Hearth blazing pumpkin pies fresh from oven two turkeys roasting cutting bread for stuffing such a harvest of blessings comfort in this labor of love tablescape of crystal and china my thoughts drift to holidays long ago my spirits lifted by sweet memories grateful for my family and friends who have graced my life through the years with hands and hearts intertwined we embrace the future by the grace of God and share this meal toasting health hope and love
Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday surrounded by family and friends. Just a quick poem and blog before I immerse myself in Christmas decorating. My grandkids are coming on November 30, and I know they’ll love to see the house all decked out!
What has meant so much to me in the past year? My family – my husband Dan, my children Vince and Katie, my grandchildren Posie and Hatcher, my mother, my siblings, my in-laws, my nieces & nephews, my aunts & uncles, my cousins and anyone else I left out! I’m grateful for my friends – my best friends, my dear friends, my neighbors, my coworkers & former coworkers, my virtual friends, and all the kindred spirits I have come to know over the years. You have all shaped my life in some way, shape or form. I am so thankful to have all of you in my life!
I wish you all good tidings and many blessings as we come into this Christmas season. May you know an inner joy and spiritual warmth that fills your heart with love and gratitude! Enjoy the special moments, and remember the reason for the season at those times of insanity during your holiday preparations (it happens to us all)! Remember to take a little time for yourself to rest and re-energize. Thank you again for being here and for being part of my life! I love you all.
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 21.14 Topic: Thank You Hard Bonus: Give thanks about something or someone that has meant so much to you this past year (family & friends) Easy Bonus: Mention your favorite type of pie (pumpkin)
Memories of Christmas past always come to mind as I am decorating for the Christmas holidays. This year, for the first time in 8 years, I decided to put up some of my Dickens villages. It always makes me think of my father, for some reason. He delighted in seeing the lighted houses when he visited our Florida home shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. We had him around until February 2003, and then our whole world changed.
Not having Dad around, especially at the holidays, makes me a little melancholy at times. He is my own personal Christmas spirit that comforts me when I am feeling sad or unsettled. I know he’s watching down on everyone in our family, with a huge smile. I believe he’s proud of all of us, to see how our families have grown. I only wish my grandchildren could have met him. I miss you and love you, Dad.
I hope all of you had a wonderful 2021 and holiday season, despite all the turmoil, COVID, and heartbreak we have seen in this world. I wish you all peace, health and joy in 2022!
Mood: Pensive Inspiration: “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Ric Mills
This Kyrielle Sonnet was written for the Instagram group @hergrowthcollective. The topic for 12/9/21 is “Presence.” Presence is the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing. It can be a person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen.
For me, the reciprocal presence of loving, genuine people in my life is one of the greatest gifts. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded throughout my life with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who really do care. I would never be where I am today without them, and I can only hope that I have also touched them. I am extremely grateful that I have maintained rich relationships with them over the years.
These meaningful relationships go both ways. To some degree, I am present in their lives, and they are present in mine. It does not have to be a physical presence, but rather in my heart and my mind. My adult children and my grandchildren live in Florida, and I try my best to be as present in their lives as possible through texts, messages and FaceTime when I am not visiting. The greatest thrill is being able to see them in person once again. It is so healing to the heart and soul.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but try to choose one word to abide by or strive for during the year. In 2021, it was “calm.” Sometimes I did not do very well with that word, due to anxiety and stress. There were a lot of life changes and travel, so it was a great focus word for this past year. Perhaps “presence” will be my word for 2022, as I strive to be more present in my loved ones’ lives, savor each moment, and learn to let go of worrying about the past and future. What will your word for 2022 be?
Mood: Grateful Inspiration: “No Surprises” by Radiohead
Soft cuddles blazing fire tender kisses watching snowflakes fall by glow of Christmas tree scent of pines and cranberries taste of mulled wine upon my tongue old Christmas carols fill the night air bringing back memories from my childhood past, present and future meld in my soul each moment and adventure savored grandbabies, travel, wine and love my heart swells with gratitude for the life we have made forever as one tears sting my eyes and turn to sparks of joy
This Double Etheree format poem was written for the Instagram group @hergrowthcollective. The topic for this week is “What Brings Joy.” I believe that we can choose to experience joy every day, if we are willing to make the effort. Simply gazing at the sun beaming and reflecting off frozen pond waters is a joyous sight to behold. Even if there are clouds in the sky, the gentle pitter patter of rain on the roof brings comfort while nourishing the trees and grass outside.
Christmas and holiday seasons can bring out the best of all joys, though sometimes it can bring on sadness or melancholy. Remember this – the choice is yours. Meditate, think about all the blessings that you do have, and give thanks. Open your eyes and marvel at the simple beauty of the twinkling Christmas tree lights, or the candles on your menorah! No matter what life challenges you are facing at this time (and believe me, there can be MANY), make a commitment to yourself to seek out joy each day.
And here’s the really cool thing – YOU CAN BE THE SPARK OF JOY! Spread good cheer, give genuine thanks to the cashier at the grocery store, notice their name tag and SAY their name, wish them a happy holidays! Outside the store, put a few coins or bills in the Salvation Army kettle and give the ringer a big smile! You will feel your own heart swelling with joy…. it is contagious.
I’m not trying to be saccharine sweet, but really dig down into your heart and realize that despite all of your human wants and needs…. there is so much joy to behold in this world. Find it in your own life, and be that spark of joy. I wish you all a most beautiful and blessed holiday season!
Mood: Joyful Inspiration: Max Richter, “Dream 13 (minus even)”
In the wilderness, the word itself is beautiful music from summer cricket songs to moth’s wing flicks, cool nights bedecked with planets and radiant stars far and away from the cacophony of rumbling cars.
In the wilderness, the rolling river bends and flows, trickling down to all the places that silence goes. Rhythmic lapping, gentle beneath a splintered dock, crashing, pounding breakers on the craggy rocks.
In the wilderness, the poison ivy and honeysuckle creep where young rabbits romp and the black bears sleep. The full moon rises, proud in its golden glorious glow, waiting for insolent clouds to crown with gauzy halo.
In the wilderness, my heart is glad and fills with peace, my head cradled by the grass, soft as lamb’s fleece. From the dew-kissed wildflowers to the blue skies fair, there is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.
This poem is posted for the Instagram group @hergrowthcollective. The topic for 11/18/2021 was “beauty.” Since I had just written a poem on the beauty of nature last week, I decided to look back into my archives for another poem written on beauty. This is a repost of a poem I wrote back in 2015 that incorporated my two favorite Edward Abbey quotes:
“Wilderness, the word itself is beautiful music.” “There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.”
Of course, there is a recurrent theme here for me, the beauty of nature. If you know me, that’s no surprise. Indeed, but there is beauty everywhere IF we choose to take the time to experience it. I believe that beauty invokes more than just sight – rather, it invokes all of the senses. Therefore, experiencing the beauty of something can be felt on an emotional level if you will allow it. It is both external and internal, but you must open your heart and soul to feel it.
I see beauty in my grandchildren’s eyes, I hear beauty in the chords of a piano concerto, I taste beauty in a freshly cut orange, I smell beauty in the Blue Spruce pine needles, I feel beauty in the warm ocean breeze upon my skin. Mere memories of these beautiful things, or experiencing it in the now will transport you to a place of zen and calm the unrest in your mind. It can be a meditative and transcendent experience.
Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to reflect upon the beauty in your life. Close your eyes, still your mind and focus on your breathing. Then think of the beauty you have experienced, breathe and be grateful.
Mood: Introspective Inspiration: “Tomorrow’s Song” – Ólafur Arnalds Ólafur Arnalds
We had a very close call one day last week while driving to Publix in Panama City, Florida. As we sat first in line at a stoplight, a speeding SUV blatantly hit the gas and ran through a red light. If it were not for my son-in-law’s intuitive split-second hesitation as the light turned green, that SUV would have certainly slammed us broadside and caused a horrendous accident. The thought of that completely shook me afterward, especially since Posie was in the backseat with my husband.
Certain things stick in your mind as you count and re-count happenings and blessings of the day. Now I will probably always think of this moment when Tangerine plays. But I am grateful that God was watching over us and for some reason, caused Brenton to hesitate at the light. Thank you…. this was one of those reminders that life is truly precious. Please people, be careful and diligent when driving out there. Slow down, and for God’s sake, do not run red lights!!!!!!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Thanksgiving is always a time of reflection and giving thanks for those many blessings in my life. It was definitely a very different and lonely Thanksgiving. This was the very first time in 32 years of marriage with Dan that we spent it completely alone. I’m usually the one who cooks the big dinner, it’s something I’ve always loved doing! Now that I live in Virginia, I invite all my family members to share. Because of COVID-19, this year everyone decided to play it safe and celebrate in their own households. Even my Mom didn’t come, which made me sad, as I hate that she was alone. I hope our future Thanksgivings can be spent together with family and friends.
This week, I am choosing to write a blog on gratitude for several reasons. First, it is the topic of the week for my writing group Blogophilia, but most importantly, to recognize that I have many reasons to be grateful for in my life. Yes – even in one of the most horribly challenging and frustrating years ever! So without further adieu, here is my Top Ten Gratitude List for 2020:
1. My husband – Dan is number one on my list for obvious reasons! He’s the yin to my yang, patient, generous, kind, loving and understanding. (I could go on.) He puts up with my quirks and anxieties, showers me with love and attention. He makes me feel like a queen, is a good father to our kids, and we always have a wonderful time together in our adventures. You give meaning to Plato’s quote: “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” I’m incredibly grateful to have him as my love and life partner.
2. My children – Vince and Katie, you are the lights of my life! I cannot express how deep my unconditional love is for you both. It has been an honor and a blessing to be your mother. You have brought me the greatest joys and wonderful memories. I have loved seeing you grow through the years, and I am so proud that you have both blossomed into beautiful, loving adults (and parents). Katie, thank you for my sweet granddaughter, adorable sweet Posie Mae who arrived in January!!! This was the absolute BEST THING EVER in 2020, and we found out today the wonderful news that baby # 2 is A BOY!!! WOO HOO!!! He is who is due in June 2021!! Vince, I am happily looking forward to your wedding with Natalie next year and future grandbabies!
3. Family – Thank you, Mom, for birthing me and supporting me through all the years with kindness and unconditional love! Dad and you gave me a wonderful life, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I was blessed to be born in a huge family, with 2 sisters and 2 brothers, and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins! My childhood memories are golden, and I hold them close in my heart always.
4. Cats – I’m a crazy cat lady, incredibly grateful for the cats that have owned my heart. First and foremost, my beloved Tommy who died from lymphoma this year…this was the WORST THING about 2020, and it literally broke my heart. Rudy lifted us up during this difficult time, and now we have added playful Bobby Moonlight as his baby brother. They met for the first time yesterday, and it was the smoothest cat introduction ever! They became fast friends, played and chased around the house without even a snarl or hiss! It lifted my heart to hear their galloping up and down the hallway all day long. And last but not least, Jordan who left us two years ago… my pretty princess over the rainbow bridge who started my obsession with cats.
5. Health – I’ve been blessed to have good health, and I hit that scary milestone of 60 this year! It’s not so bad, and I am extremely grateful to have made it this far without any major illnesses such as high blood pressure, and heart disease, which runs in my family. I attribute my good health thus far to a lifetime of dedication to exercise. Well, you could say obsession…. I love running, high impact aerobics, kickboxing, and yoga!
6. Music – I’m grateful for music, as it brings me great pleasure and gets me through the tough times. I always have music on when I’m awake. It makes working a lot less like work, allows me to pour out my emotions, dance when nobody’s watching, and inspires my writing, as well! I like just about all kinds of music (except country – sorry not sorry)… from classical to classic rock to pop to electronic to hip hop. One of my hobbies is music collecting – I have a cache of over 300 vinyl albums, 400 or more CDs and a mp3 library of almost 15,000 songs. I’m a (very) amateur guitar player and took piano lessons as a child. For me, music evokes memories and emotions, and touches my soul. Thank you for always being there, music.
7. Wine – Yes, I know this is one is a real shocker!! Wine, thank you for helping me get through 2020! Seriously though, I have always been a red wine connoisseur. It is good for your heart, you know! I love a good, bold red. I belong to 4 wineries, one in Napa and three locally. We have been fortunate to visit the Napa area twice and hope to return, as it was one of the most beautiful and enjoyable trips ever. One of the things Dan and I enjoy doing is hitting a local winery or two on the weekend, sipping some Cabernet, gazing at the beautiful vineyard views and listening to music. COVID-19 has impacted that experience this year with social distancing and strict protocols, so we cut down on our winery visits this year. I’m hoping 2021 is better.
8. Cheese – Yep. I love cheese! (And it’s a writing prompt.) I love all kinds of cheese, thanks to one of my first jobs – working retail at a Hickory Farms store. I got to sample cheeses from all over the world: Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Gruyere, goats milk cheese, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Parmigiano, Roquefort, Swiss, you name it! My absolute favorites have always been sharp cheddars like New York and Vermont, Colby, and Muenster cheeses. I should probably cut down on it, but it goes so well with my red wine!
9. Nature – I love all animals (well….except rats, most snakes and insects like roaches and spiders). I marvel at the wildlife in Virginia – we have deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, groudhogs, chipmunks and all kinds of birds that visit our yard frequently. I am a lover of trees, sunsets, clouds, stars, changing skies, the 4 seasons, the moon, flowers, and bees (excepts wasps). My love for nature is expressed through my photography, also one of my hobbies.
10. Poetry – I’ve been writing poetry since I was 5 years old. It is my passion, and allows me to express myself in words. If I’m feeling anxious or experiencing emotions such as grief, anger, joy – I can channel it and use it creatively while relieving any negative stress. I love experimenting in poetry formats such as sonnets (my fav), etherees, pantoums, villanelles, and haiku. Even with my busy life and career, I make it a point to write one poem per week. I published my first book of poetry in 2011 called “Shadows of My Father,” a tribute to my Dad after he passed away. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to publish Book #2, if life ever slows down.
So there you have it! There are lot of other things that did not make the list that I’m still extremely grateful for: my home, my job, my car, technology, Virginia, Florida, toilet paper (haha, so 2020). Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, with hopes of a better year in 2021!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 38.13 Topic: Gratitude Hard Bonus (2 points): Incorporate a quote from a Greek philosopher (Plato – “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”) Easy Bonus (1 Point): Include three types of cheeses (either types or names of cheeses will be accepted) – I listed quite a few!
1. Snoopy 2. Bicycle Race 3. Autumn 4. Falling Leaves 5. Windblown 6. Thanksgiving 7. Beagle 8. Change of Seasons 9. Happy Dance 10. Basket full of happy