an alphabet of thanks “Z”


Yes! I did it. This is it. Z

Another tough one but I got it. It’s zone. I like being in the Zone. I’m truly thankful when I find myself the zone. For one thing, it means I’m practicing “flow”, that wonderful sate when time has no meaning. When the hours slip away because you’re doing what you love to do. It has your complete attention. One is truly at peace when they’re in the zone.

The zone is different for each of us. For my friend, it’s sewing. For another, it’s construction. For my daughter it’s playing with her children. For me, it’s being with my family and anything creative, mostly writing and creating art. When I’m blogging, I’m very often in the zone.

So today I’m grateful for the those occasions I find myself lost in time.

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an alphabet of thanks “Y”


google images/yesterdays

google images/yesterdays

Today I’m grateful for Yesterdays. There’s something about the fact that I can’t change a yesterday. I can change my interpretation of yesterday but that’s about it. Not all my yesterdays have been wonderful. Not all my yesterdays have been awful. As the saying goes, “We all have something.”

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is opportunity.They both have a place in our lives. Yesterdays give us opportunity to reflect. They give us opporutinity to plan differently for our tomorrows. Yesterdays, whether painful or wonderful, are a great jumping off place.

The thing about yesterdays is not to let them determine our future except in the sense that we learn from them. Even when our yesteredays are full of regrets, we have our tomorrows to change things.

an alphabet of thanks “X”


porticos

Oh, my gosh. X. I had a hard time last year with this one but not as hard as this year. If I do this next year, I’m in big trouble. My husband suggested I use “x” as in boyfriends, spouses, etc. I wonder if he knows it’s “ex” not just “x”. Anyway, I went down a list of “x” words and I found one..

It’s xystus. It’s a long portico. In Rome it was a covered garden walk. I love porticos. I think it’s great to visit a famous garden and walk under a xystus.  🙂  And when it rains, I’ve been very thankful for them.

That’s all I’ve got.

an alphabet of thanks “W”


google images

google images

(Somehow my alphabet wasn’t turning out on schedule so I’m having to post twice today so I end on the 26th as does the alphabet.  What can I say? It’s the holiday season. )

I’m so grateful for ” Wonder”. particularly the wonder of this Christmas season fast approaching. What is it about Christmas that makes cookies taste sweeter, the sun shine brighter, colors more vibrant, coffee better-tasting, experiences lived deeper, people appreciated more?

But why shouldn’t it be that way? Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Wonder. The wonder of a prophecy come true.

But the biggest wonder for me is the wonder that the God I’ve come to know   continues to love me. The wonder that my experience is not unique,; God wants to love everyone who calls him Father. The wonder that no matter what happens in this world, no matter how evil seems to triumph, God remains in charge in the long run. ( I italicized that because one only has to look around them to feel that God that is not in charge. But that’s another conversation.)

Believe me I know that many don’t share my views because Christmas is a nightmare for you. You’re trying to dig out from financial issues, relationship issues, illness…………..There is no wonder in this season for you, except the wondering  why everything is a mess.  I understand that.  Not everything has always been right in my world either, but that doesn’t nullify the fact that the wonder of the season still amazes me.

Starting December first, I will look to see God show up in wondorous ways. It is my prayer that you, too, will be able to see the wonder of this season.

an alphabet of thanks “V”


google images

google images

(OK. I do know my alphabet. How “U” got published before “T”, I don’t have a clue.)

Anyway………today I’m thankful for all the “voices” in my life. The voices that encourage me. The voices that challenge me. The voices that make me grow up. The voices that soothe me. The voices that calm me down.  The voices that irritate me. The voices that make me mad. I’m grateful for all of them.

But mostly I’m grateful for the “The Voice”.  God’ voice.  I believe I hear Him in all the human voices I hear every day. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that God’s voice is always ethereal, mysterious, always “holy” sounding. But the more I learn to recognize God’s voice, the more I hear Him in the most ordinary people and in the most ordinary circumstances. Yes, sometimes I hear Him in the most magnificent of ways but not usually.

So today I’m grateful for all the voices I hear every day.  I hope I always listen to the most subtle of messages from the most unexpected of people. Those that aren’t like me, that don’t believe like me, that don’t think like me and even those that don’t believe like me.

Especially those that don’t believe like me.

an alphabet of thanks “T”


google images

google images

Tough Times. Double “T”. No, I am not a saint because I say this. I don’t like tough times anymore than the next person. I wouldn’t purposefully choose tough times. And certainly it depends what tough times we’re talking about. I am not referring to terminal illness, death, unemployment etc., But I am referring to those times when life is just tough. Lots is going on in our lives. It usually involves relationships.

When I look back on my life, I know it’s been the tough times that have defined me, that have forced me to grow. I’m not one of those who believe that one can’t learn during the good times. I have. But the learning of the qualities that make me better person certainly has been the result of the struggles, depression (depressionsgift.com) being one of them.

Depression is one of those struggles I certainly wouldn’t knowing choose or willingly take on. Yet, it has been that struggle to remain firmly planted on a rock that has made me a better person. I will admit though, that much like a “recovered ” anything, I sometimes seem less sympathetic. Not because I don’t understand the struggle but because I don’t accept any self-indulgence or self-pity. It simply doesn’t help.

If you’re going through difficult times, I’m certainly not suggesting you should be grateful for it. I don’t mean that at all.  But I’m just saying that for me, it’s how I’ve grown.

an alphabet of thanks “U”


DSCF0081

As we’ve gone through this renovation, I’ve learned that the pieces I still love are the ones that were never mass-produced. They are the ones that I don’t see in anyone else’s home. I’ve got some pieces I’ve had for many years and they still “work” because they are unique.

Like the big copper bowl that sits on the lower shelf of a table. Like the chamber pot I use in a bathroom for my wastebasket. The old sewing machine table that has a mismatched top which has been repainted many times over the years. Like the crocks that sit on each one my steps going upstairs. The unique pieces we’ve collected on our travels. The sand, rocks and driftwood that sit in a bowl in my entryway. Or the birdbath above that is constructed from a discarded birdbath base, a tray from house, and a big rock. It’s so “zen”.

I think I like the unique and unusual because they prompt memories. The usual, the mass-produced don’t do that for me. Sometimes i even forget where they were purchased because they are that forgettable.

The pieces I’ve given away or are going to give away are pieces I’ve bought in department stores where there have been a dozen of them on the shelf. That must have been a period in my life when I thought my home had to look like someone elses’. Thank goodness I got over that.

There’s nothing I like more than to find a great thrift store piece and upcycling  it into something really unique. Almost every thing in my home has had my hand print in some form or other.

Redecorating my home has brought me back to what I love.  It has stirred my creative juices much to my husband’s chagrin. I’ve taken some pieces I’ve put aside and brought them back out. As I look around, I’ve probably eliminated almost everything that I purchased as new. The “old” has become new for me again.

I love the unique. In things, people, situations, art, books, etc. I’m thankful that God has made each of us unique as well.  Sometimes I forget that. I want people to act like me, thank like me, believe like me. But then I remember, if they did  wouldn’t be unique either!

an alphabet of thanks “S”


Scarves.  I’m thankful for scarves. I have at least thirty of them.  Many of them, I’ve knitted or crocheted myself. For a number of years, I made scarves for our local rescue mission.  I’m not bragging but I’m a “speed” knitter. It only takes me a couple of hours and it’s a great way to use up leftover yearn.

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve done a fair amount of traveling because of hubby’s mucho, and I do mean mucho, frequent flyer miles.  I have scarves from all over the world.  Some of them are so big, I’ve used them as table runners. I’ve also bought many, many scarves as presents.

I have to say, I’m glad I like scarves  because it’s the only thing I could afford when we traveled..  It kind of helped me keep my focus and not look at those items I couldn’t afford anyway. Some of my scarves I don’t wear much as I they don’t serve me well right now . But I don’t get discard them. Their beautiful colors and textures remind me of all the beautiful places I’ve seen- the “textures” of the people, the cities, the landscape.

Plus, scarves hide a not-so-perfect chin and neck.  They add a lot to an outfit. In fact, they sometimes make the outfit. In the winter, I always wear a scarf because it finishes the “look”. But in the summer, I can’t bring myself to wearing them although a chiffon or silk scarf in the evening would be ok.

So today I’m thankful for all my beautiful scarves and the memories they bring to mind every time I wear them.

an alphabet of thanks “R”


google images

google images

Today I’m thankful for rain.

Rainy days seems to suggest I should putz around the house and indulge myself in hot tea and a book.

Rainy days give me pause.

Rainy days remind me the sun will return.

Rainy days make me feel peaceful.

Rainy days remind me Who is really in charge.

an alphabet of thanks, “Q”


Noise?
Noise? (Photo credit: AGrinberg)

Quality, qualify, quake, quarrel, quilt, quiet, quirky.

Today I am thankful for quiet. (Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean lack of noise. We can be quiet within even when it’s noisy around us. But for this post, I’m referring to quiet as the lack of noise.) I’m not one of those people who need someone around all the time. I don’t mind being alone especially when I can have quiet time. I find I listen and think better when it’s quiet.

Religious leaders from all faiths have extolled the importance of quiet for meditation. In Christian vernacular, quiet times refer to the times we set aside to read our Bibles and pray.  Although I still read and study my Bible, there seem to be more and more times I remain quiet and just listen. Every once in awhile I like some extended time of total quiet. When even my own voice is not allowed to break the silence.

There has been considerable research about noise and stress and the conclusion has been that noise is a huge stress factor in the world. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Life was simply quieter a hundred years ago because life was, well, simple. Of course we can turn off the noise if we choose. We just seldom choose. But complete quiet is hard to get used to. Most of us are uncomfortable with quiet. There are reasons for uneasiness.

When we are quiet, the chatter in our head subsides to a whisper. That’s when our demons can come to haunt us. We are faced with our fears and insecurities. That doesn’t scare me like it used to. I’m learning to be comfortable with the “quieter” version of me.

Most of us are going to go through a period of quietness before we leave this earth.  Due to the infirmities that accompany old age, we will have no choice.  Being comfortable with “quiet” and being unafraid to face ourselves will prepare us. I hope this doesn’t sound maudlin but the truth is unless our lives are “interrupted”, we are going to experience old age. If we want to be a serene, contented elderly person, we need to be a serene contented 20, 30, 40, etc year old person.

The future always begins with the present.