Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

Hurry   Leave a comment

What’s the hurry?
I’m referring of course to the ever more noticeable early rush of Christmas decorations, music and advertising. I don’t know if it’s just more obvious this year because Thanksgiving was so early, or if it is truly even more ludicrous than usual.  I was subjected to “Feliz navidad” while shopping for the turkey. That’s just obnoxious.
There is no reason to Light Up Your Town on November the 5th, or start calling it “the holiday season” the minute the kids stop choking down all their Halloween candy.
It’s not the holiday season.  It’s November.  It’s being grateful for what you received, not looking forward to grabbing whatever you can get.
I know what you are thinking.
You’re thinking I’m a grumpy curmudgeon who can’t keep up with the times, who doesn’t like change and who doesn’t want to have fun.  If you think that, you’d be right–except for the bit about not having fun.  I really do love to have fun.  And I’m writing this because I think people are missing out.
Don’t miss the glories of November, the colors with the blue sky, and the rainy gloomy days when the leaves get torn down.  It’s orange, gold, red, russet and brown.  It’s harvest home.
Don’t miss the rest and the food of Thanksgiving, and the fun of being together with other people to give thanks.
Don’t miss Advent.  Don’t miss the anticipation of the feast of Christmas that is to come.  Don’t miss walking through the sorrow and darkness that is this life, knowing that the surprise that overturns it all is still to come.
Don’t miss the opportunity to sit, quietly, in your home, before the lit tree, and ponder the mystery and glory of this season, the Incarnation.
You don’t have to try to cram all the parties in before the 24th of December.
There is still time.  From December 25th to January 6th, you can lift your glasses highest, sing the loudest, and leave the Christmas tree up, and the lights on.  When the year is at its darkest, that’s when we need the lights the most.
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Posted November 30, 2017 by swanatbagend in gratitude, holidays

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Our New Math   1 comment

Monthly Master’s Conservatory tuition for two= $90

Gas money for a season of driving to practice and tech week(s) =not sure but maybe a couple hundred

Costume rental= $75

Odds and ends from Amazon to add to costumes= $30

Time compiling costume components= 10 hours

Time spent ironing costume components= 1 hour

Time kids spent at rehearsal between May 15 and May 29=
50 hours

Time mom and kids spent in the car or carpooling last two weeks= 12 hours

Free time for kids during two tech weeks= a few hours each morning

Free time for mom during two tech weeks= free time?

Last minute costume changes and additional details= at least five

Tech week meltdowns= one

Seeing my husband not recognize his own son for a few seconds after he appeared on stage. Make-up and costume can do wonders= magical.

Watching the story of Beauty and the Beast brought to life= magical. Don’t need any CG here, people.

Seeing my 13-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter waltzing with each other in “Human Again”= priceless

Tech week meltdown defused by older sister with experience, advice and hugs= priceless

Over months of practice, observing my daughter make peace with the role she was given, make it her own, and make it amazing= priceless

Seeing my gentle, peaceful daughter doing all her own stunts as the enchantress, a silly girl and the wolf who leaps on Belle= priceless

Hearing my 13-year-old son on the autism spectrum “put on” the bad guy and dance and sing his very own musical lines as Monsieur D’Arque= totally and completely priceless

Ordinary Day   Leave a comment

On any given normal day, I don’t think much about how normal it is.  I don’t think about the responsibilities I normally have or the tasks I complete, maybe not even about the people I know I can expect to see.

But after I get back from vacation?  or recover from a really bad cold?  or pass through a crisis of some sort?

Then, normal starts to look pretty good.  It starts to look like something downright amazing.

If I live a day of my life, and there’s no aches and pains in it, no illness, no coughing, itching, gagging or fever, it is a pleasant thing.

A day without hassles. One without arguments.  One without overdue bills, fender benders, or speeding tickets.  One without hospital stays, illness, rehabilitation, therapy…a day without death, tears, anguish, or heartbreak.

an ordinary day.

If I have ordinary, it is a gift.

Posted March 9, 2017 by swanatbagend in gratitude

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Chronic   Leave a comment

Do you have anything in your life like this?

If you’re like me, I’m sure you do.  No matter what it may be, it is something that does not diminish with time.  It’s something that does not seem to have a packaged, straightforward treatment.  It does not go to the doctor, come home with medication for pain and an antibiotic, then three days later go back to school/work.

It might be a disease.  It might be a habit you have wrestled with for years.  It may be a person you’re connected to who is difficult but whom you can’t abandon.  It might be money worries.  It might be the mess in your garage, or the yard work that never really gets done, or the pile of dirty laundry that completely covers your cracked cement basement floor.

Whatever it is, it’s chronic.  It’s not fixable today or this week.

You know what I mean?

Reflecting on my own life at the beginning of a new year, and wondering what will become of the chronic situations in my life during the course of the months to come, something else came to mind.

There’s all of this stuff, but, whatever else may be chronic, thank God that He is chronically good.

Posted January 7, 2017 by swanatbagend in gratitude, reality

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Road Trip to Michigan Again   Leave a comment

I guess I’ve found a good way to get some R and R.  I went back to Michigan again this weekend and stayed with my mother in law and my brother and his family.  I did this last fall and found it to be very refreshing.   I had missed seeing my nephews at New Year’s because of illness and I really wanted to find another time to get back.  I’m glad I did.  I got home this evening feeling very happy.  I like happy.

I found a way to connect with my brother in the midst of his very busy life as a band director.  I found time to catch up with my sister-in-law.  I got to interact at length with my five-year-old nephew, and hold the baby over and over again.

I can’t get enough of the five-year-old’s conversation and the baby’s sweet heaviness.  There’s nothing quite like a huge, fuzzy, sweet-smelling, hard baby head right against your cheek.

I also had a great time thrifting with my mother in law, tooling around town running errands together, and eating in the lovely private dining room at her retirement community.  We looked through many wonderful family pictures and heard the stories that went with them, as we tried to sort them out.

But Sunday morning was the best.  Saturday night I arrived after dinner at my brother’s, and we took a nighttime stroll to the local ice cream place.  At the mention of their church’s name a hymn came to mind, and I started singing the chorus, “We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion, we’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.”

Sunday morning, after the sermon, we sang that hymn.

That’s a Lo! moment (Thank you Charles Fort for giving a name to those things).  So I sing “Then let your songs abound and every tear be dry; we’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground, to fairer worlds on high,” with my brother and sister.  I walk forward to take communion with a nice plump baby on my hip.  I travel through the worship and follow the Cross back out.

We are marching in the light of God, we are dancing in the light of God.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

 

Posted February 24, 2016 by swanatbagend in gratitude

Gift Giving   Leave a comment

I just figured something out.

Gift giving is for the giver.

Not the recipient.

Gift giving is for the joy that it brings to the heart of the giver.

–and this is why the person receiving the gift needs to cultivate a heart that receives the gift gladly.  To maximize the joy in the interaction, the giftee can choose to receive gladly–even if the gift given is not something he likes or wants.

I know, I’m in my fifth decade and I’m just now figuring this out?  I did grow up hearing that it’s better to give than receive.  I would agree, and sometimes the hardest part is receiving.  If you really don’t like the item, it’s hard to be gracious.  It is.  Since there’s a context for the exchange of most gifts, it’s hard not to assume that people will give you something you like.

But the thing with a gift is–it’s a gift.  It’s free.  You didn’t ask for it.  You didn’t pay for it.  You didn’t look for it.  You didn’t deserve it.  Yes, sometimes you didn’t even want it.

It’s a gift.

Receive.

Posted February 15, 2016 by swanatbagend in gratitude

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I don’t know how it happened   Leave a comment

But–I. Am. So. Blessed.

At night when he is ready for bed and has been read to by his dad, my going-on-12-year-old son comes into my daughter’s room and tells her goodnight.  They touch noses by way of friendly greeting.

Sure, he only remembers to knock first intermittently but he’s trying–and that he wants to come in and touch base with everyone in the family before he goes to bed is worth celebrating.

I’m usually there with my daughter talking before I say goodnight to her, and so we both get the benefit of his usually cheerful goodnight.

I don’t remember doing this with my brother.

My mother usually tucked me in at that age; I also have many memories of moments spent together at bedtime with my father when I was little.  But I don’t think I have any memories at all of saying good night to my brother.  I guess we were too inclined to get on each other’s nerves throughout the day to have any wish to wrap the day’s annoyance up with a friendly greeting.  I regret that.

So I am grateful for children who do more than tolerate each other most of the time.  Makes it incredibly pleasant to get to the end of the day and go off to sleep in harmony.

 

Posted December 12, 2015 by swanatbagend in gratitude

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