Tag Archive | United States

Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

Humbly fall on my knees …


Lately I have become overwhelmingly aware of how blessed I am. I may not be rolling in cash at the end of each month but I know that I have family that love me, friends who support me, food for each day, and a roof over my head.

And today as I see the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, I am grateful for the protection of my location. I have friends in the affected areas and I pray constantly for their protection and safety. The devastation will take years to recover – it is being called New Jersey’s Katrina. What a frightening thought.

Outside of our disasters we continue to hear of wars and bombings and man’s inhumanity to man all over the world. My daughter asked me today if this is the end of the world. Well no I told her but it is widespread catastrophe. We hear each day of incredible poverty and unbearable conditions. I am saddened for the conditions of our world, and I am grateful to be blessed.

I pray for direction for me to do God’s work. I write because God guides me. I paint angels and provide messages of inspiration because the Spirit (and angels) move me. I stand open to the nudging of my faith and discernment. What is next I ask. Right now, I’m considering a mission trip to Nigeria but I have no true plans or connections. I’m open to recommendations and will consider all options – humbly on my knees.

Join me and be blessed!

 

 

 

Manteo Mitchell – olympic hero


As many people are doing these day, I was discussing the Olympics with my friends. Part of the conversation was about medals and specific games. We’re all having a ton of fun enjoying the feats of athletes with skills beyond imagination. We cheer on our team and root for the underdog. Whenever I watch the gymnastics I am always amazed that human bodies have the ability to do what they do. Seriously! Amazing! And yes, gymnastics are definitely my favorite sport. But I’m also all about broadening my scope and spreading attention to the other sports.

It’s fun to know that we are coming together to appreciate both great skill, perseverance, as well as fair competition. And then there are those who take their dedication to the next level. Did you see the 4×400 relay semi-finals. One of our USA runners managed to not only help power our team to the finals, but he did it while running the last half of his leg of the race on a broken leg. WOW!!!

Manteo Mitchell is the new generation’s hero who put his dedication, his dream, and his team before his personal interest. I am both awed and proud of the spirit inside this man. He did what he thought anyone would do but I must admit, I don’t know anyone else who would have done that.

And this led me to the next thought which is – what am I so passionate about that I would see it through in excellence and in spite of tremendous pain. Do I even know? This weekend will be filled with much introspection as I work through some things going on at work – and now even more so in light of the heroic example of Manteo Mitchell.

Run on and be blessed!

Remembering …



As we move into the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, I find myself pausing and thinking of my Grandpas who both served in WWII, and who are now passed away.  These two men (along with my Dad who I’m blessed to still have with me) are the face of patriotism in my life. I feel compelled to speak of them for a moment.

My Grandpas were part of the “Greatest Generation” as it has become known. My paternal Grandpa, Jim Miller, was an accountant. He was smart, patient, and quiet. His passion was playing cards and I have so many memories of family Euchre games in his basement. My maternal Grandpa, Juel Bernard, was a foreman for the gas and electric company. He was tan and fit from working outdoors. He was quiet but had a fantastic sense of humor and could fix just about anything. He was the man who taught me to dance a proper slow dance. He also had this half whistle/half hum that he would do that still is so fresh in my mind when I think of him.

They had such different personalities, skills, and backgrounds, but they had some very important things in common. Both had a gentle way about them and were kind men. I never saw either of them exhibit anything but love and generosity. They were honorable beyond question. Their word was their bond. If they said it, they meant it, and they did it. There was no room for them to turn away from family and all they committed to. However, the greatest common trait with these true gentle men was their bravery. I knew little of their service other than that they were in the Army and where they served,  because they kept facts close to the vest. I know that they saw the most horrific things and felt the extremes of emotions and yet neither would burden their loved ones with details.

I remember one Memorial Day I was at my maternal grandfather’s house to celebrate the holiday. We were sitting around the table enjoying the grilled delights as we always did. I asked Grandpa about his service. He was a medic in the Army and said that at the end of the war he was in one of the groups that went into one of the concentration camps. I wish I could remember which one he mentioned but what happened next dimmed that detail. I told him that I was so proud of him. And I said I bet the people in that camp were so thrilled to see him and the other Americans roll in to save them. And in that moment, I saw the tears surprise him as they sprung into his eyes before he could fully turn and walk away so no-one would notice. I always knew he had been profoundly affected by the war, but that was the moment that I saw that the war he served in had forever torn a hole so deep into his heart that he would never, even as an old man, be able to articulate it. That was the only time in my life that I saw my Grandpa cry. It changed me forever.

It changed how I looked at our servicemen and women. I have always respected them. I have always had a deep sense of patriotism. But that was the moment that my heart knew there are no words strong enough to adequately honor the bravery of spirit that was required for these two young, Godly men to leave their loves, families, and friends in order to face imminent threat and possible death. I cannot imagine the horrors that their eyes saw, nor the terror that their hearts and minds lived through.

All I can do is say “thank you”, “I love you”, and honor their sacrifices and their memory by leading a life worth fighting for. I hope I am successful in that mission.

I hope that all those you love who have or do serve their country can sleep each night and know, with unshakeable certainty that they are loved, respected, and honored. Not just by the people they know and love. But also by those, like me, who do not know them by name but recognize them by character. Always remember their bravery and their actions. I honor and pray for all those who have served our country. I bless them and I bless you!