I keep this little stone near me all the time. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

I keep this little stone near me all the time. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Column: My gratitude is carved in more than stone

A small gift I received years back offers a constant reminder of the way I want to live my life.

I received the little stone shown in the accompanying picture a long time ago from two news friends I had just made.

It’s never been far from my side ever since. Sometimes, I carry it with me, other times I have it in a drawer close by. I’ve even kept it on my night table by my bed.

When they gave it to me, they were offering their thanks to me for something I had done for them but I’ve kept it because I think it’s a great way to keep reminding myself of one of life’s most important concepts.

Being grateful really matters to me. Decades ago, I learned that an attitude of gratitude could carry me over almost impossible hurdles and I’ve never forgotten that lesson.

In my job, I get to hear a lot of stories: some are sad, some are terrifying, some are happy, but I’m always glad that I get to share those experiences, even vicariously as a reporter, because they are part of what’s going on around us all. Leaves on the tree of life in this beautiful Valley we are lucky enough to call our home.

Along my winding trail, I’ve met lots of wonderful people, too. And they inspire me every day. They’re not always the ones you’d expect, either.

I’ve met natural leaders who are out there leading despite the flak they take, and those remarkably courageous people who are facing terrible twists of fate with grace and faith and others who are so loaded with talents they don’t need to stand behind the door waiting for opportunity to knock.

But the people I value most are what author Peg Bracken called “instanding” rather than outstanding. It means they stand in well with family and friends but probably won’t set any worlds afire.

They’re the ones who offer an unexpected smile when you’re feeling really lousy, who take one look at you and find you an earlier appointment, who still recognize you after years away.

When I encounter these folks, and I find them every day, I know that despite all the difficulties of the world we live in today, I’m grateful.

So, thank you Margit and Victor for your thoughtful little gift all those years back.

Life still is sweet. Look around you.