Monday, November 05, 2012
Some things are harder to be thankful for than others. Being thankful for them sometimes makes me feel selfish, knowing that other people had different outcomes.
This is a heavy anniversary date: the 5th of November. Three years ago my day started very differently from how it ended. For me, it meant getting some frantic phone calls and worrying. For others, it meant the unspeakable.
I am thankful that my son survived. That he was not among the wounded, much less those who lost their lives.
I don't WANT to be thankful for the sacrifice of lives... but I am thankful for the resilience of those who lost loved ones that day. I am thankful for the courage of the wounded, and how they have kept on going. I am thankful for those who went on to serve missions in the shadow of what happened to their units.
To the thirteen who lost their lives, and to the unborn child who also died... you are not forgotten. To the thirty-two wounded whose lives will never be the same... you are thought of. And to those who did not retain a physical scar at all, but who suffer from having been through that day, losing comrades right in a place you thought was "safe"... you are in my thoughts every day.
We cannot change what happened. We cannot bring people back. But we can live lives that honor their choices. We can be honorable, and honoring. We can face whatever comes our own way with courage and conviction.
Thus, the terror cannot win! Remembering November 5th, 2009.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
This one may sound a little strange, but family relationships ARE a little strange at times. Today I put on FB something tamer (sunshine), but here on Spark, I will tell you the truth. I really wanted to say I am thankful that my ex came into my life.
I won't go into the whole history of how it came together and how it came apart, but without him, I would not have my son, which is a HUGE point of gratitude. But there's another aspect to this: all relationships have good times and bad times. These times are twined together, and without one you can't have the other. And yet another: the experiences and relationships we go through in life are there for a reason. We learn, grow, develop, and are shaped by them.
My ex's sister is undergoing a lot of health problems. And my ex was a New Jersey boy before he went off to wear a uniform during Viet Nam. He came back with a purple heart and some issues. He introduced me to the Jersey Shore, specifically to Seaside Heights and Island Beach State Park. With all of this and him on my mind (even to the point of our son was concerned enough about Super Storm Sandy that he found a phone to call him from Afghanistan), I called him last night.
We talk seldom. Interestingly, neither of us has "moved on" to other "romantic" relationships. We were married for nearly 22 years. I can't NOT be grateful for 22 (nay, 29) years of relationship that shapes you into who you need to be for the rest of your life. And who knows? Beyond?
And life IS good. Spark on!
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Yesterday on my drive to work I thought how thankful I was for dreams, dreams that we turn into realities by turning them into little goals and then keeping promises to ourselves.
Imagine my surprise when I got home after work and found my cousin's wife had used her "I am thankful for" to give thanks for dreams! So this morning, I posted that "I am thankful for a warm bed and a good night's sleep."
Good sleep and dreams are related. But there's another reason for this particular thankfulness... not everyone HAS a warm bed and uninterrupted time for sleep. This echoes my niece's recent "thankful" post for clean water, and another for a secure roof over her head.
Often, in the comfort of our lives, we forget or find it convenient to block off our awareness of pain and suffering of many. Beyond the storm victims in our own country, there is the rest of the world, many of whom live in poverty we cannot even imagine. This is in fact a form of self-preservation... too much wallowing can be bad for us, emotionally. But turning completely away can also be bad for us.
A part of me wails, "I cannot help them all." Or, "Giving up my lifestyle won't make a dent in the vastness of their need." This, too, is a form of self-preservation. To stop the potential of despair at the vastness of human need. But giving up a little, contributing to a cause helps us bear a part of the burden.
Yesterday, they canceled the New York marathon, that the generators and porta pots and food that had been gathered for the event could be distributed to those in need in that area. There has been much debate over this, but I believe it to be a right thing to do. It makes sense.
For today... I shall do at least one small thing to help others in need... so that they, too, may be able to be grateful for things like warm beds and a good night's sleep.
Friday, November 02, 2012
There is this little "game" on Facebook, that I started taking part in a few years back. During November, many folks put a simple status statement: "Today I am thankful for..." every day from whenever they start up to the US Thanksgiving Holiday. Some for the whole month. It sort of prepares the mind.
Some interesting entries show up there. For my November blogs, I'm intending to focus on gratitude, because it DOES prepare the mind for more than the holiday. It encourages positives in our lives in general. Being grateful for what we already have, rather than worrying about what we don't makes us fit and able to accept and recognize even more good.
That said, I'll share my FB "thankfuls" from yesterday and today, to get started. Some of these may seem trivial and shallow, some deeper, as the days roll by.
Yesterday I was thankful for tastebuds and good coffee. OK, the good coffee might be a little shallow, but tastebuds? Yeppers, the whole sense of savoring what nourishes us is wrapped up in tastebuds. I have found over the past years of dealing with being a compulsive eater... when I'm binging, I'm not even tasting, really... just shoveling volumes in... wanting but never getting.
As a recovering compulsive overeater, I'm eating less... but I find I am enjoying it more. I'm really grateful for those taste buds that enable that enjoyment!
Today, I add to the list that I am thankful for "off" buttons. They should be used whenever what you're hearing or seeing gets to be "too much". Political ads! Oh, yes, and the telephone has an "off" button too. Robo-calls! Today, I AM thankful for off buttons.
Life is indeed good. Spark on!
Thursday, November 01, 2012
A is for awe, as in wonder at the process.
B is for bond, the agreement with self.
C is for courage to take on the task.
D is for discernment, to see what's going on.
E is for elusive, the nature of the beast.
F is for freedom, what following the path gives us.
G is for grin, that it puts on my face.
H is for heroes, who give us the vision.
I is for independence, a goal for so many.
J is for juncture, the point of decisions.
K is for key to unlock our fire.
L is for legacy with which we honor our loved ones.
M is for mission, the purpose we have.
N is for necessary, for without motivation we cannot succeed.
O is for opportunity, we seek and find each day.
P is for personal... we each make our own motivation.
Q is for quality and quantity, how much and what kind we need.
R is for remember, when the going gets tough.
S is for sleep, to keep us from flagging.
T is for tend, what we do to support the continuing motivation.
U is for understand... those a-hah! moments.
V is for variety... if one form of motivation doesn't work, try something else.
W is for worth, something inherent in our humanity.
X is for Xerox, you can't copy my motivation, nor I yours.
Y is for yearning, the spark that drives us to start taking action.
Z is for zen, the illumination of our wholeness.
This is to be saved as a starting point... just in case I blog another alphabet in the future... and it makes a bookend to the recap of the prior two years, so I don't have to search too far back to find them!
I only have one alphabet in me each year... and NOW, it's November... and time to start a new theme. Bet you can guess what!
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