On Gratitude

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I recently dismantled my office to make it more user friendly. It is amazing at some of the things that just get buried due to lack of organization or lack of time. Many old folders with magazine clippings went the way of the recycle bucket–they must not have been that important if they were shoved in a file cabinet instead of being used.

One thing that I did find was a card stock with the following thoughts that I feel is worth sharing…..

I am thankful for…

The teenager who is not doing dishes–but is watching TV, because that means he/she is not on the streets.

The taxes that I pay,because it means I am a US citizen.

The mess to clean up after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.

The clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.

A lawn that needs mowing,windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

The parking spot that I find at the far end of the lot, because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

My huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.

The lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means I can hear.

The pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.

Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I am capable of working hard.

The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means I am resting and able to get up.

Count your blessings and be thankful for them all!  Even if they don’t feel like blessings…

*                           *                             *

I don’t know who the author is but it really hits the spot these days with everything going on.

May your Thanksgiving (US) next week be full of “Blessings” both big and small!~~Janice

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Can it be that simple?

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Why do we always make the simplest things complicated?  I know “things are never as simple as they seem” but really?

My Dad was such a great example of this saying. Maybe its because he has passed, or maybe its because I was much younger but I remember that  he really was a hard worker. I remember that he always drove a bus; first a school bus then a state one (similar to a Shortline one) but he was always working. I really don’t remember him having vacations but he must have at some point. If he was not at work then he was working at home; gardening, lawn, building stuff, painting, cutting/stacking wood. He just worked…and I really think he enjoyed it because he was always laughing and joking around with the people on his bus (I got to tag along a couple of times) and I think the working at home was something he just relaxed doing.

Once my Mom and I were talking about jobs and she commented that my if my Dad lost a job he didn’t stop looking until he had another…and nothing was ‘out of bounds’–he even worked in a funeral home to help make ends meet.

And as for being nice to people–my Dad would talk to anyone–and I do mean anyone! People at the grocery store, people at the doctors, on his bus–if there was a story to tell or learn he was always willing to hear it. A bartender without the bar, so to speak. My Dad was always a joker so you knew you were bound to have a good time around him.

No, he was not perfect but he was a good role model in most respects.  I’ve learned more about who he was in the last two years  since he passed (he passed 11/10/10) than he shared with me growing up.  He really was a private guy but you knew what mattered to him. Family. Working hard. Being nice to people.

I hope I’ve presented the same ideas to my children:

*Always work hard, whether it is at school, at a job or at home–do the best you are capable of.

* Be nice to people-even if they are not nice in return…because you are!

Gee, maybe it really is as simple as that.

On Families and Holidays

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Its that strange time of the year when you need to start planning months in advance: what are you doing and where are you going for the Holidays? For us its a bit strange because its not about trying to decide between his family and mine for the two Holidays but between which brother’s house to go to for Christmas–but that is another story.

We’ve decided we like just staying home for Thanksgiving; we get to hang out together, just the 4 of us and either watch movies, listen to Carols and usually just stay in “pjs” all day. There is no rushing around or packing up to go somewhere. We reflect on the good things of the past year, maybe reflect on things we need to improve on. Its just a quiet time.

Food usually is a big focus at Holidays but my older daughter has been a vegetarian for almost a year now, actually last Thanksgiving was the turning point for her, so we will focus on side dishes for her rather than the “Tofurky roast” she had last year (her request). My husband, younger daughter and I will enjoy a Plainville Farm turkey. (If you have the option go for the Plainville one–it tastes like turkey is supposed to taste and is very much worth paying extra for!)Food is part of the day but not the whole focus. We eat reasonably but well; each dish is thought out and made for enjoyment rather than quantity.

Friday we usually just stay home and relax but Saturday……. we head off to our local tree farm to “tag” our tree so it is saved for us to cut in a couple of weeks time.

I just hope we don’t make the same mistake as last year!

Really, the tree didn’t look that big in the field!#being at home with myself#christmas treeWell as it turns out, the tree stood about 13.5 feet tall and 6 feet wide–it was huge! Thankfully we have a cathedral ceiling and a “Great room” so it did fit without having to trim it down. There was one major issue though–my husband needed to stand on one of our beams to put the star in place!

#being at home with myself#christmas tree

We’re funny about Christmas; its not really about getting the gifts so much as the general Spirit of what it means. We love to listen to music, watch our favorite movies and bake. We love to decorate the house with decorations from past Christmases as well as finding a unique one or two each year.  We have learned that we can not do it all and must prioritize what can reasonably be done without making it a stressful situation rather than one of Joy and Peace. Sometimes the cards get sent out to everyone, sometimes they only get sent out to family.

We’ve really been trying to get away from all the commercial aspect of the Holiday and focus more on the feelings of family and togetherness.  We do still get gifts but as my daughters have gotten older its more about the thought behind the gift rather than the number of things under the tree. I still get their “wish lists” but now its on an internet sight instead of hand written and crossed off and adjusted a bunch of times.  I see more thought put into their choices for each other and many of the ‘requests’ are for long term interests (like books) rather than video games.  Last year I made rag quilts and I cannot express the wonderful feeling I got in return when my mom told me how much she loved it! She understood what it truly meant to have something made just for her; as I was making it I was thinking about her and how much I missed her and not what I could easily pick up and send.

Do we have the “perfect Holiday”? No, far from it. There are still family squabbles and misunderstandings. Sometimes we still long for a different gift or less to do. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have such a big tree to “un-decorate”. Would I want to “Skip Christmas” (like in “Christmas with the Kranks”)?  No, not even remotely. It is something that joins us together as a family and hopefully will for many years, and generations, to come.

What do Holidays mean to you? Traditions, obligations, family? What would you do differently given the choice and options?

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