Looking Back Over Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approached, our family plans were somewhat up in the air. Our son’s family consists of some adult children who have a million directions to head in on any holiday. Plus we have one family member that won’t show up if others are going to be in attendance. Too much hinges on that one individual. But not our call.

So I started out Thanksgiving Day in gratitude for a scheduled lunch out with our son, Craig, and his wife, Gigi, at a local seafood restaurant. Before you gasp, they were also serving a traditional turkey dinner. Three of us ate seafood while our son couldn’t resist stuffing and mashed potatoes. It was all beautifully prepared, and we enjoyed a quiet foursome catching up on several weeks of work changes, health issues, and what was going to happen on Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving, more commonly known as Black Friday and not a day celebrated by our family, was originally going to be the day our family would come together at our son’s home IF we knew what that one individual was going to do. On Thursday evening, we learned she wasn’t coming meaning the rest of us could make our appearance without fear of a haranguing in the middle of dinner.

Craig’s wife, Gigi, and her daughter prepared a turkey, a ham, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, hot rolls, appetizers, and desserts. I added to my gratitude list that I was two days into Thanksgiving celebrations and still hadn’t cooked a single item. Score for Mom!

Grandpa Bob enjoying a movie with our greatgrands (L-R) Everett, Parker and Kylie.
Grandpa Bob enjoying a movie with our greatgrands (L-R) Everett, Parker and Kylie.

When we arrived we were greeted by hugs from our three great grandkids, one of whom we seldom see because of…you’ve probably guessed who and/or why.

Although she doesn’t know us well, three-year old Parker realized her cousins, Kylie (9) and Everett aka Buddy (6), were wrapping arms around us.

Obviously, this clued Parker in to the fact we were safe and loving. She too joined in sharing hugs! Our hearts soared with this welcome. My gratitude list was growing.

Parker and Kylie sharing a stool. Remember sharing a bench or a stool at family gatherings?
Parker and Kylie sharing a stool. Remember sharing a bench or a stool at family gatherings?

When it was time to eat, there we were…my husband Bob and me, son Craig and his wife Gigi, Gigi’s daughter Alyssa and her son Tyler, and those adorable great grands. How could anyone top this on your gratitude list?

Well, we could top it only if we’d had our daughter Suzanne (living in South Carolina) and her son Kory and her brother Steve, his wife Amy, and grandson Mikey with us. The table would have been complete. But not all things are possible.

Everyone ate their fill, and Alyssa’s delicious pumpkin cake had to wait until later. Leftovers were packaged up for all to carry home, and I’ve still not cooked a meal since last Tuesday! Cover that with gratitude too.

What did you experience over the days of Thanksgiving that brought gratitude to the forefront of your celebrations? Share below, won’t you?

On Turning 70, Joy in Writing, and Gratitude

A NOTABLE BIRTHDAY

 

Via Daisy Blue Designs
Via Daisy Blue Designs

The prospect of reaching my eighth decade (in the minds of some aging, in other words) in February never bothered me. I looked on the process as part of my life cycle and enjoy catching up each year for a couple of months when my husband is only eight years older. Like most others, I celebrated this birthday with Bob and our son and his wife over dinner at a favorite restaurant with much chatter and laughter. Then we went our separate ways.

It dawned on me in the next few days my husband would turn 79 in April, a year away from 80. That rocked my foundation much more than did my own changing decade. Was it because the 80s tend to be a downturn for some, or that he is in poor health? Neither of these things apply to Bob. But somehow a shift change took place within me.

Perhaps it related to the fall I took in January. Yet those injuries were healing well, and I felt like normal was on the horizon. A writing workshop the last weekend in February was coming up. Bob was going along to meet some of my writing friends and enjoy a couple of days at the coast. Life couldn’t be better, or so it seemed.

Fast forward to that weekend in Yachats, Oregon, and suddenly 70 looked worse than I first thought. I left the conference early to come home and nurse unexpected and unexplained severe back pain. As always, it took several days and doctors’ visits to decide the cause of the pain, and then it was another few days before treatments would begin. Today is two weeks after the injection to ease the pain, but the medication has not been as efficacious as hoped. It may take another or maybe two more injections. Boy, was I suddenly feeling old!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…

A trip to Tennessee scheduled in May takes us to our grandson, Michael’s high school graduation with honors and a bright future ahead. Our plans are to take Amtrak to Chicago and then drive the rest of the way to our destination. Departure is scheduled for May 16th. I want to feel better by then. When I began thinking about this post, it was the sense of joy I felt about Michael’s accomplishments and the solid young man he is. His parents are due much credit for raising him so well. That is what brought me to this writing place I call my blog to share my thoughts with you.

 

Annette + Powerbook + Teh Interwebz via photopin (license)
Annette + Powerbook + Teh Interwebz via photopin (license)

In recent weeks, I’ve been present online some, and I’ve pulled together book reviews over at Puddletown Reviews. But I’ve not attended to any writing on my memoir, not much on this blog, and my newsletter needs my attention.

Joy is found in doing the things we love. Whether it is writing, painting, photography, music, crafting, or something else, that which we love brings us an ever-present joy, if we allow it. Creativity isn’t work in my mind; it is a place I love to enter not knowing what I’ll have produced when I come out.

It occurred to me while writing this post that joy moves us along to gratitude. Think about it:

  • Initially, my writing process followed my thought process. As this post begins, I sound somewhat in the doldrums over aging and what comes with it. Note especially that as we age it becomes harder to recover from injuries, surgeries, and illnesses. And it takes more time. Time grows long and boring, until we think of someone or something special.
  • Almost instantly thinking of Michael and his graduation turned my thoughts and feelings to ones of joy. My thoughts had been centered on my pain and how much I want to either be better than now or have the pain resolved before our trip in May. Now, thinking of the joy of our trip and writing about Michael pushed me forward to a place of gratitude.
  • And arriving there, I pause to give voice to my gratitude.

THANKFUL FOR…

Flickr via BK
Flickr via BK

⇒Physicians and processes for healing and helping those with health needs
⇒A patient and helping soul mate and best friend who has helped me through pain and recovery more than once, my husband
⇒The gift of friends and family who support me in my writing, both in real-time and online
⇒Special times shared with family far away, like graduations, weddings, new babies.
⇒The joy of seeing a grandchild grow into a solid young man with a strong background given to him by his parents
⇒The gift of writing itself which called me to sit today and write this post from which evolved the beautiful process of movement from my realities to joy and on to gratitude

WHERE HAS YOUR WRITING BROUGHT YOU TODAY? WHERE MIGHT IT TAKE YOU NEXT? WHAT HAVE YOU LET IT EXPOSE FROM WITHIN YOU? PERHAPS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE. IT’S YOUR TURN–GO RIGHT AHEAD!