Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Living In The Moment

What good is it to rush around, shopping on a day that you should be spending with loved ones, giving thanks for your blessings, creating new memories and reminiscing about old ones?   We spend our busy days rushing, scrambling, texting, fighting crowds to buy the latest gizmos, ending up feeling physically exhausted and spiritually empty.  What good is it all if we don't stop and live in the moment, enjoying the now, slowing down and absorbing our surroundings, our families and our good fortunes.   You know, taking time to smell the flowers?   Thanksgiving was our last chance to have that simple day of reflecting on our blessings and showing our family and dear friends how grateful we were by asking them to share in our bountiful feasts which could be as elaborate as a finely set dining table, or a buffet of delectable dishes brought from guests to be shared and enjoyed at makeshift tables and chairs, cramming guests and food as best and creatively as we can in small living quarters.   We do anything as creative hosts in order to enjoy this special holiday.   We snap pictures of babies having their first turkey leg.
Or perhaps, a newlyweds first time hosting Thanksgiving, showing off her first cooked turkey, succulent and golden brown right out of the oven.

 Mothers and Grandmothers working tirelessly to fill the dining table with an abundance of flavorful dishes, never complaining but relishing the time spent with their loved ones, showing love as they know best, through their wonderful cooking.

I hope this Thanksgiving you will stop and reflect on the true meaning of the day.  It's not meant to be spent fighting for a parking space at an overcrowded Mall, buying things that you don't need that day, things that will still be there the day after Thanksgiving.   Please take lots of pictures, eat lots of good food, laugh and share in your common memories of Thanksgivings long ago and savor this quiet beautiful holiday as it was meant to be celebrated.   Happy Thanksgiving, feel blessed and pass it on!

Oh, and one more thing!   There is always one person who goes above and beyond in the planning of this wonderful feast.   They shop and chop and cook and bake, usually too tired to even eat but get their great joy in seeing their guests enjoy their labors of love.   Give that person an extra hug and kiss and show your gratitude!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Actions of One

It only took the senseless action of one coward to change the course of history and the psyche of a nation.  With three gunshots, two proving to be fatal, we went from a post war generation of idealists and optimists who believed, like our beloved president, that we could do it all, achieve what we set our sights on and successfully enjoy the fruits of our labor and dreams.  But 50 years ago this November 22nd, everyone who can remember the events was forever changed.  I was seven and I can still remember a lot of the events like it was yesterday.  It was just after our lunch period, 2nd grade, Mrs. Heidenrich who was starting to teach a subject when she was called out of the room, returning with a pale, sad face to tell us the news, sending us home to our mothers in the gloomy, dark rainy afternoon to find them crying, watching the television, not knowing what to say to us.   I can remember watching the events unfold, feeling sad, wanting to do something, being sent to stay with my grandparents.   My wise grandfather decided we would do something constructive to keep us busy, so we scoured his newspapers and cut out pictures and text, creating an amazing scrapbook for me to keep in remembrance of our fallen President and the historic events unfolding that cold November weekend.

I cut out pictures of the President and First Lady arriving at Dallas, he looking dapper as always, she a beautiful vision in her cotton candy pink Chanel suit with matching pillbox hat.  How we all wanted to be and look like her, mothers and daughters alike.   So stylish and pretty, not stuffy and old like Mamie or Bess were.   They were black and white, she was technicolor!   She gave women an image to look up to, from the way she carried herself to her effortless style.

Even in her grief and agony, she remained dignified and we
watched in amazement as she
helped lead a nation in mourning.
Jacqueline Kennedy was the
right person for the times, she
had the utmost sense of history,
from her efforts to restore the
White House to the peoples home
furnished with antiques and
period pieces suited to the Presidents
who resided there, to the planning
of her husbands funeral.   She
knew that it must be memorable,
majestic, an event that would
be permanently embedded in
our memories so we would
never forget her husband and all that he achieved in his lifetime.   For those of us who lived through the events, we never will forget the steady beating of the drums during the
funeral procession to the Capitol building where he would lay in state
all day and all night, with thousands waiting in a ten mile line to pay their
final respects to him.  We will remember the Navy Hymn "Eternal
Father, Strong to Save".  We will remember the passenger free Air Force
One, flying over one last time at the gravesite in a final tribute.  The twenty
one gun salute, the meticulous folding of the American flag being presented to
Mrs. Kennedy, the lighting of the eternal flame.  We who lived through the events
still remember, just as she wanted us to.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

Dear Readers, I know my blog has been overdue for an update but I hit a bump in the road of life recently so forgive me for taking some time off.   2013 has proved itself to be quite challenging, more so than even 2012 was.  I thought maybe after a major surgery followed by chemo and radiation treatments, God would kinda give me a reprieve but we all know thats not how life works.  With the holidays behind us, 2013 started off quite calm, then my husband suffered a stroke the day before our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary.  Thank God we got him to the hospital in time and he got amazing care with amazing doctors and after many meds and recovery time, both he and I spent the spring recovering from our recent setbacks only to be involved in a terrible car accident in which I had to be cut out with the "jaws of life".   Wasn't that an out of body experience?  But we thankfully were not seriously hurt, just sore, shook up and I had a huge bump on my noggin to show for it.   The car was totalled which was a shame because though it was a 2003 Toyota Rav4 it was in perfect condition and running order.  So, while we dealt with the aches and pains, we bought ourselves a brand new Rav4.   I figured since the other car saved my life, I was sticking to the same thing.
 So far, the year was proving to be quite a challenge.
We spent the summer tackling a project we had been putting off for quite sometime.   Our flooring had issues and we finally picked out cherrywood floors, packed up everything in the living room and bedroom and ordered new furniture - another thing I had been putting off for years.   I am so glad we chose to do this project when we did because as soon as it was completed and the last piece of china was unpacked and lovingly placed back in the cabinet, I got hit with another bump in the road.
October was fast approaching and it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, reminding me of something I had been putting off, so at the end of September I had my mammogram, which showed an abnormality in one breast, leading me to have a core biopsy and ultrasound which lead me to the most wonderful breast cancer surgeon who assured me that this was in its earliest stages and actually it was a miracle the radiologist saw it at all.   She also assured me that it was highly curable and would require another round of radiation ( Joy Joy ) but probably not chemo ( Thank You Jesus ) so I put my trust in my surgeon and her great team of doctors and God of course, and stayed calm and focused.   What other choice did I have?

Well, I could shop.  That always makes a gal feel better, right girlfriends?   I had seen a TV show on breast cancer survivors and one lady had the most beautiful purse which is my weakness of course.  So I Googled the purse and found where to order it.   I figured if I'm going to fight this, I might as well be as stylish as I've always tried to be and this purse was just the medicine I needed!   Isn't it gorgeous?   And proceeds of course went to cancer research.

 My surgery was on Oct. 25th and I came through with flying colors and on Halloween I got the great news that it had all been removed in surgery, nothing had spread to vessels or lymph nodes.  It was a separate cancer from the Ovarian cancer I had in 2012.  Great news again!  It was stage one.  If you have to have the big "C" then stage one is the number you want to be diagnosed with, detected early and highly treatable.   I'm a pretty lucky girl and feel very blessed.   Being diagnosed with the big "C" twice in two years puts things in perspective, your priorities change, you relish and hold dear every visit with your parents, or breakfast with your BFF's which is what I did one week after surgery.   I look pretty good all things considering don't I?

So, now I tackle some radiation, piece of cake, been there, done that, can do it again!   Staying positive and focused and enjoying my favorite time of the year where beautiful autumn days lead up to the holiday season of Joy and Thankfulness.   Yes, this year I hit a few bumps in the road, but this Thanksgiving I'll be feeling more blessed than ever.   Enjoy this time of the year, take a ride in the country as we are going to do today, marvel at the colors of the leaves, enjoy the homes and farms decorated with pumpkins and hay and cornstalks, live life in the moment, take it all in and savor it!