Thursday 2nd December 2021

Gratitude & Acts of Kindness. 22/2021.

Gratitude & Acts of Kindness. 22/2021.

Last year I chose the word Gratitude as my word of the year. It challenged me at times to feel or be grateful but overall, I managed to not only feel it more than I might have but I also shared, as I said I would 366 posts about Gratitude as part of my Instagram account.

The instagram account for the blog is @denysewhelan_blogs and it feeds the series of photos which appear on the blog’s side bar. Ask for a follow if you are not already following me. Thank you!

In 2016 I chose Kindness as my word of the year and  whilst I did not even keep that post, this one was at a later stage in my life, in so many ways I failed at keeping the promise to myself. It was to include myself in being kind…to me! Soon, I will write more in the series Telling My Story about 2016 and it really was an even tougher year for me because…. I can be so incredibly tough on me!

What I Can Report About Changing My Thinking.

  • I am tough on myself
  • I am a judgy judgy person
  • I am, however, getting much better at becoming AWARE of the first two points because I use this:

“what am I grateful for today?”

I need to add, that when my wise, oh so wise husband told me he did this regularly upon waking and recommended it…I said “why?” or similar words. Now, of course from both the longevity of giving this a proper go, he is right.

Hey, husband:



and he also recommends both being “in the moment” because ….there is no other. No, he does not have a book deal but he is very handy both as a listener and helper AND a cabinet maker.

Learning from his example but also doing my own research and practice via daily meditation has given me a huge and wider appreciation for all that is in my life and has been.

A Daily Grateful List…I am making this up as I write…could go like this:

I am grateful

  • to be well
  • to be married to my husband
  • to live in a comfortable house
  • to have a flexible daily routine now I am retired
  • to have had a very stimulating and interesting career in education
  • to have enough funds to feed us well, dress us in clothes that we like and fit and to pay our bills
  • to know that I can see a doctor of my choice if needed, get medicines at a PBS rate and see my dentist for reduced rate check ups
  • to have reliable car to take me out each day
  • to be interested in other people
  • to have the commonsense to know when to take a break and enjoy some silence
  • that there is someone somewhere I know who can make me a very decent and consistent cup of coffee
  • that my family remains well
  • that my family is connecting with each other after quite an absence
  • to know that my elderly father is in great care where he is
  • that I blog
  • to have people respond to my blog posts and join in the conversations

But I do not make up a daily list anymore nor do I write 3 things I am grateful for.


It seems that I am able to integrate the feelings and thoughts about gratitude into my daily life.

This is very helpful to me when things do not always go my way and also if I become worried or fearful about something I can stop myself from going down rabbit holes and ask what is really going on? I can also then look for what is true and what I am grateful for. 

It works.

It really does.

Acts of Kindness.

In conjunction with gratitude for my life as it is now, I tend to look for opportunities for an act of kindness. I do not have the financial resources for these but I do have the time and notice when kindness is shown to me and do my best to return the favour.

Sharing my baked goods.

  • This was so good for me to do, and the recipients loved them in the COVID year. The recipients were the staff, including the G.P.s at our local medical practice. In fact they got quite a few of my boxes of little cakes and packets of home made biscuits. I felt that I wanted to show how THEIR kindness to us mattered so much. It was awful in those early months of COVID when so many government changes were made to regulations and their office staff took the brunt of that. I wanted to give a little bit of appreciation regularly and they loved it.


  • I also did this as appreciation to my surgeons. For my Head and Neck Professor Jonathan Clark and Team it’s now a given that I turn up with chocolate flavoured brownie slice and some little cakes. I love doing this for them. For my Colo Rectal Surgeon and his team, they were blown away with this act because I guess, not many people share home baked stuff.


  • I also took some down to the local Real Estate Rentals Team because they have been especially kind to us with ensuring we got a couple of great places to rent and also they cared about me when I had cancer. Their working conditions changed due to COVID too so they were really appreciative of a gift like this.

Sending friends a card or an unexpected gift.

I admit this happens less due to financial constraints but I try to think of friends who might be needing a cheer up or  “I’m thinking of you” too.

In one case, I have sent a Big Hug Box to a friend with cancer. I know it was appreciated very much.

In fact, it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week as I write.

I know my friend and founder, Lisa Greissl, is hoping for donations IN KIND…aka money, towards the RandomHUGSofKindness boxes donated to cancer centres. These are not purchased individually but are donated as a result of corporate and business donations drives and more. See here for much more about that.  Lisa was also a Woman of Courage here. 

From my time as a volunteer contributor in 2018 and 2019. I made book marks from my art, and sent them to Lisa where one day I too became part of a packing team for the early versions of RHoK boxes. For more updated information please use the links I have provided. Lisa’s story is unique and I hope you get a chance to read more about her and the ‘why’ of founding the Big Hug Box.

Have you found being grateful helps you?

What is your way of being kind to others?

Do you remember to be kind to you too?


Linking up with Leanne here who is the epitome of kindness! Lovin’ Life Linky, every Thursday.

And across the oceans, with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.



  1. Lovely read Denyse.
    I like to think I feel grateful for each day and the events that occur. I think having stage 4 cancer has gifted me this precious sense.
    I have always been kind to others. I like to smile, laugh and engage with people in order to have them do the same. I like to go out of my way to do this too. Always worthwhile.

    • That is so good to read Jody and you have definitely benefited by this, even during the ‘worst of times’ which you know only too well.

      Bringing sunshine into another’s life by a smile, a kind word or a courtesy is such a simple and kind was of connecting.

      We (all of us!) need to be more kind these days than ever.

      Loved seeing your comment here today.


  2. I’m grateful every day of my life – for a hundred different things including family (always) and where I live – which provides me with security, access to affordable health care and education, peace, democratic rights, enough food and so much more, not to mention the amazing land itself. We live in one of the most privileged places on earth so start from a pretty high bar and I never forget that. And yes – kindness always matters. If everyone was kind always, what a different world we’d live in!

    • Oh my goodness, how true!! Thank you Christine for your words about your gratitude and kindness.

      I realised this week I was, again, getting myself led down a negative and frustrating path on twitter relating to our current political situation and education changes…so I decided to “withdraw” for my self-care!

      I am still on twitter but have chosen where I will interact and already I feel better!


  3. Denyse, I am not on Instagram, so I cannot read your post there, but I understand what you are saying about kindness. I am the person I find it most difficult to be kind to. Why is it so hard to extend the grace to ourselves that we so easily give to others? Ugh! It’s something I continue to work on. How did your husband become so wise? 🙂 Yes, gratitude definitely helps. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement.

    • Thanks Laurie. Whatever I do on Instagram is now shared to Facebook (where you are now a friend, so hopefully you may see things there…depending on how FB behaves) and on Twitter.

      I have become better at self awareness of when I am likely to berate or engage in negative self talk and it’s easier over time. Self acceptance has been at the root of it all, and I am “getting there” and proud to say that after….70 years of not!!?

      Take care,


  4. I love this Denyse! We have spoken about the gratitude journals and making it a practice. I haven’t been keeping my daily journals as regularly as before but still doing the weekly one on the blog and having reminders for myself. I love your acts of kindness – you have baked often for me and also sent me the book last year. I need to incorporate more acts of kindness in my day but I sometimes also think reaching out to people and offering support or having a proper chat with the barista falls under that sometimes. But I do need to do more! Thanks for sharing this. It made me smile! 🙂

    • Thanks Sanch for your wonderful and kind comment. Yes, on the darkest days lately I can recall gratitude and it takes the worry/fear down a more gentle ride. Over a year ago I would never have believed that bit it sure does work.

      Maybe I need to believe my husband more!!

      I chat to someone at a shop/coffee place every day and now, as I am much more well known they ask about me now. Told a lady with grey hair like mine how awesome it looked and she was “oh, thank you!!” I love the smiles that come from most people when I say something complimentary but not in a ‘stalking’ way!!

      Happy Friday and the weekend ahead.


  5. Lovely and full of kindness, to yourself and others Denyse! I love sending random gifts to friends or even a card can make someone smile if they weren’t expecting anything in the mail. I talk to people and offer a helping hand whenever I can. I’m glad you have learnt to incorporate your gratitude into your daily life the way you have. Have a lovely weekend!

    • Thank you dear Debbie. I love your ideas too. Such a gift isn’t it, to be able to find kindness and appreciation for life wherever we go. I reckon this old world which is not travelling too well right now would benefit in HUGE ways with a little more stopping to consider expressing gratitude AND sharing kindness with ease.

      Happy weekend to you…pouring here right now. That’s good too. Take care,


  6. Lovely read, Denyse. Love the unique spelling of your name. I’ve not seen it with a y before. It’s fun to do random acts of kindness, isn’t it? I like to do so in secret. Like making a card or little gift baggie, setting it somewhere in public, then hiding in plain sight to see a smile on someone’s face! This is especially fun to do with little pieces of artwork. With covid, I’ve had to stop doing that for a while. Hoping to resume again when things open back up. Today, I am grateful for: 1.My furnace being fixed. 2.a delicious warm blueberry muffin 3. being alive and well in this dreadful time. Shalom ~Bear

    • Thank you for visiting and commenting for the very first time, Bear!

      Welcome..and I am glad you have those three to be grateful for.

      My unique spelling of my name is thanks to my father! He & mum wanted different names for me, and she won, with Denise and he made it unusual with the y. I have come across just a few others in my lifetime.

      I like your small acts of kindness. How cool.


  7. Denyse, Thank you for sharing this lovely post with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Your husband is a wise man. Your acts of kindness are wonderful. I’m sure the recipients appreciate the gifts. I’ve been practicing gratitude and meditation every day for a long time. I’ve had a very good life and appreciate what I’ve got to date. I make donations, volunteer my time, say thank-you to frontline workers, chat and smile to hopefully lift someone’s day, check in on my elderly neighbours, etc. I think each one of us can find a way to do an act of kindness and it doesn’t need to involve money.

    • Thanks Natalie, I shall tell my husband what you wrote. He will be chuffed.

      Yes indeed acts of kindness can be without cost other than a thought, a smile or an act.

      You have been a mindful and grateful person from what you are sharing here and it’s nice to read.

      Looking forward to continuing our lives ahead with kindness and gratitude.


  8. I’m a big believer in living life with an attitude of gratitude. I think the secret to happiness is gratitude. Wanting what you already have, rather than having to always have what you want. Works for me!
    There’s always something to love about life. 🙂