertips.


  1. Just goes to show you that you can 'stop and smell the roses' even in the most unexpected places!

  2. Been there. It's amazing how a momentary annoyance can loom so large. Then we look back and, shaking our heads, say to ourselves, "What's wrong with me that I let something like that get me so riled? Do I not have enough real problems?" And, of course, most of us have plenty of real problems!

  3. I am so grateful for toilet paper! About 5 years ago, I went to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks. The house we rented and my friend's relatives' homes had toilet paper, sure. But when we were out and about sightseeing, it was a crap shoot (pun intended!). Toilet paper? Sink? Soap? A toilet or a hole in the ground? Whoa! We are so fortunate here! When I got home, I was really grateful for toilets, toilet paper, air conditioning and In 'N Out. It's easy to forget how easy our lives can be compared to other places in the world. Or other times. My dad recently told me how his mother washed clothes with a washboard. OMG! I would have been a miserable homemaker if I lived in those days. lol

  4. LOL Susan…a washboard! I've never even seen one in real life. And yay In 'N Out–so many reasons to love that place. Yes, we take so much for granted, as you've pointed out at other times in regard to other issues, but we are darn lucky to have what we have. It's a good idea to remember that every so often. Thanks for commenting.

  5. exactly right Carrie–we get so wrapped up sometimes and I sure do know that I have enough real problems! LOL..thanks for taking the time to read and respond

  6. Before reading this, My eyes scanned the picture and immediately focused on the beautiful bars of soap. I wondered why you haven't opened them yet. Are you like me and save them because they are so nice you hate to use them? I finally ripped one open in June. It is still practically a full bar. I think of that day everytime I use it. The scent usually lingers, just like the smiles and laughter from that day. I discovered that unwrapping my soap was much better than keeping it under the sink. I get to bath in friendship! xoxo

  7. I love this reminder, Tracey. Let's all strive to be connoisseurs of the small things each day. So grateful to have been on that lovely Bouder trip with you <3

  8. hahah Stephanie. No, they aren't wrapped because I don't want to use them. They're wrapped because I bought so dang many of them I just haven't gotten to those ones yet!! I have one in the shower right now, and yep–you guys shower with me every day too! LOL

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