Taking “R” Things With Gratitude

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

For the rest of November, I’m going to take with gratitude some of those things I often take for granted — an entire alphabet’s worth! Since today is the eighteenth day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “R” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Rest, relaxation, recreation, relief, restoration, refreshment, renewal. There are a host of “r” words that speak of rejuvenation after hard work or stressful times. I am truly grateful and blessed that I have been able to find respite — if only for a few hours at a time — from my cares. I’m also grateful for the resiliency that enabled me to continue going SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAafter the death of my life mate/soul mate and which is enabling me to find some sort of renewal on new paths.

Reminiscences. More and more now, I’m remembering the good times with my life mate/soul mate, not just the end times where he was slowly wasting away. I’m grateful there were good memories, though I am careful not to wallow in the past. He is gone, and though I cannot be grateful for that, I am very grateful he is no longer suffering.

Red. What would the world be like without red? Much of our world is steeped in blues and green and tan, and red seems like an exclamation point that reminds us of wonder and joy and passion and warmth. Even though red is not abundant in nature, we still take it for granted, but today, for once, I will take with gratitude all the red in my life.

Reading, of course. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read, so it’s easy to take the ability for granted, and yet I am very grateful for being able to read. It was my life for decades — until recently, all I ever really wanted was to read.

So, what “R” things are you taking for gratitude today?


See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude,Taking “D” Things With Gratitude, Taking “E” Things With Gratitude, Taking “F” Things With Gratitude, Taking “G” Things With Gratitude, Taking “H” Things With Gratitude, Taking “I” Things With Gratitude, Taking “J” Things With Gratitude,Taking “K” Things With Gratitude, Taking “L” Things With Gratitude, Taking “M” Things With Gratitude, Taking “N” Things With Gratitude, Taking “O” Things With Gratitude, Taking “Q” Things With Gratitude


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Today I will be . . . seeing red

XI’ve been posting daily resolutions on my Facebook status as a way of focusing my attention on something positive rather than the truth. For example, if I have a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, I will write, “Today I will be . . . energetic.” Or if I know I’m going to have to rise to a challenge, such as coming to an agreement with someone who refuses to see my side of the situation, I will write, “Today I will be . . . flexible.” Or forgiving, or whatever the situation calls for.

Today I discovered a great new word: apolaustic, which means “seeking enjoyment,” and that seemed an appropriate resolution for the day since fun hasn’t been part of my life much lately.

The trouble is, I think the goblins out there got things confused, and they’ve been having a bit of enjoyment at my expense. When I opened the pantry this morning, I noticed there were two boxes of cherry Jello-O where yesterday there were three. Unless I walk in my sleep (or unless my father does, since he’s been spending most of his time sleeping lately), that box of red gelatin powder simply disappeared. (And since he doesn’t know how to make it and I don’t eat it, it couldn’t have been consumed by either of us in a wild bout of sleepeating.)

I wouldn’t have thought anything more of the missing red gelatin (well, that’s not true at all — I’ve spent hours searching for the ridiculous thing because something cannot disappear for no reason and the puzzle puzzles me) but an hour or so later, a red vehicle went missing. (No, not mine — whew! And anyway, I’m not exactly a red car sort of person, though that might be something to think about in the future as I’m trying to decide who I want to be.)

I was out walking in the desert when I saw, about a tenth of mile in front of me, a bright shiny new red pickup truck parked on a rise. I hesitated about going forward because vehicles parked in the middle of the desert take away from the enjoyment (ah! My apolaustic moment!) of my solitary walk, and besides, they make me nervous. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in my fictional community of Rubicon Ranch where my character has a penchant for finding dead bodies in the desert, or maybe I’m just careful. Either way, after the moment of hesitancy, I went forward.

I lost sight of the vehicle for a minute or two as I went around a bend, and when again I looked for the red pickup, it was gone. From where I was standing, I had a panoramic view of the desert, and no red truck was in sight though it wouldn’t have been able to drive out of sight in the brief time it was out of my view. About a quarter of a mile away, a white pickup, a much older model, was slowly making its way along a rutted desert road, but no red truck. I climbed to higher ground, and still couldn’t catch a glimpse of red, and in that stark beige world, even a touch of crimson would have been readily apparent.

So, who is stealing red from my life, and why? Are goblins or other tricksters playing games at my expense? Usually, when I get back from my walk, my cheeks are red from the cold, but today, they were barely pink. Had the goblins also taken the color from my blood? If I had pricked a finger, would I have bled blue or green?

Maybe a better status update on Facebook would have been, “Today I will be . . . seeing red.”


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

On Writing: Color Your World

Color is an important part of life, and we should honor that importance in the stories we write. Although we can simply name any color for our characters’ bedrooms or the clothes they wear, by choosing a specific color, we can add layers of meaning to our stories and even to the personalities of our characters. We can add mood, symbolism, theme, even emotion. But first, we need to know what the colors mean.

What Colors Mean:

Black — Evil, falsehood, error, grief, despair, death.
Blue — Chastity, loyalty, fidelity, faith, modesty, eternity, immmortality.
Green — Love, joy, abundance, hope, youth, mirth, gladness, resurrection, spring.
Purple — Temperance, royalty
Red — Magnanimity, fortitude
White — Purity, truth, innocence, hope.
Yellow — Faith, constancy, wisdom, glory, jealousy, inconsistancy.

What Your Favorite Color Reveals About You:

Red — Ambitious, energetic, extroverted
Pink — Affectionate, compassionate, romantic
Maroon — Sensuous, friendly, emotional
Orange — Fun-loving, action-oriented, competent
Peach — Gentle, charitable, enthusiastic
Yellow — Optimistic, expressive, people-oriented
Mint green — Modest, insightful, kind-hearted
Apple green — Innovative, adventuresome, self-motivated
Green — Benevolent, service-oriented, scientific
Teal — Idealistic, faithful, sentimental
Light blue — creative, perceptive, imaginative
Dark Blue — Intelligent, responsible, self-reliant
Mauve — Delicate, reserved, sensitive
Purple — Intuitive, spiritual, insightful
Beige — Practical, well-adjusted, steadfast
Brown — Down to earth, honest, supportive
Black —  Disciplined, strong-willed, opinionated
White —   Individualistic, lonely, low self-esteem
Gray —  Passive, noncommittal, stressed
Silver —  Honorable, chivalrous, romantic
Gold —  Idealistic, noble, successful

More about color:

What Colors to Wear to Enhance an Image
The Meaning of Your Car Color

Do you pay attention to color in your stories? If so, how do you use color? Do you ever use color for any reason other than simply to describe things?

What the Color of your Vehicle Says About You (Or the Character in Your Book)

In my green article for St. Patrick’s Day, I wrote, “Owning a dark green vehicle supposedly means that you are traditional, trusty, and well balanced, but what it really means is that you are thrifty. Who makes dark green cars anymore? If you own one, it’s probably been a while since you bought a new vehicle.”

So for all you smug people who don’t own a green vehicle, I thought I’d tell you what the color of your car says about you.

Yes, your fiery orange-red sports car says exactly what you think it does: you’re sexy, speedy, high-energy, dynamic. Before you preen, go out and look at your red car. Most red cars on the road are more of a kidney bean color. Is yours? If so, it means you are dynamic and energetic but are losing your fire. You really want to be have that orange-red sports car personality, but you just can’t quite make it. You’re too busy, too old, or too tired. For all the good your red car does you, it might as well be brown.

A silver car supposedly says that you are cool and elegant. The only problem is that since silver was the most popular car color for several years, almost everyone owns one, like your neighbors who don’t mow their lawns and don’t put their garbage cans away after the garbage has been picked up. Real cool. Very elegant.

White supposedly means you are fastidious, but what it really means is that you wanted that fiery orange-red sports car, but you drive like a bat out of hell or like batman in his batmobile, (depending on your age group) and you were afraid that you’d get too many tickets so you chose the less conspicuous white. Good thinking. On average, while drivers in red cars do not get more tickets than anyone else, orange-red sports car drivers do, and let’s face it, they deserve them. Who drives the speed limit in a car like that?

A light blue vehicle supposedly means that you’re calm and quiet, but what it really means is that you went to the showroom to buy a sunshine yellow car to show how joyful and young-at-heart you are, but they only had marine blue, and since you really are a calm, quiet person who doesn’t like to make waves, you bought it.

A purple vehicle means you are creative, individualistic, original, and perhaps it does. It could also mean you’re too old to care what anyone thinks of you.

A black vehicle says you are empowered, not easily manipulated, love elegance, and you appreciate the classics. It’s also says that you are mysterious or that you have two sides to your personality; it’s the favored car of both clergy and gangsters.

A dark blue vehicle says you are credible, confident, dependable. And you drive too much because you always get stuck with the carpool.

A gray vehicle says you are sober, corporate, practical. Boring. But if that gray car is charcoal with sparkles, you still have flashes of brilliance and charisma.

An orange vehicle says you are fun loving, talkative, fickle, trendy. A yellow-green one says you are trendy, whimsical, lively. And you know it’s true. Only fun and whimsical cars come in these colors: Volkswagen bugs and little sportscars.

A tan vehicle means that you’re timeless, basic, simple, but it also means you have something to hide. Maybe bad driving habits? Or that you never wash your car?

A gold vehicle says is that you love comfort and will pay for it; it also says that you’re intelligent, and you must be — you were smart enough to come read my article!

And a brown vehicle supposedly means you’re down-to-earth but who are you trying to kid? If you really cared about the earth, you wouldn’t have bought that big old gas-guzzler.

So what color of car do I drive? I’m sorry, but I don’t know you well enough to answer such a personal question.

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Coloring Your Way out of Writer’s Block

How color vision actually works is still a mystery, but there is no mystery about the profound effect color has on human physiology. Red tends to raise blood pressure, increase pulse rate, and excite brain waves. Blue tends to have the reverse effect, and green tends to be neutral.

So, if you are having writer’s block, try a little color therapy. It can’t hurt; at the very least it will give you something besides your computer screen or those same old walls to stare at. And it has the benefit of being exceedingly simple. All you have to do is choose your color from the following list, wear it, hang it on the wall, find a knickknack or a bouquet of flowers that color to put on your desk, then focus on it.

Purple will boost your creativity, and help stimulate your intuitive abilities.

Yellow can help you feel optimistic if your blockage is making you anxious and depressed. It can also induce enlightenment, which is what you are looking for.

Dark blue encourages meditative thinking, so it’s especially helpful if are having difficulty focusing.

Green helps promote harmony if your inability to write is making you irritable.

Red will energize you if you’re too tired to think.

Even if the color therapy doesn’t bring about the effect you wish, playing around with all those colors will give your mind a rest from writing, and perhaps when you return to your keyboard, the problem will have resolved itself.

If not, do what I do: go for a walk.

Colorizing our Characters

Because colors have meaning, a character’s favorite color can tell us a lot about him or her. Red for an ambitious extrovert. Pink for an affectionate, compassionate person. Yellow for an optimistic artist. Green for a benevolent humanist. Blue for a cool, confident conservative. Purple for an intuitive, spiritually oriented person. Brown for a down-to-earth type.

I am looking for new ways to add color to my novels besides the obvious such as “She wore a low-cut red dress,” or “He loved the way the mud looked against the blue of his pickup.” I’d like to be able to give the feeling of a person by using color, perhaps by showing what he or she sees. This might be an interesting way of giving point-of-view characters their own voices. The extrovert would see the red tulips, the humanist would admire the grass, and the conservative would notice the sky.

Overdone, it would probably seem to be merely a listing of colors, but used with a gentle touch, perhaps the reader would feel more connected to the characters, seeing them in living color instead of indistinct black and white images.

I would like to think so anyway. I did the research on the meaning of colors for another novel, and the material is just sitting there waiting to be used.