Monday Musings

Another Monday, another spin around the sun, and the first Monday in November.

This year is just blurring on by, isn’t it? You know what this means right?

Full on Christmas coming at us now.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and I go all out for it.

I just want my turkey first….. and pie.

I want those tasty dishes that seem to be extra delicious on Thanksgiving. I want to smell those amazing smells of the day as my often, loud and wonderfully goofy family shows up to eat, watch football and celebrate a day of giving thanks for all we have.

I want that before I’m propelled into the Christmas whirlwind.

I want that set aside day of focusing on thankfulness.

Reasons to be thankful

Do we need to be reminded? I think, sometimes, we get so set in our lives we don’t really take time to focus on all we’ve been blessed with.

I was at the stop sign the other day and a local homeless woman was in her chair as she usually is. She is often just down the street at Starbucks sitting by the drive way but has changed up her location again ( she moves between both areas) it is known she has mental issues. It is also known she supposedly chooses this life.

I don’t know much except she’s a staple in that area. I greet her when I walk up to get my coffee, I will not look through her and pretend she isn’t there as many do.

But on this day, she was seated at the stop sign.

As I waited for the car in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice her, really see her.

Head in her hand holding her sign, her face red from days of sitting in the sun, a cigarette loosely held, her worldly possessions around her, it was her face that caught me.

The look of someone holding back emotion or trying not to cry.

It took everything in me to not turn around and go back and ask, are you ok? Except, with her mental instability, you just don’t know what you will get.

In those moments so much was impressed on me.

You think you’ve had a hard year, but you’ve not had hard like that homeless woman on the corner hard.

I thought about the nice car I was driving, wearing nice clothes. I thought about my beautiful home that protected and sheltered me. The abundance of food we had, the things that made my life comfortable, my family that surrounded me, and the simple luxuries I had. I thought about my husband and how much he has been brought through and how our needs are always met.

I felt humbled in that moment. And thankful

The thoughts continued to flow….

Your hard isn’t the family divorcing, ending what they have known. Your hard isn’t the young mother who lost a twin, or a parent watching their child continue the path of addiction or a family member dealing with alcohol addiction, or a widow grieving their partner

All situations I’m personally aware of.

We all have our levels of hard to deal with, right?

November marks a year since my husband was told he had two types of cancer. To say this year has been a new level of “hard” is putting it mildly. There have been ups and downs and moments that have overwhelmed me leaving me feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Throw in a virus, him being unable to work right now, Dr appointments, chemo treatments, constant dancing around with insurance and the daily shifting of life, it can make the strongest person feel weak at any given moment.

Yet, that thought bounced through my head.

Your hard isn’t like hers. Your life, while it has been difficult, painful even, is good.

We all have our own version of hard

We do right? Struggles, pain, suffering, hardships. They may look different but we all have that road to walk on some level.

I firmly believe how we approach it has a huge impact on the rest of our lives. Has this year been easy?

Not even.

Have I been amazingly blessed? Absolutely.

Do I choose, look for all the good I have in my life even if it is hard? I do.

As we go into November, a month in which we have a day set aside to think of all we’ve been blessed with and give thanks for those blessings, I choose to set my sights there.

So stand down Christmas.

I want my turkey and pie. I want more mashed potatoes than I should eat. I want breakfast with my family still in jammies with messy hair crammed around the table eating the pastries I made. I want to enjoy the food, the laughter, the controlled chaos, and most importantly, my tribe. The beautiful people I’ve been given to share this life with.

Life is hard. If there weren’t hard times we wouldn’t deeply embrace the good. Life is made of both.

I am thankful and abundantly blessed. I hope you too, even as you may deal with difficulties or uncertainty will also celebrate the good and the blessings you have as well.

And hey, go ahead and have another piece of pie. ūüėČ

It’s The Small Things

You know that saying “it’s the small things in life?”¬† Meaning it’s those things we might not think much about that really matter in big ways. Things we seemingly take for granted and don’t often give maybe a lot of thought too.

Sometimes, the small things really are big things.

For example, my week. I hurt my hand last week.¬† And not just “a little hurt” but hurt¬†enough to make some things not only painful ( as in make me sick to my¬†stomach pain)¬†¬† but also¬†super inconvenient as well.

My advice… don’t stick your hand in when two dogs are at odds with each other.¬† Dumb I know. It’s an unthinking move at the time.

Of course, it was my left hand.¬† And yes, that’s my dominant hand. I’m one of the few unique ones operating with a hand many of you still express surprise over when it’s revealed.

Ha… where… do you think all my artistic creativity comes from ? ūüėõ

I’d never view my health or body wellness as a “small” thing, it’s just that I’m used to going through my days fairly effortlessly and without dealing with inconveniences.

I never really pondered the ease of doing zippers, buckling belts, tying shoes, doing my makeup, driving! , writing,  waking up without my hand instantly aching or attempting to grasp things with my hand.

I have now pondered it a lot.

What physical activities?

Given my hand had some serious injuries, it’s curbed me from activities like boxing, rowing, cycling, weights.. pretty much anything that requires me to have a good strong grip.

Yes, I can still run but my hand was swollen and I didn’t think it was a great idea to be out swinging it and running and all that would come along with it.

Today was my first venture back out, a short 5kish distance to see how it felt. I tried to be mindful to hold it up more and not let my arm move as freely as I usually might. I guess it worked ok ’cause I didn’t feel awful after.

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It’s a good thing I like running ’cause it appears I will only be doing that for awhile. I’m ok with the idea¬†since there are so many ways¬†I can adjust running to mix it up and not get bored.

Running let’s me plot different routes, distances and I can determine how easy or hard that will be.

Do I include a route where I know I’ll get plenty of hills? Or do I keep it mostly flat? Better yet, do I want to do just hill repeats which is a strength and speed workout all in one? I really, weirdly, love doing hill repeats. If you’ve read my posts before on them, they aren’t your average “hill” but literally are mountains that have been paved over. It’s really quite a nice workout.

I was picking up my mail one day and one of my neighbors was there at that time. Our conversation went like this…

“Hey! I saw you running up that big hill this morning!”

Me… “yes, yes I was.”

Neighbor… “Running. You were running up it.”

( he said it like a statement of something I may or may not have been aware of)

“Yes sir, I was running up that hill. You are correct.”

“Girl you are crazy. I don’t even think I could manage to walk up it.”

Ha I should be semi amused he called me “girl” and ¬†it should be noted this isn’t the first time my neighbors may have referred to me as a little crazy in regards to my cycling and running on some of the tough terrain we live on.

So yeah. Hill workouts will definitely be a part of my regime as my hand heals until I can get back to that other stuff I love doing.

But I digress….

in this week as I’ve dealt with it I have thought about those things, big and small, I can take so casually. Perhaps it’s when you go through struggles or difficulties that you focus in on it more.

It should be noted, I really don’t do confinement well. I don’t do good with clipped wings. I don’t do well not being able to confidently take care of the things around me I need to.

I literally have grass threatening to grow over my head…. I need to have a strong enough hand for that push mower.

Perhaps it’s in these times that I am more aware of those seemingly small things I assume is a privilege and it’s really not.

small things

 

None of us are really, entitled to anything. Which makes the gifts we have so much more treasured and valuable.

Being able to freely use my hand to drive, to cook, to grasp, cut, lift, do my makeup or blow dry my hair, to do all of the creative artistic things I’m enjoying ( ha I’ve just sucked it up and endured some pain to keep on with¬†a few¬†of my projects) write something without looking like someone hijacked my penmanship, so many things I’ve found myself considering.

In the course of life, this isn’t earth shaking and awful.

Certainly people daily go through so much more. It doesn’t have to be huge to make us stop and think and reflect on what we’re given and how precious it is and how we should value the abilities and gifts we have.

It’s all about gratitude

perhaps it comes down to that. Understanding that no matter what our situation we can choose to have a grateful attitude. Not for what we’re going through necessarily, but for all the small things, big things and everything in between.

For me, it’s simply easier to stay there than focus on the negative.

So I will try and appreciate all those small things in life that I previously hadn’t. I will celebrate daily improvement getting back to “normal” ( hahaha well that will most likely never happen as I’m far from that ūüėõ )

I will fully embrace my abilities when I get them again to wrap my hand firmly around heavy metal and lift it. To ride my bike at swift speeds and feel my hand clamp down on the brakes slowing my speed.   To slip into my boxing gloves and sink my body weight into the bag. To be seated on the rowing machine hands wrapped around the pull as my entire body responds to the work.

Sometimes the small things aren’t so small. Sometimes it’s those very things that make us feel alive and quicken our spirits.

Tell me, how do you embrace difficulty? Have you ever given much consideration to those “small things” in your life? Can you choose to be grateful in those times or are you annoyed to be in them?

 

 

Simple Blessings

thanksgiving

 

Brace yourselves. Thanksgiving week is upon us.¬† I’ve got a daily to-do list plotted out like a military commander preparing for battle.

Food to be prepared in various stages, cleaning and organizing to be done and any final trips to the store ( an adventure unto itself).

Of course I will start each day with some kind of workout ’cause that keeps me balanced and sane in a busy week ūüėČ For the past few years I’ve headed out before the morning gets started for a quick run, no music, no distractions, just me on the road watching the sunrise and thinking about all the ways I’m blessed in my life. Basically, getting centered before the day takes off and gets busy.

Thanksgiving is a day to reflect and think on how much we have and how blessed we are. If you’re reading this post from another place in¬† our vast world and you are of course, not, celebrating Thanksgiving I hope you at least leave this post thinking in a new way about the good things you have each day in your own life =)

I got to thinking the other morning when I hopped in my car and started it how grateful I am for that… just having my car start. Pretty simple, right? You expect it, right ?

Years ago, in tighter times, we drove some really uh…classic… cars… haha a nice way of saying they weren’t super fancy but (usually) got us where we were going… actually some of them were horrible ūüėõ ¬†And there were many times I hopped in and the crazy thing didn’t start.

I remember one year, we were sooo poor, our car had died and a car dealership in town was “giving” away various cars. You showed up, put your name in a drawing for the chance to get it. If you won the “free” car you just had to pay tax, title and license on it. I was down there with a zillion other people.

They called my name. I squealed. I never win anything. I got evil eyed stares from others who were hoping to get the car.

I waited and wondered what our new wheels would look like.. something small? Sporty? It didn’t matter… we were gonna have¬†a car.

Then they pulled it around. It had leaves all in the windshield. It was dirty.

It was huge. Massive.

It was a Plymouth Fury. Solid steel and could probably hold a football team. My brother was with me and checked it out under the hood and we took it for a test drive.

It handled with the efficiency of an army tank. The hood was probably 12 feet in front of me. It seemed unending.

And for 120.00 it was mine and we drove it home. I had never felt so grateful.

We¬†christened it¬†with the name White Fang… don’t even ask me …why ?? ’cause I don’t remember.¬† I just seemed deserving to have a name.

We fixed it up and used it for quite awhile before we sold it and blessed someone else with it ūüėČ

So I just got to thinking besides being grateful for cars that start, all the simple, sometimes ordinary things, in my life I take for granted but really am grateful for. This is by no means an exhaustive list….

 

Waking up and being given another day at this thing called….life.

Feeling my heart beat.

My health, my strength, and physical abilities I’ve developed. My body can run, lift, ride a bike and¬†do so many things. I never take that for granted.

Eyes to see, ears to hear, senses to explore the world around me.

My God and My Savior who has given me life.

My beautiful children and grandchildren.

My awesome husband who loves me, supports me, cheerleads me, tells me I can do anything I put my mind to, tells me I’m sexy and still¬†means it ūüėČ spoils me rotten, challenges me, listens to me when I need to vent, let’s me be myself¬†and overall has always taken amazing care of me… how did I get so blessed with an amazing man for 33 years ?? Seriously.

Then there’s all those other things in life (we) I take for granted…..

an abundance of good foods, the ability to shop and buy those foods, a closet of nice clothes and shoes, a beautiful home with things in it to make me comfy, air for when it’s hot or cold to make the house cozy, my bed! snuggling with my pillow, the feel of my husband against my body, hot showers, waking up to the smell of coffee ’cause I can set the timer to have it waiting for me in the morning (spoiled!)

Our country and all the blessings and good things we’re afforded here.

Music. Is there life without it ?

A variety of friends in all ages.

People who believe in you.

My church home and family I love there.

Chocolate. Fresh bread. Summer strawberries and watermelon. A perfect banana. The smell of homemade cookies coming out of the oven. Turkey cooking on Thanksgiving morning.

Soft, thick sweaters on cold days.

Blustery, crisp fall days.

An unexpected card or message from a friend.

Resources that meet my needs.

The sound of my husband sleeping next to me.

People who make me smile and laugh.

The ability to love and feel emotions.

Long talks with good friends.

The loud and sometimes crazy chaos when allll the family is gathered together.

Sloppy clothes, a fire, and a hot cup of coffee on a dreary day.

The sound of my husbands voice.

Laughter.

Seeing an old friend.

Unexpected gifts.

A perfect sunny day.

Long hugs. Soft kisses.

Random lazy days.

Bubble baths.

I guess I could go on and if you’re with me to this point, thanks for reading this far. Hopefully, I’ve made you think a little bit about the things in life that might seem common or ordinary or maybe that we think we’re “entitled” to when really, everything we have is a blessing.

What are you thankful for ?

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