Tag Archive: Gratitude


The 2375 Top 10 List

I’ve got 5 blog posts drafted and incomplete. I need to post something, so here’s one that’s been brewing for a while.

The Top 10 List of Things I’m Grateful for About Our New House at 2375 Hunting Valley

street view

The view from the street. G for scale.

  1. Neighbors and lack thereof. We have power lines to our left, which extend across the street, and nobody living underneath them. To our right lives a kind elderly couple.
  2. The friendly foot traffic. People on the street walk by, wave, and say hello. It’s our own personal Mayberry. We’ll take it.

    Bamboo

    Bamboo … with aspirations

  3. The green. In addition to the field underneath the power lines beside and across from us, we have bamboo – thick, 20-foot-tall bamboo. Behind our fence, there’s a long stretch of woods of hardwood and pine all the way back to the creek.

    Creek

    The Dam Builder

  4. The creek. I believe it’s South Fork Peachtree Creek, but regardless it’s a wide body of water with a noticeable current. Sure there’s some plastic flotsam and jetsam – working on cleaning that out – but there’re rocks and vines and trees in it and across it.
  5. The quiet. Our street is not a thoroughfare. Couple that with our dearth of immediate neighbors, and that equals something called semi-solitude. You can look up at night and almost see the lack of noise. It’s palpable. Evening baseball games from the nearby neighborhood park echo over the treetops, taking nothing away from the quiet, but somehow adding to it.
  6. The birds. I swear we’re living in a nature preserve or maybe a Disney movie. Perhaps not the latter but if all these songbirds burst into song and make Carmen a dress for the ball, I’ll reconsider. Hawks, songbirds, two different kinds of woodpeckers, plus an owl (sight unseen, but heard). One of the woodpeckers, a redheaded one that we’ve named Woody, pecked the crap out of one of the stumps by the fire ring.

    woodpecker

    Woody, I ain’t even mad at ya.

  7. The bunnies. Cute, fluffy, brown, real, not-stuffed, actual bunny rabbits. There are at least four different ones that we have seen. Related note: we planted carrots in our garden.

    Turkey

    Not a bunny, but I forgot to mention we have a neighborhood turkey.

  8. Our garden. Gabriel’s always been a good gardener thanks in large part to his grandma. And I’ve always enjoyed gardening, although my execution thereof leaves something to be desired. Regardless, before all boxes were unpacked at the new place we spent an entire Saturday and some of Sunday pulling up grass; tilling in compost; and planting cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, and them carrots.

    garden

    G, fixin’ to tear it up.

  9. My family. We change circumstances, the circumstances change us. And while I know that happiness comes from within, living within these walls makes us happy.

    family

    Staring out at the back yard, a worthwhile way to spend time

  10. My friends. We now have more space in which we can welcome even more of them. I can’t wait fill it up at our Warm The House (Party) later this month and share this wonderful space. They’ve been so supportive through this whole process, and I even had an old high school pal who, even though he can’t make the party, offered to help “move anything large/heavy or help with any dirty tasks between now and then.” That’s what got me started writing instead of just thinking about this list. Thanks, y’all.Friends

 

Wave

I’ve avoided writing about a difficult topic for some time. Today I found myself writing about it to a friend. But in so doing, I found I couldn’t stop.

Click the image for relevant background music. She’d like this version of one of her favorite songs.

The act of writing–as it often does–helped me step back and consider the topic, the circumstances, and see things in a new light. And that helps. So I suppose that means it’s time to post this.

My mother is dying.

Mom’s cancer has progressed, and she is staying home now, sleeping/laying down most of the time, and not really taking in any nutrition to speak of. The ladies from the personal care service have been fantastic and are spending most of the day and all of the night at her place. A room at the hospice center would give her the same 24/7 support, but this is what mom wants — a few weeks, maybe days at this point per the RN.

I get mom to smile a few times daily. Her thoughts are clear since coming home from a respite stay at the in-patient hospice center a few days ago. Although weak, frail, and losing weight, she’s in a relatively good space for the shape she’s in.

It’s hard to see her this way. The little nutrition she gets comes through that Southern elixir: sweet ice tea. Yet, most meager sips merit a cough. For some reason, her pain has lessened, necessitating fewer doses of powerful narcs like Roxicet administered through her peg tube. What hair survived the radiation and chemo is white, close-cropped and nothing like her style pre-cancer. Clothes don’t fit her either. Buying some pajama bottoms for her today, I opted for the XS and think that those should work.

Regardless, the person who now appears nothing like the lady filling my memories is still my mom, a buoyant beautiful soul. That remains.

I think that cancer nearing its run is a bit of a blessing, insofar as you see the end coming. So you can prepare for it. It’s not unlike standing chest-deep in the ocean. Your feet are planted in the sand, the current swirling around you–but you can see the wave coming, so you can prepare. You make what adjustments you can and receive the wave.

Despite how well you’ve prepared, it will move you. So I think I’m ready for that. In the meantime, I have to keep my eyes forward, head down, and do what needs doing.

An uplifting diatribe

Heavy Mental started a few years ago to keep my writing fires bright.

Castle, my hero.

Me, less the bullet-proof vest, brown hair and cell phone. Well, maybe with the cell phone.

While I’ve had my share of dull, warm embers when non-writing work has kept me from fanning the flames, I’m happy to announce the following:

I’m a writer*, by profession and not just by inclination.

A long story short, a former client from my freewheeling, freelancing days offered me a senior writing position. So I said yes. Gratefully. It’s not often that one is happy as a clam in their job and another, seemingly more enjoyable (and rewarding) one comes calling. But it happened. And I’m thrilled.

Check out the Tribe at tribeinc.com, and picture a pic of me in Tree Pose, holding a pen and grinning like a jackass eatin’ briars.

Here’s the lesson as best I can discern it:

  • Work hard
  • Be nice
  • Keep in touch
  • Keep trying

I’ll post more once I’m actually on that side of the firewall. In the meantime, you (and I) can learn about mah new peeps here: http://www.insidetribe.com/.

* As of about mid-July

And for this, thanks.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  And that makes life a bit more challenging.

Why’s that?  Well, I believe there’s reason behind everything, so I can’t just dismiss these experiences as chance.  They prompt me to ask myself, “Self, why?”  I tend to end up with a lesson learned more often that a phenomenon explained.

One such experience happened as I looked out from the ninth floor of the Ernst & Young building.  It was a rainy day as I recall.  The floor-to-ceiling window framed much of western Atlanta.  Looking out, I saw visitors entering The World of Coke, and I could make out Coke headquarters to my right.  Further still, the lights above Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech loomed unillumined above Grant Field.  The 75/85 confluence moved briskly, albeit almost out of sight, past Allen Plaza.  Atlanta, despite the somber weather, remained active.

And then I looked down.

That’s when I saw the Atlanta Union Mission.  Between the Mission and my building — both physically and metaphorically — was a vacant lot.  Just a few bare trees, discarded boxes, and a small blue tarp scattered across the brown space.   And then the tarp, in the corner of the lot, moved.

It wasn’t blown by wind; there was a man using it for shelter from October rain and wind.  I didn’t actually see the man emerge from his make-shift shelter, but I could tell from the shape and size that it was a person, despite the lack of continued movement.

Standing there, looking down, I realized that I was in the same room in which I had interviewed for my current job.

I saw the differences and the similarities between him and me, and then marveled at the timing of that moment.  Why, in its usual unassuming tone sauntered up behind and presented itself. 

Kansha ~ gratitude

I thought about how fortunate I am that I have what I have — health, family, occupation — and the answer to this coincidence is “give thanks.”  And there’s really so many reasons to do so.

In related news, an old friend started a blog, choosing to focus on gratitude.  What a very fine place to start.

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