The Thanks and the Giving

Cornucopia of Thanks

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  Yep.  I get four cool days off (except I have to work job #2 Friday night – but that’s the fun job) and I get to see my family tomorrow.

I was just reading Billie Jo Woods’ What if? Wednesday post about the Mayflower.  If you haven’t done so already, go check it out. She had mentioned how she misses home and that got me thinking.

What do I have to be thankful for?

What should I be giving more of?

What do I complain about (a lot) when I should feel privileged to even have that kind of problem?

The answers to these questions are in list form somewhere in my mind and that’s okay for now.  I do have a Top Three Things to be Thankful for on Thanksgiving going though.

I happen to see a lot of self-absorbed behavior where I live.  Now, I don’t know if it is because I grew up in the city which is not exactly a place of privilege and I now live on a street where everyone has their own driveway.  Maybe my perception is self-absorption when the reality of the situation is these people up here (most of them don’t say hello when I walk by) just have a different way of doing things.

One thing I miss about the city:

Having neighbors to sit on the front step with and chat.

I do have one neighbor in the front building who is pretty chatty.  We don’t have a step to sit on, but we do have many trees to stand under.

I am thankful for her.

Now, the giving part.  My daughter is sixteen.  Anyone who has a teenager knows how much fun it is having one in the house!  Yes.  The slammed doors, the rolled eyes, the loud music.  Why, it is just a gosh darn hoot.

One thing I give my daughter a lot of (and I just recently noticed this) is lectures.  Originally, I thought that I was “giving her tons of joy” because my mother and father never lectured me.

I say things to her like, “You should be thankful I talk to you like this. Mom-mom never talked to me and I wish she had.”  My daughter is looking at me like, “You are crazy woman!”

I walk in the poor kids room, say “You got five minutes?” and before I know it her eyes glaze over and I am winded from talking for a straight thirty minutes.  Gee, thanks mom!

So the giving part I will be doing this season is giving my daughter less grief and giving her more understanding.  I’ll give her a little more space (not too much!) and hope that she will start looking at me like a human being again.

Happy Thanksgiving my fine friends.  What are you thankful for?  What will you be giving this season?

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It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… 😦

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

The Gratitude List

I just read a tweet from a fellow tweeter.  I got the impression she was down in the dumps… she said she felt, “out of sorts.”  I have felt like that many times in my life (I’m sure most people have).   I replied to her tweet and told her to make a gratitude list.

Then I thought, “Darlene!  You’re a genius!  You should make one.”  So I am.  Right here, right now.

I am grateful for:

  • my sobriety
  • my children
  • the ability to use all five of my senses
  • music
  • the gift of writing
  • nature
  • green lights
  • coffee
  • my cats
  • my genes
  • a sunny day
  • a Sunday morning
  • making some one smile
  • a brand new notebook
  • that I was born exactly when I was born
  • Tyler State Park
  • other people’s opinions
  • tolerance….

These are just some of the things I am grateful for.  But, I want to hear from you.  What are you grateful for?  What makes you say thank you.  What helps you through your day?

Gratitude

The days blur by as our to-do lists seem to grow in size like water infested sponges.  Then life happens.  An unexpected illness, a home repair or maybe your car dies when you are on your way home from work.  I can totally relate to this last one because that is what happened to me yesterday.

 As I sat in the driver seat, cursing everything imaginable with my ‘why me’ attitude, I realized that I was being kind of bitchy.  I mean, there are people who are less fortunate.  There are people who are unemployed and wish they were broke down at work.  Yet, there I was sitting in my car (which has fared me well so far) complaining to my girlfriend on the phone about all the injustice of the day while I waited for the tow truck.

 They say when life hands you lemons to make lemonade, which, I find quite corny.  But I get it now.  Make the best of your situation.  Know that whatever life throws at you, you can handle it.  If you feel the need to drop to your knees and scream at the sky, go for it.  After your brief collapse get back up and figure out how to make it work.

 I made a gratitude list last night.  I listed all of the things I was grateful for.  Some of the things on my list were: my career, money in the bank, AAA, friends and coffee.  Make your own list.  You’ll realize that things are going to be okay and you have a lot in your life that you may take for granted sometimes.     

 Meditation for the day:  I am grateful for the little things in life.

Gratitude

As the days turn into years, I sit here and think of all the things that I want.  I want it all and I want it now.  I have been so focused on everything I think I am entitled to, that I rarely stop to look at what I should be grateful for.

I should be grateful for my health.  Yes, this is cliché.  However, as I share an office with someone who is such a good soul and is battling colon cancer, I can’t help but realize just how blessed I really am.  Cancer is something I have never had the misfortune of dealing with; not personally nor in my family.  Sure, I’ve had some wicked colds in my life and it sure seemed my co-worker was battling an epic cold in the beginning of 2010.  But when she collapsed one night in January and was rushed to the hospital, she was told she had stage four colon cancer.  Since that awful night in January, her attitude has changed.  It seems she no longer sweats the little things and she puts off until tomorrow what does not need attention today.  The worst thing I have ever had to deal with is migraine headaches.  Which, anyone that has ever suffered from them knows how terrible migraines are.  But compared to cancer, these headaches are a privilege.

I should be grateful I have a decent place to live.  When I leave my small apartment in the morning and proceed to ride by all of the big, fancy homes on my way to work or even the local coffee shop, my heart kind of sinks a little.  I think back to all of the dreams and aspirations I once had that would have put me in such a beautiful abode.  On my way home from work every night, I see this unkempt fellow pacing up and down Bellevue Avenue.   His hands are always clasped behind his back as he strolls, up and down, wearing the same navy blue jumpsuit since I started travelling Bellevue Avenue in 2007.  In the hot, humid summer days he still wears the navy jumpsuit and I feel sad inside that he has nowhere to hang his tattered navy blue rags while I pull into my driveway.

I should be grateful that I have a wonderful career.  Most of my life I have lived paycheck to paycheck.  I was doing just this as a parts delivery girl for a big named auto parts supplier while making barely over minimum wage.  The way I was treated after a motorcycle accident was deplorable and that led me to seek out new employment.  I wound up interviewing for a small accounting firm, to which I was overlooked by another applicant.  A month went by and they called me back looking to reinterview.  That was in November of 2007 and I am still employed by the same small firm that takes very good care of their employees.

But what I am most grateful for is all of the little things.  The five dollars I find at the bottom of my purse.  The days that it is sunny when my driver’s side window refuses to cooperate and stay up.  I am grateful for all of the people who cross my path each day.  I thank the nice ones for making my day more pleasurable, and the not so nice ones, for showing me there is always a better attitude to be had.  Without gratitude, there is always a sense of entitlement.  I am entitled to nothing on this earth.  And who is really?