Rainy autumn days arrived in the Pacific Northwest with bluster. With them, they brought winds that tossed colorful leaves everywhere. Our maple tree left our driveway looking like a leaf mosaic. Bob took the photo above on one of his daily trips to our mailbox last week.
With the change in our weather, the last weekend in November upon us, and new COVID restrictions on Oregon activities, it must be Thanksgiving. Things have tightened up with regard to social gatherings as the number of new cases and deaths have increased here. It is hard to celebrate while so many others are grieving, are houseless and hungry, and struggling economically to keep businesses afloat.
Have you ever noticed it doesn’t matter to a cat where it rests or naps? Or when or on what piece of furniture? Or in what position–belly up, draping its legs this way and that? Oh, to be so relaxed that it doesn’t matter.
We humans live under too much stress to act like a cat. Yet, I’m going to try. I managed to do it once before and then lost it.
In 2005, I enjoyed a three-month sabbatical with my last employer. Obviously, it was to my credit that my temperament improved from the law firm and its lawyers. At the end of my time off, my husband announced he had enjoyed my time at home with him. So much so, he had decided it was time for me to retire.
In a few months, I retired.
I haven’t looked back with any regrets. With one exception, retirement has been everything I hoped for. However, I tend to take on too much too often to enjoy any time for me. I’m learning to say the word “no” more often, but not yet well-practiced at saying the word “yes” to myself.
I’ve enjoyed the time to write, but life has gotten in the way of publishing my memoir. And I’m growing tired of blogging and social media. I don’t find joy in any of them at the moment.
That’s why it’s time to pause. Like a cat–right now–today.
November 15th is the beginning of personal time for a while.
I will not be posting to the blog for approximately six weeks. There won’t be a quarterly newsletter until after the first of 2019. I will not be on social media for reasons other than family and keeping up with church and volunteer activities.
I am hoping to get some work done on my manuscript, but I’ll also be preparing myself for a third spine surgery. I want to be in the best physical state possible as I want this surgery to work in easing my pain to some degree and to experience a good recovery.
Thanksgiving and Christmas
To each one of you, I send Thanksgiving and Christmas greetings. I hope the season of gratitude and the season of His birth bring hope, joy, and love in abundance to you and yours.
As my recent writings can attest to, my focus the last couple of years has been on renewing and recovering health. Step by step, inch by inch, exercise by exercise–progress is being made.
With Thanksgiving Day just hours away, my thoughts have focused not so much on how I feel or don’t feel, but on what I have to be thankful for. On Sunday, we gathered with our son and part of his family to celebrate a sixth birthday for our great-grandson. And additional family time is planned throughout the holiday. Family gatherings or any other gatherings are beautiful expressions of shared love.
In the past couple of years, although some days haven’t been so easy, I’ve learned that showing gratitude for something improves my attitude. It’s a prescription that comes without monetary consideration. Lately, I’ve been letting my gratitude slip and the difference is notable. And it’s so simple. Gratitude is truly a healthy attitude.
Before I go, I want to wish you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration. May your turkey be juicy, your stuffing not dry, your cranberries a deep red, and your favorite pie on the dessert table!
Gratitude is talked and written about a great deal as we approach Thanksgiving. I listen and take part but wonder if gratitude isn’t meant as an everyday occurrence. Isn’t there always something in a day you are grateful crossed your way?
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~~ William Faulkener
When I wake in the morning, it is simple to open my eyes and thank God for:
Good health, both mine and my husband’s, as well as our ability to care for our home and ourselves.
Another day to write, create, communicate, think, see, hear, breathe, and live and love.
Our thriving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Our marriage and life together.
Our home and our ability to continue to live here.
Our days are spent in our individual work areas seeing each other only at lunchtime when I’m reminded of:
Bob’s patient and forgiving nature.
Many storms, big and small, survived surrounding jobs, finances, children.
Mutual understanding and encouragement of the other’s creative gifts and talents.
Satisfaction found in our morning devotional time.
And lastly, when I think of our many freedoms, I give thanks for:
Freedom to practice our religion of choice where, when, and with whom we choose to worship.
Freedom of speech allowing us to verbally express or write our thoughts and opinions freely and without fear.
Freedom to vote.
Freedom to seek medical care where and from the physician I choose.
Freedom to gather in public places to enjoy friends, family, neighbors, and more without fear.
My friends, we are truly blessed in many ways. If you doubt that is the case, then look for a moment at the lives of those who are not living as we do:
The hungry and homeless.
Children and the elderly suffering from terminal illnesses without the benefit of good care and insurance.
Friends and acquaintances who complain aloud to others about their spouses or significant others.
Those going through separations and divorces, especially families with children.
Victims, both male and female, of domestic abuse and violence, and children who are victims of abuse.
Those struggling with mental illness who either harm themselves, their families, or innocent others.
Those living under a government where religion is dictated.
Those living where they are not allowed to think or speak freely.
Those living where there is no democratic form of government and no freedom to vote.
Those living where to gather in public may mean arrest or death.
Those living in all parts of the world under some oppressive force over which they will never be able to climb out of poverty, homelessness, hunger, poor health, lack of education, and more.
Those who immigrated to our country illegally and then brought children into the world who are American citizens, and all of whom are the object of much anger, debate, and confusion in our government and within our population.
Refugees, whether from Syria or elsewhere, fleeing war-torn lands governed by a dictatorship where no one cares about who is hurting, dying, and leaving their homeland. Looking to other countries to take them, hopefully with help to return them to a peaceful homeland, they stand at the door and literally knock hoping not to be turned away. All while fear and doubt exist on both sides of the door.
Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!
If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment about how you’ll be spending Thanksgiving, what you feel thankful for, or why you struggle with the concept of gratitude. We speak openly and freely here, so please share your honest thoughts.