Gratitude Sunday: Because We Blessed Are

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn because they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek because they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness; they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart because they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Sunday Haiku
Wind whips colored leaves
down to brown, fallen, branch-free,
nature’s death parade.

Sunday Musings
I published my first blog on my paternal grandmother’s birthday four and a half years ago, though she’s been golden stardust these last 30 years. One of the reasons I started writing was to share with my mom, who was learning how to use a computer. I thought it would be fun for her to have a goal, someplace to know there was always some words waiting for her to read every week in addition to our irregular phone calls. Mom’s been gone more than 4 years. She wasn’t overly thrilled when I told her what I was up to. I took her lack of enthusiasm (strange after all her years of being nearly my only advocate) and turned it into defiance, of course. I thought, I don’t care if you like it or not, Mom.

I’ve learned much about how to make my blog look, formatting, and presentation. I’ve learned about adding art and photographs. I’ve learned how to link to my own posts and to the posts of others. I’ve resisted adding advertisements and merchandising. Ms Taryn Wilson at Wooly Moss Roots generously provided a link on her Gratitude Sunday post so I could connect with other grateful people on Sundays. Ms Wilson is changing up her site and her posts and after 4 years of pretty much the same old stuff I’m using her cue and going to make a few changes here as well. You might not even notice them.

This blog has evolved over the years, as it evolved from my pre-computer years of putting pen to paper writing what I called anger essays. I would get so mad at something that didn’t make sense to me, or I thought was (gasp) unjust, and I had to get it out. Words worked better on paper because when I spout verbally I come off as the Wicked Witch of the West (not a bad proposition). I’ve developed a HUGE following (haha, not, a handful of you do me the honor). I’m cranky, and though I am fond of colorful expletive-style language, I remain a proponent of civil discourse. In the end I write to please myself. Doesn’t every author tell the story they have to tell? I keep writing; I persist.

So back to those changes. I consider myself a spiritual person, though I would be hard pressed to put a label on the “type”. If I were to choose a word I would perhaps call myself a “heartful” person. I doubt you would call me religious, though in my childhood I was raised in the Baptist church. I would venture to say none of the indoctrinations I was exposed to took hold with me. Sunday School was cool; they told us stories of miracles and wonder, we earned stuff for memorizing Bible verses, we got to make crafts, I was even given my own Bible. My uncle, however, was Catholic, and he took me to his church a few times. How I loved the rituals of mass, the swinging censers, the pomp and circumstance, the blessings.

Dad’s mom was Mormon, and did not attend services, though she made sure I had a copy of The Book of Mormon. Mom’s mom was Nazarene, and you better get up on Sunday and go to church with her or she knew all about your evil ways, though she didn’t actually say it in so many words. She lived her faith and you could see it in her eyes and hear it in the love or criticism in her tone of voice. Her church had a kind of fun to it if you tuned out the going-to-hell preaching. Oh, the dresses, and the hats, and the hankies, and the fans of all those work worn women, gloves covering ragged nails and rough-skinned hands. The scrubbed, shiny faces of children and freshly shaved faces of husbands dragged along. The singing in her church made it all worth the effort, so many voices raised in discordant enthusiastic harmony, in joy, in reverence, in sharing, fans waving, fancy hats rocking to the classic hymned rhythms.

Mom and Dad didn’t go to church with us kids. I thought perhaps Dad took Mom out to breakfast, and as I grew older I thought they got to enjoy a short hour in bed together with no children in the house. When I told my mom about that notion years later, the scoff could have blown the roof of the house, but she never did say what she did that one hour of the week she had to herself. The one good thing she got from hospice care when she was in the last stages of her emphysema was access to a chaplain to talk about death. She had herself baptized a few months before she passed. I have always hoped it gave her some comfort.

Dad’s “religion” was nature, as far as I could tell. He loved being outdoors, working in the garden, taking care of the house, camping, fishing, hunting, or taking care of all the accoutrement to do all that stuff. I don’t remember him going to church, or reading a Bible, or talking about anything involving religion or spirituality. He certainly didn’t preach God, but god forbid you had to sit through one of his lectures if you’d done something he didn’t approve of. Maybe that’s the shallow memory of my inner child. When he passed we scattered his ashes on the piece of land in Eastern Oregon he bought so he could be close to his favorite fishing places every summer. Now every day he is part of the land and nature he loved.

With so many influences, by the age of 12 I started asking questions Mom didn’t know the answer to, and that’s when Mom decided I needed a library card. Since some social studies classes in junior high and high school required us to know the main religions of the countries we studied, by high school I had investigated Christianity; paganism; Wicca; Judaism; Buddhism; Shinto; Hinduism; Greek, Roman, Norse, and indigenous American mythology; Islam; and atheism. I read everything, not in depth, but enough to satisfy my curiosity. Like Carnegie, I believe we would be nothing without libraries, personal, public, and academic.

After high school I studied transcendental meditation and yoga for a few years. In between I’ve thrown in some studies in history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, political science, and some of the hard sciences, along with mystical sciences like astrology, as well. Now I study qigong and tai chi. Learn or die. Perhaps that’s my religion, forever learning.

All that said, I haven’t decided (the lovely imbalance of the Libra, this? No, that?) what changes I’ll make for a fresher look in the new year, but for the holiday season and likely through the first months of the new year I’ll have a temporary change. I have always been fascinated by the Beatitudes. I’ve read and re-read them over the years and each time I find new meaning. I enjoy the perspective; they are statements, but not commandments, the emotion behind the words as primal as the earth and sky. Attributed as being the words of Jesus, they do not say “I bless” or “God blesses” it just says “blessed are” as if anybody or anything can be doing or receiving the blessing, like these are basic earth truths that underlie every emotion and action that reside in our blood and cells, whether we believe or not. I have taken the liberty to edit for my current grammatical standards. And for myself, because everybody has their own beliefs and that is as it should be, I interpret “God” and “heaven” to mean whatever God and heaven means for you. I’m not putting these words out here to sledgehammer you with my beliefs, I’m just putting them out to think about. Maybe you could just admire the beauty of the sentiment.

Who knows? I might do something different every week for a while. The future may bring other changes, especially with 2018 just around the corner. You can feel the winds of change. Change is good, remember, the only constant. For this holiday season I will repeat the Beatitudes for contemplation, until I decide what new changes I will embrace. And all of us? Blessed are.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Green takes on a special glow on gray days. Bare naked brown lilac branches braced against the gray. A spot of yellow fungi against an exposed brown root and soft pillows of emerald green moss. The brilliance of red berries in a smooth green leafy sea.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I found my comedic relief in How to be a Latin Lover (2017, rated PG – 13) with Salma Hayek and Eugenio Derbez. A gigolo loses his sugar mama and has to beg to live with his sister, and repair their damaged relationship. Laughed all the way through. * Continued laughing with a re-viewing of Nine to Five (1980, rated PG) with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin (there’s a powerhouse combination, right there). It’s been many years since I watched this movie and I’d forgotten what the women do to creepy Dabney Coleman who plays the woman-mauling boss. And my favorite line of the movie comes from Dolly Parton when her character Doralee has had enough of Franklin Hart’s (Coleman) hands and him letting the entire office think he’s been sleeping with her (she’s not), when she says to him, “If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine. And I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot. Don’t think I can’t do it!” I don’t generally advocate violence, but if a few more women said this to men, perhaps men would learn their pushy power tactics are not acceptable. * Evelyn (2002, rated PG), with Pierce Brosnan. Inadvertently chose a Christmas movie, and because it isn’t all the usual Christmas pap sentiment, I recommend it. Based on a true story in Ireland,1953 Christmas, Desmond Doyle has no job and no money. The day after Christmas his wife leaves, abandoning him and their three children. The Courts and the State take the children away. Desmond does everything he can to get them back, lucks into the help of legal professionals, and (spoiler alert) they successfully change Irish law for the sake of his kids and the relief of other children held in similar situations. The photography of Irish countryside and town scenes were vivid and entrancing. Worth your time. * Emperor of the North (1973, rate PG) with Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, and Keith Carradine. I don’t remember why I ordered this movie. It’s 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression, and homeless men steal rides on railroad cars in search of employment. **{Historical English lesson: the word hobo comes euphemistically from “homeward bound”.}** This trainline is in Oregon, the train boss will murder or torture you rather than let you ride free; the hobos retaliate. Quite the train story, the statement it makes about homelessness is as pertinent today as then. The photography recreating 1930s Oregon left me reflecting a while about how our lives have changed in the last century.

Currently ReadingThe Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (2017, fiction) by Kia Corthron. Don’t let the title be off-putting. When an author’s words have the effect of soliciting my tears every few pages (you can call me a bleeding-heart liberal all you want, I’m owning it these days), you know this author has my heart. Alabama 1940s and onward, many perspectives, white and black, child and adult, abled and disabled, the war, Roosevelt, history and politics in everyday life, coming of age during World War 2. Quite a long book, only just started, excited to see the plot revealed. * The Misfit’s Manifesto (2017, social psychology) by Lidia Yuknavitch, based on her TED talk, The Beauty of Being a Misfit. Ms Yuknavitch makes the case for embracing your misfitness. Some of us never fit. No matter.

Quote of the Week – “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” e. e. cummings

This week I have been grateful for:

  • A safe shopping journey the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
  • Watching the bluebirds and flickers doing the fence dance through my kitchen window while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Having a quiet Thanksgiving meal with no power outages, or equipment failures. Operator error is always to be expected and thus prepared for.
  • My own kitchen to make my holiday messes in.
  • Hot running water and detergent to clean my messes.
  • Being an old dog and teaching my family new tricks.
  • Laughing at creative TV commercials, and not consuming.
  • Gray. Gray clouds, gray sky, gray fences, gray trees, gray squirrels.
  • Watching the squirrels running around with nuts to hide away for winter. Catching sight of one with a mouth full of bright leaves to make his winter nest.
  • Costco rotisserie chicken.
  • Fresh green beans and strawberries despite the carbon footprint.
  • Local Brussels sprouts and beets and carrots roasted in olive oil and coconut oil and garlic.
  • The hubster, who is the gravy master.
  • Preparing the house to bring in the spirit of Christmas.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Because We Blessed Are

  1. piratesorka says:

    Right now I think I could mug a person for some hot Turkey white meat with gravy. Thats the problem with being a single person: no leftovers. Actually I did go home with a nice container of my Broccoli Salad that my sister in law now makes. That was good.. Other than that, my world is a bit bleak these days. No car, job in jeopardy (Not really that dire but…yes a bit ) Few Christmas presents to buy or give. Bah Humbug. Retirement is looking pretty ghastly Frankly at this point I just want December to be here and then zzzzzzzzzzzoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm right out of here. Can you tell I am just a teeny tiny itsy bitsy bit depressed? Ahhh such is Life. However, I do have one brght light in my thoughts.: I have to keep asking “Whats the answer God? Give me a direction.”

    Like

  2. sassy kas says:

    Hubster demanded chicken for the meal, he got what he wanted, but like you, what I want right now is a fat turkey sandwich, on thick home-made white bread, thin stripe of cream cheese on one side, thick smear of mayonnaise on the other, a layer of cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese, and so many slices of turkey I can hardly ratchet my mouth open wide enough when I put it all together. You mean like that? Drooling yet? Yeah, missing the turkey sandwich. I’m only good for one all year. Have a whole year to figure out how to get my turkey sandwich fix.
    And hang in, my friend, we’re not done yet. We haven’t quite found our new paths, but we have open minds and open hearts. Hang on for the ride. Still time for another adventure. xoxo

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