Category Archives: gratitude

Sunday World Topics of Interest

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When people question faiths, I am sometimes aghast. Families and traditions

are part of heritage from generations back. When someone asked me, of a

different faith, “Who ‘made up’ the idea of Palm Sunday?” I had to think back

upon all of my Bible readings and my childhood lessons.

 

Aha!  In, John 12:12-13

(New Testament, Bible):

“They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him (Jesus),

shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the

Lord – – the King of Israel!'”

 

No, this does not discuss or dictate a certain day to take palm

branches and walk through town, or in my family’s church’s case,

through church. It does mention this is a celebration and honoring

someone who we may have strong beliefs in.

 

I was especially proud then, to read that the church I attended with

my three children and my ex-husband, First Presbyterian, Delaware,

Ohio, is going to use “Eco-Palms.”

 

This is part of the Presbyterian Earth Care program joining with

the Presbyterian Hunger Project. These are branches which you

may feel are worth celebrating about. Usually palms are harvested

in rainforests where they make needed habitats for migrating birds.

 

Birds are one of my favorite part of the animal kingdom. The more

fronds or palm leaves taken and cut by the harvesters in the

rainforest, the more desperate a situation it becomes.

 

Eco-Palm harvesters, gather only quality palm fronds in a way that

allows the plants to keep growing. This program is considered a

community process and the way they are trained to promote saving

the plants and the homes of the rainforest birds, touched my heart.

 

The marketing program is what helps the Hunger Project, since it is

one where an agent is handling the sales and providing monies to

capture more of the profits to benefit the native population:  for shoes,

school uniforms, food and basic health care.

 

In addition, a portion of the profits is set aside for providing

scholarships, paying teachers and helping elderly members.

This truly is, ‘Cause for Jubilation’ in the highest form.

 

 

Timothy Merrill gives us his perspective on

always having to Wait in,

 

“The Waiting Game

Life involves lots of waiting. We wait in groups, in lines, in cars.

We wait for packages, for the bus, for the sun to rise.

We wait in doctor’s offices, at the post office, at the DMV

(waiting for license or plates renewals.)

Waiting implies we’re at someone else’s mercy.

 

It is also usually linked to Hope.

 

Perhaps that is why Paul Tillich called ‘waiting’ a “metaphor for

faith.”

 

Why would a person wait if there weren’t the firm belief that the

object of one’s wait will eventually materialize?

 

Waiting can be enervating, which is why in the Bible,

Isaiah 40:31 these words are so promising:

“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”

 

Yet, waiting is tough if you have nothing to do while waiting.

 

That is why Jesus, when talking about waiting, also talked about

working – – “Work for the night is coming.”

 

Sometimes it is less tiring to work than it is to wait.

 

There’s a lot of waiting during Lent.

You’re waiting for a payoff.

You’re waiting for the Resurrection.

You’re waiting for spiritual growth.

And then you realize this isn’t waiting at all.

It’s Life.

It’s Joy.

It’s Opportunity.

It’s Blessing.”

 

Like John Mayer said but may have expressed more

deeply, “That’s why we’re waiting on the World to change.”

 

 

This one focuses on the enjoyable custom shared at work,

in communities or family gatherings. . .

 

“A Potluck of People”

(Taken from March’s “Spire” church bulletin)

 

“At many gatherings for potluck dinners which are meals largely

unplanned, when people bring food to share, usually the main

dishes, salads and desserts somehow balance out.  The fun is in

the variety and mixing together on a plate and the surprise factor

of what is brought to share and contribute to the Potluck.

 

Groups of peoples, churches, communities, families and workplaces

are all “potlucks” of a sort, too. When groups assemble, each person

contributes something unique and sometimes unexpected. When all

is mixed together, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

 

A beautiful balance often results:

One is a good singer; the other writes well.

Some are strong leaders; others dependable team members.

Some are traditional; others innovative.

Combined together, it’s ‘delicious.’

 

Potlucks are sometimes called covered-dish dinners or meals.

But don’t keep your gifts ‘covered.’

Share them because you are a valued part of the whole.”

(Author Unknown)

 

We used to call our country a “melting pot,” which describes how we

were going to blend together.

 

I like to think of the World full of diverse cultures, faiths, histories

of countries as part of a “Human Masterpiece.”

(reocochran, 3/15)

 

When I speak of Lent, Jesus, God, the Bible and verses from it, it

is meant to describe and share the belief system I emerged from.

But any time you see a parallel of your faith with mine, I hope you

will feel free to explain how the theme or subject can be applied in

your family, your church or your culture.

 

Bridging gaps is my goal and focus, when I post something about

faith. I hope you never feel excluded or isolated, since this is not

what expressing my belief system wishes me to do.

 

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Gratitude Wisdom

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Sweaters and Thanksgiving Thoughts

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When I opened my drawer full of sweaters to search for the ones with

Autumn colors, I ended up having to empty the whole drawer onto my

bed. I could not seem to find the one with its patchwork appearance.

Although, as a preschool teacher I had several turkey pins, along with

some orange, brown and tan sweaters, there was always this special one

I wore and called it my Thanksgiving sweater.

 

While I looked at my wide collection of fall and cold weather offerings,

I was smiling since some of them were getting pretty ‘raggedy,’ while

others were less in style. I started thinking about sweaters and their

characteristics.

This

is

when

I had

an epiphany:

Sweaters are like our family members.

While you are thinking about the upcoming celebratory feast, you may

have some positive thoughts and you  may have some misgivings,  too.

I hope you will see some of the anthropomorphic references in this poem,

of sorts and I also hope it amuses you.

Wishing you a wonderful gathering of family and friends. I hope it is an

extra special time, with pleasant memories of past holidays spoken of

and cherished, too. Those who have gone on and had their unique places

in your family festivities, hope you will have some of the elderly guests

share some more of their own personal memories of the loved ones.

I also admire the idea of going around the table and all sharing their

reasons for being thankful. This family tradition is often part of our own

ritual. I have been lately asking the little ones, “What was your favorite

part of this year, so far?” I like to try and remember them, to put in their

personal albums, which include their photographs and memorabilia we

have collected along our ways. (Tickets for movies, zoo or museums, as

well as menus and maps. I have a few of their drawings included, too.)

 

“Sweaters and Family”

November 24, 2014

 

Sweaters come in all colors,

They come in all sizes, too.

Sweaters can be quite worn

and scruffy looking,

While some may be in

brand new condition.

 

There are the loud ones,

and there are low key

kinds of sweaters.

 

Each has their place,

both

old

and

new.

 

There are those scratchy ones,

who seem to always irritate you.

There are those sweet, dear ones,

who can ‘do no wrong.’

They never grow old

nor out of style.

 

Some are so big and stretched

while others are such pint-sized.

There are the lumpy ones which have

lots of pills,

there are the smooth, soft ones, too.

 

There are the old, familiar ones

and the surprising ones who

unexpectedly turn up.

Those especially nice ones

appear out of nowhere

to discover and include

around the holidays.

 

When rummaging around in your

sweater drawers or storage tubs,

keep in mind how much you love

them all. . .

 

You certainly would not wish to

ignore them

or discard.

Even those

who are

unraveling

a bit.

They are an integral

part of colder

seasons

and

you

may

as well save them

for next year, too.

 

by Robin O. Cochran

 

Do you have a favorite story about sweaters?

If you wish, I would enjoy reading about some of your family

traditions. . .

 

 

A Great Saturday Surprise!

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My good friend, Mark Bialczak, received many photographs from

my cell phone, transferred to his cell phone via this new-fangled

process of picture messaging. It is incredible that first of all, I

have a cell phone. Second of all, I am pretty adept at taking pictures

with my phone and third of all, I met someone through wordpress

who wishes to share some pieces of my family life with others.

So, please tomorrow or the next day, check out Mark Bialczak’s

posts and then, you may not need to see pictures on my posts,

you will start to ‘picture’ me leading my life.

 

Thank you so very much, Mark, for taking this task and making

my life, through my photographs sent to you, become ‘real.’

Now, some of you will visualize the loved ones in my life, as I

write about them. I will continue to be a picture-less blog,

trying to paint pictures with my words…

 

Here is where you may wish to meander over on 11/22/14 or

someday in the future. You will find a man who is caring, great

writer and journalist, who shares information about music,

sports and entertainment. Mark also shows you fun images

of his family life and friends, too. They may be bowling, eating

out or listening to a concert. During many of the months of the

year, you may see Mark golfing. Oh, and definitely his walks with

the fine dog, “Ellie B.,” impart bits of folksy wisdom, Americana

and neighborhood unique features, including decorations and

parks. I will see you over there, commenting and spreading

our connections and forging a strong  friendship. (Many of you

already know him and are frequent commenters, too.)

 

You may find my friend and hero here:

http://markbialczak.com

 

Surrounded by wonderful family members and friends, I am truly

blessed. The photos he chooses, the way he presents them is up

to Mark. Truth be told, I had a very hard time limiting what I

sent. It was like something had come loose with in me, pouring

out my need to share my photographs. I have over 100 on my

phone, so sending him 20 left me scratching my head, trying to

figure out which would give you a true picture of me, alogn with

wishing to share my grandies. So, there may be a photo of the

two precious “M & M” girls. There will be at least one Mom photo

with me. I also had mentioned the three dresses I could wear to

a wedding, so there may be a picture included of my daughter and

I with the Clippers stadium in our background.

 

Here are some photos I did not send to Mark:

Powell’s water park, called a “Splash Pad.”

Creek walks.

Flashlight walks.

Park play times.

Winter snow scenes.

Ducks in the creek.

Pool side antics.

Sky lighting his first match to light a candle. (Age 9)

Micah wearing just his underwear. That kid likes

to be unclothed!

All six children, after thoroughly washing one pair

of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth after each turn.

Capturing fuzzy photos of their taking turns and

being very patient.

Cupcake family days, where we celebrate a birthday

of one of the adults during months there are such

occasions. Otherwise, it is bring whatever you feel

like eating over to my son’s house, where there is a

big back yard, trampoline, wagon and sometimes

a bonfire going on. . .

Our family picnic, just my children and grandies

which is generally at Delaware State Park, upper

dam pavilions.

 

There is one special wish I would like to pass

on, like a “torch” given to Mark for this special

gift of his posting some of my photos:

 

“With your light, it can be done.”

Spanish version:

“Con tu luz, si se puede.”

(Carlos Santana, 2014)

 

“Many thanks  to all.”

“Muchas gracias a todas.”

 

Serene Sunday Musings

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Here are a few quotations to induce feelings of grace and gratitude

this chilly, busy month of November. (Here it is chilly, in your part

of the world, you may be having a nice warm day.) If you wish to read

my past research about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, you may browse

the tags on my blog.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good.

For at the proper time we will reap a

Harvest if we do not give up.”

(In the newer version of the Bible,

New Testament. Galatians 6:9)

 

A short story shared in a church bulletin:

“You are Here”

As I approached a brightly lit, vertical floor plan at a Mall,

I noticed a woman standing in front of it for quite a while.

“Can I help you find something or a store location?”

I offered her help.

As people scurried by and around us, she replied,

“No thanks. I’m just pausing for a moment.”

Then, pointing to the arrow she explained,

“You are here. I need to be reminded sometimes.”

How profound.

Don’t we all need reminders of how blessed or lucky

we are to be here?

When life gets crazy, especially during the holidays, perhaps

we need to stop. Like the wise woman at the Mall, remind

ourselves we don’t have to try to be everywhere at once.

We’re “here.” That is the only place we can be.

Better still, we can imagine a bright arrow pointing to where we

are in life. We can go farther still, acknowledging, “God is here.”

 

A funny set of thoughts:

“You’re over the hill when you think all of your friends are showing

their age. . . but not you.”

“You’re over the hill when styles come back for the second time and

you still have some left from the first time.”

“You’re over the hill when your train of thoughts frequently derails!”

 

“You are NOT totally, personally, irrevocably responsible for

everything.

That’s my job.

— God”

 

Be watchful of signs of nature which lead you to peaceful moments.

Remember them later, cherishing the details in your memory.

Absorb fully, your family member’s words while you listen to them speak.

 

 

 

 

November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)