Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Thankfulness is an attitude of heart from which we are aware of  our blessings. Thankfulness flows from the knowledge of how loved, valued and precious we are to the creator, our family and our friends and how enjoyable life can be with the environment, water, oceans, plants, flowers, the sun, the moon, lovely landscapes etc around us. Our daily activities such as walking, breathing, talking, seeing, working, playing will take on a new meaning when our heart is thankful.

Expressing thankfulness and gratitude goes beyond national boundaries and geographic regions.  Different nations and people have different ways and practices of expressing thankfulness, at different times of the years and performing different rituals. Some have a fixed date each year for expressing thankfulness, while others have various dates for different reasons of thankfulness.

The picture at the top was taken at the DaZhao temple of Inner Mongolia, China  where people burnt joss sticks to express their thankfulness.

After praying, joss sticks are usually placed into a utensil;  some of which are made of brass, until the joss sticks are fully burnt and the prayers heard.

Some images of this utensil, usually found in Chinese temples, are depicted here.

As someone who do not burn joss sticks to express thanks, I thought it would be more important that we always have thankfulness in our hearts; that we express our thankfulness in words and deeds to those whom we love and care and also to  those who care and love us, whenever the opportunity arises.

44 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

  1. Beautifully expressed Michael. Travel, I think, makes us appreciate that in essence all people are similar in what they are thankful for. They may express this thankfulness in different ways, as you suggest, but they want peace, health, family happiness, freedom and fulfillment. These thing don’t come from having all the latest bells and whistles, but from contentment within, and the satisfaction of helping others gain their contentment as well. Regards, Chris Gregory

    • Hi Chris, very well said – “contentment from within and helping others gaining their contentment” – you comment is much appreciated. Have a great weekend! Michael

  2. Beautiful message about the universality of thankfulness (and how we should express it all the time). Thanks for sharing a message which is one that we need to hear over and over again, because we seem to lose focus as we get caught up in the care of daily living.

    • Hi samuel13208, maybe I have not made things clear in my post. The joss sticks are like candles without a flame, they will burn their way down. After making a prayer, the burning joss sticks are stood up in the “utensil” – a word which I have made up, not knowing the English word for it. The “utensil”, is a metallic housing with a top cover (which protects the joss sticks from the rain) where the joss sticks are stood up, usually in the ashes and sand contained within the lower part of the “utensil”. Hope this clarifies. Have agreat weekend! Michael

  3. I loved your post from the very first line. It really is an attitude of the heart. There’s this song I heard long ago, “life is like a garden, where bitter seeds are planted, hearts will harden, as caring hand will make your harvest sweet”. I feel expressions of thanks are in your daily deeds as well. Great post Michael.

  4. Michael, you’re so right in what you are saying here … we have so much to be thankful for – not only family, lover and friends. Love the way you … written it.
    Again interesting and great photos. My pick of your bunch is the second for the top – with the temple yard. There is something pure about that photo, clear and very silent. I like that combination, it speaks to me ..

    • I just read your post, congratulations! There are indeed many photos which I consider not of the best quality for posting but still I have posted them for sharing. On many of our trips, we only pass by the scene once, there maybe no sunlight, light in the wrong direction, too crowded with people, glare from other light sources, you are only equipped with a crappy camera etc. We are faced with taking the picture or not at all. Your picture is very interesting and have got all the qualities of a great picture. Maybe, you are a person in search of perfection. As a MBA student I was taught of “satisficing” – something good enough already do the job. . . in a way, I am just more pragmatic. Well done and have a great weekend, Michael

    • Michael, you are so right – when it’s about something I do I want things to be perfect … a typical Virgo. And if I do something good – it has to be even better next time, not so much now after I have retired maybe, but when working it nearly killed me at times.
      Have learned so much about photography since I start blogging – like we don’t have to hold the camera straight when taking a photo – or the object do have to be in the middle … had my camera for quite a few years now and I haven’t used it more than on holidays and now it’s goes with me everywhere, because it’s a totally different world I see with a camera in my pocket or bag.

      Have a pleasant Sunday.

  5. As a Chinese when I prayed with joss stick I remembered we asked for peace and prosperity to our family. It all about asking and requesting. But since I have stopped praying with joss stick for 16 years, I knew now that for every situation we are in, we must be thankful. Good or bad. Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi JoV, you are right. Burning the joss sticks could be for both requesting and/or thanking depending on the circumstance and the festival. I think many people believe that if you request for something and get it, then you have to be thankful. Thanks for the comment! Michael

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