Thankful Challenge: Day 30

A Thankful Heart

cornucopiathanksgivingAs this month comes to a close, I want to offer up thanks for yet another holiday with family and friends; another time of prosperity and goodness. We celebrated the harvest together and the bounty set before us! Each day we should be grateful for all of the good things in our lives. We do not know what tomorrow holds, let alone next year. But from my family to yours, we wish you the best and pray you had a wonderful Month of Thanksgiving!

Make it a daily point to have a thankful heart. Make it a point to count your blessings. A thankful heart is what we must have to understand that we should live in the PRESENT. What’s done is done. The past is where it belongs and the future is filled with unknowns, so breath in the gift of now.

Blessed be!

Thankful Challenge: Day 29

A Higher Power

diana-goddess-of-the-huntI can’t end this month without giving thanks to my higher power. I honor all of the unseen hands working my life each day. I give an offering of thanks to the wisdom and knowledge imparted upon me every day. Each day is a gift and I will honor that with my thoughts, my prayers, and my voice.

Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, Hindu, a Muslim, or a Pagan, it’s my personal belief that there is something sacred in every religion. That’s why I fall under the “eclectic” category. I believe there’s value in all faiths and I take pieces of those faiths to live my life; to seek my truth.

It’s time to stop being bigoted and narrow-minded. All that does is cause division. If we can truly embrace religious freedom, then we have to realize that in doing so we have to embrace ALL faiths. That doesn’t seem to be something that’s possible.

Wars are started for two primary reasons: money and religion. They serve as a foundation for uniting people against one another. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to be living in harmony. Now I sound like a hippie, but it’s true. You may not see eye-to-eye with me on my views, but that doesn’t mean that I deserve to be persecuted.

Many religions rule through fear. That is a very effective tool for controlling the masses. I’ve never been one to appreciate control, so I usually end up rebelling. However, there are some faiths that do not use that tool. There are some viewpoints that use love of earth, love of life, and love of humanity to call people in.

So, today is a day for me to be humbled by the powers that I do not understand, yet they welcome me and educate me. Today is the day I offer up thanks to guiding hands and caring spirits. So mote it be!

Thankful Challenge: Day 28

Health

14947635_1101082246671711_1186070772253401845_nToday I am thankful for my health. I have Type II diabetes, but I’m alive and I’m here. I have managed to maintain my weight after losing 50 lbs in 2010. I have been able to strive for a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but for the most part I have it good.

General well-being is something that most people have trouble achieving. It could be work that holding them back or child-rearing. However, having a healthy lifestyle is an admirable goal. It’s one I fail at sometimes, but the key is that I’m trying. I’m making the effort. So, despite my shortcomings, I’m running the race. I’m thankful that I can.

Thankful Challenge: Day 27

Freedom

american-flag-wallpaperToday I am thank for freedom. Simple as that!

I’ve watched in horror as our country tears itself apart over the election earlier this month. I have seen friendships die and hard feelings take over what used to be thriving relationships. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

Freedom comes with a price and that price is paid by our soldiers; men and women answering a higher call to serve this great nation to defend our freedoms and sustain our democracy, yet there have been people rioting, not protesting, because democracy didn’t swing in their favor. That’s just wrong.

I embrace the freedoms we have in the United States. I won’t degrade them. If I don’t give thanks for freedom, then I’m not a patriot. I, by the grace of God, don’t live in a country where women are told to sit down, shut up, and not to think. I live in America. A place that lifts me up for being a woman; for having ideas. Women’s rights were hard-fought. I may not agree with feminism, but I certainly tip my hat to those who fought for it. So, thanks ladies for giving us a voice! And thank you to the armed forces for continuing to keep us safe and hold up the flag of freedom!

Thankful Challenge: Day 26

Cognition

I am sincerely thankful for being in my right mind (don’t laugh). There are so many who suffer from cognitive diseases that take away their identity, their ability to think, and their memories. I am grateful that as of today, I have a working, capable mind.

As a university instructor, I teach two psychology classes; child/adolescent psyc and Lifespan for Health Sciences. The latter has been an eye-opener for me. We cover late adulthood pretty vividly. I have discussed many cognitive diseases impacting folks 65 and older. It is heartbreaking what they must go through and, moreover, their family suffers right along with them.

From strokes to dementia, the brain is at risk for major deficits. There are age-related deficits that come with wear and tear, which are also frightening.

As of today, I’m 40 and I still have a solid working memory and I still have that storehouse of information in my long-term memory. I’m thankful for that. Someday, things may not be that way. So, I’m going to live each day like it’s my last and enjoy all of the things life has to offer, including sharing and gaining knowledge.

 

Thankful Challenge: Day 25

The Gift of Travel

14956538_1101074606672475_1375352667013839400_nI am very thankful for all of the adventures I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. From simple trips to the local zoo to exotic trips to the Caribbean, I am grateful for all of the places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met.

I have always had a thirst for travel. I don’t know if it is because we didn’t really go many places when I was a child or if there’s something deeper inside of me, calling me to various places.

Travel is an educational experiences. You learn about different people, different cultures, and different customs. I’ve haven’t been to as many places as I’d like, but there’s still time.

I have a bucket list. On that list is Washington, D.C., New York, South Dakota, Vegas, Egypt, Ireland, London, Australia, and South America, and that isn’t everything. I’m marking them off as I go. Will I get to all of those places? I don’t know. But you must have goals, right?

 

Thanksgiving Challenge: Day 23

The Gift of Family

10269412_10205205799738411_7561109721362299887_nFamily is one of the most important components to anyone’s lifespan. I know this because I not only teach that class, but I buy into it 100%. Without family, whether it’s blood relatives or otherwise, what are we? Family helps make us who we are. So, today I say THANK YOU to my family.

It doesn’t matter who you call family either. As I said, it doesn’t matter whether it’s blood relatives or close friends. Our lives are a web that spreads out over time and space. Part of that web includes those who touch our lives and those lives that we touch. That include, but isn’t limited to family.

167198_1671273595539_1096396_nI have spoken about my Uncle Bob, but I’m going to now. He was very outspoken and if you needed someone to go to bat for you, all you had to do was pick up the phone.

There are two memories that stick out in my mind when I think of him. The first is that he saved me. He loved to fish. We arrived at someone’s house and they had a pond. My dad headed down to the pond and my uncle did, too. Or at least that’s what I thought.

I was set up in a room with a television so I could play and watched TV while they spend the morning fishing. A man came into the room. Even though I was a child, I knew he wasn’t of good character. I went to the couch and sat down. He sat beside me. I was afraid. He told me how pretty I was. He was undoubtedly a pedophile. Before he could start down the dark path, my uncle happened to walk in.

I remember his reaction as if it were yesterday. He walked over to me, grabbed me up, and looked at the man. He told him he would kill him. He told me that I was coming to the pond with him and to clean my toys up. While I did so, he was in the man’s face, but I don’t know what he said. If my uncle would not have walked in right at that moment, my life would have turned out much differently.

The second memory I have is that he embarrassed me to death when I was 12. After fishing one day with my uncle, my cousin, and my dad, we made our way back home, but on the way there, we arrived on “the strip.” If any of you remember “cruising,” it was alive and well when I was 12. In my town is was Chillicothe Street.

As we turned onto the street, I hid in the floorboard. They played “The Chicken Song” as loud as the speakers would go. I was so petrified. But, it was that sort of thing that made time with them fun. You never knew what they would do.

Holidays were always fun. Life was fun. I used to go to his house and ride his “boy toys.” He also took me to a ceramics class while my mother recovered from a car accident. When I was sick in middle school and high school, he made sure that he ordered food from the pizza shop and brought it to me. Or he picked up food from Hickie’s, a local mom-and-pop restaurant.

My family has shaped me into who I am. There have plenty of negative things that have happened in my life to transform me, but the foundation was put down long before my adult life. If it weren’t for them, I have no idea who I would be today.

 

Thanksgiving Challenge: Day 22

The Love Story

14947514_1101066956673240_8016910024220687289_nToday I want to show thanks for my grandma and grandpa. They practically raised me while my parents worked. I haven’t forgotten their kindness and how carefree my world was when I spent time at their house. I miss them both so much and can’t thank them enough for the impact they had on my life.

My grandma was the talkative one. My grandfather was quiet and very shy, but when it came to me that was a different story, at least until I got older. I remember being with him in is garden, playing outside with him, and being in his wheelbarrow as he pushed me around the yard.

My grandmother died of lung cancer in 1984. He didn’t follow her until 1995. I’m told that their story was that of legend. I can only speak to what I’ve been told because I was too young to understand. However, I do remember their rituals each evening.

They watched the news, then the Lawrence Welk Show, then some game shows and after that, they retreated to the kitchen for their “snack.” Grandma cooked every single day, so whatever goodies she had prepared, they ate it together every evening. I wasn’t allowed to go in the kitchen during that time. It was their time and that was sacred. So, I usually stayed in the living room with my aunts while they watched television.

I miss them. I’ve been visited by my grandfather, but I believe my grandmother has already been reincarnated. I don’t hear from her or see her; I never have. My feeling is that because she suffered so tremendously during her fight with lung cancer that perhaps she decided to come back. I don’t know that for sure though. How could I?

My grandfather, on the other hand, has visited me in dreams many times. It was one particular dream of him and of my Aunt Kat that called me back to a spiritual understanding. So, I offer up thanks to him, especially, for his role in leading me down the path I’m on now.

Thanksgiving Challenge: Day 21

Evelyn

1779103_10202802296292327_2122406475_nToday I offer up thanks for my Aunt Evelyn. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without her. She will be celebrating her 91st birthday in December.

She nor my aunt Kat ever married. They never had children. I was their child. My mother was their child. They devoted their lives to their jobs and to the church.

Evelyn has really struggled without Kat. They were inseparable and they lived together until Kat went into the nursing home. I’m sure it is much like losing a spouse. There is a void that cannot be filled by anything or anyone.

I am thankful that Evelyn is still with us and I see her at least once a week. I think it’s important that we take time to visit our elders. They are filled with knowledge and history. They are bound by a higher purpose to share that knowledge and that legacy with the next generation. So, by spending time with her, I help her fulfill that higher purpose.

Thankful Challenge: Day 19

Patty

252840_1984758352462_6909679_nI am thankful for mother-in-law, Patty. She is full of life and spunk. She is sassy and that’s the quality I admire most about her. I miss her and cannot wait to see her again. Maybe I’ll get back to Bradenton, FL some day very soon and we can spend time cooking on the beach and shopping on the boardwalk.

Most people have problems with their in-laws. I’m not one of those folks. I have great in-laws. I’m blessed in that way. There are no fights about raising children. There are no fights about anything. So, I absolutely feel grateful for having Patty in my life!