A Month of Gratitude
by Mama B
Even though we here in Canada have already celebrated our Thanksgiving, our neighbours to the south are gearing up for theirs. The American Thanksgiving seems to be more celebratory than ours. I don't mean that in a bad way. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is just as important to us, but there is almost a feverishness about the day in the United States.
We lived in California for two years and we noticed a huge difference in the way things are done probably because there are way more people in the US than here. A Canadian Thanksgiving is almost a quiet holiday, while the American one marks the beginning of the holiday season for millions of people. It is festive in nature and I would dare to say it is the most important holiday on the calendar.
We celebrated both days while in California with our traditional turkey dinner, and again in November with a traditional turkey dinner and this is probably when our non-traditional Christmas dinner of serving Prime Rib instead of turkey came about. We were touched by the phone calls from new friends who called to wish us a happy Canadian Thanksgiving on the day of. I still get texts and facebook posts from our friends on this day.
To help celebrate the American Thanksgiving this year, I have come up with a list of 26 things that I am thankful for, and for the next month, I will post a blurb about what and why I am thankful for these things. Since I didn't think of this idea yesterday, you get a two-for-one deal today. Here goes:
Day 1 I am thankful for my family (bet you didn't see that one coming, eh?). I have a wonderful, large family, and I was blessed to marry into a wonderful, large family. My Man is the second youngest of five children and I am, well, I am an only child, the middle of three and the oldest of six (and that's a story for another day). We are blessed with eight terrific (not perfect, but terrific nonetheless) children, who have in their turn, blessed us with fifteen grandchildren (so far).
We have three beautiful daughters, and five of the best sons any parent could ask for. Of course, they gave us the usual grief that all kids seem to cause, and I have the grey hairs to prove it!
There are almost countless brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, grandparents, in-laws, and out-laws, and I love everyone of them. We are planning a family reunion as we discovered more family through facebook, many of whom didn't know that this glorious extended family existed. I look forward to getting to know each one of them.
Day 2 Today, I am grateful for friends. I am blessed with many, many friends, and I am thankful for the ones who have stuck around over the years. There are many who are considered family and have contributed much to my life, as well as to my childrens' lives.
Day 3 Today, I am thankful for my faith. It is my rock, my firm foundation. I have managed to survive some tough times because of it. Whenever I am faced with a situation I am not sure how to handle, I look to my faith and find courage needed within it. My faith has made me a survivor and not a victim. It is a light in dark and scary times. It is a reminder that the whole world is not as awful as it may seem. It is so much a part of who I am, and why I am.
Day 4 Today, I am thankful for all the talented people in my life, or who have touched my life in some way. I am learning to be thankful for the talents that I have, although it has taken me my whole life to realize that I have them. Without the talents of others, our lives would be dull, boring and we'd still be living in caves.
I am grateful for those who are musically gifted. I am not, in any way, able to carry a tune or read music. I don't sing (trust me - you should be thankful that I don't!) . I love to listen to the music created by others, probably because I am not talented in this area myself.
We are encouraged to embrace our talents, use them to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. I have spent almost my entire adult life trying to figure out what talents I have. In my mind, a talent is something spectacular like being a prima ballerina, an orchestra conductor, Mozart, Michaelangelo, Marie Osmond, Bill Gates, etc. Never, in my wildest dreams would I have classified anything that I did, or do, as a talent.
I am thankful for people in my life who have taught me different. Mama K taught, and encourages me to this day, to enjoy being behind the camera, capturing the beauty all around us. Her talents know no bounds. She is a gifted photographer, writer, organizer. I think her greatest talent is being the best friend anyone could ask for. She is a great listener, encourager, teacher, supporter.
Those are talents we all can cultivate to enrich the lives of those we come in contact with on a daily basis.
I encourage you to find and embrace talents that you have. I have learned that the everyday, ordinary things that I do, such as photography, sewing, baking, crafting, while having nowhere near the global influence of others, do affect those in my life and they are appreciated by the people I share them with.
It is sometimes the littlest thing that turns out to be the biggest influence. Sharing those things makes them talents unique to the person embracing them. Be thankful for the talents YOU have. Share them. Enjoy them.
I am thankful today for the many sided personality of Mother Nature. There is something new to discover in every waking moment, whether it be in a cloud formation, a sunrise, a sunset, the roll and crash of a wave on a sandy shore or in the flora and fauna that exists on our island.
Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find the tiny differences in our everyday surroundings, and sometimes it bursts upon us in unexpected, beautiful and abundant ways.
I have always been a mountain person. We raised our family in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Their majesty knows no bounds. I have been privileged to witness the silent unfurling of delicate mountain flowers, experience the power of a mountain thunderstorm, and be awed by the majesty of a soaring eagle.
If you would have told me then that I would be equally enthralled with life on an island, I wouldn't have believed you. But I would have been wrong. I can say, absolutely, that there is no better place than where we live now for diversity in nature that surrounds us. We are fortunate to live in a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and yet are only a five minute drive from the endless stretch of the mighty Pacific Ocean and all the bounty of different above mentioned flora and fauna that call the ocean their home.
Whether I experience the awesomness of nature in my backyard, or seek it out on a hike down a mountain to a hidden beach, or a stroll through an estuary with camera in hand, I am humbled by the beauty that surrounds me.
Enjoy the nature that surrounds you wherever you find yourself today.
What I am thankful for today is our freedom. It has been brought to us at great cost and sacrifice, and to keep those freedoms intact, it still is costly and requires, in some instances, the ultimate sacrifice.
Look back through your family history and you will find someone who sacrificed being with their families, their time, their peace of mind and heart, and perhaps even their life.
I am thankful for the women who stood up to be counted as they fought for the rights of womanhood, and for those who still fight to make sure that the sacrifices and the victories of the past remain true and to gain new victories for women and girls everywhere.
I am thankful for those who fought/fight to end slavery of all kinds.
I am thankful for those who stand for those who cannot stand for themselves.
As we get closer to Remembrance Day, here in Canada, we wear our poppies to show our respect to those men and women who serve in militaries around the world and to honour those who paid for our freedom with their very lives. I like to think that we include the families that paid for those sacrifices as they laid their soldier to rest.
It is vital that we remember these men and women. Too many in today's world are forgetting, please don't be one of them. Thank a vet. Be gracious and be humbled in their presence; they shed blood, lost limbs, fought in conditions that horror story writers could never dream of...all for our freedom.
What are you thankful for this year?
The thing that I am thankful for today is "home". I have thought much about what makes a home and about where my home is.
How many times, over the years, have My Man and I uprooted our family and moved, usually leaving everything behind - taking only that which was important to us - only to discover that what we thought was of importance really wasn't!
We have moved across two countries. We had moved 4 times in 8 years, from the west coast of Canada to Ontario, and then across the US to California, back to the heart of the Rockies, and finally to the Island. There were many moves before then, as well.
I feel like I have been a wandering nomad my whole life. I have always wished that we could have lived in the same place, in the same house for the past 34 plus years of our married life. What stability! What a sense of belonging and history we would have! Then I think of all the places we've been, the people who have had such impact on our lives, and the adventures - oh the adventures we would have missed!!
A very dear friend once told me that I really needed to learn to "bloom where you are planted". That became my motto. I have made the best of our situation, whatever and wherever that may be.
Home, to me is wherever my family members are. If we go visit our daughter in Alberta, or our daughter in Utah, or our daughter in Ontario, we are home. When we drop by any of our sons' homes, we are home.
I hope that they, or anyone else who pops by our house, feel right at home here.
I am thankful for education. I have graduated from high school and from college. I can read, write and, sort of, do some math. I am grateful to those who have taught my children and now teach my grandchildren.
I am grateful that my education didn't end when I was handed my diplomas. I have been blessed with the ability to educate myself through reading, technology and being willing to listen and discern from others ideas, opinions and from their, and my, mistakes.
Every time I embark on a new adventure, whether it be in crafting, baking, or any other interest, I am either educating myself, or being taught by someone else.
Education never ends and for that, I am grateful.
I don't know what I would do without books! I love books, bookstores and libraries! There is a used bookstore nearby that is huge! It is floor to ceiling of nothing but books, books and more books! In their basement they sell very old, very expensive, antique books. I would love to have a room in my home dedicated solely to books.
My favorite books are cookbooks, a love that I share with Mama K. When we moved into town four years ago now, I had to give away about 800 cookbooks. I was, to say the least, heartbroken. I still have between 200 -300 cookbooks, and am slowly collecting more. I collect vintage cookbooks and have some fairly old ones. I read cookbooks like most people read novels.
I have a fairly eclectic library of novels. I like adventure, mystery, some romance, and a lot of fantasy. I am a huge Tolkien fan, and Harry Potter fan....and yes, I am a Twilight fan. I like Clive Cussler, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, and some Dean Koontz. I like many others, as well. I also collect vintage children's books.
Books are my go to for information. I may not travel in the physical sence, but I do own several books on the places I would like to visit if I could.
I also collect Christmas books; crafting and cooking; and vintage home economics text books. I have gardening books, decorating books and how-to books.
There is nothing like the smell or feel of a book! It can transport me to places beyond my wildest dreams. However, I do have an e-reader. I love my e-reader - how else could I tuck 30,000 books into my purse? Not that I have that many on there, but I am working on it!! I use it when I need to travel or i don't have the space for an actual book in my bag.
Reading is my favorite thing to do when life bogs me down. It can be my escape while I regroup. Sometimes it takes a whole series before I am ready to face the world once more. It's way better than drinking or drugs, less expensive, too.
So, grab a cup of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket and join me for a bit of reading today. I am working my way through my shelf of Christmas books - we can plan together!!!
I love to eat! Who doesn't, right? In my mind, being thankful for the food on my table emcompasses so many other areas of thankfulness.
I am thankful for the farmers that produce our food, for the orchard owners, for the people who have their hand in getting the food from the fields to the grocery store.
I am thankful for cookbooks so I can cook the food to put on our table. I am thankful for the blessing of being able to grow at least a little bit of our food myself. I have a dream of being able to grow enough food for my entire family, of harvesting and preserving enough of the bounty to last from growing season to growing season. In this day of rising food costs, it is almost a necessity to be able to provide as much as one can for ourselves.
I am so thankful for all the terrific cooks in our family who have taught, and those who are teaching, me to do better in the kitchen.
Enjoy your day! And thank a farmer!
During our married life, we have had the companionship of 17 - yes 17!- dogs.
We even recieved one for a wedding present! Her name was Maggie Sunshine and she was the cutest Yorkshire Terrier ever.
I love dogs. They are faithful, lovable, sometimes goofy, and bring great joy to our lives. Other than the two years we lived in California, we have never been without a dog, or two, in our home.
We have never been breed specific, either. Our dogs have come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and personalities. Some we had for a little time, and a couple we have had for years. Most of the ones that we had for a little time were dogs that needed to be loved while their owners transitioned into new phases of their lives, getting themselves settled before bringing their canine friend home. We have loved everyone of them.
One of our dogs came to us in a flood. The area where we lived was flooded from an accumulation of snow ( all totalled, 18 feet of snow fell that year) that clung to a cliffside, and on New Year's Day, fell, crashing into, and diverting, the creek from it's bed through the flatland behind our house. We were fortunate and survived with minimal damage to our home, others were not so lucky. When the waters receded, our family was larger by one shaggy, adorable, shivering, black dog. He attatched himself to our son, Dirk, who had found him on the top of a snow drift at the bottom of our driveway. He had no collar and had been abandoned. We lived on a mountain logging road, the only house on said road, and it was not unusual for people to travel up our road and abandon animals higher up. It was also not unusual for people to toss unwanted animals into our yard as they roared by under cover of darkness.
Another dog came to us from one of My Man's trips to town, about a 45 mile drive away. I'm not sure who this Christmas present was for, himself or the children. The puppy was free and he chose him out of a box of puppies in front of the grocery store. He was the cutest little thing, a mix of corgi and blue heeler, and we named him Duke.
Duke earned my undying gratitude and became my favorite of all our dogs. We had only had him a couple of weeks and he was still a tiny little bundle of mischief. We were experiencing our first Rocky Mountain winter and there was a lot of snow. It was also our first foray into finding our own Christmas tree. We bundled up all the kids and set out. We found our tree, cut it down and brought it back to the house. The kids weren't ready to come in out of the snow, and so we let them play for a bit. Dirk, who was barely 2 years old, toddled off up another trail. He had only gone a few feet, before Duke grabbed his mittened hand and tugged on it until he fell over. We thought it was cute. We set Dirk back on his feet and he started off again. This time Duke grabbed him by his snowsuited bottom and pulled him down again. Dirk turned around and toddled back closer to the house. Later that morning, a neighbour stopped by, rifle in arm, to tell us that a big black bear had been spotted just up the trail from our house, the same trail that Dirk had started off to explore. The bear, for some reason, had not gone into hibernation yet and was a bit grouchy. He caused some minor damage to a neighbour's outbuildings looking for food.
Several years later, My Man and I were away from home when we got a tearful phone call from our youngest daughter, KC, saying that something was seriously wrong with Duke. Her and her friend had gone outside to enjoy the sunny afternoon and Duke had started growling at them and snapping at them, something he had never done before. They were afraid of him and went back into the house. Anytime one of the kids opened the door, Duke would bare his teeth and growl and snap. He walked around the house, almost like he was patrolling it. He would lay down on the porch for a bit and then get up and walk around the house. He was sitting on the porch when we pulled into the driveway. He wagged his tail, and laid back down. A small pickup truck pulled up by the end of our driveway and a couple of the neighbours informed us that a cougar had been spotted in our area and to keep the kids and pets in the house.
My Man made a quick inspection of the yard and found huge paw prints in the mud of our tiny creek that ran a few feet from our house, some which were just filling with water. He came back to the house, brought Duke in with him and explained to the kids what Duke had just done.
So, I love dogs and am thankful for the ones that have blessed our lives.
During my childhood, we lived on farm, actually we lived on several farms throughout those years. My stepdad was a dairy hand and we moved around a lot from farm to farm.
My brothers followed in his footsteps, one of them still farms to this day. I am thankful for the farmers who work so hard to provide our food for us. I know my brother works hard and he works weird hours. His day is divided into segments. He gets up early and comes home late. Cows need to be milked twice a day and at the same times every day. They need to be milked in hot weather, in freezing weather, in wet weather - it doesn't matter - he is there. He looks after those cows diligently. He is, in fact, my hero. I have never told him that. Probably, I should.
There are many kinds of farmers. Some, like my brother, work on dairy farms. Some work on farms that produce fruits and vegetables and all kinds of grains, beans, nuts, etc.
I know, from experience, that farming is not easy. They are not paid nearly enough for the work they do.
So today, I offer much gratitude to those, like my brother, who provide all the food for everyone everywhere.
Today I am thankful for mud puddles. Yes, mud puddles. I have been fascinated by them for so long, I don't remember when I became so! It's a good thing that I love them since we seem to have so many of them around with all the rain we have had lately!
I used to love to be barefoot in the mud, squeezing and squishing it through my toes. I wonder if I don't do it anymore because, at my age, it is considered immature?
Have you ever really looked at the mini ecosystem within certain puddles? Some of them are like mini tidal pools with flora and fauna indigenous to their current position. You can find all kinds of interesting things in a mud puddle, but most of all I think I love mud puddles because it is just so much fun to jump in them, to run through them, to splash in them.
I am happy to share this enjoyment and enthusiasm with my grandchildren! It warms my heart to see them enjoying the simple fun of splashing in a puddle.
You should try it, you might find yourself with a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart.
Today I am thankful for the beauty and majesty of horses. They are so gorgeous! Not many of my friends know that I do, in fact, know how to ride a horse. I have had riding lessons (we took riding lessons as a family when the kids were younger) and we owned, at one time, eight horses. My horse was a palomino quarter pony named Dolly. She was gorgeous!
The sight and sound of eight horses galloping around a field is something to experience! The sound reverberates, not only through the air, but deep inside a person, stirring up feelings of some kind of ancient music.
It is exhilarating and freeing to be on horseback, whether you are riding on a snow covered mountain trail, a lazy path through meadow grass and flowers, or going full out over an open prairie range.
Now, I take the opportunity to enjoy other peoples' horses and once in a while, I enjoy a carriage ride, or a hayride, depending on the season. I have yet to enjoy the thrill of a ride in a one horse open sleigh, but it is on my bucket list.
Today I am thankful for education. I am thankful for the education that I recieved. I am also thankful that nowadays we can educate ourselves, to a certain extent, on almost anything that interests us.
I really wanted to be an archeologist/paleontologist. I love history and I am a dinosaur person to the core! Unfortunately, back then, that bubble was burst unpleasantly, and I decided to become a high school home economics teacher with some art thrown in for good measure. For private reasons, that didn't work out either, and I became a nurse instead. That turned out to be the right choice for me, after all.
The education that I did get, such as reading and writing, has enabled me to be able to keep on with my interests in the fields that didn't become my career. I love to read about the discoveries of the past, and being in a dinosaur museum is heaven for me, actually, any museum is. I love historical places, like forts, and the small town museums that depict the past of those towns.
I need to stretch myself more often and make time for the painting I learned to do in high school. I used to love to go to art class almost as much as I did my home ec classes.
It is glorious and, somehow, freeing to learn new things. It helps keep us young!
Being a grandma who knows "all about" dinosaurs pushes me up a notch or two on the awe scale with the grandkids, until they want to know how I managed to survive when the dinosaurs didn't!
I love the country that I am blessed to call home. I love our flag, and I love the people.
We have mountains, prairies, even a bit of a desert. Canada is huge! For such a large country, there are very few people living in it. More people live in the state of California than live here.
In all of our many moves, we have only lived in three of the ten provinces and three territories. I have enjoyed the differences of each one. Since I have learned to "bloom where I am planted", my favorite place to be is right where I am at the moment, although I lost my heart to the Rocky Mountains and they tug at me often.
When I was in grade 10, our social studies class did a huge project on Canada. My project partner and I were assigned to report on our country's tourism industry. This project took the whole year, and was done, mostly, on our own time with one class a week dedicated to working on it. It was a huge undertaking. At the end of the year we were to present a report to our class. It must have made more of an impression on me than I realized, as I remember it so well. My partner and I wrote to every Board of Tourism in each province and Territory, and in return, we recieved a ton of information, brochures, maps and point of interest pamphlets. We learned a lot about this great country that year, and to this day, I love to gather and read those pamphlets on each area that I am in.
Where we now live, we have the best of all worlds. There are not too many people, we have the mountains, are not far from the ocean, and there are lakes of fresh water, rivers, farmland and, of course, towns and cities that are not overwhelmingly large.
I would love to travel right across Canada, from coast to coast, from the Arctic to the border between us and the United States. I have been blessed with the opportunity to stand on the western part of our country and gaze across what seems to be an endless ocean, knowing that there is nothing between me and the country of Japan. I have seen, from a distance, a whale migration, traveled by mailboat along the coastal islands, walked through an ancient grove of trees, watched a lightening storm travel across the prairie, discovered waterfalls, seen the salmon spawning up close and personal. I have ridden horses on a mountain trail, milked a cow by hand twice a day no matter what the weather, watched eagles soar, bears climb trees, picked hucklberries on a mountain, seen the badlands in Alberta, walked through the dinosaur museum, been through other museums, watched the highest river locks in action and just enjoyed the beauty of this country called Canada.
I was flipping through my facebook this morning and there was a video of one of my favorite singers doing what he does best. I really admire those who lift their voices in song. I can't carry a tune, even if my life depended on it, which thankfully, it doesn't.
I am not in anyway musically talented, which is kind of sad. So much can be expressed through music. My taste in music is eclectic. I love a good southern gospel song as much as I love a heartfelt ballad. I am definitely a little bit country, AND a little bit rock and roll.
When I was younger, (I am talking a half century younger, not yesterday younger) I really wanted to take piano lessons. That was my dream. It never came to be. Then, life got in the way, and the dream remained hidden deep inside; other things took priority until I had almost forgotten about my dream.
My dad has a country band. They play all over the place. (I didn't know my dad until I was almost 40 years old). I would love to be able to make music with him.
I have a nephew who has inspired me. He has taught himself to play the guitar. He worked his way through the challenge he set for himself and is now onto the karaoke part of his adventure. I have sat at his kitchen table as he played and sang for his family. His talent tares at my heart strings. I could listen to him all day.
As I watched and listened, a little bit of my dream poked out from wherever I had hidden it. I really wished that I could play the piano right then and join with him in creating beautiful music.
Crystal, our son, Dustin's girlfriend, gave me her keyboard when they moved into a smaller apartment. I have it set up in our living room. I have set myself a goal to learn to play it. Yes, I am going to teach myself. ( I teach myself a lot of things! )
I don't want to play for anyone in particular, I just want to play enough to have my family gather around and sing Christmas carols.
Music can bridge gaps where words just aren't enough. It can calm agitated nerves, or a scared little boy. When our grandson, Noah, had to go to the hospital for an emergency treatment, his dad sang quietly to him during the procedure. Damian sings to him quite often to calm him down. It really works miracles!
Music can energize me to get stuff done. Crank up some tunes, open the windows wide, and dance and sing your way through your spring cleaning !
Embrace music! Bring it with you. Play it soft or play it loud! Music can bring the world together. Play! Sing! Dance! Enjoy!!
I love the ocean! I love the sound of the waves, the smells (usually), the sandy beaches, the plantlife and the creatures that inhabit it. I don't swim, so I don't go in it, but I love to get my feet wet while I meander along the shore. It makes for a romantic stroll, hand in hand with My Man.
Tidal pools are my favorite things to inspect. There is so much life in them! It is a great teaching tool, both for myself and my grandchildren.
I am fortunate to live within a five minute drive from the ocean. I can drive an hour and be surrounded by more of it!
We can drop a crab trap off the end of the dock and have fresh crab for dinner. We can whale watch and see dolphins and starfish. I have even seen a Portugese man-of-war jellyfish - it was enormous!!!
I hope that everyone gets (or takes) the opportunity to at least see the beauty and endless power of an ocean once in their lifetime. It is a sight to behold!
My Man and I were taking a walk down memory lane a few days ago and it got me to thinking about some of the adventures we have shared over the years.
Our two biggest ones, other than getting married, were when we moved across Canada from BC to Ontario (I met my Dad for the first time!) and when we moved from Ontario to California. Those were BIG undertakings for sure. Lots of lessons learned and some great memories were created.
I am very grateful for those times and for the people I shared them with, but the ones that make me all cozy inside are the adventures I have shared with Mama K over the years. As you will have gathered, if you have followed our blog, Mama K and I are related, not by blood, but by heart. Our family dynamics may have changed, but we are still sisters of the heart. I will always consider her my sister, and her new husband, my brother-in-law (poor man).
Mama K and I have shared being married to brothers, being pregnant at the same time( not just once, but three times!!!), raising our kids together (we lived most of the kids childhood years in separate towns about 50 miles apart, but in the heart of the Rocky Mountains that's like being next door neighbours) and we have had some beautiful photo taking expeditions as well.
Mama K introduced me to photography and we have had grand times together, exploring the areas where we lived, taking photos. We have traveled by mailboat to experience the solitude of island living and to, hopefully catch a glimpse of a whale or two. We have travelled by ferry to attend a lavender festival on another island. This was an annual event over several years, sometimes we invited a family member or two, or three, or four, to tag along, but mostly we went by ourselves. We have seen some gorgeous sights along the way, enjoyed the flavour of the local life, but mostly we just connected on a personal, almost spiritual level -woman to woman, mother to mother, sister to sister.
My favorite of all our adventures have been the early morning trips to the beach to catch the sunrise over the ocean. There is nothing I love better than being up before the sun, stopping at Tim Hortons for our hot drinks of choice, and then heading to the beach. We were, more often than not, the only people up to witness the dawn of a new day.
Adventures don't have to be in far away places, nor do they have to be expensive. You can have adventures in your own backyard. Mama K and I turned a stroll around town into an adventure. We don't have the opportunity to share in many adventures now, since we live in different countries, but when she comes to visit her family, we make it a priority to share in at least one day of exploring, whether it be revisiting favorite places, or discovering new ones.
My Man and I are looking forward to our trip to visit Mama K and her man in Texas. New adventures await us there, but the one I am most looking forward to is just sitting with Mama K on her backporch, enjoying, and treasuring, the friendship that we share - afterall, friendship, in my book, is the greatest adventure of all.
The world would be a far better place if there was more laughter in it, don't you think? I love a good laugh. I don't do it often enough and that is going to be one of my New Year's resolutions for the coming year - to laugh more.
Laughing is so good for you! I find that after a good laugh, I feel more energized and able to face whatever comes my way.
Laughing can be done on one's own, or with a friend or a group of friends. It's always better to share a laugh with someone else.
A true laugh can be a part of a healing process. I find it liberating when I experience a really good, deep-from-the-gut, belly laugh.
I love to listen to my grandchildren laugh. They are so free and exuberant with laughter. Our daughter-in-law shared a video clip of their new baby girl's first laugh a few days ago. How precious that sound is!
I would wish everyone on earth a hearfelt laugh everyday, along with a hug or two!
Yesterday, I expressed my thankfulness for laughter, today, I am thankful for tears. Letting the tears fall is just as healing as laughing.
It is like it washes our soul clean and gets all the little bits of hurt and saddness swept away. I think that when we are burdened with life and we reach the point of no return, so to speak, those tears are a release and the start of rebuilding whatever tumbled down.
I learned to not cry, while I was growing up; I am not going to get into that here. I didn't cry when I hurt, and I certainly didn't cry when I was happy. I could tear up, but not one teardrop would fall. I didn't cry when my mom passed away, nor my father-in-law, nor a much loved sister-in-law. Tears meant more pain than release. When I turned 40, I spent two weeks in the hospital. By the end of my first day, the tears began to fall and I cried 24/7 for the first week. Most of the time, I didn't even realize that I was crying. I cried in my sleep, the shower, my meals. The nurses kept their distance, letting me cry everything all out. It was very theraputic. I had such a headache!
The second week in the hospital was spent learning that it was okay to cry, and that I needed to take time for myself, neither which did me any good, because I still don't cry and I LIKE doing stuff for others. In order for me to actually let the tears fall requires much effort on my part. I need to work at overcoming the fear of painful reprisals if I get caught crying; that in itself is exhausting.
That is why I am thankful for tears. It means that I am healing.
Tears are also meant to be shed when one is happy. I have several friends who cry at the drop of a hat - they don't need a reason. I do envy them that freedom, if you will, to be able to cry. I didn't cry for joy on my wedding day, or when we bought our first house, or when our kids were born and I didn't cry when our grandbabies were born. I do get teary over all those things, but not one tear will leave my eye sockets. All this being said, receiving a gift has been known to cause a tear to fall. It has become almost a family tradition to see who can give me the gift that will cause me to forget to fight back letting them fall. The words "Mom's crying!" are like a victory yell. I am thankful for those tears because that means that cracks in my many walls I have built over the years, are widening and just maybe those walls will one day come tumbling down.
I wish all of you in the US a very Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving.
Today, I am thankful for technology. (Bet Mama K didn't see that one coming!)
I am so technology incompetent that it is embarassing. Between Mama K and my son-in-law, Cody, they manage to keep me connected and out of technological trouble.
Computers intimidate me beyond all reason. My son, Dirk, gave me a gorgeous new camera a couple of years ago. I was so excited to get out and take pictures! It has lots of what I call bells and whistles - so unlike my old point and shoot camera. All those bells and whistles didn't make a whole lot of sense to me and I really wanted to learn what they were for. My Man bought me a photography magazine that was about learning to use a camera like mine. In great anticipation of a new learning adventure, I settled in with a cup of hot chocolate and the magazine. I opened it to the first article and these words lept off the page at me " your camera is basically a computer". Well...that explained a whole lot of my trouble right there - deep down inside, I must have known that it was my old foe in disguise! I never did learn anything from that article because - well - hello??...computer = brain freeze. Dirk just rolls his eyes at me and informed me that I really need to sign up for his class on how to use my camera. He, and his wife, Samantha, will be teaching a beginners class in the new year and I cannot wait!
I am getting better at using the computer - I still don't understand them, but I am grateful for them. They keep me connected with family that is spread all over the world. I used to have breakfast every morning with a granddaughter who lives three thousand miles away, and now I can watch her dance recitals as they happen from the same distance.
I can access all the geneological sites to trace our family tree. I have cut out, almost completely, the cost of buying all the crafting magazines on the newstand, thanks to Pinterest. We can connect with people and places like never before.
How did we manage to grow up and raise our kids without all the technology we have today? It is mind boggling!
So, facetime with one you love today, who lives across the country. Stay connected with family and friends.....and find yourselves a Mama K and a Cody for the times you find yourselves pulling a Mama B and need rescuing!
I love mountains. We lived in the Rocky Mountains a good portion of our life. They are what I measure all mountains against. Not fair, I know, but they are majestic in nature and personality.
When I would get bogged down with life situations and needed a place to go to think, I would hop in the truck and drive to the top of one of the many logging roads and park looking over the valley where we lived. All I could see in every direction was mountains, trees, and very faintly, an occasional glint of silver as the sun flashed on the river down below. Here, I found solitude and peace. I could feel the presence of my Heavenly Father and here I would pray for guidance. There was always a bit of awe in me for the hugs from heaven He would send me, either a new fawn on trembling legs trying to scamper after it's mother, a porcupine falling out of a tree, or the grace and dignity of a bald eagle, soaring at eye level.
It was on this same logging road that we would come as a family to pick huckleberries. Sometimes Mama K and her family would join us. It made for a merry time. We could hear elk bugling from across the ravine.
We lived at the start of another logging road, the only house on it. Every evening that My Man was home, we would go for a walk up that road. Sometimes we would manage seven kilometers (almost four and a half miles for my non-metric friends) up and down. We would always take our dogs and this was our greatest bonding time. Days events would be shared, stories told, problems discussed and, hopefully, solved. We would see deer, elk, and other small wildlife. One night, as we neared the seven km marker, we were privileged to see a grizzly bear, as he skylined at the top of a recent clear cut. He rose up on his hind legs and we could see him (or her) sniff at the air. We turned around and quickly walked back down the road, keeping dogs and children close.
Our children, Mama K's as well as our own, would swim in the creek next to our house. We would go for an afternoon of swim time, we even had a picnic or two there.
The bond of Mama K 's family and my family grew and blossomed there. We were already one family because the dads were brothers, but over the years we truly connected and became family not only of blood, but of heart and love. So maybe these mountains have a hold on my heart, not only because of their majesty and beauty, but because of the warm memories created there. Hmmmm....to paraphrase from the Grinch....maybe...just maybe.
Over the course of the past four years, I have watched My Man go from an active, hardcore workaholic to a recliner bound semi-invalid. It has been an arduous journey. I have been by his side as he has gone through test after test, a skin biopsy, a kidney biopsy, and a bone marrow biopsy. He has endured a simple (Well, maybe not so simple,) case of chicken pox that required almost fourteen days in two isolation wards and IV intervention. He went from being able to manage type 2 diabetes without insulin or medication by exercise and diet to being insulin dependent within eight hours of beginning a new medication. We have attended dialysis lectures, nutritionist meetings, kidney care counseling. I now watch him struggle with congestive heart failure, ischemia, and I watch him struggle with his change in his speech patterns. He has just recovered from his fifth bout of pneumonia this year. He is almost housebound from fear of catching any bug that is floating around out there.
I am thankful, today, for my health. As I have watched My Man go through all these things, I marvel at his positive attitude, and pray that I am mindful of my own health.
I try not to take it for granted, but it is not something that I think about on a conscious level on a daily basis. I am always grateful when I don't fall off the stool as I climb up and down to put things away.
Our oldest daughter just finished a 6 week fitness bootcamp and she looks and feels spectacular. I applaud her determination to conquer herself to reach her goals.
It is almost a cliche to say this, but I am going to anyways....My resolution for the New Year is to exercise more, actually it is to exercise period, because I don't take the time to do so now. It won't be on the same level as Chera, but it will be a goal to work towards becoming healthier. I need to mark in time for this on my calendar. It is something that I have to do for myself.
Grab an apple and a bottle of water and let's go walk around the block!
Looking back over the past month of posts about what I am thankful for, it struck me that almost every post contained a story about why I was grateful for that particular item. So...today, I am thankful for memories.
Mama K and I have such a wonderful friendship going back almost 35 - 36 years. Over that time, our families have had adventures together that we have fond memories of, some of them are quite funny, some of them may be bittersweet, all of them blessings of heartwarming and heartfelt love.
We need memories. I believe that they are the one thing we take with us when we pass on.
We need to make memories with our families. Elder M. Russell Ballard, a leader in our church, told us in one of his talks, that as grandparents, we are the memory makers. It is so important that we take the time to do so. I have fond memories of my grandparents. I can remember making peanut butter cookies with my grandmother. I still use the recipe that she used, and I hunted through thrift stores in three provinces until I found a cookie jar just like the one she stored those cookies in. Today, I use that cookie jar to hold my collection of vintage cookie cutters. Every time I make peanut butter cookies, or see that jar, I am reminded of my grandmother.
One of the memories that Mama K's family shares with mine is of gleaning for apples in the late fall, and pressing those apples into cider. Another memory is of huckleberry picking up in the mountains.
I have such lovely memories of Mama K and I catching the early morning ferry to attend the lavender festival on one of our outer islands. We always arrived about a half hour early so we could be the first ones on. After a walk around the docks and snapping photos of whatever caught our fancy, we would sit in the car and just talk. Sometimes there would be tears, and while I don't remember exact words spoken, I do remember the bond between us being forged stronger. I remember the feeling of safety as I told of my fears. I remember the laughter as we shared our love for families, and I remember the learning as we spoke of things the other hadn't experienced. Most of all, I remember the love we share as sisters of the heart.
A couple of weeks ago, my eight year old grandson, Dane, came to me and asked me if we could " make cookies like we did before using your cookie making machine" as he gestured to my stand mixer on the shelf. I was touched that he would remember that. So, one day this coming Christmas season, I will have him and his sister come over and we will make his favorite chocolate chip cookies again.
Take the time to record your memories in a journal for your future generations to hold onto. If I have photos, which I have over 100,000 stored on my harddrive, then, every so often, I print off a set and I scrapbook those memories. I just wish that we would have had digital cameras when our families were younger, but I can still write about those memories and I can paint pictures with my words for my family to hold onto.
Enjoy your day, make a memory or two!
This is the last of my Thankfulness posts, and I can't believe that I am going to say this...but I am thankful for our cat.
I am NOT a cat person by any stretch of the imagination. They irritate me to no end, especially our cat. I am not quite sure why. There have been more cats in my life than dogs. Living in the country almost dictates the need for a cat or two.
All of our cats have had names, but I always just call them "cat". I am sure that the kids think I don't remember the names, but I do...Let's see...we have had Princess, Blackie, Jupiter, Nosey, Ginger, Pootie-tang, Cocoa, Ace, BC (short for Baby Cat because he was the runt of the litter and the tiniest little ball of fur that grew into a ginormous fur ball)...I could go on, but you get the idea.
I thought it was because they would always think it necessary to bring me "gifts" or their leftovers from a hunt. BC would bring me live gifts, right into my kitchen. Those gifts weren't little mice or birds, but the biggest, ugliest snakes he could find, and he would let them go in my kitchen! They always ended up under the stove and I would refuse to go into the kitchen until the snake was caught and released into it's natural habitat. We ate out a lot.
Our current resident cat is called either, Hook, because the end of his tail has a hook in it, or "Noah's kitty" depending on if you ask My Man or our three year old grandson. Of course, I just call him "cat" (sometimes with a mild curse word in front of it).
He drives me just as insane as all the other cats in our life have done. That being said, our home doesn't feel complete without a cat in it. I guess that very reason, is why I am thankful for our cat - he completes us, makes our home "cozy", and gives Noah such joy.