Thursday, November 25, 2010

November Thankful

This year I got so busy, I didn't participate in the daily November Thankful as I did last year. I loved documenting the little things I was thankful for each day, but I feel there is a need to take a different approach. Why do I wait till November to reflect upon the gifts I have been given in this life, to be grateful for who I am and what I have? I recently got the Live Creative eZine from Christine Kane. In it she talks about Gratitude as being a way of life, a practice. This is how I have been feeling lately; a want, a need to live a life of Gratitude. I want to be more aware of what is around me, to really be here in the present moment. Stop worrying about my past or what my future might hold. To be my own validator of my life and stop worrying about what others are doing, or how my life compares. I want to understand that I have a translation of life situations and they are my own choice. And those choices I have made and these changes I have gone through, have all brought me to where and who I am today.

I wanted to share with you just a few of these moments.

At my son's 4th birthday party, my Father told me that his Sister recently sent him a package full of poems that my Grandfather wrote when he was teenager. My Dad thought that I would like them and he was so right. Despite my busy life, I found a snippet of time to sit down and read a few of them. In reading his words, I felt a closeness to my Grandfather I never achieved during his years alive. In fact, I barely knew my Grandfather at all. By the time I remember meeting him, he had already had a stroke (I think maybe even two) and lost all function and feeling to the left side of his face. I was only like nine or ten years old, so young and had never had a full encounter with someone with a disability. I was unable to communicate with him well and I found him a bit scary. That was the last time I saw my Grandfather alive. I often think about how I missed my chance to ask him about his life. But now through these poems (and the letter sent from his sister) I feel I have gotten a second chance and I am grateful. Because, I never knew my Grandfather had aspirations of being an artist and musician. Growing up, I read and wrote many poems. I had dreams of being an artist, though I can't draw very well, but really shine in photography and other crafts. I often wondered where I got my talents and I realize I now know and had so much more in common with one of my Grandparents than I ever thought before. I am so incredibly grateful for my Aunt for sending this to my Father, and for my Father acknowledging how much I value our family history to pass them on to me. And in doing so, giving me a piece of my Grandfather I never had before.

This year is the first in which most of Fred's family is living on the east coast, and in the Northern Virginia area. It has been an unexpected joy to have everyone so close. My family and my husbands. I think more for Mason and Sophie, that they get a chance to really know their Great Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Holidays are sure to get a new twist, which I am actually looking forward to. Mostly I am one who loves tradition. In tradition we find comfort. For the last 18 years my family has kept a tradition for Thanksgiving. It started when my sister, Kerri, and her family moved to Ohio. We would travel each Thanksgiving holiday to visit. Instead of having a cooked dinner, it was a small house, we went to The Old Country Buffet. We liked it so much, it stuck. Even after my Sister moved back to Virginia, even when my other sister and I graduated from college, even when I moved out to live with Fred. We still went to The Old Country Buffet. But now, for the first time in 18 years we will have a sit down, cooked dinner at home. Well, not our home, but Fred's Grandparents new home. There will be 22 of us and I am so looking forward to spending time with everyone. I am not one who handles breaking with tradition and stepping out of my comfort zone all too well. But this year, I have felt more than most, a need to be with family. To spend as much time as possible in the company of those who love us. Who knows, if all goes well, maybe this will become a new Thanksgiving tradition.

Life has been an out of control emotional roller coaster the last few years. Marked with a few dark and desperate moments I wasn't sure we'd make it through. Yet, somehow, I am constantly reminded of the strength of the human spirit and the power of true and honest love. I am shown that we are full of mistakes, each and every one of us, but it is in the simple fact that we chose to work through them that really matters. I think back to my wedding vows and feel a profound thankfulness that I have this man, my husband, with whom I share my life every day. And for our two children who constantly teach me, and help me be a better person.

I truly am lucky in this life I live and I want to remember that, each and every moment of each and every day. I hope to keep some sort of daily gratitude of my life. Whether that be a simple mental note, or a physical one jotted down on a napkin, or even a whole blog post or scrapbook page. Living a life of Gratitude seems so much more fulfilling than not. During this holiday, as you reflect upon the things you are thankful for in your life, think about what that means. To live a life of Gratitude and start living it today.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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