Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Happy Thanksgiving

Macy's Parade, 1967

Ok - I am the first to admit it. It is hard for me to get away from dogs. So for this Thanksgiving post it seemed so appropriate to share a photo found on the web of the Macy's parade, 1967. The six-pack of hounds here support my use of this vintage image. And who doesn't love Snoopy!

It is early yet, and I am at my computer as always. Sun is peeking through the overcast sky. It is a dice roll, the weather today. It will be sunny in my heart, no matter what.

The dogs have become simply impossible in the morning. I have no clue what has caused them to be so active at 7am. They are like children who have eaten too much sugar. Miss April in Paris jumps off the bed, all sixty pounds of her, racing up and down the hallway, barking, non-stop. Her call to action rallies the other five, who hit the floor, running to the kitchen, waiting for kibble. I drag myself out and putter down the hallway, let them out via the kitchen door, into the yard. I make a cup of instant coffee (yes, sometimes I am the laziest gal in town) and get their bowls ready. As soon as they eat, they crash. They are back to sleep and I am wide-eyed awake. It is a good time to write.

What am I thankful for this year? Everything. I started out the year thinking I needed a huge change in my surroundings. The change I needed was inside me. A reflective year, as I've written about before today on this blog. Health issues, some cash-flow issues, and the desire to be in a different house, in a different state, so far from all that is familiar here. Part of that draw to move, was to be closer to my family. The other part, I had no clue what to do now, six years a widow, in my quiet world. I pushed so hard to find a new life, I didn't know how to relax.

I'd forgotten how lucky I was with my friends here and my family's love only a phone call away. In six years on my own I had found myself. How did I not remember that? Maybe I needed a bit of a shake-up, and this hip of mine, which has slowed me down, allowed me to just be.

Yes, my hip grinding as I walk (and the doctor telling me there is a hip replacement in my future - which I am ignoring for now) has kept me from participating in things that require me to be on my feet for hours at a time. When I hurt, I lay down and relax. Relaxing has given me the time to think. And thinking has made me grateful for all the goodness around me It has cleared my mind to forge a new path, one right where I am for the time being. That does not mean I might not shake-it up later, but for now, I am where I need to be.

I may be slow with my walking, but it hasn't slowed me down for other things I love - like writing, sleeping with dogs, dinner with friends, too much time on the computer, which is like an extension of my body. I have a new project that will launch on Tuesday.

A Cup Of Christmas, an e-book with thirty other writers, is a dream come true. In six weeks it pulled together. Once again, my heart was thankful for the trust these authors have I can actually do this and the spirit in which they participated - they were paid nothing for their time and all proceeds go to First Book, a children's literacy charity. Writers giving back.  I've met these folks - some in person, some on Facebook, all linked together in the world of books, in the last six years as I started to write and find myself. I almost missed that I have a writing community of friends that are part of my new world, as I worried I was more alone this year than ever. Silly me.

And something new in the last month, I am going to church. There is a Methodist church on the corner that I've wanted to visit for thirty years. I finally told myself it was time. The sermons are short ( as is my attention span) and relevant to today's world. The pastor is charming and young, breathing life into the church this last year, and into me this last month.  I found a writing group that meets there. On my first Sunday visit, the bulletin announced  they meet there once a week. All of this two minutes from my house. Perfect for the gal who can't get anywhere on time. I can scoot out of my house at the very last minute and find my seat before the service begins.

I look back on this year and wonder what is it that made me so restless. I have wonderful friends, some that go back with me thirty plus years, some new that seem like old souls that connected years ago. I've dwelled on the fact I live by myself, no children, no family in town, dissecting that issue in my writing.  I have my six dogs that are my family here. They ground me on days I feel I may explode into the universe with stress and loneliness.  On days when the world is right, I sit on my couch and look at the six-pack surrounding me, and know I have created this life, different from what I had when married, but one that matches my needs. How did I almost forget that?

Family, friends, community, a passion to connect to others, my writing, a house that holds all my memories of a life well-lived, and a life that continues to grow. That is what I am thankful for today.

Yes, the dogs are glaring at me. I forgot to include them in the statement above. I am so happy to have my six-pack.  They are a group of hooligans, but they bring life to a house that could be too quiet. They remind me a broken spirit can be healed with love. They teach me that the simple things are what count. They teach me to enjoy the moment. They make me laugh out loud and be silly. They remind me, that eating lots of food is a good thing! And I will chow down with friends later today!

Wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving! May you be as happy as a pup with its head out the car window, inhaling all that life has to offer.