30 Days of Thankfulness — Part 2

Hi and Happy last day of November.  I am about to run out of month and hadn’t finished my thankfulness listing yet.  OOPS!!!  So, here are my items for Days 16 to 30.

I have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed beyond words and so thankful for all of my friends and family, as well as the experiences I have had, and the items that are near and dear to me.

Most of these categories have more than one answer that I could have included.  These are the ones that first came to mind and ones that I wanted to share.

  • Day 16 – Recipe — Years ago, my mom gave me a recipe for pumpkin bread. It is so good and one of my favorite treats of the fall. In fact, I like a slice of warm bread, with a cold glass of milk, and a slice or two of sharp cheddar cheese. YUM!
  • Day 17 – Store – For food, it is Trader Joe’s but I don’t make it there very often. They have such a great variety and several specialty items as well. My favorite clothing store is Goodwill since I am frugal and love a great bargain. Some trips lead to great finds and others don’t, but I do like to go and see what is there.
  • Day 18 — Quote – One favorite quote was from my grandpa’s stories: “I still wonder where rainbows come from.” This quote always makes me happy and brings up so many memories. As I have gotten older, I have come to believe that it was Grandpa’s way of encouraging us to make the most out of our lives, to discover new things, to always keep learning and striving, and to live our lives to the fullest.
  • Day 19 — Clothing — I have been stumped on this one. In the winter I love my fuzzy socks, warm sweaters, and long-sleeved shirts. I am usually pretty casual and enjoy buying items at thrift shops.
  • Day 20 – Keepsake – Before my grandfather passed away, he gave me his oil painting of his dog Schatzi, a miniature schnauzer. She was such a sweetie and he knew how much I loved her. It was such an honor to receive that from him. Each time I look at it, I think of him and this scruffy dog.
  • Day 21 — Disappointment / Fear – I really wanted to see our friend Malachi grow up and one day go off to college with Ian. But that was not to be since the Lord had something else in mind. Malachi touched so many people in his young life. And, he taught many of us about faith, love, and friendship. We are blessed for having known him. And we are blessed to have learned about loving fully and completely and for making the most of each day.
  • Day 22 — Book — I have a Mom’s Bible that I was given during my time at MOPS.  It is very special and has great quotes for mothers and things that are so special for children. This book is one of my favorites along with our family history book and the collection of my Grandpa’s columns about his family and being a parent.
  • Day 23 — Feeling — I love to see the world through Ian’s eyes. I love watching him learn new ideas, items and concepts. I love listening to what he thinks and his view on the world around us. And, I love seeing him happy. And, my hubby as well. These two are my world, that’s for sure.
  • Day 24 — Photo — I have a photo from 1930 of my grandparents on their honeymoon.They are sitting on a bench in a coastal town and are drinking out of straws from the same ice cream treat. Grandma is holding a cane and they are in almost matching outfits.Grandpa’s curly hair and glasses are shown. I love this view into their young love and relationship that led to 4 children, in-laws, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
  • Day 25 — Luxury — I love hot showers and hot baths. I love having a toilet that flushes, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, an in-home washing machine and dryer, a dishwasher, oven, stove, microwave, and refrigerator. I often taken these items for granted and realize that I shouldn’t. I know that we are spoiled and very blessed to have all of these appliances.
  • Day 26 — Charity — I am a member of the Lions Club and love their motto, We Serve. Lions do so much for the blind and vision impaired as well as those with Diabetes and other health issues. It is so rewarding to be able to help others with vision, what I think is one of the greatest gifts.
  • Day 27 — Song — I have hundreds of songs that I love, love to sing, love to dance to, and that mean so much to me. One of my all-time favorites though is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I love to sing it and have on several occasions. With a full orchestra and a choir lifting their voices, it is absolutely lovely and moving.
  • Day 28 — Gift — The gift of love is so very important to me and more important than any material possession. The love of my hubby, my son, my family, my friends, and my savior all mean the world to me. Also cherished are the gifts of forgiveness, trust, happiness, and respect.
  • Day 29 – Something at home — A few years ago, my sister gave me a necklace that had photos on it. One side was our family beach house with a lovely rainbow, and on the other side was a picture of our grandparents. I was touched and amazed. I wore it each day for a while and then decided to keep it at home so I wouldn’t lose it. I still cherish it and wear it on occasion.
  • Day 30 — What are you MOST thankful for?  — I am most thankful to live in a country where I have freedoms, and can think, believe, love, and practice the way I think is right, and that my family also thinks is right. I like being able to disagree with those in authority without harmful ramifications. I am thankful to have such a variety of friends and family members who have enriched my life. And, I am thankful for continuing to learn, change, and grow.

What are you thankful for?  I am sure there are plenty of items.

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My Thanksgiving Prayer

Over the last few years, I have posted my grandfather’s thanksgiving prayer.  It is one that touches me deeply and always makes me teary-eyed. He spoke so well about his family and many stages of parenthood.  It reminds me of the love that I was privileged enough to know growing up.

This year, on the day after thanksgiving, I wanted to share my own prayer. It isn’t as eloquent as Grandpa’s words but I hope it will be as meaningful.  As our pastor reminded us at the Thanksgiving service, it is important to be thankful for our blessings. The link to Grandpa’s prayer is https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/thanksgiving-prayer/

Our Father God we thank thee:

  • For a family circle of holding hands for mealtime prayer
  • For family and friends both near and far
  • For a boy’s first communion after a fun and informative class
  • For parents and grandparents who have demonstrated love and acceptance and continue to do so
  • For cousins who love to play games together
  • For cousins who braid one another’s hair and talk and giggle as they do so
  • For generations of family who enjoy being together
  • For friendships both new and old
  • For sunsets together as a family
  • For the majesty of the ocean
  • For a buffet of delicious food made by many hands
  • For a lazy morning with messy hair and talking
  • For family traditions and memories
  • For birthday celebrations where the birthday boy or girl is made to feel truly special
  • For my cousins who are all very different and very special
  • For my siblings and in-laws who I love to spend time with and laugh with
  • For an inside joke with a loved one
  • For the joy of successfully completing a division problem
  • For the love of reading and books
  • For the love of learning and exploring new things
  • For family and friends who comfort during the hard times
  • For family and friends who also enjoy the fun and silly times
  • For laughter and joy
  • For hugs before bed
  • And our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace, kindness, love, acceptance, and forgiveness..  Amen

30 Days of Thankfulness – Part 1

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

I don’t know about you but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the gathering of family and friends, the spread of food that everyone helps to prepare, and the time to give thanks and share what we are thankful for.  The fact that the day isn’t just about presents makes it all the more special to me.

My family has certain traditions that I love and always look forward to — Mom’s special recipe to cook the turkey, Dad’s great carving skills, my sister’s sweet potatoes, my aunt’s rolls and cranberry, my cousin’s pies, my brother-in-law’s mashed potatoes, my sister-in-law’s casseroles, and our green beans.

This week, I look forward to another gathering of those who can be there.  Today, I wanted to write about the items that I have been thankful for this month.  In previous Novembers, I have written each day about items I am thankful for.  This month I am way behind and haven’t written about them yet.

Here are the first 15 items on a list that I saw on Facebook.  It is a variety of categories of things and people who I am thankful for on a 30 Days of Thankfulness list.  I will post the more items tomorrow and then the rest of the month.

  1. Person — One of my many loved ones who I am thankful for is my husband Kirk.  To be on this journey in life with him and our son is so very special. He is my friend, my love, and so much more.
  2. Animal — I loved my grandparent’s dog Schatzi so very much and have an oil paining of her at our house. Now, I love my parents’ dog Riley. She is such a love and quite a character. She is really good is with kids. And, it’s a hoot watching her clean a plate.
  3. Cozy Place — I am thankful for our living room couch.  I love to curl up there to read a good book, to sit and talk with Ian and/or Kirk, to watch television, to eat a snack, and to fall asleep after a long day.  I often like to sit under a blanket and relax there.
  4. Favorite snack — At this time of year, I very much enjoy and am thankful for sharp cheddar cheese, pumpkin bread, and a cold glass of milk.  I enjoy the contrast of flavors and it feels like fall to me.  Yummy!
  5. Place — I am so thankful for our family beach house in San Diego.  This small house has been the place of so much family love and fun.  We have had multiple generations come and go, have had sleep-overs, family sing-alongs, friends visiting day and night, and so much more.  The place is tiny, usually crammed, but is one of my favorite places in the world.
  6. Pair of Shoes — I have a pair of brown flip-flops that I bought years ago at a shop at the beach.  They are still comfortable and I regularly wear them.  They are raised up a bit so they give support.  I liked them so much that I bought a second pair.
  7. Scent — This is more difficult since there are so many to choose from and to be thankful for.  In the morning, I love the smell of coffee as it is brewing.  I love the smell of Ian after he has gotten out of the shower and he is giving me a hug.  I love the smell of Kirk’s cologne.  And, I love the smell of the ocean — the salt water, the wind, and the waves.
  8. Restaurant — One of my favorite places to eat is a true dive and serves the best fish tacos.  It is at the beach and is within walking distance from the beach house.  They also make delicious burritos, cheese quesadillas, and refried beans.  I look forward to my next beach trip where I can walk there and get some food.
  9. Blog / Website — I am thankful for Facebook and the ability to keep in touch with friends and family who live so far away.  I am also thankful for this blog as it gives me an outlet to write and share my thoughts.  I also like blogs that several of my friends write.  Those are fun to read.
  10. Time of Day — Each afternoon, I pick up Ian from school.  We usually walk home and have a chance to talk about our day and what is on his mind.  I treasure these moments and am so very thankful for them.  Next year, he will be at another school that we have to drive to.  So, pickup time will be different but still special.
  11. Tradition — There are a few traditions that I am thankful for.  First is our family’s tradition of reversing our ages on birthday cakes.  So this year, instead of turning 50, I will be 5 years old.  A second childhood. Nice!  I don’t remember who started this but it is fun and something that many people ask about. Next, we always opened just one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.
  12. Gadget — I still use a real camera and so enjoy taking pictures with it.  People often look at me funny — especially kids since I don’t have a phone that I am taking pictures with.  I am still old school with this I suppose.
  13. Something Old — When I was a child, my uncle gave me a teddy bear who I named Teddy.  How creative is that?  Not very.  He is white with black trim and is still a favorite of mine.  He is ripped in a few places, slightly dirty, but still gives good cuddles.  I have learned with Ian how real our stuffed friends are.
  14. Something New — So much of what I buy is from a consignment shop, that finding new items is a bit of a stretch.  My latest purchase was a new pair of jeans. They are comfortable and easy to clean.  I also like a dress shirt that we bought for Ian.  He looks very handsome in it.
  15. Experience —  I have so many experiences that I am thankful for and have learned from.  The one that is the most special and treasured is learning I was pregnant, having our son grow inside me, feeling him move around, talking to him, and then meeting him after he was born.  The entire experience and every day since has been an amazing blessing that I will always cherish.

May we always remember to be thankful for our blessings and those in our lives.

Me Too — I was harrassed

Me too. I was sexually harassed when first starting my professional career. Thankfully that was the extent of this issue for me. And, for that I am so very thankful.

I was a new reporter covering county government, the police department, the county courts, ambulance service, and many other things. I was young and in my early 20s. Many of the men who I interacted with were the age of my father or grandfather.

Most of them were fine and I learned a lot from them and am thankful to have developed some friendships. They treated me with respect and professionalism and kept everything on the up and up. However, there was one man who made inappropriate comments, suggestive comments, and always wanted hugs.

Being the naïve woman I was, I thought nothing of it. In fact, I thought to myself, well this is a dirty old man but he is harmless. I laughed it off and noticed that is how he often dealt with many women. Now, looking back, I should have realized that this was not okay and not appropriate.

I have since learned from this. I have realized that “boys being boys” is not okay. I have learned that dirty old men can be harmful. And, I have learned that I control how I am treated and what respect I want to have. At least I like to think I have a say in it.

I just wish I could go back and tell my younger self to be more wary of this type of man. Thankfully nothing physical happened to me and for that I am relieved.

According to RAINN statistics, every 98 seconds someone is the victim of sexual assault. This stat gave me chills and truly disgusted me. That is a lot of assaults each day on women, men, and children.

What are we going to do about it? I say we take self-defense classes and learn to fight back. I say we think about who we are with and where we go. I know that these assaults are not the victim’s fault, but I do want to stay away from those who could cause me harm.

On a national level, I think we really must do something to change our mindset that men can do whatever they want to women. That is just not true. They cannot and should not be grabbing, fondling, or groping any part of a woman’s body without permission. Or a man’s body for that matter.

Also, men and women in places of authority, such as a boss, a pastor, a teacher, a doctor, a judge or attorney, a colleague or a co-worker don’t get a pass on this and should treat all women and men with respect. And yet, they get by with terrible and awful things. I don’t want that to keep happening.

A woman or man should be the one who decides who to touch, when to touch, and how to touch.  Also how and when he or she wants to be touched. A woman’s decision or permission should not be taken away by someone who cannot control himself or herself. A man’s decision shouldn’t be either.

I wonder if these men who think they can do whatever they want would still do so if their mother was watching them or their daughter. Or their grandmother, or the church member who has known them since childhood, or a trusted friend? If not, then they should not do it in the first place.

I now hope that we can come together and change the mindset of our men, young men, and boys as well as women, young women, and girls. I want the attitude of men doing anything they want to stop.

My husband and I are teaching Ian how to respect both men and women — how to treat them, how to act around people he doesn’t know, what to say, what touch is appropriate, and so much more.

Sadly, there are not as many role models as I would like to help us with that. That breaks my heart and concerns me for our country’s future. We have to treat teach other with respect, without threats of any kind, and with honor. This goes for both men and women.

Another thing that concerns me about all of this is that victims are often not believed. I know in some cases people are up to something when this happens. But often, they aren’t.

Often, they were raped, were assaulted, were threatened and are too scared to report it. Or they are ashamed. Or they think no one will believe them and take them seriously. Or they know they will be blamed.

I have a friend who was raped. Hearing about her experience made me so sad and mad and heartbroken. But I was also proud of her. You see, she was able to share what someone did to her, she was able to talk about it and not be ashamed of it. She was able to help others by speaking out.

I wept on and off for days after hearing about this since I have known her since she was a child. It never should have happened to my friend or to anyone else. And, it shouldn’t continue to happen. May we work together so it doesn’t. That is my hope and prayer. Blessings to you and yours.

I Hate Being Sick

There are very few things that I hate but being sick is one of them.  Actually having my son sick is worse and makes me feel helpless.  It is hard to see him miserable and in pain.  Sadly, we both were quite ill over the last five days.

Ian and I had the stomach bug with plenty going on at both ends.  He had it first, was feeling better, and then I started with it.  To say we had a shitty few days is an understatement and not just an expression.  It was a rough few days.  Luckily, my hubby didn’t get sick and I am very glad of that.

Over the weekend, I called the on-call doctor at 2 a.m. and later that day at 10:30 a.m. Since we weren’t well enough to go to see anyone, it was nice to be able to chat with them and be told what to expect — 24 to 48 hours.  We knew the rest.

There were a few times over the weekend that I cried  And, a few others when I  prayed.  I asked for help for Ian to feel better and for myself as well.  All day Monday, I was either in the bathroom, on the bathroom floor or on the bed.  Miserable and I am so thankful it is over. Thankfully we didn’t have the bug at the same time.

After I started feeling better, I thought of those having chemo treatments. This is how they must feel on a regular basis as they are battling cancer.  As miserable as our illness was, it was over in two days.  My heart goes out to the brave men and women with cancer who deal with this for weeks at a time.  And, for those with chronic illnesses.

I am glad that I can semi-joke about it now since I sure couldn’t during the illness itself.  It was miserable and we spent more time in the bathroom than we care to count.  Lots of washing as well — both laundry and parts of the bathroom with bleach, and plenty of Lysol as well as the dishwasher.

My cousin gave us a great order of food to eat once our systems settled down.  I had never heard of it before but was pleasantly surprised that it worked.  Thanks to her.  It is BRAT — bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.  Each item has to be eaten and the stomach back to normal before continuing on.  What a blessing this was.  As were ice chips and popsicles.

It seems that quite a few people at Ian’s school were sick as well — both kids, teachers, and other parents.  So I have a few requests for future illnesses.  Parents, let’s please keep those kids at home when they are sick.  I am begging you.  No one wants illnesses like this.  Trust me.

If they are throwing up, they need to stay home. Period.   A few years ago, I remember walking Ian into school when a girl came in and said she had just thrown up.  EXCUSE ME??!!!  I remember hearing that kids shouldn’t go back to school until 24 hours after they are finished with this. And, she just did.  I was livid.  However, I couldn’t do anything since I didn’t know her or her parents.  I think she told her teacher who took care of it.

Secondly, any fever of 100 or more, they also need to stay home.  I am also concerned at anything above 99.   Also, lots of snot, sneezing, and other issues might be cause for a day at home as well.  So much better to keep them home and able to get better than to spread a bug throughout the school.

I am not sure exactly what our school nurse would request, but I am sure that she would have items to add.  I will have to ask her.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Lots of sleep that helped us get better
  • Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast
  • Hot tea
  • Chicken and rice soup
  • Going back to our routine this morning
  • Popsicles
  • My parents for their help during this bug
  • My hubby for his help and support
  • Lysol and bleach cleaner
  • Our washing machine and dishwasher
  • Hot showers
  • Being well again

Thoughts on Terror, Peace, and Love

Whether it is the action of a gunman shooting into a crowd of concert goers or a man driving a truck into pedestrians, it is terror. It is terrifying. It is deadly. It makes me want to cry.  And, I want it to stop.

Terror comes in all shapes and forms. There are homegrown terrorists and those from other countries. People of all backgrounds have killed or harmed many people. Whether it is for religious reasons, being fired from a job, a mental illness, or any other reason, it is terror and has consequences for all involved.

Terror in any form leads to bloodshed, lost life, and people who will never be the same again. As a result of violence, people are severely injured, others have to live with survivor’s guilt, and we mourn our loved ones who have been lost. We often have a hard time moving forward.

A gunman firing into people gathered for a concert is just as horrific as cars being driven into crowds of people, or shots being fired at baseball games, or buildings being blown up, or planes flying into buildings, or people in schools, nightclubs, movie theaters, or concert halls being the targets of violence, or home invasions where the robbers kill someone.

So what do we do about it? How can we change things? How can we come together as a country to take care of the most vulnerable of us and protect our way of life? I am not sure but do know that something must be done. I feel for my son and his generation and what they are inheriting in this world, and frankly, it scares and saddens me.

As a society, we have become so divisive, so mean to each other, so intolerant, so hateful, we often lie without thinking, and jump to conclusions without all of the facts. When we act like that and cannot find a way to even listen to each other, how can we expect our children to do any better? We have turned into a world of terrible examples for our children.

Also, many adults don’t seem to care about the importance and sanctity of life. We call ourselves a certain religion but then don’t practice love, peace, forgiveness, graciousness, kindness, or truthfulness. We seem so lost as a society and I am saddened and troubled.  And I want to sit down and weep.

What happened to practicing the golden rule of treating others how we want to be treated? What happened to spreading kindness and love, instead of meanness and hate? What happened to knowing you can disagree with someone without them being your enemy? What happened to our common decency, respect for others, and civility?

What happened to teaching our children the difference between real and imaginary? That playing a game is not the same as a real weapon? The fact is that guns in the wrong hands do kill and/or hurt people. That bullet will strike a person who could die, have life-altering injures, such as paralysis, blindness or broken bones.

Cars hitting people or planes flying into a building are just as deadly and deliberate in the intention to cause harm. I know a little something about being hit by a car and let me tell you it gives me chills each and every time I hear about it.

I was run over in a parking lot with a car that was out of control. It was an accident and the car was going very slowly and three of us were injured. We all lived but things could have been so much worse. I am thankful every day that they weren’t.

I don’t mean to sound so negative or pessimistic, but these are things I am troubled about. I want Ian to grow up in a world where he can trust adults and believe truths. I want him to go out and do things without being scared or fearful of something happening to him. I want him to feel safe at night and know that he will be okay.

As his parent, I will do all that I can to keep him safe, comfortable, loved and listened to. My husband and I work together to ensure a good life for Ian, with lots of love, rules, discipline as needed, and structure.  And, a lot of fun along the way.

I just hope that other adults both in our community and on the national level can help us do the same. It does take a village to raise a child and I want our village to be better, to be more loving and more caring. I want us to help one another and work for the betterment of each other, not just ourselves. I want us to remember that our children need us to be examples of how to act and how to treat others.