Thanks To You

This Thanksgiving, I wanted to post a special shout-out to all of you readers and cyberfriends.  Friendship in any form should be cherished and I cherish you all.  You have helped me realize a lifelong dream.  I always wanted to write, but was always too scared of failing to translate the dream into reality.  Thanks in large part to your energy and validation, I have found the courage.  I have been writing this blog for nearly two years now.  

When I was teaching leadership classes, I used to tell my students, “Leaders have followers.  If you turn around and no one is following you, you aren’t leading.  You are just taking a walk.”  I think it might be kind of similar for writing.  I can write, but I’m kind of missing a key component of the process if no one is reading. I’m not communicating; I’m just recording my mutterings to myself.  I’m just memorializing the voices inside my head for my own posterity.   

I thank you for listening to my mutterings. I thank you for the confidence you gave me when I saw that people truly seemed to be reading.  I thank you for not thinking I was ridiculous for believing anything I have to say could possibly be meaningful to anyone else.   I thank you for helping me grow my little circle of blog besties by sharing my writing with others.  I thank you for your thoughtful comments. I thank you for your suggestions.  I thank you for the kind words of encouragement.  I thank you for turning my one-sided blogging into a rich, interesting conversation.  I thank you for the support and sympathy you showered on me while I was my mother’s traveling companion on her journey towards the end of life.  I thank you for your understanding and empathy when the blog became grief-heavy as I watched my mother struggle and die.   

All too often in life, we get caught up in our day-to-day existence and forget the miracles that bring joy to our lives. We are inclined to bemoan our struggles because they demand our attention.   It is hard to ignore the difficulties.  They always seem to be in our faces, commanding us to do something to halt the pain they cause us.  Even when we try to push them into the darkest corner of our minds and hope they stay there, the effort is time and energy consuming.  And, by the way, “hope” is not a strategy.  Those difficulties rarely stay put when we push them into the darkest corner of our minds, so we have to spend even more time and energy on them.   

On Thanksgiving, at least, we get the chance to stop and smell the miracles.  We take one beautiful day to be honestly, truly, deeply grateful for our blessings.   

As you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations, please know I am thinking of you and thanking you for the joy you have brought me.  Happy Thanksgiving!  You are a blessing in my life. 

What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can send me an email at terriretirment@gmail.com.  

Have a blessed day!

Terri 🙂

An Attitude of Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, it seemed a good day to revisit my “Thankful Thursday” theme and share a few things for which I am especially thankful.

For the record, I’m still thankful for the color pink!  

I am thankful that the election is over and, with it, the barrage of political commercials and robocalls.  I am thankful I live in a country that depends on independence and free elections to shape our future.  I am thankful we have free elections, even if I don’t always agree with the results.  I know that many people are protesting because they do not like the outcome of the election.  I am thankful we live in a country where people are allowed to make their voices heard.  I pray that the protests continue to be about raising voices and not raising fists.  Rioting against the result of a free election seems scary similar to violence against democracy.

I am thankful for the beauty in the world.  I am thankful for the Sandhill cranes and for the gorgeous greenness that blesses central Florida.  I am thankful for flowers and oceans and lakes and clear skies.  I am thankful for puppies and kittens and giraffes.  I am thankful for laughter.  I am thankful for the beautiful moments that are born of fun…. Like at Disney World. 

I am always thankful for the love of my family and friends.  I am even more thankful for their caring and support during the past few months as I’ve tried to cope with my mother’s illness.  I know that it can be hard to know what to say or what to do to help someone in a difficult situation.  We hate to think that we might make things worse by saying or doing the wrong thing.  I’ve learned that there is no “wrong thing” when whatever is said or done is offered in love.  Also, I’ve often found that a friend has said or done something that turns out to be EXACTLY the right thing, once my poor wee little brain has completely processed it. 

I am thankful for the people who care for my mother… the doctors, nurses, aides, therapists, cooks, housekeepers…. Just everyone.  They are really doing an awesome job with my mother.  As they have gotten to know my mom and me, they have also shown incredible compassion and empathy for me, as well.  My heart is so full of gratitude for them all, it spills over on a regular basis.  I wish there was a way for them to mind meld with me for just an instant to really know how much I appreciate them.  I try to tell them and thank them, but I can’t really communicate the abundance of my gratitude with words. 

And, as difficult as these past few months have been, I am thankful that my mother is still with me.  People say that every day is a gift.  To be completely honest, I’m not sure I can go quite that far.  Some days are not so good.  On the balance, though, most days with her still do feel like gifts when we can still love each other and laugh with each other.  I am thankful enough to take the bad with the good. 

I am thankful that I have a good God who is in control of the world instead of me.  I sometimes fool myself into believing I have some control and behave as if I do. I know, deep down, that I really do not.  I think we can all be thankful for that.  Let’s see… hmmm… God in control or Terri in control?  Uh… no contest.

I am also joyously thankful for all my readers.  All my life, I wanted to be a writer.  For a very long time, life got in the way.  Now, the people who read my posts validate that I am a writer at long last.  It excites and humbles me to think that I am writing anything that anyone, including people who don’t even know me, actually want to read.  One kind soul actually suggested that I don’t realize how effectively I inspire and entertain people.  While I think that may be a stretch, it is very gratifying to see that real people visit my website and read what I’ve written.  This whole experience shows me that dreams do come true.  They don’t necessarily come true like when you blow out the candles on a birthday cake.  Dreams are like blueprints.  You have to use them to build what you have envisioned.  Here’s what I’ve learned- building is better than blowing. I absolutely love writing the blog posts, thinking about how they might impact on others, watching the statistics to see readership increase, and reading the interesting perspective the readers provide.  I think, for me, the creation is part of the dream.

So, as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner and count our blessings, know that I am counting you amongst mine.  Thank you from the top of my head to the tip of my toes!

For what are you giving thanks this year?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com. 

Have a blessed day!  Again, thank you, thank you, and thank you!

Terri 🙂