Gratitude Sunday: Keeping Spirits Bright

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.

Quote of the Week – “…making spirits bright, what fun it is…” James S. Pierpont 1857

Sunday Haiku
Green moss insulates
gray branch against cold weather,
ivy ribboned trunks.

Sunday Musings
I am so grateful I have no littles in my home for Christmas this year. I love littles, and I only got to have the one son, who’s grown now. Before he arrived in my life I could ignore Christmas and pretend it wasn’t happening. Which if you ignore it, you can make it not happen. Easy peasey. With littles it’s worth it to make more of an effort. I feel like this is the feeblest Christmas I’ve had in a couple decades, but when times are tough we keep our spirits up with what we have.

I remember the son’s first Christmas. We didn’t have a tree, couldn’t afford to buy one, and I figured at three months old he wouldn’t remember much anyway. We had an assortment of tree ornaments gifted from my mother-in-law. They were of various sizes, some as large as two fists put together, huge shiny bright globes in gold and silver, red and green. We hung them from the ceiling to make sure the dogs didn’t find them. My baby spent many hours looking at those shiny balls on the ceiling and began reaching with his little baby muscles and baby hands toward the sparklies.

Because of the son I was able to go back to college, and for most of his growing up years, I asked for assistance at Christmas. Many groups of people have provided gifts and meals for my home. I always made a point of saying the hubster and I didn’t need anything, thinking the groups who helped would be able to help more people if they didn’t provide a gift for us as well. Yet they always made sure there was something of beauty or facility in the packages for us as well.

One year when we lived in Tillamook the group (the Elks, maybe? Memory fades. Son was two or three.) brought us a large box of used toys as well as some new. New didn’t matter. Once everything was washed it was new to us, and he enjoyed every minute of digging through the box. The box was large enough for him to climb into and hide, and we spent days playing “where’s the baby” after the toys were assimilated into the household. He was in a child’s world of abundance. I recently tried to get him to give away a small stuffed bear from that used toy gift box, but he told me where it came from and why I couldn’t. The “saver” gene is generationally strong in him.

Keeping the spirit is oxymoronic this year. My needs are few, yet my needs are massive. My yearly date book I purchased earlier in the season when there was a nice discount, the only item I justify for myself to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, death dates, and appointments. The new bed, new car, new roof and gutters and house paint, some tree clean-up and removal in the yard, financial security going into retirement, a change from this crazy despotic federal administration to a compassionate empathetic government for the people, and peace on earth are the needs that won’t be happening this Christmas.

With the son grown and the hubster not feeling good and the lack of cash flow, the tree will not go up this year. The strawberry tablecloth still on the table from summer will have to suffice; strawberries are red and their leaves are green, close enough. The Charlie Brown string of colored lights in the window, which is up all year, is my single note of cheer. The car is broken so I cannot shop. Good thing my guys are “adult”, as they will have to make do with dorky handmade promise cards for when I can finally go get the small things I want to gift them.

No paperwhites or amaryllis grace my table. No tiny fake tree sits on my desktop to cheer us. Not one single box of decorations will be dragged from the shed into the house only to be dragged out again. I shall be creative with what I can find in the house and make a festive ribbon string to hang bits of colored paper coupons from.

And the stockings. The stockings live in a drawer in the living room, always accessible, our names in glitter on the cuff. Stockings are packed full of little treasures, candies and other treats, toothbrushes and toothpaste, little finger playthings, odds and ends needed and used everyday, these days like screen wipes and tiny cans of air to clean computers. The stockings are almost more fun than gifts because they seem like never ending TARDISes and every time you put your hand in you come up with more. I don’t know how to fill stockings this year, maybe more paper coupons. If the car gets fixed, maybe we can celebrate on another day, but I’m not counting on that.

A few years back I read the Little House on the Prairie series which I hadn’t read as a child. Now I think this series should be required reading beginning in first grade. I remember the Christmas scenes and how they had so little, and yet every member of the family made one precious gift for each other member of the family (and a few treasured friends) out of scraps of lace or cloth or yarn or wood. I’m not that crafty. But what I loved about the story was the feeling of love, of real caring, of thought for the other person and their needs and preferences when thinking about what gift was right to make for that person, their excitement about sharing a meal or a little time together. I can’t hardly watch TV during this season as the commercialism and consumerism of commercials pushing unneeded stuff dampens my spirit, what there is of it. We’ve come many miles away from the prairie.

I’m grateful my guys are adults and will go with the flow with little complaining. It’s not like they are going to jump up and make any kind of Christmas happen. Though there’s a thought I could go off on: having the wealthy cash flow abundance to have a fabulous home and a staff to do all the work while I direct the staging and scenery and the cleaning. Ahh, that was fun. The quick relief of a brief fantasy. Back to reality.

I’ll get to see the littles, my great-nephews and great-nieces, over Christmas weekend. I still have to get creative with some little wrapped something for them, I have a few days left. I have a reputation to uphold as the “book auntie”, so no pressure to provide major gifts. I’m hoping the books last longer in their lives, and maybe they will remember this weird old lady who had wildly verbose opinions who they only got to see once a year.

Every Christmas a few decorations fail to make it back into their boxes and out to the shed. I’m sure I’ve got a few shiny Christmas tree ornaments hanging around inside this house somewhere. When I find them I’m going to hang them from the ceiling and just lie back on the sofa and stare at the multiply fractured shiny reflections of my little home and remember the prairie in my heart.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Gray lichen and green moss – my yard’s version of the holly and the ivy. Microcosmic ecology system, galactic gray lichen trees and green moss hills. One last near-red leaf abed the gray gravel.

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.} Roots (2016, rated TV – MA), the A & E remake. The story of Kunta Kinte and his descendents, brutal, real story of the violence of the horrifying slave trade. America might never rise above this legacy. Not for the faint-hearted, but valuable truth, nonetheless. * The Trust (2016, rated R) with Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood, a heist movie with the cops as the perpetrators. Movie was a little hard for me to follow the details of who’s doing what and why. Not worth watching again to figure it out.

Currently ReadingThe Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (2017, fiction) by Kia Corthron. This novel is epic. Masterfully profound. A story of the two brothers in a white family in Alabama and two brothers in a black family in Maryland and how their lives become intertwined without them knowing each other. This fiction is so many families’s truth. Such a magical interweaving of history, and families, and racism, classism, ableism, and genderism in America, this novel should be required reading in 6th grade as a way to introduce students to the continuing violent history of America. This is such a powerful read I’ve spent much of it crying, as I have always found it devastating that people can spend so much time hurting others, regardless of difference. To my mind there is no difference, or power-making circumstance, that requires hurting other people. Ms Corthron handles the graphic material in a straightforward brutally honest manner. She writes much of the story dialectically and does it in such a way I was hearing echoes of my own Oklahoman forebears. On my “to read again” list. * Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power (2017, sociology) by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky states plainly and clearly why we are in the political mess we are in, at the hands of the wealthy.

Winter Classic
Time to choose the Winter Classic. I want a novel that takes me to a different time and place, a slower language, a world far away from mine, to read myself into a different place during the long dark winter nights. I like to start my Classic on Winter Solstice so I have one ordered for Thursday. Remember the rules? They go like this:
1. The title chosen must universally be considered a classic and is likely to be on a list somewhere, like a Pulitzer prize winner, or a Mann Booker winner, or Newberry, or, well, there are so many to chose from.
2. I prefer diverse authors.
3. I haven’t read it before.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • No snow yet. The older I get the happier I am when there is little snow.
  • A couple friends who took pity on me and gave me rides.
  • My son’s work who gave him a coupon for a holiday ham or turkey and the son gave it to me so we can have meat for a holiday meal.
  • Finding a few new unused Christmas cards in a box and having the time, inclination, and a few stamps on hand to send out some cheer this year.
  • The abundance of stuff in my home.
  • Helping my brother find a less expensive health insurance policy.
  • Finding the patience to deal with a Microsoft technician while he’s freaking me out working on my computer remotely, conveying my distress only with heavy sighs and not expletives.
  • Having my fully functional software back up to speed.
  • The antics of the backyard squirrels.
  • Venturing into the swimming pool after two weeks hiatus with broken toe. Missed the water terribly but afraid to cause more damage. Went pretty well with a reduced set of exercises that didn’t put any pressure on my toe.
  • The dime the lifeguard picked up off the floor at the pool and handed to me. I told him thank you and said it was good to be a dime richer. He and the supervisor laughed, delighted with “the joke”. Little do they know how I count my pennies.
  • Lights and electricity during the daytime at the flick of a switch.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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

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