Giving Thanks

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#SOL18

 

In everything give thanks. ~ 1 Thessalonians

The week of Thanksgiving finds me very reflective.  Sure I have my share of challenges, aches and pains, and crosses to bear, but they pale in comparison to all the blessings I have in my life.  Today I take the time to start a list of some of the many people for whom I am thankful.

My mom – Mom passed away in September just short of her 91st birthday.  She taught me patience and perseverance, kindness and compassion. She had a zest for life that she never forgot even after dementia took its toll on her memory. She certainly did celebrate life every day.

My husband – Chuck and I have been together for almost 45 years (married 38).  We were high school sweethearts. Our life together has been a roller coaster, but I would not want to be on this wild ride with anyone else.  He is my rock. He makes me laugh and dries my tears.

My children and their spouses – Angela and Charlie continue to make me proud every day.  I have loved every minute watching them grow into the incredible adults they are today.  The passion and drive they have for their chosen professions is extraordinary. They both have wonderful partners in life.  Ryan and Krysten complement Angela and Charlie, and each couple makes a fabulous team. I am so lucky to have gained another “son” and “daughter.”

My grandchildren – Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better along came Parker and Emma just six weeks apart. I felt like the Grinch on Christmas morning.  My heart grew at least three sizes that year. Then along came Isabella (Izzy) and a year later Nolan. Life as a grandparent is so much better than life as a parent.  They are a healing elixir for whatever ails you.

My siblings, their spouses and significant others – I am the second of four (boy-girl-boy-girl).  We are all very different, but what binds us is a strong loyalty to family. We may tease each other more than necessary sometimes, but don’t let anyone outside our little circle mess with one of us…there will be trouble!  My siblings have been so supportive to me over the years in ways I can never repay.

My family-in law – They have been there for us over the years in many, many ways, and I am grateful for their love and concern.

My Book Club (The Chapter Chicks) – We are ten women strong who have been meeting almost monthly since February of 2004.  We sometimes get off track and don’t always discuss the book, but oh well.

It is like group therapy.  We have been through parent deaths, a spouse’s death, graduations, weddings, grandchildren, serious sickness, aging, and just life.  They are amazing!

My colleagues at OLM – I couldn’t ask to work on a better team.  While we may not always agree, we always come to some sort of compromise.  We complain together, laugh together, and support one another. They certainly make my day more enjoyable.

My Writing Project (PAWLP) colleagues – Becoming a writing fellow in 2000 was a life-changing experience.  All of the women and men I have met and worked with along the way have helped me to grow as a teacher, a presenter, and as a writer.  They helped me spread my wings and pushed me out of the nest.

I am sure that I could go on, but there is always tomorrow to continue my list.  Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and the time to give thanks.

Election Day

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#SOL18

 

Our days begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is election day – a day of duty and privilege. I have to admit that over the past 42 years, I haven’t voted in every election to come my way.  I always voted in the major presidential races and usually in the November general elections. It is the primary elections I sometimes abandoned.

I often become weary with all the phone calls,  television commercials, and advertisements that arrive at my door during the campaigning season. I don’t have a “winning” track record when it comes to my election day choices, so why bother?  How can my one vote make a difference anyway?

Well, recently I was listening to KYW News Radio in Philadelphia.  Larry Kane, a beloved news anchor, ran a three-part series entitled, “Skipping Election Day?  Your 1 Vote Counts.” In it, he outlined some major elections/decisions which were determined by just one vote.

  • Congress elected President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 by one vote
  • One vote made Texas a part of the US
  • Thomas Jefferson became president by just one vote in the electoral college
  • One vote in Congress authorized  the draft – the selective service

Although I had already planned to vote today, that really struck me.  Maybe my one vote will matter. Maybe I can make a difference, a change.  If not, then the will of the people will override me, but at least I can rest my head on my pillow knowing that I live in a country where I am afforded the duty and privilege of voting.  It isn’t about the “winning” it is about letting my voice be heard. If the change I want doesn’t happen at this election then I need to be part of the change I want to see for the next one.  

Off to the polls!

Something Good

Every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day. ~Unknown

I have been in a funk lately. The last six weeks have been a challenge.  My mom passed at age 90; I turned 60, and Daylight Saving time began. It’s not enough that I am already sad and melancholy, but now I am plunged into darkness by 5:30 each evening. I haven’t been able to write, and my usual inspirational music is making me teary.  I think I need to have a Moonstruck moment, smack myself, and get over it!

I don’t mean get over my mother’s death or turning 60 that quickly because I really do need time to process and come to terms with each of those things, but they can’t be all consuming.  My daughter gave my mom a kitchen magnet with the above quote on it. My mom used to quote it to me often back in the days when we could still have phone conversations. Angela also gave my mom a small charm on a present one time that said “celebrate life.” Boy did my mom do that!  She celebrated life until almost the very end. She died on a Thursday. On the Friday before my sister-in-law and I went to visit her. Mom had fallen out of bed twice that week, and when we got to her room she was taking an afternoon nap which was unusual. Even though she was weak and tired, when an aide came and asked her if she wanted to go to the salon and get her nails done she said, “Sure.”  That would be her something good for the day.

So I decided that it was time for me to stop sliding down the rabbit hole and start embracing life again – find the something good in every day.  What better time than in the month of November, the month of Thanksgiving? While it is OK for me to feel sad, or lonely, or melancholy, it isn’t alright to stay there too long.  

Today my “something” is the fact that I am caught up with all my grading! Now I know it will only last for a hot second, but I am going to enjoy tonight with a cup of tea, my new Autumn throw (one of my birthday presents from my kids) and a new book to read.

What is your something good?