Grateful for you!

Great-Grandfather and Family

It’s Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and I’ve been cooking and cleaning all day for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  For months we planned to spend Thanksgiving in Nashville with two of our daughters and their families.  Last week we needed to re-think our plans in light of the Pandemic, so this year we are going to enjoy Thanksgiving with the people who live in our house. I’ve been thinking all day about how much I have to be grateful for and what I wanted to share with you at a time when we are celebrating blessings, gratitude and Thanksgiving. It’s been on my mind all day how much we individually matter.

A hundred years ago my great-grandfather lived on a ranch in Idaho with his wife and 5 children. His wife was expecting their sixth child. It was 1918 and they were in the middle of a pandemic. On Christmas Day 1918, a man came to their back door and asked for food because he was hungry. My great-grandfather invited him to dinner. I don’t know if he knew the guest was sick or not, but about 10 days later my great-grandfather passed away due to the influenza. The family was quarantined and weren’t allowed to attend the funeral.  

His story has been told for 5 generations in my family. My grandmother missed her father deeply and talked about him often, and wondered “what if” there had been a different ending to that story. My Dad talked about his grandfather because his mother talked about him frequently. I know and tell my great-grandfather’s story, and so do all my siblings.  His story caused me to be curious about the 1918 pandemic and to read and learn about it, which has come in handy this year.  I’ve told his story several times during this pandemic to emphasize how important each person in a family is and how much they would be missed for generations after they are gone. 

I don’t think we realize how much we mean to our family or our friends or the people we work with. You remember the story, “It’s A Wonderful Life” where George Bailey was shown by his guardian angel what his town would have been like if he hadn’t been there.  It’s hard to step outside ourselves and see how we, just being ourselves, impact others in little ways that we can’t begin to imagine.  This year I am grateful that each of you are you and how you love and care for those around you in small and simple ways that you don’t even realize. You would be missed if you weren’t here. Think about that for a minute.

You are important.  You are irreplaceable. There is no one else alive that can be you.  I am grateful for each of you just to be YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you will have a wonderful celebration – if it’s just you or if you are able to gather with family. 

Why I Love Morning Pages

morning journal

I love morning pages! Up until July I had never heard of morning pages, so let me explain. Morning pages are three handwritten pages of “stream of consciousness” thoughts. You write them first thing in the morning and you write them quickly without editing, and you don’t keep them. No one else will ever read them. That was the appeal for me – no audience. Usually, when I write I am conscious of my audience and I pre-edit everything that comes out of my mind.

My first morning of morning pages resulted in two pages of complaining, the next day, three pages of complaining, however by the next week I was tired of complaining and couldn’t wait to jump out of bed and start writing all my thoughts and ideas. It’s been months now and I still look forward to getting out of bed and writing daily. I love the perspective I get each day from this type of journaling.

o When I am angry – there is someone (my pages) to direct my anger at.
o When I am sad, frustrated or upset – I have someone (my pages) who listens without judgement.
o When I have great ideas – I get to try them out on my morning pages first.
o I use my morning pages to talk with God and He uses them to talk back to me.

I bought myself some beautiful pens to use while writing and it delights me to see page after page of beautiful script written out with little stars by the parts that I want to act on. I have been journaling for years and I can’t believe that nobody ever told me about morning pages! That’s why I want to share their magic with you. I’ve been telling everyone I know how much I love morning pages, two of my friends have started writing them and they love them too. Unfortunately most people tell me it just takes too much time and they are too busy.

It does take time and you can start where you are comfortable. Usually it takes me about 45 minutes to write three pages – more time if I get distracted. I started getting up 30 minutes earlier – 5:30 AM to write them. I have found that my morning journaling actually saves me time.

o Time that I would have spent brooding about the pandemic or the election or how unfair some parts of life are.
o Time that I would have spent planning my marketing strategies and figuring out how to implement them
o Time that I would have spent in prayer talking with God and listening to Him.
o Time working on my relationships with my husband, kids, and grand-kids.
o Morning pages help me decide what I want to focus on and what my top priorities for the day are.

I believe that I get about an hour and sometimes two back for every 30 minutes invested in writing. That is a GREAT return on investment! Like they say, we can get more of everything – except time.

Have I convinced you that you need to morning pages yet? I really think if you tried them you would be surprised.
In January, I am going to host a book group called “It’s never too late to create a beautiful life“, based on Julia Cameron’s book “It’s Never too Late to Begin Again”. Morning pages are just one of the tools we will learn about.

I would love to have you join my book group!  Details are coming soon, but you don’t need to wait until then to get started with morning pages.  Just grab a simple lined notebook and start experimenting with your own morning pages right now.

Put A Light Out Into The Dark – It Might Help…

Magic Deck Lights

Happy November!

This morning on my walk I ran into a couple of friends. We visited for a few minutes and one of them mentioned that yesterday seemed like a very long day. Like most of the country, we in the Pacific Northwest moved from daylight savings time to standard yesterday.  It gets light an hour earlier in the morning and gets dark an hour earlier in the afternoon.  After we chatted a few minutes one friend mentioned that she wasn’t looking forward to this afternoon either because it will get dark so early.  

There are some things I am also dreading this year. With COVID-19 restrictions and the election, where things have been so contentious, I am afraid that I might feel a little depressed and out of sync this fall. Things that I am used to enjoying every year aren’t happening this year. Knowing that I might be feeling a little down this fall, yesterday when the time changed I reset the timer that controls the lights on my deck.  Several years ago we attached 4 strings of large bulb lights under the roof of our deck because they look magical to me and I love seeing them. We put the lights on a timer after I got tired of turning them on every night. Yesterday afternoon, I moved the timer to 5 pm, which is right after sunset. I can see my deck from my kitchen table and from the living room, and if I press my face against the window while looking right, I can also see the deck lights from my bedroom.  Every evening when they turn on I say, “Oh look, it’s magic!”  I did this because I wanted to balance the early dark evenings that sometimes feel a little depressing, with a little magic.  

I can’t change the time it gets dark every evening, I can’t change COVID-19 and I can’t change politics or political unrest, but I can put a little light and magic into my life each evening at 5 pm.  That is something that I can control.  

Is it possible for you to look around your house and choose one thing that brings light and joy into your life, and then make it happen automatically? It can be something small and simple like a string of lights on a timer or simmering spices on the stove. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just might change feelings of dread into feelings of anticipation and joy.  This year I would consider that a win! 

What about you?