Thankful Thursdays

For clear vision. I had LASIK eye surgery just a few days ago. Amazing technology, is all I can say. Anyway, the whole process brought to mind something I posted back in 2009 (which later I included in Scenes Everlasting and Other Essays). I thought it timely to share it again:

From where I sit to read in the mornings I can see the maintenance man clean the glass doors to my office building. Every morning he soaps them up and meticulously wipes them clean. I watch him inspect them once and again making sure he didn’t leave any sudsy streaks behind. How clean he leaves them. How clear I can see through them. If only all my views were always that clear. But they are not. Because it is not through what I look, it is with what I look – – sudsy, smudgy eyes marked with biases, judgments and misconceptions that muck up my view of things, people and circumstances. I have eyes but fail to see. Sometimes I’m as blind as a bat.

Reminds me of that story about a woman who had moved to a new neighborhood and every time she looked out her window she commented to her husband how the neighbor’s clothes hanging on a line were not cleaned well. Each week the woman would look through her window in judgment of her neighbor’s washing skills expressing how their neighbor needed to learn how to wash her laundry better. Then one day she looked out the window and noticed clean laundry hanging from her neighbor’s line. She told her husband that her neighbor had finally learned to properly wash her laundry and she wondered who had taught her. And her husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned the window.”

Like the woman in that story, my eyes are sometimes covered with a tainted film that distorts what I look at and causes me to go into those dreaded and dangerous preconceived notions. Mostly due to years of fault-finding I supposed. But gosh how I kick myself every time I catch myself doing that. Only to do it again real soon. Geeze! I recall a scene in the 1989 movie The Abyss, where one of the main characters tells another: “We all see what we want to see….He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.” That line has always stuck with me. I realize my perception of people and the world will never be flawless, I know that, but I think that behind my looking there needs to be a perspective of faith. A belief that reminds me that everything on which my eyes rest can, in one way or another, tell me about God and His intentions. A belief that would, despite our world’s seemingly deteriorating ways, allow me to trust that there is good in it; a belief that despite what I think and feel when I look at others, would allow me to look through their eyes and exercise tolerance and compassion.

Yet my frustrations flare up at my inability to achieve that because it is so NOT easy. How do I get rid of that cataract-like film layering my eyes? Like the blind man in the story recounted in the Gospel of Mark [8:22-25] who begs Jesus to give him sight, I too desire to see. To see God clearer in things and in others. I pray He keeps my eyes from turning cloudier and helps me remove that impending crust. And instead helps me to look with better eyes than that – – with humble, fair, forgiving, and loving eyes. So maybe every so often, hopefully more often than not, I may be able to say I was blind but now I see.

Today, my eyes can see clearly. But can my soul? That is my hope, my prayer.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
-J. Lubbock

“One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.”
-E.W. Wilcox

Thankful Thursdays

For simplicity. It’s a great time of year to clean house (and I’m not just talking about the closet and garage). Don’t wait ‘till spring time. Start cleaning house now in every aspect of your life – materially, mentally, and emotionally. We should identify what’s essential and do away with as much of the rest as we can. Like the physical clutter, the people-drama, expectations, and negativity that weigh us down and stress us. We should convert some of that stress into spiritual energy. Think God more.

Bottom line is, we take on so many things and bring on so much complexity to our life that enjoying it gets overshadowed. Let’s try to live a more balanced and significant life. And for every time we are able to keep it simple and real, be thankful.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“Free yourself from the complexities and drama of your life. Simplify. Look within. Within ourselves we all have the gifts and talents we need to fulfill the purpose we’ve been blessed with.”
-Steve Maraboli

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the enforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
-E.F. Schumacher

Thankful Thursdays

For chocolate. Dark’s my preference. It’s healthier, since there’s that antioxidant factor. But really any kind; anything with cocoa will hit the spot for a chocoholic like me. And, aside from its heavenly taste, it releases feel good neurotransmitters in the brain which can potentially neutralize any crappy state of mind. That’s a plus. No, for real. I mean, yes, God loves even the grumpiest of us, but I’m sure He would prefer we keep it together as often as possible – maybe have a Snickers bar to snap out of it. A Dove drop usually does it for me (inside messages and all). 

Chocolate. Good for the soul. And those around us, thank heavens.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What scrumptious treat are you thankful for today?

“As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.”
-S. Boynton

“One filled with joy preaches without preaching.”
-Mother Teresa

 

Thankful Thursdays

To give back. How about that for a new year’s resolution? To give back, plain and simple. Let’s face it, we have so much going on in our lives, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, out of sorts, and miss the big picture. Having an attitude of gratitude can help bring peace to the craziness and focus our vision on what’s important. And when we are aware of all that’s been given to us, it’s hard not to want to pay it forward. In whatever ways we can: donations, service, time, etc.. So I say, let’s count our blessings, like every day, and make those blessings count.

Today, as I think of all that’s been given to me, I’m especially thankful for growing older; I just had a birthday yesterday, and every year that comes my way is more and more appreciated and cherished. By the way, thanks to those who have donated to my birthday fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Facebook. So cool. If you haven’t and want to, here are the links:
Thru Facebook: Connie’s Birthday Fundraiser to St. Jude
Thru St. Jude: Donate

Family and friends, may we keep our minds uncluttered long enough to remember to keep this goal throughout the year (and every year): to be more grateful and to give back. No matter what.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
-Charles Dickens

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
-Steve Maraboli

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Thankful Thursdays

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful start to 2018. Here we go, the first of 52 Thankful Thursdays. In the spirit of making the best of our time and accommodate what matters most, I will start with this:

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
-Unknown

Wishing you a year filled with many blessings, lots of time with those you love, and very little dusting.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.”
-A. Elle

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
-Buddha

Thankful Thursdays

For a hard-fought and conquered year. It was for the most part, for us, an overwhelming year, dealing with Mom’s illness and loss. The year seemed to whiz by painfully in slow motion. How crazy is that? Still, it is one more year to be thankful for. One more year with those we love. I am grateful for all of the support we received day after day, and for the grace of God that got us through it all. Farewell, 2017! Looking forward to sharing 2018 with all of you.

Wishing everyone a fantastic year’s end, and a super blessed new year. To the other half of our wolfpack (currently on a different time zone): Kids, we miss you! Get la maleta ready, we’ll Facetime you!

Signing out for the year, today from atop the Grand Canyon. Until next Thursday’s post, everyone!…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
-G. R.R. Martin

“Lord, as the New Year dawns today,
      Help me to put my faults away.
      Let me be big in little things;
      Grant me the joy which friendship brings;
      Keep me from selfishness and spite,
      Let me be wise to what is right.
A Happy New Year! grant that I
      May cause no tear to any eye.
      When this new year in time shall end,
      Let it be said: “I’ve played the friend,
      Have lived and loved and labored here
      And made of it a happy year.”
-Edgar Guest

Thankful Thursdays

For the best gifts ever. I’m sure, or I hope, you’re all done with your Christmas shopping. Everybody on your list taken care of?  Great. But wait! Don’t forget this list!:

The best gifts to give:
To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity.
-O. Arnold

This Christmas, let’s remember the real reason for the season. And when we sit by the tree, let us give thanks because our blessings outnumber the lights. Family and friends, may your Christmas be wrapped with peace, love, and happiness.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
-Luke 2:11

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”
-B. Hillis

Thankful Thursdays

Here’s to the graduates. And to He who makes it all possible.

Lauren’s graduate school ceremony is tonight; Danny receives his bachelor’s degree tomorrow night. Watching them both bravely thrive through college has been quite the parental journey, I can tell you that. We are grateful that God granted us the means to put them through school, and that He blessed both of them with the will and determination to see themselves through the stumbles and the challenges. Now we pray He strengthens their faith to run the race before them.

Kids, we are proud of your accomplishments; of what you’ve done but even more so, of who you’ve become. What a blessing to see you find your way in life and grow into genuine, good-hearted young adults. Remember who made this possible for you. No, not us. We are merely instruments. Thank Him, through whom we can do what we do.

To Lauren and Danny, and to their classmates, we say: Congratulations! Now, go forth and make it count, and let all you do be done in love. Oh, yes, and May HIS force be with you always!    😉

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“The tassel’s worth the hassle!”
-Author Unknown

“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
-Hebrews 12:1

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
-Philippians 4:13

Thankful Thursdays

For Friends. The old ones we’ve had in our lives forever, and the new ones we’ve managed to make old ones out of. The ones who stick through thick and thin and are always present, and the ones whose presence is felt through the distance. And let’s not forget those who God reconnects us with, always in timely fashion.

I am so blessed to have in my life friends who, through the years, have taught me about trust, compassion, acceptance, humility, forgiveness, and loyalty. For them, today and always, I am thankful.  ♥   In my Father’s house are many mansions, and I hope yours will be next to mine.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
-C.S. Lewis

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
-Henri Nouwen

 

Thankful Thursdays

For Christmas Cards. This is the time of year I remind you to take a break from social media and write out…and touch someone.

The rise of social media has us posting, liking, tweeting, e-mailing, and/or texting our sentiments, in a flash. Convenient, sure, but lacks personal touch. I think the digital Christmas card is today’s scrooge.

At home, we get Christmas and holiday cards from our insurance company and from our bank and from our car dealership, and I think, “Oh okay, that’s nice,” but they don’t give me the warm fuzzies. But the ones we get from family and friends do, and those make me smile.

Taking time to sign and address a card and, even better, to write a short note inside, says you took time to think about that person, at least a little longer than it takes to click “send.” It’s a nice change to find in our mailboxes mail that is not junk or a bill (a different kind of junk). And there’s a nice warm feeling about those greeting cards that arrive via snail mail in time to decorate the mantle or wall, and to warm our hearts.

So c’mon, go retro, I challenge you to make someone pull some joy out of the mailbox. Dale.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

What are you thankful for today?

“Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.”
-Mary Martin

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
-William Wordsworth

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”
-Norbet Platt