Gratitude of Life

Contemplating about, and practicing gratitude has been timely. Focusing on being grateful has made life easier — that doesn’t sound right; it’s not easy, but there’s a difference perspective. Even when faced with sorrow there is hope and goodness.

Last night a young man from this town was killed. He and his girlfriend were in a crosswalk in Portland when a car struck him.
Miraculously she wasn’t hit.

Daniel was a quiet, reserved young man. He got by on his wits and determination. The thing I remember most about him was his shy smile, his courage and determination to rise above the circumstances of his childhood.

Life. We take it so for granted. One minute walking across a street in Portland to get a bite to eat, the next mowed down by a care-less driver.

People that took him into their homes when he was a couch-surfer, who gave him a bed, encouragement and support, who helped him with many of life’s challenges are grieving. They were his family, not through blood but through love. My heart aches for them today. They’re hurting not only for the tragic end to Daniel’s life but for his girlfriend who valiantly gave him CPR.
Grateful for:
– life
– peace in knowing Daniel is in heaven.
– that he knew Jesus the Shepherd King
– the friend who stopped by the church to pray at a time I happened to be there.
– the crisp, sunny day

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Decisions

I let a woman down this evening, I wish I could have avoided it.

Making reasonable, good decisions in life is sometimes so difficult.

Rarely do I take the time to look at Facebook on Sunday mornings but this morning I was up early. After reviewing my notes and feeling quite prepared for both the adult Bible study and the sermon, I checked Facebook to see about a friend who’s in a rehab facility following surgery. She’d just posted that she was out of fiber to spin, would someone please bring some.
I replied that between all her fiber friends we should be able to get some to her. I added that perhaps I could visit her tomorrow afternoon. Even as I posted I wondered at the wisdom. The drawings for the Bees are at noon. I’d have to be quick at notifying the winners then jump in the car to get there and back before the after school traffic which can be a bear on that 2 lane highway between 3 – 6pm.

At the back of my mind I thought for sure someone else would jump in to say they’d take her fiber today.

Next thing I knew a fiber dyer who lives about 8 miles, in the other direction, posted that she’d supply the fiber – could I please stop on the way to pick it up for her. Suddenly I felt obligated. My innocent, heartfelt suggestion had not gone as I’d imagined when I jumped in with both feet.

Look carefully before leaping!
I thought she was in a town only 23 miles away to the NE of us. When I checked back this evening to see if someone had taken fiber to her she’d posted the name of the rehab center in the west hills of Portland.

A good hour+ drive each way – when the traffic is decent. Add in extra time to pick up the fiber on the way, spinning and chatting with her, then coming back on I-5 after 3:30pm the odds are high that the traffic will be thick and slow.

The final nail in deciding that I couldn’t realistically go was looking on google maps only to find that the rehab is in area where I always got lost when we lived in Portland years ago. The roads are a maze winding up and down around the hills. I played A league softball at one of the big parks up there. I never did figure out a good way to get to the park without getting lost! After a couple of weeks I dropped to a B team category so I could play closer to home and not deal with roads in West Hills. That was in ’85, I haven’t been back up there since. I can only imagine how much worse it is now.

No, we don’t have GPS.                                  (son and grandson geocaching)

I don’t think I’d feel so bad if I knew her well. We know each other through chatting a few times at fiber festivals and at guild meetings. But I have a tender spot in my heart for her. I care that she’s feeling lonely and trying to be patient. Spinning has been a solace while there.  She did write she’s hoping the doctor will release her to go home on Tuesday when she next sees him. I read that post this evening.

It’s been a long day. I missed the quiet, non-scheduled afternoon. We had our first music practice this afternoon for the upcoming Christmas sing-along. We also be playing for the town’s Christmas tree lighting in the park. Outside. It’s interesting trying to play a string instrument with cold fingers.
I will hold her in my prayers especially that she will be able to go back home on Tuesday. It’s time to let go of feeling distressed at letting her down.

Instead, I’ll focus on what I have to be grateful for.
Grateful for:
– God understanding the intentions of my heart and He still loves me even when I blow it.
– a decent music practice even when I wasn’t prepared as I should have been.
– a good Sunday school/Bible study and service this morning
– this blog where I can spill some of my thoughts
– Snowflake laying across my shoulders, purring in my ear.

Family ties

Yikes! The final task before heading to bed tonight was filling the coffee pot in preparation for the morning. Spooning the coffee grounds into the filter my thoughts drifted to this evening and hanging out with two cousins, especially the younger sister whom I hadn’t seen a couple of years. Then it hit me: I hadn’t posted today!

My heart sank.
Briefly I considered letting the day pass without posting. I need to get to bed – Sunday mornings come early for me. I like to be up by 6 at the latest.

25 days into the month with only 5 left to go. No, this day can’t be skipped

Turned the living room light and the laptop back on, gathering thoughts.
Thoughts of gratitude:
I’m grateful for
–  the unexpected chance to meet up with my cousins!
– my daughter who willingly opened up her home, and ordered pizza, on the spur of the moment when my cousin called this afternoon.
– her home which is at ground level so we could easily maneuver Older Cousin’s wheelchair into her house. (Five stairs up to our porches – someday we need to build a wheelchair ramp.)
– shared memories of our loved ones, and of celebrating childhood Thanksgivings and fun together.

It wasn’t until we’d loaded Oldest Cousin into the car that we realized we’d forgotten to take a picture. We’d so quickly taken up conversation that we all completely spaced on getting a group photo. By then it was getting quite late and they needed to get on the road.

Instead of a picture with my cousins, here’s one my daughter took about a month ago of me with her two younger daughters, Rose and Violet.
Violet helped make a pizza while Rose learned to crochet.
My mother firmly believed that five year olds were old enough to learn to properly use sharp knives. It’s a tradition that continues. Most Delicious pizza, it was!

Finished Mitts

The fingerless mitts are finished.
There were a number of false starts before finally settling on a pattern that shows off their beautiful color.
Pattern: Amanda’s Christmas Wristlets  with several modifications, including adding 3 ss rows and 2 ribbed on the thumbs; extending the length at the wrist and hand; changing from US6 / 4mm to US 5 / 3.75mm needles for the ribbing at the fingers.

Once the pattern and yarn began getting along nicely they knit up quicker than I’d hoped. I just might cast on for another pair. Or two.

Yarn spun out of  Picperfic  fiber titled Wylie a delicious blend of 60% Polwarth, 20% Yak, 20% Mulberry Silk. Colourway: Doris
Chain-plyed to keep the colors together.
(If you missed reading what I wrote about spinning the yarn and want to know more details here’s the post.)

With only 6 days left in November I’d best get cracking on what to spin for the YarnTools Ravelry December Challenge. If you love spinning with one of our Jenkins spindles and you haven’t joined the forum please do! We’d love to have you.

Our three year old cat approves of the mitts.
Grateful for:
– a pleasant, busy work day
– encouragement from friends
– the slant of the sun against glowing yellow and red leaves
– the ability to bring a bit of joy into a life of someone who’s life turned upside-down.
– good health!

A Different Thanksgiving

Normally Thanksgiving is the holiday I most enjoy: The day set apart to be mindfully thankful.
         Picture of the snapdragons taken yesterday – November snapdragons!

It’s a day with simplicity of meaning: being thankful , family, and celebrating with a traditional meal. It’s always on a Thursday, a day unencumbered with other obligations such as services, or practicing music several weeks to perform on the day.

Monday we received some news. The kind that presses on the heart, sits heavy in the gut and churns the brain. There’s nothing we can do but pray for the devastated ones who have the hard work of figuring out how to move forward.

Practicing gratitude has not been easy this week.
It’s takes much mental and emotion effort to choose to look around and take note of the blessings.
All the more reason to look life straight on and focus on the good that does surround us.

To see the blessing rather than the negative.

Gratitude looks outside of self. One can’t be self-absorbed and be truly grateful. Gratefulness is opening our hands and hearts to say “thank you!”

Truly being grateful for what I have, who I am, leads to contentment which in turn leads to a deep joy that, even when dealing with anguish isn’t extinguished.

The fullness of joy given by God. Joy that Jesus told his followers would be theirs even during hard times, pain, and heartache.
Hardy violas aka Johnny Jump-ups braving the November winds and rain.

I want to be like these flowers tattered by the storms yet upright, sinking their roots deep into the soil, blooming and bring bright cheer even out of season.
To practice the presence of God which brings grace, contentment, gratitude and joy.

Grateful for:
– an abundant life
– knowledge that God’s got me
– peace that passes human understanding even when there’s grief
– silence to listen
– this space to write my thoughts.

Splendor of clouds

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere I’ve looked at clouds that way.
(Lyrics from Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell)

During our walk looking at the changing splendor of the clouds my neighbor and I mused if our Creator enjoys arranging the clouds from time to time. All these pictures were taken within the span of an hour’s walk.
The first picture above was the last one to be taken as the storm moved to the north of us.

Grateful for:
– The ever changing, fascinating clouds.
– The sudden cessation of and 8am downpour just before heading out the door to walk this morning.
– Warm temperatures this week.
– Finishing the wristlets.
– An understanding husband.