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My Thankful Journey

Family By June 12, 2016 Tags: , , 16 Comments

In general, I am a positive, upbeat person.  However, we all have those periods when things get to us or drag us down.

I went through one of those seasons recently and decided to take some “positive” action against my “negative” attitude.  I started a Thankful Journal.  I don’t journal, I didn’t keep a secret diary when I was a teen or tween.  I tried once, but quickly abandoned it when I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about.  Of course, now I blog weekly about all kinds of things….hmmm.

I started my Thankful Journal with a purpose, rules and a deadline.  I was determined to get out of the doldrums, this was my main purpose.  My rules were simple and straight forward, I had to write down 5 things I was thankful for every day (I couldn’t miss a day), they couldn’t repeat and I could not use my family in the list.  The reason for the last rule was that I already know I am thankful for my family, I was trying to stretch my gratitude muscle. My self-imposed duration for the exercise in thankfulness was 30 days.  I figured that I should be able to do it for 30 days.

I found a cute notebook (duh) and began my journey.  It was not as easy as it sounds.2016-04-phone-pics 1479 Some days I was in bed and realized I did not make my thankful list for the day. I wasn’t even sure where I left the notebook.  I learned to keep it close and take it to bed with me, so I wasn’t stomping down the stairs at night looking for it. I challenged myself to take it seriously and look carefully at my life to acknowledge the small, wonderful blessings that I have.  The first few days were kind of dry and rote.  But as I kept at it and searched for interesting things I was thankful for, it became easier.

I found that I was grateful for things like a warm breeze blowing on my face instead of an icy winter blast or that a ceiling fan was finally installed in my bedroom and I can sleep better at night.  I realized I am grateful for living in the modern world with indoor bathrooms, air conditioning and hot water running out of my kitchen tap.  Things we can easily take for granted.  The list goes on and grows as your imagination embraces thankfulness.

The 30 day exercise did help me shake my gloomy state. And yes, I did all 30 days, I didn’t miss any (I did come close though).  I also began having more of a grateful awareness in my every day journey.2016-04-phone-pics 1474

I encourage you to do your own Thankful Journal – use your rules – then see what you discover about yourself.

I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way. I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective

— Tim Tebow

 

 

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Old Photographs and Faded Memories

Family By November 16, 2015 Tags: , , , , 9 Comments

Last weekend I flew in to visit my sisters, I have three.  We hadn’t been together since my mom died, three years ago.  At that time, looking for comfort and connection, we had sorted through piles of old photographs.  Some pictures were of us as children, others of my mother when she was a young woman and still others known only by the fading names scribbled on the back.

We spent time telling stories and laughing at the memories.  I was given the assignment, or maybe I volunteered, of taking some of these ancient photos and scanning them so the images could be preserved for future generations. Oddly, all of us seemed to have a few old and special photos in our personal collections.  I am not sure how that happened, but that probably was my mom’s doing. I imagined she divvied them up, little by little. When we reunited last week, I handed them the finished disk and the envelope of photographs I had borrowed.  Yes, it did take me three years to complete the project…sigh.

I never was especially interested in tracing family history or genealogy.  But, as I have grown older and special people have passed away in my life, I feel a desire to preserve, for my grandchildren, the knowledge and memories I do have.   Who were some of these people in my fading black and white photos?  I strain to remember what my grandmother told me about Pa Pa (her father) and Ma Ma (her stepmother). They lived on a farm in Missouri.  What was it like growing up on a farm in the early 1900’s?  How did she meet my grandfather, who was a city boy? These are questions I never thought to ask her. She may have told me some of it, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention to remember. Much of that rich and precious information is lost forever.resized-old-pic

Now what?  I decided to start journaling the stories I do remember. Then I can pair the written memories with some of the old photographs I have, preserving some of the family history to pass on. I can still recall personal interactions with my Aunt Opal (my grandmothers’, mothers’ sister), who must have been almost 90 years old when I was a teenager and the special love of my Aunt Blanch (my grandfathers’ sister) who always, throughout my childhood and until I was married, sent me a birthday card with a dollar in it.

My grandmother was a wife and mother during the Great Depression.  She told me that the potato peeler was invented during this time (maybe, maybe not… but I like the story anyway).  She said the peeler helped people to remove as little of the potato as possible, while removing the skin. Food was in short supply and everyone had to make the most of what they had.  Hmmm…  This is an interesting bit of history that I can pass along to my granddaughters once we start cooking together. I look forward to it.

How do you plan to preserve your family history?

This post is linked to Grand Social over at Grandma’s Briefs, Treasure Box Tuesdays at Memories by the Mile and Creative Buster over at Fluster Buster

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