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Gratitude: Welcome to Holland

Updated on November 22, 2014
My Mom at 18
My Mom at 18 | Source

Whatever we are waiting for - peace of mind, contentment, grace ... it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.

(Breathnach, 1996)

Mother Stands for Comfort

From the time I was a little girl, Mom showed me the importance of being thankful for the smallest acts of kindness. She was a stickler for Thank You notes and they needed to be written promptly.

As a new bride, I even wrote all of my Thank You notes while on our honeymoon. And, yes, Mom's note was the very first I wrote!

After her death, I found that she had saved every Thank You card that her children and grandchildren had written to her.

Mom had a way of making my November birthday special in her simple, loving manner. Every seven years, we even celebrated my special day on Thanksgiving Thursday. Since Mom's death in May, 2010, Thanksgiving has been bittersweet for me.

However, her wise life lessons will last my lifetime. At times, I can hear Mom in the very words that come out of my mouth.

To even begin to think about Gratitude, I would have to start with Mom. I am greatly blessed to have had the love, wisdom and support of my Momma for 48 years of my life.

Children were the focus of Mom's world. She sacrificed greatly so that all of us could have a firm and loving foundation. I cannot hear Kate Bush singing "This Woman's Work" without thinking of the love, respect and gratitude I will always feel for Mom

Kate Bush: This Woman's Work

Mom and mar
Mom and mar | Source

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

(Jean Baptiste Massieu)

Constellation of the Heart

I remember Mom telling me many times about the simplicity and happiness of her childhood. This was due, in part, to her family's modest finances in rural Georgia, yet I think mostly due to the values and decency of her family.

For the holidays, Mom and her four sisters got small gifts from the heart like fruit, candy, perhaps one doll or toy. Yet, her face radiated peacefulness and smiles, as she told me of these childhood memories.

I learned early in life that giving felt so much better than receiving. I always felt blessed to have had 'enough'.

I became even more grateful for my blessings in 2009-2010, when I worked with the homeless population.

In the summer of 2010, after Mom died, I felt like Santa Claus. Every day I would bring in a cooler of food or countless items from Mom's home for the clients. I totally grasped why Mom gave much more than she ever got in life. And it felt right the I kept her legacy alive through helping so many who do not have 'enough'.

Over the last few weeks, I have seen so many beautiful examples of gratitude, thankfulness and generosity in our very HubPages community. I have shared just a few of these within this article and will link my fellow Perspectives' thoughts at the very end.

Sarah Vaughan: My Favorite Things

Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.

(Simone Weil)


Running up that Hill...

Even before becoming a Perspective in HubVille, I have strived to keep life events and issues in proper perspective.

I was meant to die in 1999. Even the doctors confirmed that gunshot positions were in the 'kill zone', near my heart and other vital organs.

Today, I am very much alive and kicking. While life is not as I had planned, it is so much different and even better. I am truly grateful for and enjoy my life each and every day.

The following story is powerful to me. It demonstrates my perspective on gratitude and graceful acceptance of life, however it turns out when circumstances are beyond your control.

"Welcome to Holland" by Emily Pearl Kingsley as in Mom's book of Dear Abby's 'Keepers':

"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability -- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -- to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, The Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland".

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language.

And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland."

Elton John: Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Mom and Maria
Mom and Maria | Source

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is "Thank you", it will be enough.

(Meister Eckhart)

Watching You Without Me

Today, I can look back and say I am grateful for the lessons that trauma and grief have taught me.

Although initially a personal healing strategy, I now teach my students the importance of self reflection in the form of journaling.

As stressed, frustrated, angry as we can become in our daily lives, you can truly be your own best therapist by getting it out on paper. In the privacy of a journal, there is no right or wrong in content or number of entries.

I encourage the recording of happy experiences that occur as well. There are even Gratitude Journals, yet a notebook will do. I would not offer one example, as all of our lists would be so very different.

Journaling can give the writer a sense of perspective and the relative importance of life matters.

For me, journal writing helps my mental well-being just as walking helps my physical health and stamina. For, in both writing and walking, I cannot remain negative for long. I can find my mind, body and spirit being drawn to the many thing I have to be grateful for.

I have been accused of being a Pollyanna, over the years. I am guilty as charged.

For the record: "Pollyanna did not pretend that everything was good. Instead she represented a cheery, courageous acceptance of the facts. She understood that unpleasant things are always with us, but she believed in mitigating them by looking for whatever good there is in what is." (Eleanor Hodgman Porter)

And, finally, I am grateful for the positive influence that each of you in the HubVille community lend to my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love. ♥ Maria

© Maria Jordan ( revised November, 2014)

Kate Bush: Moments of Pleasure


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    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Debbie,

      I am so grateful to our friend, Faith, who is indeed generous in sharing our work.

      I know this is a time of year we are all thinking of our dear Mommas. Thank you for stopping by with your sensitive and kind remarks.

      Hugs, Maria

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      7 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Maria.. wow.. this is most awesome makes me think.. I know I miss my mom so much.. and mothers day is coming up... I am so glad that Faith gave me this link.. so I am saying THANK YOU TO YOU AND FAITH..

      blessings I needed to read this


    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Thank you, Vinaya. Your comments add much depth to my work and are much appreciated.

      Take good care! Hugs, Maria

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      7 years ago from Nepal

      Maria, I inherited rationality from father, but my mother inculcated love, compassion, and all other humane feelings and emotions in me. Thanks for sharing your inspiring perspective. I have read some hubs on similar topics. These brilliant writers, including you, have constantly reminded us what this life is about.


    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      Thank you for your kindness, your votes and the share. Hope all is well in your world today.

      Hugs, Maria

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      What a great story about your mom I know you miss her. Enjoyed your hub voted up and shared.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Brenda,

      What a perfectly lvely comment from a beautiful woman.

      Thank you, my dear friend and much love to Monsieur.

      Hugs, Maria

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      8 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Dear beautiful loving Maria, you are truly one of the most amazing women I have ever known. Your authentic joy and generosity shine through the darkness in the world, pushing it back from yourself and others like me. Bless you for writing this unforgettable perspective on gratitude. Your mother was just lovely inside and out. Monsieur says now he knows where your beauty came from-God and Mom. I send you much love from this little haven I have built for myself deep within Holland.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      Thank you for your beautiful remarks and for stopping by. I know how busy you have been in the recent weeks so it means even more that you took the time.

      Hope you are having a peaceful weekend and I look forward to catching up. Hugs, Maria

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      8 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A beautiful perspective Maria. I read this yesterday and returned today to read it again. The love you and your mom shared is a beautiful thing, her wisdom and inspiration is embedded inside you to share with others. I am thankful to be one of them.

      The Holland story can relate to so many areas of life. We may never achieve our goals or succed in our plans but what we have is so much more than so many others have. I personally have so many blessings to count.

      Thank you Maria. Voting up and more, there should be an 'inspirational' button too :))

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Rajan, You are very sweet to stop by on a day where I miss my Mom so much. Thank you for your warm support.

      Mike, My ticket to Holland was one way. It is my greatest wish that you find Italy. It's nice when you smile, thank you for stopping by.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      8 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      FYI I have been in Holland for a while now. Located a GPS and looking for I.T.A.L.Y. . Just stopped by for a smile.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Maria, this is such a loving tribute to your mom who has been a beautiful inspiration for you. Your perspectives on life and gratitude are so soothing and positive and inspires hope. Thanks for a wonderful hub.

      Voted up, beautiful and awesome, my friend.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      I am wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving week and beautiful memories with your Mom. Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Hugs, Maria

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      8 years ago

      This was really beautiful. Thank you. I'm grateful that I'll be able to see my mother this week.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      I can think of no greater compliment. I love this Carrie U song and I thank you for sharing it with me. You know me well.

      Thinking of you with much gratitude for your friendship this Thanksgiving week especially. Love, MM

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      8 years ago from Orlando, FL

      By reading your tribute to your mother, I sense so much of her in you. You were both blessed to have each other in your lives. This hub makes me think of the Carrie Underwood song, Mama's Song. I guarantee you will cry when you listen to it. Thank you for sharing your mom with us.

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Ruby, I just came from your tribute to Dusty. I will be commenting and linking to his interview, which I treasure now more than ever. Thank you for your sensitivity and compassion to us all.

      Gail, Your comment is so profoundly beautiful. And by the way, we are both cool is that!

      Justsilvie, It is fabulous to meet you. Thanks for your introduction and kind comment. I am going to love your writing.

      Peggy, I know my Sista and you will LOVE Kate Bush...start with Hounds of Love CD to get a perfect flavor of her talent. I feel closer than ever to our HubVille friends as we help each other over the shock of Dusty moving on...your visit means the world.

      Hugs to all and have a peaceful day. Love, Maria

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Dear Sweet Maria,

      What an awe inspiring and beautifully written hub. I was captivated through the entire Kate Bush Moments of Pleasure video, never having heard her, grateful to experience it here for the first time. Your message rings through clearly and sweetly about gratitude. It opens the doors. I loved the Welcome to Holland story; truly an inspiring read.

      My thoughts are with you and our mutual friends in the loss of Dusty 50 Caliber this week. It's brought to light the impact that our on-line friends can have with only their words.

      Love you and loved this hub.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful Hub! You are a wonderful storyteller that makes one want to slow down, just listen and enjoy. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      My Dear Maria,

      This was so very, very special, written from the depths of your great big heart to the very core of the reader. You touched me deeply, mostly because I know this is not just words, but the essence of the way your beautiful, kind and loving mother taught you to live your life.

      I can remember reading Pollyanna as a very young child and thinking, "Wow, I want to be just like her!"

      Finding the positive in everything and everybody, no matter how they appear at first glance. Radiate joy and love and watch the magic that occurs as you spread it. After awhile you realize it's not magic at all, nor even wishful thinking- it's simply being in tune with the way things are, for we experience the things we focus on and if we're focused on love, beauty and gratitude during even the most tragic of times, our whole world will be effected by it. You are living proof that this is so and I thank God that you not only survived, but have gone on to contribute so much to others and use your prescious gift of continuing life as a force of love and positivity, teaching others through your great example. I'm so very grateful that I've met, and become friends with you through HubPages.

      Your loving, kind, gentle spirit never fails to touch my heart and I know it's genuine because you never shy away from writing about the most tragic, sad, difficult times.

      Am voting this up across the board except for funny and sharing with as many people as I can as it truly helps each reader get in touch with the true meaning of gratitude.

      Sending a hub bouquet of Hugs & Love and Wishes for a Wonderful Thanksgiving and Birthday,


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was beautiful. When we are close to death, we are reborn, you are a survivor who has stories to tell, and i love every one of them. Thank you. Blessings..

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Paula, my write the most beautiful comments, well, I guess they are just like you!

      Mickey, I think we are an awesome team...we have no weakest link! Psssst, that was a compliment, cueball.

      Car51, I am thrilled that you enjoyed this one. I wish you a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving as well.

      Drbj, I AM LISTENING to your very wise counsel. You are an absolute sweetheart...have I ever told you that?

      Thanks to each of you for stopping by with your thoughtful comments.

      Hugs, Maria

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Dear Maria - Your 'Welcome to Holland' hub is a very well-written tender tribute to your beautiful mother as well as a loving although sometimes harrowing story of some tribulations you have endured.

      As long as you are able to stay positive and not 'sweat the petty' things, you will be okay. I have spoken. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, memories and beautiful photos.

    • Car51 profile image


      8 years ago

      What a beautiful hub -- the inspiration from your Mom, the "Welcome to Holland" story, the heartfelt songs! I absolutely love your "Perspective on Gratitude"! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday! May both days bring you special blessings!

    • MickeySr profile image


      8 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Maria, I told one of our fellow perspectivesaterists how impressive you guys are, publishing hubs with so much going on, so many different elements . . . I rarely even break-up my hubs with headings where they would be appropriate. I'm so pleased to be associated with such talent.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from Carson City

      Maria. This is simply beautiful.. Your writing style is superb, You have made me smile, shed tears and learn so many things in just one hub. The Holland story is heart-warming, my dear friend.......such a wonderful attitude and outlook on life and love. My spirits are lifted and you bring out the best in every one you touch. This is a true gift, Maria........

      Maria.....we all know a girl named, "Maria," and suddenly that name will never mean the same to us..................Love & Hugs and Gratitude!

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Martie, I am listening again to Kate Bush, crying and loving you for always being by my side with your 'one of a kind' support. I want you to clear your beautiful head and enjoy your well deserved holiday with Barend.

      Bill, I know we have a special connection, an appreciation for life in the good times and the bad. I am ever so grateful we are friends.

      THE are beautiful. And to think we met over a sweet and so very cool. I am honored to link your gorgeous work to mine.

      My sweet Leslie...have you grown weary of the song..."tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999..."? I have...let's you and I now sing..."tonight we're it's TODAY". What a blessing that we are now pals...!

      Doc, Doc, Doc...the more I know you, the more I am convinced we are two apples from the same tree...I am still misty eyed from your utterly beautiful, poignant and memorable letter to your Dad. I am incredibly happy that you are in my world, dear Mohan.

      Faith, How beautiful you are...and now you are a miracle. I love how close we have become...I am thinking, praying and hoping that every moment with your Momma is a cherished memory. Be well, sweet friend.

      Vellur, You are so kind and I am way overdue to a visit in your corner.

      LORD, I was all kinds of worried but now so glad all is well...we get so attached to each other. There is still unreality for me in Dusty's death and I feel we all became closer as a result.

      Oh Sha, So very glad we are have a spirit as big as all get out. You are a darling.

      Hugs to y'all, Maria

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      Maria, this is soooooo beautiful! Your mom's beauty and kind spirit come forth in your words. The fact that you have featured so many other HP writers in this hub shows your spirit is much as your mothers: you'd rather give than receive.

      You're a beautiful woman, my friend! Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 

      8 years ago from New York

      Maria Couchara! You did it again. Your words of gratitude touch the very core of our own humanity. Your perspective is deeper that the written word, and we cannot thank Miss Sammie for giving you life. I know you get emotional by reading us, but Is not me...we are a group of muses that come in the middle of the night to say hi to you. May heavens pour blessings to you and your family. W recognize our commitment with God and our dear friends. Thanks for being the Maria we love. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

      P.S. Still shocked by Dusty's departure!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      Beautifully expressed. Every word that you have written rings true of the word gratitude. Awesome write. Voted up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      8 years ago from southern USA

      Precious heart Maria,

      This just has me in tears as . . . well, you know what I have been going through this past week with my mother, who I always refer to as the sweetest mother on the planet, but I know there are many, many lovely mothers, such as yours. Yes, we are so very blessed to even have such wonderful mothers in this life.

      I, too, am a survivor as I have stared death in the face and I still am, but I have no fear of death. I love that you are a Pollyanna, as I believe we just may be kindred spirits. Wow, I also grew up in Georgia too in much the same manner as you dear one with your precious mother, who was so very wise and whose memories you cherish so lovingly.

      Yes, I agree on that profound quote. . . "If the only prayer you say in this life is, 'Thank you," it is enough! Amen.

      There is no "lovely beyond words" button to push, so I will vote Way up to the Heavens. Sharing

      Thank you for sharing your lovely heart with all here, as it has been a true blessing to me tonight, especially, to read this heartfelt write---so revealing of the love-filled heart you have and that you share with all.

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Mar, what a beautiful tender tribute. I loved reading your elegant essay on gratitude, you are always an inspiration and I felt like I have taken a leaf out of your book today when I published mine. your mom is a beautiful, serene presence among your beautiful serene words. Love ya! hugs.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      8 years ago

      omg, Maria - i have goosebumps! I hung on every single word and we now have something ELSE in common: I was meant to die in 1999 as well..Not by bullets(OMFG), but via a terrible motorcycle accident when an 85 year old woman just...HIT me - no intersection, no nothing! Just KABOOM!

      Your mother is drop dead gorgeous - you come by it honestly, my beautiful friend (inside AND out)..

      i am so happy to have been a part of your amazing group! It was very cozy for me! Sorry i was a little late...

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      8 years ago from Central Virginia

      So many things I want to say to you that I hardly know where to start. Let's start with the silly and end with the serious.

      First, you really are a Pollyanna; a delightful, bright, inspirational Pollyanna.

      Second, thank you so much for linking to my hub. You have no idea how proud I am to find it in such a beautifully written hub by none other than THE MARIA.

      Finally, you are an amazing writer that captures the essence of human emotion and behavior. You speak it, you live it, and you write about it and that's as good as it gets in my book. Voted up an across and yes, I would have done that even if you ohadn't linked to my hub. lol

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful reflections from a beautiful human being. Like you, as you know, I almost died six years ago. I can say without doubt that my life changed that day; all the fluff is gone now, and my focus is squarely on happiness and gratitude. My life is good, and it is enriched having you as a friend.

      peace and love,


    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Mar, what a lovely discussion about gratitude! I was thinking, if mothers don't teach their children to be and how to be grateful, who will teach them? People are not born with a natural tendency to be grateful, but to be greedy and self-centered and to sulk when Life gives them lemons instead of sweet peaches.

      Excellent hub, well-presented with links to other relevant and thought-provoking hubs. Love the pictures of you and Mom. And, as always, fabulous music. Awesome!

    • marcoujor profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      I cannot stop crying this day and I think we are all in shock at Dusty's death. Your words provide comfort amidst my sadness. I believe Dusty is making Miss Sammie's acquaintance right now.

      I will join you on your walk. Hugs, Maria

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      8 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Maria. What a beautiful tribute to gratitude, to your loving Mom and to all the lessons that you so skillfully put together.

      This is a tough morning. I just listened to Kate Bush whose voice added to the mood of this November morning.

      Your Mom is so proud of you. You are everything she could have hoped for.

      You mentioned a walk. I think I'll go take a walk.


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