Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 30 - Thankfulness

I am thankful for the feeling of being thankful, the ability to know the sweetness of the sweet in life and to appreciate the value of the difficult. I'm thankful that Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday in November, but an honest feeling which floods me everyday and is only highlighted and disciplined by practices like writing gratitude posts in the month of November. I am thankful for the feeling of being thankful.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 29 - Resillience

I am thankful for resillience, recovery, the will and ability to rise again. I know people who have experienced terrible adversity - physical, and emotional and who have found the will and strength to keep on keeping on with grace and without bitterness. Struggle isn't fun but it is honorable, precious, effective. I am thankful for resillience.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving 28 - Resale stores

I am thankful for resale stores - especially Savers. I know that just reusing things instead of throwing them in the land fills is not enough to keep the planet alive, but I do love being on both the receiving and the giving end of endless swaps. I wear clothing made by a dressmaker for a woman from India who probably lives in California. I watch a woman happily claim a bowl I no longer want. Both roles feel good. And there is always yarn - a little or a lot, plain at fancy, to use for knitting scarves for refugees from hot places who are processed through Austin each year. We found cool leather jackets there for our three older grand kids and delightful outfits, ethnic and otherwise, for the little ones. i enjoy the young salespeople, often with blue or maroon hair, who happily wear wsome of the stranger available outfits. They always seem to have a smile. I am thankful for resale stores, especially Savers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 27 - Work

 I am thankful for work - professional work I love, the productive feeling of working to organize a shelf or room, the creative work of making something beautiful, the solace of exhausting mind numbing work in times of deep grief, the work others do to make my life and our world sustainable. I am thankful for work.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 26 - Grief

 I know this is an odd one, but I am thankful for grief. This is one of those days when i've heard of several deaths, either just occured or soon to occur. Love is so intense, and loss so painful. I belief grief is the normal developmental process through which our losses first become real to us and then become less central to our lives. It is a wave form, like being in the ocean in a hurricaine at first, swamped by giant wave after giant wave, with no recourse except to be washed through. In time the ocean camms down, bu the occasional big wave still hits. I don't believe that without grief I never would have accepted Kerry's death or found a way to thrive without him. i am thankful for grief.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 25 - Benefit of the doubt

I am thankful for the benefit of the doubt. I sure need it, and offer it freely. Communication is so complicated and life so challenging, I don't think we manage well without more than a little of it. I am thankful for the benefit of the doubt.

Darkness and light -25

On Christmas night I'm thinking aboout babies, the beautiful nativity story and babies in general, how each is a little spark, a light that can be nurtured or snuffed out, and how each is unique. and none is of more intrinsic value than any other. That is the lesson my Uncle Rudy taught me. He was born very prematurely and lack of oxygen had affected his lungs and his coordination. Things like ...making change were hard for him and he had terrible asthma. he also had music in his every cell and was a drummer for his high school band and the Texas Longhorn band. But none of that is my point here. My point is that I was raised to be way too achievement oriented and success oriented and by high school must have been pretty snooty about academic success. Uncle Rudy and I were pulling weeds together one morning and I said something, don't remember what, but something stuck up and mildly contemtuous regarding school performance. And he looked me straight in the eyes and told me to remember that not everybody has the same advantages and I needed to stop judging. The lesson took. It was years later that i thought about that lesson in reverse. I sure don't have Rudy's musical ability or naturally outgoing nature, and he never held me in contempt for those lacks. So on Christmas night I'm thinking about babies, and how each one is a unique spark, to be discovered and nutured, not judged.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankfulness 24- I am thankful for interdependence.  I do best when I can both give and receive, take care and be cared for.  And I live in a world like that.  Independence doesn't seem possible and the thought of it is scary to me.  I love living in a household with a son-in-law who is and amazing cook and gave us a gloriousThanksgiving meal, for having a husband who drives and knows how to hang a reading lamp, a daughter under my roof who fixes the dishwasher when it breaks and braids my hair, a grand daughter who says "You are falling asleep.  Go to bed."  I am thankful for interdependenceThankfulness 24- I am thankful for interdependence.  I do best when I can both give and receive, take care and be cared for.  And I live in a world like that.  Independence doesn't seem possible and the thought of it is scary to me.  I love living in a household with a son-in-law who is and amazing cook and gave us a gloriousThanksgiving meal, for having a husband who drives and knows how to hang a reading lamp, a daughter under my roof who fixes the dishwasher when it breaks and braids my hair, a grand daughter who says "You are falling asleep.  Go to bed."  I am thankful for interdependenceThankfulness 24- I am thankful for interdependence.  I do best when I can both give and receive, take care and be cared for.  And I live in a world like that.  Independence doesn't seem possible and the thought of it is scary to me.  I love living in a household with a son-in-law who is and amazing cook and gave us a gloriousThanksgiving meal, for having a husband who drives and knows how to hang a reading lamp, a daughter under my roof who fixes the dishwasher when it breaks and braids my hair, a grand daughter who says "You are falling asleep.  Go to bed."  I am thankful for interdependence

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 23 - Imagination

I am thankful for imagination, everybody's including my own. Bob and I spent much of today writing on our young adult fantasy novel, and it was fun hanging out in a world of our own creation. I love feeling the imagination wheels turn in my head and love seeing what others come up with - in books, in art, in conversation. The random pun, the playful image, the running story Liam ane I have about Sea Turtle Celeste, all of these things make me smile. I am thankful for imagination.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 22- being physiologically happy

I am thankful for the feeling of being physiologically happy. I'm a serious being and generally feel content and pleased with my life and my choices, but not just bone marrow, every cell happy. When that feeling comes, and it has tonight, I cherish it. I know it won't stay long and that's OK. Content and satisfied is plenty for everyday. Happy is dessert. I'm thankful for feeling physiologically happy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 21-Traditions

I am thankful for traditions. There is a turkey in the fridge tonight and cranberry sauce on the stove. People on the internet and otherwise are wishing each other peace and joy in their families. We remember to stop and be thankful for our bounty and to tend to the needs of others. I appreciate holidays which call my attention to gratitude, family, memories, and dreams. I am thankful for traditions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving 20 -enough

I am thankful for enough, dayenu, the sense of sufficiency, the absence of a feeling of need for more and more and more. I am thankful for enough.

Thanksgiving 19 - perseverance

Right now, and it seems like more often than not, I am in the middle of tasks that matter to me and that require effort over days, months, years - like journaling, keeping up with people, making order of belongings, pruning, writing. I often feel overwhelmed and like reality is swirling and I'll never finish anything - but there is some quality of perseverance inside me, not always as much as I wish, that helps me latch back on and keep working. I am thankful for perseverance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving 18- Waxing crescent moon

I am thankful for the waxing crescent moon. I love it in the evening, a narrow boat setting in the west sky, just a slender promise of the full moon it will become. The waxing crescent moon is my personal symbol of trust. The moon was invisible last week. Now that it is visible again it will be more and more visible each night until it once again rises fll and red in the east. I love the predictability of htis pattern. I am thankful for the waxing crescent moon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 17 -old pictures

Thankfulness 17 - I am thankful for old pictures - at least I think I am. We have so many pictures and there are stories with most of them which will be lost if I don't write them down. It seems wrong for memories to be reduced to only pictures, unconnecte to stories anyone knows. And it is a daunting task to connect the stories to the pictures, even to cull out the best pictures from each photo session. I want the contents of the boxes and shelves i leave behind to make sense and to reflect the highs lows and middles of my life. The pictures help. Despite my acute overwhelm at the moment, I am thankful for old pictures.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving 16- Stories

I am thankful for stories. I grew up on stories, stories from books and stories from the lives of my parents and grandparents. Ice skating on the river in Czechloslovakia before World War I, picking cotton in Texas fields, hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor on the city bus just a few blocks away from my current office, falling in love over a tray of pecans at a faculty function... The stories that came before me go on and on and I add the stories that have happened to me and pass them on. More than blood, I believe stories connect us. I am thankful for stories

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving 15- My house

 I am thankful for my house. It has its problems, is messier than I would like too much of the time. Dishes in the sink, laundry in various stages of wet, clean, dry, put away, old wiring. It's on the small side for a multigenerational family of six and sometimes its crazy full of noise and activity. It is also rich with memories of thirty five years of family living - birth, death, birthdays, holidays, fights, dancing, meals, games of chase, homework, food preparation, love in so many forms. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, is not in a war zone, has food in the fridge and, at this moment, is full of sleeping people I love I am thankful for my house.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankgsgiving 14 -play

 I am thankful for play. I just spent a couple of hours with my two three and a half year old grand children who are masters of play - cooperative, imaginative, friendly, spontaneous, only works if it is completely voluntary for all parties, has no purpose except the joy of it. Nothing is much better is sitting on bright green winter grass on a mild fall afternoon serving as base in a rollicking game of tag between delighted cousins. i am thankful for play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving 13 - color

I am thankful for color. It thrills me, all the nuances of natural color that change as the seasons change - the infinite shades of blue sky can be, some limited to a given time of day or year. I love the indigo blue time of night that comes after sunset in summer and the white blue of winter afternoons. I love the colors of skin and eyes, all the rose and gold and blue and green and brown. I love the flashes of color in flowers, birds, butterflies, fish. I am thankful for color.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving 12 - old friends

 I am thankful for old friends. We had supper wiith dear friends from college days, two kinds of chili and saffron rice, and conversation that jumped from stories over three decades. and am so touched and I think about the births, deaths, joys, and crisies we have shared graced to have them still in my life. I am thankful for old friends.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving 11 -hoplites

 On Veteran's Day I think of a word I recently learned (or maybe relearned) studying ancient Greece with KK. Hoplite - which means citizen soldier. I have known so many maen and women who took time out of the normal flow of their lives, who took risks, who took damage to protect their country's way of life. Too much damage in too many wars. And I know there will be more wars,...
and more needs for service and the little boy showing me leaves and feathers today may feel the need to take his turn in the long string of citizen soldiers. I hope he won't have to. And I know his countrymen will be as thankful fo this necessary service should it come to pass as I am for the sacrifices of those who served before. I am thankful for hoplites.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving 10- Road trips

 I am thankful fo road trips and for my husband Bob who is great at planning them, this time birding in the wild dry jungles of south Texas, stopping at out of the way little stores for home made tamales, talking and talking with no clock ticking. That's my very favorite thing about road trips - the absense of time in any measurable form. I need that right now especially after the intense push before the election and all the everyday deadlines of school and work life.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Thanksgiving 9- Generations

 I am thankful for generations, behind me and ahead of me. I love that things as simple as putting bay leaf in stew which started before me will continue after me. I teach my grand children the names of wild flowers as my grandmpther taught me. I see and expression in a grandson's eyes and for a moment am looking into the face of his long dead grandfather. And it's not just blood. I see KK learning from Bob to make and keep calenders. Right this minute Liam is waiting in his room for me to play "little people" with him, very much along the lines that I played it as a girl. I am thankful for generations and also for physical proximity to the generations which follow me.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thanksgiving 8- Sleep

I am thankful for sleep. it still feels magical to go to bed tired and fuzzheaded and wake clea, fresh, and confident. No matter how well I understand the physiology of sleep and rest, the overnight restoration still seems like a miracle. I am thankful for sleep.

Thanksgiving 7 - Knitting

Thanksgiving 7- I am thankful for knitting.  I love the predictability of it, the ability to choose color, texture, design and produce something with reasonable reliability which at least remotely resembles the intended result.  When I am overstimulated, overtired, anxious, and so much in life is out of my control, I can pick up my needles and knit, purl, knit, purl and lose my anxiety in the rythm of it.  I am thankful for having a portable way of calming myself which actually produces objects of beauty and warmth.  I am thankful for knitting.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Thanksgiving 6 - Community

Tonight I am thankful for community.  I've been part of some good ones.  Tonight I'm sitting with a happy group who has worked hard for the election of a President who we felt would best govern our country.  I'm hearing the laughter of tired happy people who didn't know each other three months ago and have worked hard together, building respect and friendships, some of which will last.  I've been part of some other  great communities, some which created, some which mourned, some which explored , some which studied.. We humans, even introverts like me, have a tendency to connect when we have troubles, joys, or work to do.  I love that about us.  I am thankful for community. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Thanksgiving 5- American Democracy

Thanksgiving 5 - I am thankful for American democracy, imperfect as it is. Bob and I have been working hard for our candidate, and that has put us in touch with so many people, those who agree with us and those who don't. Despite the hype about negativity in politics, I've been talking to so many people who take their vote and their responsibility seriously, who study the issues, who care. I feel energized and more patriotic than I have in decades. Whoever is elected President. I am thankful for American democracy.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Thanksgiving 4 - My beloved dead

    Today, in Catholic  (and Episcopal and  I think other Christian)  tradition, is All Souls Day, the day the beloved dead are honored and named in mass.  I am thankful today for all my beloved dead, those who were central to my life and those whose large lives shadowed and shaped mine.  So much of what I've learned was taught by those no longer living. (And yes Mort, Real is still better than perfect.)  I think  of Jim who was a gentle date for a shy sophomore and who sang Old Man River  with a voice as deep as yearning and who died of a bee sting while mowing his lawn - poof - just gone.  I remember my grandparents, especially Anna, who knew hardship and loss upon loss and who offered only love.  I think of the martyred heroes of many causes, of the song about "Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby" Of course I remember Kerry, and am so thankful for first love, the commitment of young marriage and the joy of building our family together.  I still see our girls through your eyes sometimes, love, or think I do, and my own eyes fill with tears.  I think of Ruth's baby Mira, who died unborn and whose textures I never  knew.  And my own parents who shaped my life, who welcomed and taught me.  And of course Heidi, beloved sister and friend, most recent among my own beloved dead.  Your brand of courage was different than mine - and wore a radiant smile in the hardest times.  All of you and so many more (Mary Ellen, John, Paul, Lou,  Mary, Dolly, Diane) taught and touched me and I miss you all .  I am thankful for my beloved dead. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Thanksgiving Three

 I am thankful for a life that spans centuries. Not only am I thankful for having lived in good health into my sixties, but especially for the timing of my life regarding change in the world. I remember standing in my mothers "modern"with my grandmother, who walked behind a horse drawn wagon as much as a hundred miles when her family moved from tenant farm to tenant farm. Cool...
in the air conditioning, we placed plates in the dishwasher, had just taken clothes out of the electric drier, and of course could stay up late because of electric lights. We could check on family members quickly with the telephone and didn't need to worry about having enough ice in the summer. Our world was full of "modern conveniences" and I remember saying to her that I just couldn't imagine how there could be more big changes in our way of life like those that had come about im her life time. Man was I wrong! I find it disturbing at time to have a clearly twentieth century mind in the twenty first century, but I like being along for an amazing ride. I am thankful for a life that spans centuries.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Thanksgiving 2 - since it is the second day of November and I want to keep the pattern. I am thankful for erasers (As in perfection is impossible. That's why pencils have erasers.) I am thankful for the paraphrase, second and upteenth chances, the benefit of the doubt, a little leeway, forgiveness, each new day dawning. Given human imperfection, I am thankful for every option we have to start over, try again, keep on keeping on. I am thankful for erasers.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November first - beginning of gratitude month posts

Thanksgiving One - I've been noticing the Thanksgiving posts beginning to show up on Facebook and I have been neglecting this blog terribly.  I don't like neglecting the blog and daily gratitude posts seem like a possible way to jump start, but not simple.  I want to join that flow of conscious gratitude.  I've done gratitude lists so many times they almost seem trite, and yet being thankful is never trite.  I find myself a little stuck about how to proceed. So many blessings, so many good people in my life, so many resources, so many moments of beauty, learning, unexpected delight, such a great safety net. And I laugh at myself  for over thinking and list my first blessing - I am thankful for my own cognitive complexity. Though I can think myself into a corner and have plenty of times, I can also think myself out and can enjoy many facets  and aspects of the world of the world. I'm thankful for seeing through my own eyes, filtering through my own mind, being myself in this world.