An Awareness of Smaller Moments – #10Thankful

I always think it’s interesting how – or when – certain moments strike my awareness.

I spent all weekend half-thinking about writing this TToT in the back of my mind, but never quite sat to do it. It’s not that I don’t have much for which I’m thankful, it’s that every time I tried to come up with a list or a theme, the grander ideas eluded me.

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But I did notice small items of gladness and gratitude here and there – just nothing that I could really spin into a larger, more profound thought. Sometimes life is really just about the little moments, though, not the profound ones. Sometimes it’s about simply being in the right place at the right time to become aware of these moments that matters and leads us to gratitude.

For example…

Right now I am very thankful that Cat Three opted to puke on the hardwood floor, rather than the carpet. It’s usually the carpet that gets hit. We have carpet in exactly two places in our house – the stairways – and somehow the cats always find their way to the carpet when they get sick. So while I’m not happy to be cleaning up cat yerf, I’m pretty glad it’s not a carpet job.

It is fall – finally and for real this time, I believe. I am never more at peace than during the autumn of the year. I saw a line go by somewhere over the weekend that sums it up for me. It’s a half-line, really, and taken quite out of context, but still it shows up all over the place at this time of year. “Are we not better and at home In dreamful Autumn…?” is the often-quoted snippet, but there’s much more to the poem (“Autumnal” by Ernest Dowson). I love how well that expresses my feelings about this time of year, but am also glad it sent me digging for some long-forgotten words of poetry to enjoy again.

Through the Branches Crop

I have a friend (actually more than one, now that I think about it_ who is having a tough time with some things right now. I can’t begin to ease the pain in this person’s life. I can’t find words that will comfort that won’t sound completely trite. But I can stay in touch, ask how things are, lend an ear, send a card…small gestures to say the least, but I know that they matter. So that’s something.

I’m bursting at the seams this morning over Zilla’s successes of late. She’s working hard, putting tools and strategies to use, and seeing very positive results. She revels in her successes and feels confident about herself – and it shows. This morning we discovered an unfinished homework assignment that a year ago would have been a huge setback for the rest of the day. Today? I saw so much resilience in her and it made me so happy. She accepted responsibility, handled it, and marched into school with the work finished. No meltdown. No upset. No kidding.

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I was struck the other night by just how wise my Husband is. I can’t quite remember what the discussion was, but he offered such calm and rational wisdom that I couldn’t help but see things more clearly after the conversation. He grounds me and reminds me to keep my eye on the big picture, and not over-focus on minute details. On the flip side, though, sometimes when I get overwhelmed it’s because I’m worried too much about the big picture. In those moments he reminds me that the way to get it done is to focus on one thing at a time. Why he’s so much better at sorting out which approach is the right one, I’ll never tell you. It’s just one of the mysteries of our relationship that I’ve come to accept and treasure.

I’m delighted to have a huge pile of books that I’m working my way through right now – some lovely fall reads, some new books by friends and acquaintances, some old favorites. I’m also glad to be able to make time to sit and enjoy them, even if I’m not getting through them as quickly as I’d like.

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I’m happy to have a plan right now. I’ve been working on some projects – slowly and distractedly without a doubt, but nonetheless surely – and after quite a few days of thinking, I believe I have a good plan in mind to really make some progress. More on that as we move forward, I suppose.

And at this very second I’m very grateful for alarm clocks that tell me it’s time to move to the next task of my day. So, friends, I’m out of here for now. I don’t have a link-up thing to share this week, but drop your TToT (or other post) link in the comments and I’ll get around to visit.

Have a wonderful week!

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A Sense of Home – #10Thankful

I’ve been thinking a lot about home lately.

Kristi’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt this week was “when it comes to home…” So, naturally, I spent time thinking about the idea of home. And while I procrastinated pondered, I took a look at the things I had saved for my #10Thankful post last this week. Many were simple and beautiful moments of home that touched me in a particular way. Thinking I was onto something, I wondered if these two themes of home and gratitude couldn’t be married…

 

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There are so many ideas regarding home, so many interpretations. If you look up quotes about home, you find words and ideas as varied as the people who spoke them. Each one of them (and at the same time none of them) offers an answer. One or two of those quotes may resonate with this person or that, but not with a third. The reason, at least in my mind, is that the concept of home is something so very personal that perhaps there cannot be a definitive answer.

In his poem, “Death of the Hired Man,” Robert Frost wrote,

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,

They have to take you in.”

Obviously, there’s a whole lot going on in that poem and we could talk about just that for the rest of the day. But let’s just stick with that little part…that statement about home. It doesn’t say what it seems to say. The line is not “when you go there”; the line is “when you have to go there.” That makes it different, doesn’t it? It seems more about where you go or to whom you turn when you need home…whatever that may be.

So what is home?

 

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For many people, the idea of home is attached to a physical place. But when time moves us forward, as it always does, and that physical building is no longer our home, we find home elsewhere. For some that physical place may be a house – complete with walls and floors and windows and closets. For others, that physical place may be a hotel room, a shelter, or even a cardboard box. Are these any less “home”?

A home may include the people you love and live with every day. But some people live alone. Does it mean they have less of a home? I have lived among family, friends, and roommates and I have also lived alone. In each case the situation was definitely my home. Not all of those circumstances were ideal, not all were meant to be anything more than temporary. At the very least, each one was the home I needed at that time and I never felt as though I didn’t belong.

So home could be whatever sense of belonging we have. That feeling when you are surrounded by who or what is most important to you. Or is home more a state of mind, a sense of being where we belong in life, either physically or emotionally. Maybe home is doing the things that bring us comfort. For me, home is cooking for my family, my daughter learning by my side. It is playing games, reading books, or watching movies together. Home is our everyday routine, the rhythms and patterns that make up our days and nights. Home is that sense of normalcy and “this is what we do.” I am so grateful for the nest my little family shares together and the time we spend in it together. But even when we spend time together out of our physical home, there is a sense of home that goes with us.

 

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I sometimes think home is a season. Certain times of the year make us feel most at home, regardless of where we are. For me, the return of cool weather and the changing of nature’s colors feels like coming home. Maybe it’s because fall signals a return to school and routine and that’s comforting. Or maybe it’s that fall is that harbinger of the homecoming season – the fall and winter holidays where people tend to return to their hometowns, their families, their memories.

Maybe home is any way we grow and learn and change – as a physical home is built, so is the home of “self.” Maybe it’s about working on better balance in life, staying on top of schedules or homework or activities. Maybe it’s getting and keeping the house cleaned or doing some painting or remodeling. Maybe it’s getting more sleep or exercise, working toward a healthier and more productive lifestyle. Whatever process of change brings us to a better version of ourselves could be what makes us feel at home.

Perhaps home is a return to our truest self. Do we feel most comfortable, most “at home” when we finally submit to that? When I consider the person I am today, the life I’m living, the goals I have set before me, I find that none of it is what I would have expected or desired ten or even five years ago. But maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to work. There’s that process of change and growth, of self-realization that takes place and one day not-so-suddenly we wake and realize that this – this – is who I am and who I was always meant to be. For me, it feels like a return to center, a return to what was always there, waiting for me to need to arrive. So if go back to Frost’s line, even if we’re talking about a return to self, it makes sense. When we’re ready to arrive at our true self, when we need to arrive, we have to open the door.

And so home is all of this and more. It is a feeling, a sense of self, something that lives within.


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Ten Things of Thankful
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This has also been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s topic is “When it comes to home…”

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Our host this week, as always, is the lovely and talented Kristi Campbell from Finding Ninee.

#10Thankful – Sharks and Such

I have to be totally honest here.

I do not like writing my #10Thankful post on a Sunday evening. And yet, here I am again doing just that. *sigh* So while I am very thankful for so many things, I’m feeling a bit petulant about the whole thing because, well, I would much rather have finished this two days ago.

So let’s get to it.

I am thankful once again for time spent around the table with family and friends.

On that subject, I am thankful that we have enough to eat. I am painfully aware that so many people do not.

I am so happy that our CSA season is in full swing and we are enjoying the bounty from our local organic farm. The beautiful fruits and vegetables we receive each week have provided inspiration for meals such as this stunner – a sugar snap pea and penne pasta dish with a side salad of fresh field greens. Fast, simple, fresh, and delicious.

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Speaking of the kitchen, I have focused some energy there this week. One of my projects was to install a long-desired Spicy Shelf in the spice cabinet. What a difference this little gizmo has made! I wonder if Sarah can spot the item she sent me as a thoughtful gift a while back?

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The Hub ordered some replacement wheel sets for our dishwasher and installed them this week. That’s a task we put off far too long. So now that job can get checked off the project list, too.

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Today marks the start of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which we thoroughly enjoy around here. We watched some shark shows today and had plenty of friends to keep us company! I am thankful for things that our family enjoys doing together – hiking, reading, games, Shark Week…it doesn’t really matter what the endeavor. I just love that we love spending time together and pray it will always be so.

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I am thankful for my Hub. I am blessed to be married to my best friend and to have the most wonderful father for our daughter. He is good and kind and patient. He works hard, loves well, and makes Zilla and I both feel safe, beautiful, loved, and appreciated. And he makes a wicked good cup of coffee, too.

I am thankful for a sustained weight loss thanks to the support and encouragement of Clark and the rest of the Graviteers. As a result of that happy loss, I’ve rediscovered a pile of things in the closet that I can wear again. I’ll take it!

As much as I’ve always said I hate summer, I’m happy to say that I am thoroughly enjoying this one so far. Yes, it’s been pretty hot a few days, but I find myself seeing the beauty rather than the irritation. I am enjoying a slower pace and abundant time with Zilla. We do find ourselves needing some quiet time to ourselves each day, but I’m glad that we recognize and respect that. I think we are all enjoying the delicious feeling of well-rested that only the first week of summer break can bring. I’m thankful for long days and the freedom to do things like stay up late to watch movies or look at the stars, to sleep in a bit and snuggle under the covers a bit longer, to go barefoot and take life just as it comes.

So maybe a Sunday night TToT isn’t so bad. It just is. We’re having a wonderful time and that’s all that matters.

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Your turn – what are you thankful for this week? How have you been spending your summer days and nights? You know the drill – share ’em or link ’em! Have a wonderful week!

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#10Thankful – The Show is Over

Is it wrong that I’m in my pajamas at 8:00 PM?

Today has been an exciting and tiring day and honestly? I really kind of want to go to bed. Like now.

But first, I need to slip in a few items of thankfulness…

First, I am so grateful to have been part of the Listen to Your Mother show’s Lehigh Valley cast today. What a tremendous experience this has been in so many ways. I’m sure I’ll write more about it at some point, but for today I’m just going to say I’m glad to have added this to my list of awesome things I’ve done.

 

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These are wonderful people who shared wonderful stories and I’m thankful to have crossed paths with each of them.
Continue reading “#10Thankful – The Show is Over”

TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change

I can’t help but think lately that life is a constant string of transitions.

We spend most of our lives moving from one phase to another: from youth to adulthood, from school to work, from one relationship to another, from one job to another…our movement is constant and sure. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy each phase as we live through it. But eventually, we have to pick up and move on. We cannot stay in one place forever – at least not if we intend to grow and develop as human beings. Standing water only becomes stagnant and the path not traveled is a lonely one indeed.

 

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These transitions often seem to crop up just when we’ve gotten comfortable where we are. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s best if we don’t let life catch up to us for too long. Maybe it’s best if transition and change happen before we’re quite ready to move on. I have a mug here on my desk that tells me “Life begins outside your comfort zone.” Maybe it does. If we aren’t prompted to move along through life, it is much to easy to settle into the right now and see it as a final destination, rather than a stop along the journey.

And life really must be a journey.  Continue reading “TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change”

TToT/FTSF Mashup – For These Things We Are Thankful

It’s Sunday night and my link-up posts aren’t finished.

I’ve spent the last several days alternating between wishing I could come up with something terrifically profound and hoping I just get something on the page and completely forgetting that I need to write the thing in the first place.

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It’s not that I don’t feel grateful right now. It’s just that I have many other things on my mind. Which is not to say that at any moment I forget the things in my life that are worthy of gratitude, or that I am in any way unaware of them in the first place. I just really have many many things on my mind.

So maybe there’s a list of thankfuls in there somewhere… Continue reading “TToT/FTSF Mashup – For These Things We Are Thankful”

TToT – I’m Back!

Did you miss me?

I was a little surprised when I looked at my last TToT and realized that I skipped two weekends in a row. TToT is not something I skip. But I did say I was taking an Internet break during the holidays and apparently I was serious.

I really did take a break – I barely thought about the cyber world and just barely paid attention to messages. I missed the people that I usually connect with. But overall? The time away felt freaking great.

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That said, 2015 is in the bag, so are the holidays and all of their stress, and by the end of this weekend all the Christmas decorations will be stored away for another year. I’m done and ready to move on.

So let’s commence with the thankfuls… Continue reading “TToT – I’m Back!”

Six Sentence Stories – Standard Drill

“Standard drill, Maggie. Please.”

She took her usual seat at the diner counter as she ordered and sat staring, unseeing, at yesterday’s newspaper; the regulars knew better than to try and engage her in conversation and anyone unfamiliar with this routine would be quickly convinced to move along by her distinct antisocial air.

The old man at the end of the counter tossed a nod in Maggie’s direction and asked, “What’s standard drill?”

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“You mean her?” Maggie said as she jerked her head in the woman’s direction and started assembling a sandwich. “Standard drill is a BLT, extra bacon, hold the lettuce, add avocado and a little mayo with a Diet Coke while she sits here pretending to read the paper so folks will just let her be in the company of others and not feel so alone for awhile ’cause she’s got nobody left – family’s all dead or gone, friends have all died off or don’t stay in touch – just her and that stupid cat to keep her company and thank God she at least has him because it’s just too damn sad to be old with all that life behind you and nobody left to share all the wisdom and memories with.”

“That is just too damn sad, Maggie, so I’ll have what she’s having,” he said as he picked up his coffee and moved a few seats down the counter.

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This has been a Six Sentence Story.

Each week, the lovely Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was STANDARD.

Six Sentence

TToT – We’re Here Already?

I can’t believe it’s the weekend again already.

I also can’t believe that Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone, that autumn is now two-thirds past, and we’re heading rapidly toward Hanukkah next weekend and Christmas not far behind.

Time moves so fast… What is it that Ferris Bueller said? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I definitely don’t want that to happen. I want to be aware of the life I’m living.

And so it is good practice, especially in times when life is busy and stressful, to just…be. We need time to stop and look around, to find the quiet moments for which to be thankful, the moments that give our life meaning.

So let’s talk turkey… Continue reading “TToT – We’re Here Already?”

TToT – Hope

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope and faith lately.

There are so many hardships in the world, so many heartaches close to home and far away. No matter who we are or how we hurt, we all need something to cling to, something to keep us moving forward when it feels like we can’t possibly take another step. We need to hold fast to hope – hope that we are making the right choices, hope that there is something better ahead, hope that there is some purpose to the suffering and hardships we face in life.

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

How do we define hope? For me, hope comes in the form of family and friends who stand by me to celebrate my joys and to comfort my sorrows. It wears the face of my Daughter, who loves without reserve and believes I am the best at everything I do, and of my Husband, who is my undying support. It is my Mother who hears my fears and frustrations, who picks me up when I fall, puts me back on my feet and sends me off again. It is the people in my life.

seagull-768785_1920And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

And hope comes in tangible form, in the comforts and achievements of our days. Hope is a warm and comfortable home filled with love, a cupboard that holds enough food. Hope is getting enough sleep. It is things like work and play and exercise. It is the gift of words that flow freely and putting those words to good use. Hope is good health.

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I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.*

Hope is finding something to be thankful for in every day, no matter how small, how simple, or how seemingly insignificant. Hope is expectation, desire, and trust. Hope is necessary for joy. Hope is something for which I am greatly thankful.

*“Hope” is the thing with feathers – by Emily Dickinson

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What are you thankful for today? What gives you hope? 

You know the drill – share ’em or link ’em!

Be sure to check out the posts in the link-up

from the rest of the co-hosts and participants!

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