Thanksgiving Wisdom from Mr. Button

Throughout November, I have had the sweet experience of reading the points of gratitude that my friends have been posting online.  So very, very much of what they say rings true in my own life and many times, I could have not said it as eloquently as they have.  Their comments have helped me take stock of the things I am thankful for in my own life and I have been renewed as I recognize and relish the gifts I have been so kindly given.  So for that, friends, I thank you very much.

I have very often said and I firmly believe that our lives are a reflection of the gratitude that we feel and that what we do with our lives shows our God, whichever God you do or don’t believe in, that we are–indeed–thankful. ¬†At the end of my life will I be asked if I was grateful for blessings bestowed? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†Will viewing what became of my life say every kind thank you in a most beautiful and pure way? ¬†I hope so. While I know I am not perfect and cannot possibly do all things right, I do know that I can show my gratitude to the best of my ability through living an authentic life, MY¬†authentic life, the best that I know how.

In rummaging through my digital brain, I found this morsel from years ago:

 

“Had an “ah-hah!” moment last night.

The husband and I went to a movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.¬† I was skeptical as to whether or not I would like it because I had heard reports that it was very long…and typically when my butt falls asleep in a movie, it is not a good sign.¬† Little did I know that I was about to be touched in a way that I truly needed…

Benjamin Button is an oddity.¬† He was born old and grows younger as time goes on.¬† Living his life in reverse, he has a different experience than the rest of us though his perspective is very much the same.¬† This story circles around important people in his life and how their lives intersect time and again…and how he learns to let go.¬† You very much get the idea that Benjamin’s life is a process of learning and growing and loving; experiences and opportunities–both missed and profited from.¬† Even those people whom he associates with offer their gems of wisdom about life.¬† Some are expected, such as those from his mama.¬† Others are not and are beautifully subtle and important, nonetheless.

And so, here is what I realized, though there is so much more that cannot be translated into words.

I am not broken.  I am not damaged, I am not second-best, I am not tarnished or defective.

There is nothing wrong with me.  I am exactly who I should be.  There is nothing wrong with the way I think or feel, though the way I have believed my entire life dictates to me otherwise.  I am learning and growing and changing into the person that I will eventually become and there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING wrong or broken about that.  Stepping outside of something that you have always embraced takes courage.  It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that I want to be MORE than I thought I could ever want. 

For the first time ever I realized that life is to be experienced and that I shouldn’t fear it or doubt it.¬† This life–my life–is made up of so much of the good and bad that comes to someone by simply living and that is what I am doing. Simply living. I am living and discovering and it’s never too late to surprise yourself.¬† Feeling, thinking, doing, trying, wanting, seeing, questioning, deciding, abandoning, returning, loving, caring, embracing…these are all things I have done within the lines drawn by others.¬† Stepping out and beyond those lines is not to be feared as long as I can be honest with myself and others.¬† Realizing that there is so much more to me than I ever acknowledged is a priceless gift and not one to be exposed with agonizing trepidation.

I am me.  My life is a gift to be savored.  I am not broken.

Now I can begin to live.”

 

Perhaps of all of the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving-time, I am thankful for this particular lesson learned because it has influenced me in so many ways.  This unexpected gem of wisdom has blessed me time and again and in turn become an integral part of who I am.  When I see the path I have trod over the course of the past years, I can clearly see that although I am not what I ever though I would be, spiritually speaking, I am so much closer to who I am supposed to be.  I can feel it.  And I hope to show it and live it so that my unending gratitude to my Father in Heaven is plainly seen.

Finally, this thought from the movie:

 

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”¬†

I hope to live a life I am proud of.  I hope you do, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Stranger Than Fiction

I rarely shop Barnes and Noble but this incident just made me laugh. ¬†This happened to me. ¬†For reals. ¬†¬†I survived it. ¬†I’m like that.

Redfaced
To:
The Barnes and Noble employee
Who:
Turned to complain to a fellow co-worker
About:
People who can’t find their own books
While:
Showing me to the Thesarus section
Because:
I didn’t know where to find them
But:
Griped to me mistakenly
Then:
Died a thousand times over with just as many apologies.
Fact:
It’s in your job description.
Rethink:
Your career choice.
I wonder if she still works there?
Aside

Poppies

The 16 year old girl in my life has a catchphrase that has become more of a catchphrase for her than ever before:

“Oh! That makes me happy!”

She says this every time something piques that feeling of glee in her soul…the moment she feels a giggle or a grin beginning deep in her belly. ¬†It can be about anything that produces euphoria for her. ¬†Guess what? ¬†I love it. ¬†I love that she has so many things–simple things–that make her happy. ¬†Most of the time I find myself laughing and agreeing with her. ¬†I also adore that she is much like me. ¬†Before she ever was, I had many years of things that made me happy and I spent much time reveling in those ¬†simple things. ¬†I continue to find new things, albeit more quietly than she, and I try to feather my physical and mental nest with those small joys.

With our most recent traditional summer family trip to Bear Lake, I was reminded of one of my own “Oh-that-makes-me-happy” moments. ¬†Honestly, it wasn’t until this year that I realized it had been 7 years since that initial experience and I still revisit it every time we make the Bear Lake pilgrimage.

After the birth of my 4th baby I first met depression head on. ¬†I didn’t seem to bounce back after his arrival as I had with the other three. ¬†There were dark days and nights of pure physical survival and though I was being cared for by my midwives and diligently taking medication, I was in a mental and emotional fog. ¬†Those who have taken antidepressants may recognize what I am saying. ¬†The medication smoothes¬†out the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs and creates a steady, numbing fog. ¬†Well, for me, anyway.

When baby was 7 weeks old, we headed to Bear Lake with my husband’s family. The cabin we stay at is situated in the foothills above the lake, among the sagebrush and grass. ¬†We spend our time visiting, eating, playing, sleeping (ha ha) and watching movies and often we travel the winding dirt roads back and forth to the lake and into town for shopping. ¬†It was driving down the dirt road that I first noticed it…a single red poppy, blossoming off of the side of the road amidst the weeds and sage. ¬†It’s head would nod at me on its graceful stem as we drove by, almost acknowledging me. ¬†Oh! ¬†It made me happy! ¬†I couldn’t explain why–perhaps it was because I felt something when I saw it there. ¬†It wasn’t particularly beautiful but it was vivid and it was alive. I looked for it every time we passed. ¬†It was a sweet little bright spot among the dull greens, grays and browns of both the mountainside and my life.

One afternoon as we traveled by, I was looking forward to the poppy and instead I found a woman with a big, round butt, bent over, picking it. ¬†She was picking the lone poppy that had somehow found its way to the mountainside and had survived long enough to bloom. ¬†Her butt was to the road, head aimed downhill, mooning everyone that travelled by as she took that red flower. ¬†I was half tempted to open the car door as we drove by, stick my foot out and kick her squarely in the ass and down the hillside. ¬†Who did she think she was, picking my poppy? ¬†That When she picked that flower, it felt like she plucked a piece of me, too. ¬†It was small, but it was something. ¬†I had grown attached to it. ¬†She was picking my happiness, damn her. ¬†How dare she? ¬†And plus, why was she wearing stretch pants? ¬†Oy vey. ¬†It’s always the women with the more than ample derrieres that wear the stretch pants, even though every freaking law in the universe points to the fact that they shouldn’t do it. ¬†At least they weren’t flesh-colored. ¬†Anyway, with that—with the bigger than the moon butt in the stretch pants mocking me straight to my face—the poppy was gone.

I’ve never forgotten it. ¬†It wasn’t until this year that I consciously realized I remember that poppy at the bend in the dirt road every time we travel pass, STILL. ¬†I found myself sharing the story with my 16-year-old girl and she kind of semi rolled her eyes at me and didn’t get it.

“She PICKED my POPPY.” ¬†I said to her, uber-emphasizing the “p” sound in both ‘picked’ and ‘poppy’. ¬†“You don’t just go around picking people’s poppies!” She didn’t get it. ¬†But I got it. ¬†She told me to get over it. ¬†I wasn’t about to relinquish myself to this poppy injustice.

As the memory percolated inside my head, it made more sense. ¬†“You don’t just go around picking people’s poppies!” ¬†No, we shouldn’t. ¬†We shouldn’t pick the happiness of others, no matter what form it comes in. ¬†We should cultivate the happiness of others and tend to it instead of carelessly plucking whatever we want, when we want. ¬†Everyone has poppies. ¬†Everyone has things that make them happy and brighten and lift their lives. ¬†¬†Everyone has experiences that are poppies or belongings that are poppies or ideas or wishes or hopes that are poppies. ¬†Whether the poppies are tangible or not makes no difference. ¬†What makes the difference is that they are left alone to help that particular individual flourish and feel and be.¬†It is with the realization of our happy times and happy things that experiences and memories are built. ¬†Do you know what experiences and memories build? ¬†Lives. ¬†They build lives. ¬†I have no right to take another’s building blocks away. ¬†No matter how good they might look in the vase on my coffee table.

Shouldn’t we be builders? ¬†Shouldn’t we be the ones who help construct and preserve? ¬†Mothering my children has been a great opportunity for me to protect and tend to my children’s happiness. ¬†Shouldn’t I do that to my brothers and sisters as well? ¬†My neighbors? My community? ¬†I cannot justify my own selfishness, especially if it comes at the price of another. ¬†This isn’t to say that I have never done it, because I know I have. ¬†I have simply come to the awful realization that I am as guilty as the bubble-butt in the stretch pants. ¬†Now I know. ¬†We should be sewing poppies, not picking them. ¬†If we could sew more happiness in this hardened world we live in and give more than we ever take, maybe it wouldn’t be so hardened. ¬†We shouldn’t pluck other’s poppies. ¬†We should preserve them so they can go on to proliferate happiness and success. Let’s vow to sew happiness.

Sometimes, we unwittingly pick our own poppies. We devalue the things we love because we compare them to what others have *or* we pay more heed to what others think than to what really matters to us. There are many reasons we might pick our own poppies, but it doesn’t make it okay to pick them even if they belong to us. Let’s not be guilty like the stretch pants pickers of the world are. ¬†Let us be kinder to who we truly are and can become by leaving the poppies and enjoying–no–relishing them. ¬†Relish the hell out of them.

To those of you who may think that this post could have been written without the swears, I have this to say: don’t go picking my poppies.

Great little post about my favorite childhood story. Thank you Anya!!!

Anya's Observations

A relative, Jennifer, ¬†recently posted on Facebook how much she was enjoying reading the book Charlotte‚Äôs Web¬†to her children.¬†‚ÄúThey are enchanted,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI love love love this book!‚ÄĚ

You probably remember the story. ¬†In order to save her best friend Wilbur from the chopping block, a lovable spider named Charlotte calls a special committee to come up with words that describe Wilbur. Then she weaves these adjectives and declarations such as ‚ÄúSome Pig!‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTerrific!‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúRadiant‚ÄĚ into her web to convince the farmer, a Mr. Zuckerman, that Wilbur is worth far more alive than in the form of bacon on the breakfast table.

Wilbur is uncomfortable at first, saying he’s more of just an average pig and that he’s not really terrific at all, but Charlotte assures him that he’s terrific to her. Soon Wilbur starts believing that maybe he is terrific and even begins to feel…

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Daily Gratitudes

1. ¬†Friends that come through in the nick of time….even after 21 years. ¬†Love you Beenie and Mille!

2.  Finally getting over a cold.

3.  Looking forward to a week without school for me!

4. ¬†Surprising myself on a final. ¬†I was in the depths of despair–but a 91% came along and reminded me I don’t give myself enough credit.

5. ¬†On days I feel lonely, knowing that I won’t be alone for long. ūüôā

Porterville Utah Chapel
Est 1898

 

An Abandoned Church

To hatch, to match and to despatch, 
Those clichéd words, so glibly said
To total all this ruin’s worth, 
To bless the bride, to shrive the dead.

To christen infants and to be, 
To all who sought a comfort sure, 
A barque of safety on that sea
That laps at last on Heaven’s shore.

But now no longer do these walls
Give back the chant of psalm or hymn
No more will flickering candles light
The pilgrim’s way through shadows dim.

The congregation now is changed
A different choir its songs now sing
As drunken men and women too
Pass meths around a ragged ring.

But surely these, these wounded ones, 
With battered face and battered mind
Are welcome in the home of He
Who gave His life for Humankind.

For were He here and with us now
Where would He go, where would He walk? 
With those who suffer, those who hurt? 
Or those whose Charity is talk.

Perhaps this building, gaunt and grim, 
With roofless walls, with gaping door, 
Has now at last fulfilled its fate, 
To be a refuge for the poor. 

Michael Morris

Daily Gratitudes

1. Visiting with old friends.
2. Finding great shopping deals. Boo yah!
3. Super moon Saturday. Hello moon! Super dee duper!
4. Decompressing from a difficult past few days.
5. Writing. My love.