#10Thankful – Cycles and Seasons

If one thing is certain in life, it is cycles.

Seasons come and go, night turns surely to morning, and years pass more quickly than we might hope.

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It’s hard not to see this time of year as an end. It is the end of summer, the end of sleeping in and staying up late, the end of a distinct freedom that exists when nights are brief and days are long and rich. But summer’s end ushers in autumn’s beauty, a time of warm sensory splendor. The vibrant colors of the changing foliage, the crisp smell of apple cider and pumpkin spice everything, the quiet entrance of a slight nip in the evening air…all serve as not-so-subtle reminders that the passing of warmth brings a certain hurtling toward the dark and cold of winter.

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It’s hard not to see winter as bleak, and many people do so. We trade long, lazy days for long, drowsy nights. We swap the feel of hot sun for fuzzy sweaters on our skin. We bemoan the cold and hunker down to wait for spring. But why?

The older I get, the more I grow to appreciate the beauty in each season, to see that each season serves distinct purpose, whether in nature or in our lives. Winter nights may be long and cold, but morning will surely follow. Ice and snow may cover the ground, but soon will melt and ready the earth for new growth. Winter is a time for rest and renewal, a preparation for what comes next. The snows of winter blanket the earth, softening the landscape and smoothing the rough edges. Without winter to provide a period of rest, spring is perhaps less interesting. How can we appreciate light and warmth and renewal without understanding dark and cold and exhaustion?

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Just as the seasons flow surely one into another, our lives will always cycle through good times and bad. While it may be difficult to recall the feel of summer sun or the smell of springtime blooms, we can ride out the latent hours of winter secure in the knowledge that even though far away, the new season will eventually come. And no matter in which season we wait, it is imperative that we seek  what is good and beautiful about each season of life.

 

This summer, I have been so grateful for the gift of time. We spent time as a family doing all the proper things of a summer vacation. We enjoyed day trips and hikes and movies outside under the stars. We stayed up late, chased fireflies, watched sunsets, and slept until our bodies were satisfied. We enjoyed the fruits of the summer, both literally and figuratively. We enjoyed fresh produce and icy cool drinks, slogged through humidity before collapsing, relieved, into chilled indoor spaces. We played games and read books for hours, with little concern about the hour for meals or sleep.

We lived.

Now that summer is passing its torch to fall, I am grateful for a return to routine. Back to school means back to regular bedtimes and regular rising. Autumn means it is time to gear up for the season of harvest, of coming home, reaping the benefits of what we have sown. The fruits of the earth change with harvest time, but are no less enticing. Autumn brings a return to warm drinks, cozy blankets, and hot soup simmering on the stove. We will feel the sting of icy wind on our cheeks and breathe the cold, clean air. We will shield our eyes from the bright sun reflected on sparkling surfaces after a snowfall. There will be time to play games and read books for hours as the wind howls and the snow falls outside the windows.

And while we await spring, we will live.

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#10Thankful – Are We There Yet?

I am so ready for this school year to be over.

I kind of thought when I left the classroom that I wouldn’t feel so stressed about this time of year.  I figured without final exams, end-of-the-year textbook collections, and the rest of the things teachers have to do in June, I’d have no worries. I was wrong. Know why? My second-grader decided she was done and over it two weeks ago where school is concerned. That’s why. So here I am, Distracto-Mom, trying to get Distracto-Kid to the finish line when, frankly, I’m kind of done and over second grade, too. I feel like the kid in the back seat of the car on a long trip: Are we there yet? But when you’re the one who has to drive and you feel that way? Even worse.

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Let’s get on with it already…

I think that’s probably a good sign, though, despite the angst and drama of pushing pulling fighting dragging through this end. We’re ready to move on, get a fresh perspective and a new routine. It’s time to see what’s next.

So let’s talk about all things new and fresh this week, shall we?

Continue reading “#10Thankful – Are We There Yet?”

#10Thankful – Fragmented

Fragmented. That’s the best word I can come up with to describe my week.

It’s been one long stretch of a whole lot of jumbled pieces and small bits of time, none of which have added up to much of anything. But of course, if I sit long enough and think about it, I know I will realize that there is something in there. Perhaps we’ll get there by the end of this post. I have to be honest, though, and say I really don’t feel much like thankful-in tonight.

It’s not that I don’t feel thankful for so many things. I definitely do. And I’m not sad or bothered by anything. I’m just…mentally fatigued. All that fragmenting this week has left this girl exhausted.

So let’s see what we can come up with…

fragments-1274804_1920 Continue reading “#10Thankful – Fragmented”

TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality

It is not always possible to do or get what you want.

Sure, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? To be able to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it? To be able to have anything you want right when you desire it? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Maybe.

But then again perhaps having everything on demand isn’t the best scenario. Maybe it’s true that the best things come to those who wait.

Continue reading “TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality”

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?”

Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post

I’ve been thinking for weeks about my post for this month’s 1000 Voices for Compassion link-up. Weeks.

My #1000Speak efforts are most often fall under the umbrella of self-compassion – something I know so many of us struggle with and need to remember to practice. For some reason, I just couldn’t marry the gratitude theme to the self-compassion theme. The one idea I liked, I rejected.

It occurred to me (finally) that I had already written my #1000Speak post – I just didn’t realize it. So this post has already appeared on my blog, but it is also what I want to say for this month’s link-up on Gratitude. It was written last week for Kristi’s Finish the Sentence Friday hop. The prompt asked us to consider the hardship we are most thankful for having experienced in our lives…

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Let me tell you something about hardship.

You are never prepared for it.

You can tell yourself that you are. You can tell yourself that you’ve thought through all the possibilities that could befall you and can handle whatever life hurls at you. But no matter how much you think you’re prepared, when that moment comes – and I can assure you that it will come – the world will grow dark and it will bring you to your knees.

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You can believe your own half-humorous claims that your position in life is secure because they’ll never find another fool to do your job for what they pay you. But the truth is they will. Not only will they find someone to do your job, but they will find someone to do it for even less than they’re paying you.

Three and a half years ago, my Husband lost his job. We had no suspicion, no warning. There was only a seemingly sudden decision that his services would no longer be required. We were devastated. He had spent eleven years of his time, energy, and talent on that position – sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of our lives. He worked hard and cared about his work. But suddenly, circumstances beyond our control left us standing, mouths agape, utterly shocked. Continue reading “Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post”

Hardship

Let me tell you something about hardship.

You are never prepared for it.

You can tell yourself that you are. You can tell yourself that you’ve thought through all the possibilities that could befall you and can handle whatever life hurls at you. But no matter how much you think you’re prepared, when that moment comes – and I can assure you that it will come – the world will grow dark and it will bring you to your knees.

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You can believe your own half-humorous claims that your position in life is secure because they’ll never find another fool to do your job for what they pay you. But the truth is they will. Not only will they find someone to do your job, but they will find someone to do it for even less than they’re paying you.

Three and a half years ago, my Husband lost his job. We had no suspicion, no warning. There was only a seemingly sudden decision that his services would no longer be required. We were devastated. He had spent eleven years of his time, energy, and talent on that position – sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of our lives. He worked hard and cared about his work. But suddenly, circumstances beyond our control left us standing, mouths agape, utterly shocked. Continue reading “Hardship”

TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace

Wow. Just wow.

Well, I muddled through OctPoWriMo – sorta. I somehow anticipated having more time, producing more words, posting more posts…then life happened. I even missed a TToT or two which I truly never do. And now, here we are a week into November and NaNoWriMo I’m feeling a bit like I’m trying to climb a very slippery slope. All good intentions fall to the wayside, unexpected things fall in my path…you know…things fall apart.

But it’s not bad … in fact, things are rather good, I think. I did get some poetry posts in for October. I am writing for NaNoWriMo, albeit slowly. I’m just having a very hard time finding my groove right now, in all respects. It will come. I will get there.

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In the meantime, I am just enjoying autumn (well except for this last week of ridiculously hot and muggy temps…ugh), continuing to find my way, and keeping my eyes focused on the path ahead. And even though the sun does not always shine through the trees, there is much for which I am thankful…

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Continue reading “TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace”

TToT – My People

There’s a lot going on around here right now.

The in-real world is pretty stressful and demanding right now and I’d be lying if I said I’m handling with anything close to finesse. I’m not. I’m exhausted. I’m not sleeping. My eczema is springing up like crazy. I’m getting pimples – and that’s ridiculous. I didn’t even have them in puberty. Why now for crying out loud? I’m cranky and nervous and I’m driving my family insane. Even the Rotten Cats are kind of staying away…

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So, yeah. Finding the thankful this week was not at the top of my Things-I-Can’t-Wait-to-Do list this week. In fact, Christina mentioned on Facebook that she was kind of wondering how to get the TToT done when you’re really not feeling it. At that moment, I thought my list was going to be one of Clark’s hypo-gratitude type posts. I think most of us have been there at least once. Right?

Well I’m kind of there again.

But at some point on Saturday morning it occurred to me that even though I’m really having a tough time seeing what’s going well right now, there is a lot of good in my life. It comes in the form of the people I have around me.

For example… Continue reading “TToT – My People”

TToT – The Interim

Unbelievably, here we are at the end of summer.

School begins on Monday for Kidzilla, so this is our last weekend of summer freedom. But I still can’t pull my brain away from the thought that summer lasts until Labor Day and this whole back-to-school before Labor Day thing is nonsense.

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So for the next week, we’ll be sort of hovering in the interim between back-to-school routine and what should be the final days of summer. Of course, it’s all moot since summer doesn’t end by the calendar until late September. I guess the answer to the question of when summer ends is dependent upon the person you ask. 

But whatever.

While I’m a bit sad to see summer end, I’m also glad we’ll be getting back to a more structured routine with the start of school. I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of each season, but seasons must and do change. I’m ready, I think.

Regardless of what the school calendar says, it’s still the weekend and that means it’s time to stop for a few moments and be thankful for the good in life… Continue reading “TToT – The Interim”