It’s time to look back in my bird journal and reflect on all the fabulous birds I’ve enjoyed seeing throughout the year, but it seems my bird journal quickly evolved into a gratitude journal.
One word sums up 2020. Gratitude.
We’re all experiencing a hard reset of our daily lives amid a flurry of emotions.
Anger quickly turns to confusion that becomes fear, and despair turns into hope.
Through the inconveniences, we have a greater sense of gratitude for things we once overlooked.
You know, the simple things that are always there but don’t stand out to us because we seek better things that were shinier, brighter, and newer.
This is the time when we should be enjoying holiday celebrations with friends and loved ones, so in their place, reflect on all we experienced and are so grateful for as 2020 draws to an end.
Gratitude Journal Celebrates Being Grateful
The ability to be grateful for all that we have in our lives is truly something to celebrate.
And what began as my bird and nature journal for 2020 evolved into my first ever gratitude journal.
Showing gratitude allows individuals to celebrate the present and be an active participant in their own lives.
And valuing and appreciating friends, love ones, oneself, situations, and circumstances help us focus on what we already have rather than something we need.
I’ve only had one need in 2020.
The need for everyone to follow health guidelines to protect the health and well-being of others by wearing a mask in public and limiting their proximity to others.
I’d trade that wish in place of a new iPhone, camera, car, or home.
Appreciation for Frontline Workers
The rest of the year, I was grateful for the small things in life or the things I took for granted.
Like the health and well-being of anyone I know.
And this includes online friends I’ve never met but feel like I’ve known them forever because they pop across my devices multiples times a day.
I’m grateful for scientists developing the coronavirus vaccine in record time.
And for our tireless healthcare workers providing care and comfort to their patients.
Many of whom have been working non-stop since the early days of the pandemic dating back to last March.
I’m indebted to the essential workers who are working to keep some aspects of our lives normal.
Like the grocery store workers keeping the store shelves stocked with food.
And the police and firemen responding to our calls when we needed help.
Or the postal workers, UPS and FedEx delivering our mail and Amazon packages with birdseed, peanuts, and other staples for our backyard flock.
Gratitude for Those Supporting Our Online Store
I’m appreciative that we launched our online store and for all the people supporting our mission.
The sales of our products helped raise enough money to sponsor three injured birds of prey at Christine’s Critters and pay for their annual food bill.
Thanks to your support, Magma, a red-phase Eastern Screech Owl, Mr. Higgins, a Northern Saw-whet Owl, and Equinox, a Peregrine Falcon, dine on our dime.
Now Christine’s Critters can direct funds to the other 18 hungry bird ambassadors in their care and the hundreds of injured birds of prey receiving treatment, care, and rehabilitation throughout the year.
Wildlife rehabilitators, like Christine’s Critters, are dramatically impacted by the pandemic from canceled education programs.
So stepping up and supporting nonprofits you care about is more important now than ever.
Gratitude Journals Remind Us to Live Life By What We Give
I’m glad people realize kindness is infectious, too, because we need to come together and help another more than ever before.
A random, kind act has an immeasurable impact on its recipient. We needed to put the ‘human’ back in humanity.
We heed the words of Winston Churchill. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
I’m pleased intoBirds continues to educate its followers about birds and for the many people who tell us we help them learn something new about birds every day.
And for Brad and Marlena, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who are kind enough to sell our dream journals in their store to help raise more money to help save birds.
Supporting Bird Advocacy Groups
We donate a portion of every sale to help bird organizations like Christine’s Critters, CT Audubon, the Peregrine Fund, and the Grassland Bird Trust.
And the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
When someone buys an item with a bird on it, whether they love that specific bird or just love having an owl on their journal, that person won’t harm that species or any bird.
And encourage others to do the same.
We don’t bring harm to those things we love, and by connecting people with birds, we are saving birds and our planet.
It’s gratifying to help others in need during these unprecedented times.
Whether it’s donating to a friend’s Go Fund Me to support them during a tough time.
Or donating our dream journals to both the Mohonk Preserve and Wild Bird Fund annual fundraiser to help raise money.
And gratifying to be in a position where we can help others.
Because keeping those around us safe during the pandemic is what matters most.
Seeing New Friends and Old
And yes, I’m even thankful for Zoom.
It keeps me connected to clients as if I sitting across from them, lets us participate in events we used to attend in person, and helps us feel kind of normal.
By seeing our colleagues, friends and family, we don’t feel as disconnected, even if the connection is through a screen.
And finally, I’m so appreciative for the backyard birds, our adopted bird patch, the backyard critters, and the hiking trails and preserves around us.
Not traveling across the country to see birds makes us appreciate the birds and wildlife around us.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see photos from our hikes and how much we love our backyard squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, bunnies, and bears.
All provide an incredible source of inspiration and bring such joy when we are being asked not to go anywhere.
Start Your Gratitude Journal for 2021
Now that a New Year is almost upon us, I encourage you to start your own gratitude journal.
Write down the things you are grateful for each day.
My gratitude journal includes many thanks for seeing some incredible sunsets.
But don’t just write a person’s name. Talk about how they impact your life.
Writing what we are grateful for is a start, now take it to the next level.
Express your gratitude to the people you are thankful for and share your experience either in person or online.
If we all express our gratitude, we can create a gratitude movement.
And that’s something to be thankful for every day.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!