I love the warm summer days, even the humidity, when I can run outside instead of inside on the treadmill, get back out onto the golf course with friends, lounge by a pool and drive with the top down, feeding my inherent sun goddess that probably comes from being a Leo!

As I bask in my favourite time of the year and look out into my colourful garden, I feel gratitude, not only for the summer months and the chance to putter in my garden, but for everything in my life.

It’s early in the morning…I make my coffee, get my journal and settle into my chair in my backyard surrounded by nature’s energy.

I am serenaded by the birds that join me and observe the flowers in my treasured garden that are still closed waiting for the warmth of the sun to gently open their petals.

I breathe in the quiet sound of peace, nestled in my private little peace of heaven in the middle of the city.

A butterfly glides by, fluttering her wings, reflecting the freedom that I now experience in my life. My teenagers are enjoying their much needed sleep and I chuckle as I recall the days when I used to be the sergeant major, waking them because I thought they were wasting their day away!

I replenish the birdbath with fresh water knowing how much the robins appreciate it, as the sparrows peck at the seeds that have fallen from their feeder.

A cardinal swoops across the yard perching himself on a branch above me, his brilliant red feathers standing out from the green backdrop of the leaves. I am in awe of the magic of the perennials that were mere twigs in March, now blossoming with healthy foliage and vibrant colour just a few months later.

I look up and see that the moon still hangs in the sky as the sun begins to rise and I look at the clouds that remind me of the emotions that used to block the sun of my happiness. I smile, grateful that I don’t have to pretend anymore and that my children have a 25 year head start on me!

I am grateful for the love and fun we share together as I have let go of the control, expectations and disappointments and know that their worth, unique talents and gifts to make a difference in the world aren’t associated with a percentage on their report card.

As I look at my garden through eyes of gratitude, I see the many flowers that are open, just as I am, and remember the times in life when I was closed, blaming the world for my problems.

I am grateful for the abundance of health, joy, compassion, peace and love in my life, not seeing abundance solely as the balance in my bank account and for believing in something bigger than myself … keeping me humble.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful summer and take plenty of time to tend to your Garden of Gratitude. By connecting with what we are grateful for in life and pulling the weeds that have grown wild in our hearts, we can find more peace, happiness and love with which we can inspire our family and our life.

Author's Bio: 

As a personal trainer for emotional fitness, author, speaker and awareness coach, Jo-Anne Cutler is passionately committed to inspiring and empowering others to find more peace and happiness in their lives by becoming emotionally fit and in her role as a child advocate, empowering others to be the conscious connected parents, teachers and role models our children need them to be. She has created an audio program called Breaking the Cycle, is in the process of writing her own book, is a certified coach using The Inner Workout™ and is also the agent/manager for Colleen Hoffman Smith who created this transformational emotional fitness program. Jo-Anne is the author of several published articles, co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. 2. and 101 Top Child Development and Parenting Articles. She offers private/virtual/phone coaching and consultations as well as a free monthly e-newsletter. Please visit www.jcconnections.ca