Posted in Holidays and Seasonal Changes, Uncategorized

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving!

I always have. It is so wonderful for our nation to have a special day set aside for GRATITUDE.

Except …

What we often forget (or at least try to forget) (or refuse to even believe) is that the traditional First Thanksgiving Day taught in grade school and fixed in our individual and national consciousness is a Disney-fied mythology.

Here’s a terrifically sobering post from a wonderful blog, “Esperational.” The You Tube video is eye- (and heart-) opening. Please take a moment to read the short post and watch the short video.

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It has been my tradition on Thanksgiving to honor the other side of the story. For members of the first nations of this country this is a day of …

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

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Difficult truths …

Why is Truth so often Difficult?!

I don’t think this means I can’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day, as long as I recognize that the mythologized beginning is historically inaccurate.

Maybe I should celebrate … Happy THANKS-giving.

Posted in My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: “An Artist and Her Pop-Up Work”

Thanksgiving afternoon, after The Big Meal, the lucky thirteen of us in my big ole modern family …

(Okay, okay, I know I posted this pic before.)

… sort of scattered throughout hostess daughter Amy’s sprawling house, the adults congregating in the den before the obligatory football games, while the children (ages 3-17) did who knows what.

At one point, nine-year-old Madison resurfaced: “I’m bored. Matthew (her twin) and Gabriel (her cousin) won’t stop playing video games.”

“Go outside for a while,” wise Nana suggested.

Checking on her a bit later, I saw a now-spirited Madison and a growing pile of sticks. She loves artsy endeavors—note her self-made turkey hat? … bandana?

And then a bit later (who knows how long, the tryptophan was working on me), Madison asked the adults to “Come see what I made!”

Those adults who were still conscious rambled outside to find … an outdoor pop-up art installation!

“A free-form, aesthetically pleasing amalgamation of found object natural elements representing both land and sea,” I immediately thought upon seeing the piece.

“Huh?!” Madison seemed to think in response, judging from her body posture.

Oops, a few last-minute touches …

As self-proclaimed artistic judge, I found the work dazzlingly daring yet delicate, detailed and deeply thoughtful, while being both dreamlike and dynamic!

“Huh?!” I even asked myself.

The artist was then joined by little sister/helper Isabelle (3) …

The Joy of Grandchildren and … Art!

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 11/26/21

1. Robert and I enjoyed a big ole modern family Thanksgiving celebration with daughters Amy and Emily (and their fams) and ex-wife/great friend Donna.

And a pic that defines Awkward Family Photo …

I had just made some silly, jokey remark, and grandson Daniel was the only one who thought it was funny. He thought it was REALLY funny.

2. Cranberry sauce. More specifically, MY cranberry sauce. With allspice, brown sugar, fresh squeezed oj and zest.

3. My aging, sometimes achy and imperfect but wonderful body.

{No pic until said imperfect body is perfect. Do not expect body pics in the foreseeable future.}

4. Robert’s sometimes odd but always delicious soups (which he often makes up on the fly). This time, Baby Bok Choy and Shrimp.

5. The countdown to Christmas. We put up our Travel Tree last night, Thanksgiving night—a tradition. What’s a Travel Tree, you ask? It’s a Christmas tree, with each ornament from one of our travels. (More about the Travel Tree on my blog each day during December.)

Happy Last Weekend in November!

What are you thankful for this day?

Posted in Thankfulness, Gratitude

Tuesday Think Thank

This morning I Did what I Should Not Do—according to my husband, my therapist and even my pint-sized common sense. I started my Tuesday by scrolling (and scrolling) through online news. Why? Idk, but I’ll blame it on an out-of-my-daily-routine second cup of coffee.

Paraphrasing my three advisers: “Neal, how does it help you to be inundated with mainstream news, which is most often bad news?”

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A teeny sampling of what my caffeinated scrolling unearthed:

* Senseless deaths and injuries in the Wisconsin Christmas parade tragedy.

* Tucker Carlson calling Kyle Rittenhouse a “sweet kid.”

* A defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery case referencing in her closing statement Ahmaud’s “long dirty toenails.”

* The dangerously divisive hatred (hatred?!) in our divided political world today.

* Etc. Etc. Etc.

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What “got me out of the newsroom” (thank goodness!) was a quick trek to the frig for more creamer for that second cuppa and noticing what I had stuck on the refrigerator…

The overflowing harvest of the simple cornucopia somehow (note to self: yet another therapy topic) jarred me into remembering that not all is bad. Duh. And that I/we have so very much to be thankful for.

All of which, again, somehow brought to mind my favorite small-t thanksgiving song, Josh Groban’s rendition of “Thankful.” So I did a quick listen-to.

This non-newsworthy line stood out: “Sometimes we can’t see the joy that surrounds us.”

Here’s the song if you have a couple of minutes

Who says two cups of coffee are bad for you?!

Posted in College Teaching, JoyInciters

Reblog: Introducing the JoyInciters

In preparation for tomorrow’s keynote address at the Student Success in Writing Conference here in Savannah, I am reblogging these three pertinent posts. EnJoy!

JoyInciter = a strategy or practice which can bring greater happiness in life

I would like to introduce you to what I call the JoyInciters, a collection of simple practices which I use regularly to increase the level of happiness and joy in my life.  And even though some folks make a distinction between joy and happiness, I use the terms interchangeably.  I have collected these strategies from my study of happiness over the years, as well as my own life experiences, and have found them to be instrumental in moving me from not feeling good to feeling better, or from feeling okay to feeling happier.

I have come to have great respect for my feelings–they help me to know “where I am” at any given moment.  I see them (all of them) as significant helpers in life.  But I certainly don’t like them all.  I’ve heard it said that we “live at the address of our thoughts,” and I would add that our feelings (sad, depressed, excited, happy, etc.) are most often set in place by our thoughts.  Especially thoughts that we allow to become dominant in our minds.

My JoyInciters, if practiced authentically and regularly, WILL increase your joy.  I like the term JoyInciter, and when I created it, I played with other similar “words,” such as JoyEnticer, JoyInsider, and JoyInsight, but I love the idea that some very simple things we can do will incite (def = spur on, push toward action) us to get to where we want to go.  And I submit to you the belief that we all want to be happier.

I will be introducing one JoyInciter every week or so.

JoyInciter #1  is the most fundamental of all the strategies (and a practice which I imagine we all do to some extent): expressing gratitude.  This is what I am suggesting–make being thankful a regular, conscious practice.  And to help that endeavor, I keep an ongoing listing of what I’m thankful for, a gratitude journal or what I call my THANKSGIVING BOOK.

Everyday (or whenever I think of it), I write something down I’m thankful for.  I have come to realize that what I write down is NOT the most important factor of this practice.  But the LOOKING for thanksgiving is paramount in causing a shift in SEEING.  And it’s SO easy.  Right now as I type, I am grateful to be able to type, to have a computer and a smart phone, to have this popcorn I am eating, to have a bed to sleep in, etc.  Two of my courses this semester are keeping gratitude journals, and we begin class each day by sharing what we’re thankful for.

I challenge you to consciously begin to look for that which you are thankful for (whether you use a Thanksgiving Book or not).  To get started, tell me a few things you are grateful for right now.  This practice is a definite JoyInciter.

Posted in Holiday Joy, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Gratitude Turkey

I picked up Grandson Daniel (5) from school yesterday, and, hopping into his back seat, he excitedly showed me his just-completed Turkey Basket (well, that’s what he called it anyway).  As I soon learned, the turkey project was two-fold: first the cute little construction paper turkey itself.  But as you can see in the pictures below, the front housed a nifty envelope (basket?) which held little gratitude or thanksgiving cards.  For each note, Daniel and his classmates completed the statement “I am thankful for ____ because …” for their family members.

What a joy!  Little ones expressing their thankfulness so sincerely.  Below Daniel explains to me that his plan for Thanksgiving Day consists of waiting till “all the guests” have eaten “some of their turkey” and then “hand out the slips.”  And he did just that–for all fourteen of the folks at the table.  His mom helped him with some of the spelling, but the sentiments were exclusively his.

Here’s mine:

“I am thankful for Abu (that’s me) because he helps with decorations.”

(Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strange, but the day before, we had decorated for Thanksgiving with some outdoor lights.  And a month earlier we had carved two jack o’ lanterns.)

What Thanksgiving Joy!  We really all do have so very much to put in our Turkey Baskets.

[For more on “Abu” see “My Favorite Word Is Abu!” post.]