Thinkfulness Mondays (filling in for Wendy): thankfulness; appreciation; gratitude

Wendy chose the theme: thankfulness; appreciation and gratitude to highlight what a Mindfulness Turkey Day should be. Of thankfulness for what we have tangibly, but most importantly, for those intangibles: the fairy dust; the miracles; the possibilities; grounded in our moments; spreading hands and hearts. Appreciating the touch of a hand; a donation to a food bank; thankful for the moment with friends; aware of the needs of others; and appreciation on the need for us to help.

This Saturday is giving Saturday at my local library. I am thankful I am able to provide some tangible help: toys and books for children and clothes for their mothers.

Wendy has a nasty migraine making working on the computer right now feel deadly, so I stepped in to help – what are friends for? Please send her messages of support as she deals with yet another round of migraines, cluster headaches, vertigo, and back pain. She got so far, but needed to rest her eyes. I so understand, so here I am offering up quotes about thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude. But I would pose we should think of “thinkfulfness” – the ways in which our minds wrap their synapses around the mindfulness approach to living – including celebrations of ourselves, friends, families, and perhaps through donations, or volunteer work

So, I searched beyond my usual sorts of quotes (with Wendy’s assistance), and have more than Wendy’s usual three. These resonated with me in terms of thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude. A cornucopia, and over abundance of meditations on gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation.  I was unable to post Wendy’s lovely image; instead an unedited collage of my back yard.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.“ G.K. Chesterton

“Every day, spread the magical stardust of thankfulness into your life.” Terri Guillemets

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Anon

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A. A. Milne

“Don’t cry because it’s over, be happy because it happened” Dr. Seuss

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” J F Kennedy

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”. Marcel Proust

“In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” Elizabeth Gilbert

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick

images are copyrighted to Lorraine; unable to upload Wendy’s marvelous images.

And to end on a musical note: a song discovered by a search that seems to fall within the theme of thankfulness.

Josh Grobin: Thankful

Somedays, we forget to look around us,
Somedays, we can’t see the joy that surrounds us,
So caught up inside ourselves,
We take when we should give,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And on this day we hope for,
What we still can’t see,
It’s up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There’s so much to be thankful for,
Look beyond ourselves,
There’s so much sorrow,
It’s way to late to say, I’ll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth,
It’s so long overdue,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And everyday, we hope for,
What we still can’t see,
It’s up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There’s so much to be thankful for,
Even with our differences,
There is a place we’re all connected,
Each of us can find each others light,
So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be,
And on this day, we hope for,
What we still can’t see,
It’s up to us, to be the change,
And even though this world needs so much more
There’s so much to be thankful for.

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Self-Care Cheat Sheet – repost from Honor Yourself Now

I found this wonderful post on Honor Yourself Now.  It’s for everyone, not just us chronically ill peeps.  There are some things you may have to adjust depending on your abilities.

For example, I can’t exercise.  But I can couch dance to something silly on the TV, I can sometimes go downstairs, or just walk around the room.  That’s moving it for me, I’ll even sing in my head – “You’ve Got to Move IT!”  (don’t you love that song from Madagascar?

I do try to laugh each day, really I don’t have to try, my husband and I are pretty silly.  That’s a big for me.  I believe in not being too serious about things all the time.  Seeing the levity in a serious situation has gotten me though a lot of hard times.

So take care of yourself!!  I say, take some time and pamper yourself a little too.

Self-Care Cheat Sheet.

Please click on image to be taken to the original post on Honor yourself Now

Please click on image to be taken to the original post on Honor yourself Now

20 years and I still miss you every day….I love you mom.

My mom as a young lady.

My mom as a young lady.

The anniversary of my mother’s death was June 23rd.  I simply cannot believe it’s been 20 years since my mother passed away.  Cancer is not prejudice it will attack anyone at any time.

Having such a hard time with Asthma lately has brought back some dark memories of watching my mother fight to breathe……  Lung Cancer is an ugly way to die.  If anyone who is reading this is a smoker, I beg you to stop.  If you don’t want to do it for yourself, please think of those who love you.

OK…enough of this…it’s not how I want to remember my mother.

My mother was a marvel.  She hated to cook, yet she could make a feast out of next to nothing.  Growing up I didn’t realize we had less than others, I actually thought we were well off, but as I look back I realize just how much that was because of my mom.  She was the ultimate in reusing things, and she’d never heard of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.  She even had a compost pile, before anyone knew what to call it.  She was raised that way, and now I live that way.

She was one of the only people in my life….before my husband….who accepted me just the way I am.  She believed in me.  I believe she is the only one who believed I would graduate from college.  I did it!  With honors!  She was not surprised….I think she was the only one.

I went to a college that was just a little over an hour from home.  One morning before my classes I talked to my mother and told her how much I missed her banana pudding, when I got out of class and came back to the dorms my mother was waiting, with a huge dish of banana pudding.  She was always surprising me.

She grew up on a tobacco farm (so. of course. she became a smoker), she didn’t experience much while growing up, even when she was a young adult she really didn’t know much about the world.  I don’t mean she was naive, she simply had the heart of a little girl, but the inner strength of Super Woman.  We would go places and she would be so awed by the sites.  I shared my love for art with her, and she soaked it in.

Amazingly, my mother never graduated high-school, dropping out in the 6th grade to care for her ailing grand mother, who was raising her.  She also didn’t know ho

Head Shot of my mom. Christeen Hutchins (Moore-Calloway)

Head Shot of my mom.
Christeen Hutchins (Moore-Calloway)

w to drive until after I was born, and didn’t have a pair of blue jeans until she was in her 50’s.

I remember going to the library with her.  She was so intimidated at first, but soon she was deep in the words, looking up things she had been interested in, but never had the nerve to research them.   I remember when she got a Camaro, this woman who didn’t drive until her late 30’s loved speed….but she was very careful.  Until she backed into a mail truck, but that’s a different story.

She may have gotten her first pair of blue jeans when she was in her 50’s, but after that you couldn’t get her out of them.  She loved jeans.  Almost as much as she loved pizza!

I don’t think she had pizza until I was a girl.  She was thrilled when the cheese would leave a string from the slice to her mouth.  I once heard her say she could eat pizza hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  And she liked everything on it!

I mentioned how strong she was, one day on her way home she was attacked and she fought of the attacker by grabbing a rock and bashing him in the head.  For days she looked in the paper to see if she had killed him.  No notice, but the attacks in the area stopped.  She always wondered.   Her first marriage ended in tragedy.  Her husband had a meeting one evening, he asked if she and their one year old daughter wanted to come, but my mom said she needed to wash diapers.  Hours later she found out he hit ice on a bridge and ran off into the water.  He drowned.  My mother was suddenly a single mother, with no income.  She moved in with her mother, went to cosmetology school, and started a life for her and her daughter.  Then she met my dad…and the story goes on.

We had such a very special relationship.  I do miss her ever moment.  I’m so honored to have been raised by such an amazing woman!

A Realization

For months now…oh about six…I haven’t had the desire to do much.  Blogging always helped me deal with things and I’ve found support here I never thought possible…but I just haven’t felt like it.  I’ll think about blog posts, write them in my head, but then in the day I don’t get out my computer and get in touch with the world.  I keep thinking I’m snapping out of it, and I am better…and I do think I’m pulling myself out of this depression now, but it was there sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear “What’s the point?”

It’s almost 6 months since Sandy died, and I’ve been consumed with grief and guilt.  I know I don’t have a reason to feel guilty, but all the “should have, would have, could have” questions kept swimming around in my head.  Those kind of questions don’t do any good at a time like this, but they’ve been surrounding me…all the “What if’s…”

Sandy….Happy Dog!.

I still expect to see her, and occasionally, out of the corner of my eye, I could swear she was there.  I will feel her on the bed, and nothing is there.  There have been times I could have sworn I heard her.  (Now I wonder how many times I heard noises and thought they were her and they were something else?)

A lot of people would not understand this deep grief I feel for the loss of my dog.  But she was more than just a dog to me…she was a constant companion for 19 years, my Baby Girl, my Sugar Plum Fairy…or as Stuart would call her, our “Stinky Dog”.  No Sandy wasn’t a Stinky dog.  It is a term of endearment from my husband, if he makes up a little song about you and it says you are stinky then he must love you dearly.

Stuart and (his Stinky Dog) Sandy (taken early April 2012)

Because of this lack of understanding, and the feeling within myself that I shouldn’t feel like this still, I’ve been feeling very alone with these emotions.  I hid a lot of it from Stuart for a while, but recently I haven’t been able to.

Two nights ago, I had a complete breakdown.  Nothing sparked it, nothing.  I was just about to doze off, and it started.  I ended up crying (read sobbing uncontrollably) for almost two hours.  Since then I have felt a release.  I’m still crying over her, but something broke during that night of gut wrenching sobbing.  I feel freer from the guilt than I have, I feel like I can move on….that doesn’t mean I’m forgetting my dearest Sandy Girl and everything she means to me, but I hope it means I can begin to see the sun again.  I’m kicking that little guy off my shoulder, he will no longer be able to whisper those disparaging words to me.  I love Sandy, and always will.  I know I did the best I could for her, even if i do question that sometimes.  More so, I question if the vet did the best she could have done for her, but I need to let that go too.  (However, Max has a new vet now.)

Sandy and Max checking on me in bed.

 

I know she was 19 1/2.  That’s amazing I’m told.  But just days before she died she was chasing the cat, curling up with me, and just such a happy dog.  I remember how every time she ate her dinner she wagged her tail the whole time.  I need to think more about the good memories, and remove the shroud that has been over me holding in just the memories of her last days.  Sandy brought me too much love to dwell on the tragedy of her death.

I won’t make promises that I will be here more often, but I think I will be….I need to get back to my friends, and managing my life, instead of allowing it to manage me.

(there may be many errors in this post, I just can’t read it again right now.)

Ask me about it!

Question image__by_MultiCurious at deviantArt.com

I got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers LinLori.

I know many of you probably have questions for me, about my Cochlear Implant, any of my health issues…..ranging from Bipolar I to Chronic Pelvic Pain….and the newest diagnosis I haven’t even mentioned here yet….Vulvar Vestibulitis.  You may want to ask how I deal with certain things (like grieving for Sandy), or about my relationship with my husband.  You may even want to ask about my food issues.  Or what my favorite things are….whatever….I’m here to answer your questions.  If I possibly can.

Ask anything.

You all know I’m an open book…I don’t mind telling the details…so if you want to know something, now is the time to ask!

Come on ask….you know you want to know.

Memories of Mom…

Nineteen years ago today, my mother died.

I asked some people to share a memory they have of my mother….Here are some responses I received:

My Parents in the mid 1980’s

(from my best friend in High School)  Boy, do I have memories. Let’s begin with that laugh. Especially when she laughed at television shows. And to this day, I remember her sneezes… the sound and the way she would let go of the steering wheel when she sneezed (because she didn’t want to jerk the car). The patience of a saint – especially since we would make such huge messes with Halloween decorations, fake fingernails and heaven knows the bedroom messes. And when I think about the times when we would get “that look.” You know, the one where she didn’t approve of something we did or said. She didn’t have to say a word… you knew exactly what she was thinking when she was perfectly quiet, but looking at you like you had lost your ever-loving mind. I REALLY enjoyed your mother.

(sister of my friend above) She was so funny, she always made me laugh. I can remember riding in the car with her dont remember where we were going or what we were doing but I can still remember seeing her as if we were riding in there right now!

(from a cousin) Oh darling Wendy … your mother was my second mom. When she lived in Greensboro before you were born, I would run away from home and go to her house to “live”. Of course it was just over the hill and little did I know she was standing on the porch watching for me to come over the hill and my mom was on our porch watching me climb the hill. I was never out of sight of them. What a team! I also remember the time when I was about 8 that I cut my own hair. I was so proud of myself. Needless to say we made a special trip to see your mom to get it “evened out”. LOL … guess I wasn’t the hairdresser I thought I was. I have lots of memories, but one more that I’ll share … you may remember living in Navy housing … a brick duplex. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was something park. I remember the “bug” truck coming around spraying for mosquitoes every evening. A lot of the kids would follow the truck to get in the cool mist. Your “mean” mom made us come inside … God bless her every day for having the sense to get us out of that poison.

Photo of the spouses of my father’s siblings (and my mom, she is all the way to the right – note there were 9 children all together) This photo was taken in the late 1970’s

(another dear friend from High School) I remember her sweet voice…..I sure called you enough and she always asked how I was……she was very patient with us because we would chat for some time…..back then, we didn’t have call waiting, only a busy signal….lol….

(a neighbor when I was growing up….one correction to his memory, my mother never had a rattle snake or any other poisonous snake, but she did have non-poisonous snakes)  Wendy, I can remember growing up in Rock Bluff and thinking ” That lady must be crazy…she plays with snakes all the time.” She even had a pet rattlesnake! She wasn’t crazy at all as I got to know her better. She was a very kind and interesting person. I think she taught all the kids in the neighborhood how to handle snakes. Before we knew it we all were riding bikes with a snake in hand that we had caught. I thought of her and her snakes just a few days ago and wondered what ever happened to “Mrs. Calloway” but after reading this message i figured out that she passed while I was off at school.
She was a very kind and caring woman and I’m sure you miss her dearly! I’ll always have great memories of growing up in Rock Bluff and she was a big part of that!

(a sweet friend from High School – note when I asked for these memories I included my poem Memories of Mom and Me, this is what he refers to.)  There is nothing more that I could say more elegantly than You. Just I Miss and Love Her to . Love You Wendy.

(a friend, but when my mother was alive I was not close to her, her sister and I were good friends, the three of us did some things together, but now I consider her a dear friend.) I remember she always seemed to be moving so fast like maybe she knew time was short. I remember thinking that when you lost her.Reminds me of a lightning bug in the summer. They have a glow that fades when the weather chills but if you have seen one just at the right moment it is never forgotten. I only met her a few times but she seemed to be so dedicated and devoted to you. A moment with a mother like that is a blessing. I am sure she is already cleaning a spot in heaven for all the people she loved.

(from my father) One of the best memory I have is when I med Flippy (my mother’s nickname), I was on the bus returning to Norfolk after a weekend at home. The bus stopped in Greensboro around midnight and I saw her getting on the bus the seat next to me was empty so I pretended to be asleep so she would sit there. Lucky me she did take that seat so not long after that we started talking, I was out of cigarettes so I ask her for one. Needless to say we didn’t sleep a bit on the bus from then to Norfolk. I got her phone number in Norfolk and called her later Monday, From that time on we fell in love and had a beautiful life together.

 

I’ve printed this poem before, but for those who missed it, or have forgotten, I’m including it again since I mentioned it above.  This poem was written within the first few hours after my mother died, and was read at her funeral.

Memories of Mom and Me

-I look around me and all I see,
brings back memories of mom and me.
-The clouds in the sky; for hours we’d look,
picking out colors and shapes and books.
-Oh, look there’s a snap bug – remember him?
a play thing for me and mom again.
-A sea shell reminds me of a walk on the beach;
my diploma, a goal, she believed I could reach.
-Let’s go to a movie – her favorite E. T.
then go to the park and swing with me.
-An ice cream cone, a frog, a snake,
a Thanksgiving dinner we attempted to make.
-All the things around me I see,
bring back memories of mom and me.
-The people who loved her, I see in their eyes,
the love that she gave them was no surprise.
-She had a heart as big as the world
and the soul of a little girl.
-People who knew her will never forget,
because she affected everyone she met.
-Reminders of my mom are easy to see,
for there are parts of her inside of me.

by Wendy Calloway (Holcombe) June 23, 1993